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Gaming: World of Warcraft: 8) Orcs and Trolls

Durotar.

I remember when all this was... well, featureless orange terrain. Now it's featureless orange terrain with puddles.

Other than a short introduction segment for each race the orcs and trolls share the same opening area of Durotar, so by and large the content is the same and I’ll cover both in this one post.

The Orc Path

Orcs are my favourite race in the Warcraft series and I’m a big fan of them in fantasy in general, so it’s somewhat disappointing that their opening area isn’t much improved over how it started. Kill some pigs, kill some scorpions, kill some humans, kill some demons, find a pick. The highlight, as it always has been, is running around to slap lazy peons and get them back to work. The area seems to have been redesigned but the actual quests themselves aren’t particularly changed.

The Troll Path

The short troll sequence is brand new for Cataclysm and it’s pretty fun. They were a late addition to the game, only being implemented shortly before it launched, so they had little unique content of their own, just being thrown in with the orcs. Now they’ve finally reclaimed their island from the evil troll who had cast them out (it was a running joke among players that the entire troll army was chased out of their home for years by a level 10 troll) and are forging more of an identity for themselves. All the troll quest text is written in the style that they speak (with a semi-Jamaican accent) which can get a little irritating, but then the text is supposed to represent what the quest-giver is saying so it makes sense that it would be in that style.

The sequence uses a little of the phasing technique Blizzard introduced with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion which I listed as a reason I wanted to come back to the game to see. It enables things to be (or at least to feel) a little more dynamic, like you’re doing things that affect the world, and allows key characters like troll leader Vol’jin to be involved without taking him away from other players. It’s fun, but only stretches for the first few levels before you’re put onto the same general section as the orcs.

The Durotar Path

As with the orc opening most of this part is largely as it was prior to Cataclysm’s launch. The cataclysm is referenced often but for the most part it’s in fairly inconsequential ways. In the early days a castle had humans in it who were driven out, but now a different group of humans occupies the castle and the quests are essentially the same. A canyon which you used to have to walk into to kill thunder lizards and retrieve a magical orb by killing a goblin is now flooded, so you swim into it to raise drowned thunder lizards from the bottom and retrieve the orb from the goblin’s corpse. It’s changed, but very superficially.

Beyond that it’s a lot like the human opening and the classic World of Warcraft approach, moving from village to village to help people with their small and mostly isolated problems, with little overarching story or a sense that you’re really doing much of consequence. Unlike the human starter zone there are obvious signs that the Cataclysm has occurred, regions now flooded as the river between Durotar and The Barrens overflowed, and the new warchief Garrosh Hellscream has built up a new blockade in front of Orgrimmar, full of soldiers and war machines. Again though, it’s mostly superficial.

It’s a more interesting place then than the bland human one or the night elf zone, but most of the quests simply aren’t particularly interesting.

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