A few disclaimers before we move forward:
- Traveling Thoughts is a means of putting down my thoughts in a bit-by-bit process that will eventually lead up to a formal review of the overall subject. These posts will be more personal than objective, though one should expect a good amount of both as is my personality of habit.
- These posts will absolutely contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.
Euripedes was the first character I ever made. That remains a fact. What I tend to remember more fondly, however, is the troll mage I made sometime afterwards. I even remember the name… which was… nevermind, I don’t remember what it was. It was some vowel-heavy gobbledygook. It was the first character I leveled to the level cap within the free trial period, and I sure was impressed with myself. I don’t remember if I made that troll again once getting the full game.
Durotar, at least before Cataclysm, is a shared starting area for trolls and orcs, like Dun Morogh was for dwarves and gnomes (more on it later). One would assume that I would have played this starting area more than any other if I provided that I play Horde way more than I play Alliance and that it is the starting area for two races and not one. However, I don’t actually make trolls very often, preferring orcs if I feel like going through Durotar once again. In addition, trolls are pretty low on my personal Horde hierarchy, ranking fourth among the five races provided in Burning Crusade, only blood elves being lower. I’ve played through Durotar quite often, but not to the same extent as Mulgore.
With this familiarity comes a starting area that I appreciate for being among the best ones. Strictly speaking of the area prior to level six (or seven), the den of new soldiers provides a basic, but plentiful array of quests to start out with, along with additional training opportunities and one obtainable quest upon exploring the zone. Unlike Mulgore, Durotar’s starting zone feels just the right length, not being too big that it becomes a chore to roam around in while also not too short that it feels simple. Quest types range from killing things to picking apples to beating lazy orcs in the head with a club (which is always fun). Like any starting area, it’s pretty difficult to die within this section, but a specific cave in the eastern part of the zone is a tad more challenging than the Brambleblade Ravine in Mulgore, due in part to its constrictive design.
Looking at Durotar is, in my opinion, more interesting than the grassy plains of Mulgore. While the latter has a sense of tranquility to it, the desolate (not to be confused with the zone “Desolace”), reddened place of Durotar has a higher emphasis on endurance and strength. Very little plant life and, from what I can assume, pretty extreme on temperature, it’s a bleak, monotonous area perfect for a race of bloodthirsty orcs that have a tendency for battle.
Outside the initial area includes not one, but two places one can turn to for further questing. Razor Hill and Sen’jin Village are two major points for orcs or trolls wishing to further their level and experience, and it is here where my fondness for Durotar ends. The issue with having two separate areas means one has to travel a notable distance in order to do everything they possibly can with each questing point, as both have quests ranging in difficulty for those coming straight out of the starting zone. One will have to do a few quests in Sen’jin, then travel all the way to Razor Hill (from one to the other, the travel time is about 3-4 minutes) only to go back whenever they’ve exhausted all other options. It’s more likely that one completely ignores one zone for the other, or only does one or two quests from one zone and a majority for the other. Intentional as this may be in the method of providing options, it feels like the player misses out on being able to do everything available, especially knowing it’d take a decent chunk of time just running back and forth.
In my experience, it tends to hapen that I outright ignore one area for the other—normally, it is Sen’jin Village. I have exhausted most of the options in Sen’jin Village in the past, however, to know that a lot of quests in Sen’jin are pretty annoying. Many take place on some islands behind the village itself, and some involve ganging up against groups of foes that will kill you quickly if you aren’t prepared for it. With tigers and raptors and villainous trolls, it’s not a pleasant questing experience. I do like the quest involving destroying war plans owned by centaur, though. And killing crabs. That one’s pretty simple.
Razor Hill, unfortunately, isn’t much better. While I generally stick to it for questing more than Sen’jin, its array of quests are pretty hit-and-miss. Some quests involving killing Kul’Tiran humans and collecting cloth from humanoid enemies are fine, but others are more advanced and much more time-consuming. Swimming down to the bottom of the adjoining sea to collect treasure boxes, killing four kinds of quilboar located on two separate sides of the map, eliminating a cultic threat on another side of the map; it has you go every which way of a suddenly oversized map. The starting area was fine, but after that, it’s pretty irritating. Not to mention, some quests in Razor Hill have you going all the way back to the areas surrounding Sen’jin! Most often, I leave early and level just by killing things around Orgrimmar, as the quests are just huge time-consumers.
On an aesthetic level, there’s a slight change in scenery dependent on the zone one chooses to travel to. It’s still red and rocky no matter where one goes, but there’s a stark difference in personality based on the structures accompanying the zone. There’s Razor Hill, which consists of big, iron(?) and wood fortresses and such that look tough and impenetrable. Sen’jin Village is a lot more primitive, with wooden structures and a heavier focus on drums and blunt instruments to go along with the soundtrack. Going to kill Kul’Tiran humans will have one travel to a fortress that’s entirely encased in stone or metal or whatever the hell it is. Lots of different kinds of things to see in Durotar, including isolated quests away from the major questing areas that require the player to travel around the outer rims of Durotar and a ravine-like area called Thunder Ridge. I would go in more depth with that, but I haven’t done anything with it in years.
It has a good starting area, but Durotar is a somewhat long-winded hassle once upon the helms of Razor Hill and Sen’jin Village. One is likely encouraged to do a little of both, but doing so will require a lot of travel time and patience, the latter I have less of with every new orc/troll. Of all the mid-range starting areas to go through, Durotar was always the one I least looked forward to, and have tried to travel all the way to other starting areas just to get away from it (with generally underwhelming results). Even so, it’s always an interesting experience whenever the new opportunity arises, as it tends to move forward like this:
“What will I not do this time?”
For more posts on this topic, feel free to check out the accompanying archive!