We had one of those commonly told, almost mythical, experiences that so many veterans of early World of Warcraft recount: the arduous journey between Alliance starter zones. It was decided around level 10 that the future dungeon group needed some shake-up of character members. I wanted to play my dwarven Paladin as healer, my husband had settled on his gnome Mage as the most fun of his to play. They were to join the night elf remainder of the group at the fresh zone of Darkshore for continued leveling.
Before leaving the convenience of the relatively close and well-connected dwarven and human capitals, we zoomed over to Stormwind on the Deeprun Tram to get some weapons training – having access to a wider choice of weapons is a thing you earn for in Classic. At 10 silver a new skill it is seriously expensive for characters around this level: expensive enough that we’re picking and choosing what we bother to learn, I picked up one-handed sword so I can make use of any that drop.
The first leg, skirting along the edge of Loch Modan, was easy enough. After we exited the northern tunnel leading to the Wetlands zone we were suddenly in a lot more danger. Making use of some ‘short cuts’ as pictured below we did manage to avoid the ‘skull’ (i.e. deadly ‘con’ mobs 10 or more levels higher than us) orcs that guard parts of the path between zones. At least one we only avoided because someone else had already engaged him in combat.
Then we had the seemingly endless flat, tree-lined swamp lands ahead of us; at the other side lies Menethil Harbour and the boat to Auberdine where our elven compatriots were waiting. It’s a stark contrast to the snowy hills of Dun Morogh and Loch Modan.
The water hides dangerous crocolisks (6-legged crocodiles) and oozes, the trees and hills teem with spiders and orcs. All would aggro if we got vaguely close to them due to the level-difference. There were some hair-raising incidents especially with the spiders spotting us on the road from afar (“travel on the road you’ll be safe” is a lie in Classic). In the end a friend who was questing in the zone joined us on her level ~20 Hunter to guard us for the remainder of the journey.
Afterwards, at the safety of the harbour we waited for the boat to Auberdine, and buffed and chatted with the others also gathering. These old-school travel modes do promote interaction, and can be especially rewarding on an RP realm – there are some players making an effort to roleplay.
A new zone awaits with a new party mix – these are static leveling characters so they’ll only be played together. In Classic, like many older MMORPGs, there is no level-sync tech or similar so getting characters out of sync with the group would quickly become problematic.
Darkshore was chosen as the zone to level through due to a mix of nostalgia for memories of playing there (my first character was a night elf), and also the desire to see the original pre-Cataclysm, pre-Battle for Azeroth lands there. It will mean that both my Paladin and the Mage have long but less perilous journeys back to Ironforge to train any class skills – boat and flightmaster griffin trips will be part of our future sessions for sure. I kind of look forward to it, actually.