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.
Welcome to the part of Traveling Thoughts where I start to discuss things that I don’t actually have a lot of experience with. While I never made this apparent in previous posts (if I recall correctly), I was, at one point, a purely Horde player. When I first started out with the game, of course, I tried everything based on pure curiosity. When I got a groove for everything, it was basically all horde, except for the occasional draenei or gnome to spice it up. That said, compared to someone who’s never played World of Warcraft, I’ve played Alliance races quite often. Compared to what I’ve played within the Horde race, it’s a bite-size chunk of a gargantuan cookie.
Teldrassil is an island right off the northwestern coast of Kalimdor, a generally Horde-controlled continent within the world of Azeroth. This island homes the night elves, my favorite race among the Alliance faction before the arrival of draenei. (Fun fact: ranking every race within Burning Crusade, night elves would be placed below every Horde race on my personal favorite hierarchy.) A very purple environment, the forests of Teldrassil give off a very “natural” aesthetic, with a little bit of a fantasy touch. Lots of housing units are just slightly-altered trees, in all its cylindrical glory. I always liked Teldrassil, though never really cared for it as a starting area.
It had actually been some time since I went through and did (relatively) all the quests within Teldrassil. Perhaps a few years, even. Despite getting back into the game via private servers back in late 2015, I don’t ever recall making (or working on) a night elf. The memories of working on night elves in their early stages are still fairly fresh in my mind, though the recollection came more from doing them while collecting screenshots for this specific post. For example, I never remembered that the initial starting area in Teldrassil featured 99% non-aggro enemies. Only a single enemy, a level-five spider with an important name, would attack upon getting near it. I think that makes Teldrassil the only starting area in the game to not feature aggro enemies during the latter portions of its initial setting (sans that one enemy).
With everything being non-aggro, that makes Teldrassil one of the easiest initial starting areas to go through. Its quest variance is also pretty low, as I can only recall being tasked to kill things, collect things, or find some sick dude. It does feature a quest where you collect plants around the area, which totally made me feel one with nature. Otherwise, pretty straightforward and to the point. It won’t really become cumbersome until after the initial area. Before that, I would like to mention that requests to constantly fill phials with water from sacred wells is very irritating. One does this often in Teldrassil.
Outside the initial starting area, two things surprised me:
- The amount of intuitive quests in Dolanaar, the first major point outside the initial area. As a youngling, I remember a lot of quests being really out of the way and a chore to do, but I had a good time during my recent trek around the area.
- How much I have never done quest-wise in Dolanaar. I did about two or three quests this time around that I had absolutely no knowledge of beforehand. It was kind of neat finding out all sorts of areas and little trinkets of lore that I had glossed over in the past because I was too lazy. One of those quests was a nailbiter, though.
In my mind, at least prior to this latest playthrough, I always marked Teldrassil as the worst place to begin a character in. I remember the quests being annoying and the travel between them being long and arduous. I also remember the questgivers themselves being really spread out, too. All of this turned out to be pretty wrong, however, as I had a pretty good, convenient time going about my business in and around Dolanaar. In fact, it’s already a better starting area than Durotar, and debatably even Mulgore. It was a surprising reprisal of facts for me; perhaps my disdain for the Alliance faction had something to do with it.
Another thing about Teldrassil that I hinted at before and praised Mulgore for somewhat is that it isn’t too big. In fact, while I do not have my ruler on me at the moment, I think Teldrassil might be the smallest starting questing area in the game. (Let me see if I can confirm that on Google… Nope, got nothing.) Its main area consists of basically a giant circle, though a little rough around the edges. It also features a little patch of land near the outer rim where night elves can fly to an area for further questing once they hit level 11-12 (for free!). There are definitely some benefits to being a night elf.
If there is anything I can criticize Teldrassil for, it’s generally minor things. As stated before, there are a decent amount of quests where the player is required to fill phials full of water from moonwells, which can get pretty annoying. The focus on trees as a form of housing means there’s a lot of climbing up spiraling staircases to get to people of importance, which is kind of annoying, too. I thought various quests around the capital city of Darnassus felt a little underwhelming, especially considering the distance was a little farther out. Otherwise, I really have no outstanding complaints. It’s a pretty good starting area.
Going into a little more detail on the environment, Teldrassil is almost like the visual embodiment of a rainforest imagined by Jimi Hendrix. I wasn’t kidding when I called it “purple”; Teldrassil has a very purple-ish glow to it that makes it feel like it’s hidden from plain view. The creatures within make sense to the general environment, and the focus on furbolg, a bipedal bear species, seems pretty believable as a territorial threat to the night elves. It is, by far, the most tree-friendly area among the starting zones, with a large variety of its scope being just that: purple forests. Whatever place night elves do reside in (outside Darnassus) feels very minimal towards the environment, which likely corresponds with their beliefs concerning the sanctity of nature. Complete with underground caverns and a couple ponds, it’s a pretty forest-y forest. I would like to take the time to remind my readers that I majored in English.
The next starting area will be another one from the Alliance, one that I actually did more often than Teldrassil, probably because it felt easier to grasp. The best thing about revisiting these starting zones and analyzing their quests and atmosphere again is getting a complete picture for what they offer to the game and how I feel about them. It was nice to be able to travel through a once-scorned area and realize that it has a lot of merit compared to other starting areas. It also has a neat look to it, and is probably the most interesting of the starting areas I’ve covered thus far. I suppose the night elves were my favorite Alliance race for a reason.
For more posts on this topic, feel free to check out the accompanying archive!