Western Plaguelands. Most people’s first opportunity to join forces with the Argent Crusade in their fight against the Scarlet Crusade and the Scourge. It is also most people’s first experiences with the lore of Arthas, and how these areas became plagued. Personally, I love the lore in the Plaguelands more than any other zone in the game…through all three expansions. These were the end zones of vanilla WoW, and I think that they were fabulously done. The lore is rich, and the zones are very immersive. Down to the quest where you dress up as a member of the Scarlet Crusade to infiltrate their ranks to gain information.
Most horde will start out at the Bulwark…where you were lucky to have Lord Barov alive. Actually you were pretty lucky to have any of the NPCs alive if there were alliance doing their Barov quest. It is here that you get recruited into the Argent Crusade, in their fight to preserve Azeroth.
Of course, part of that journey takes you into the lost town on Andorhal. Where you couldn’t get in or out without agroing half of the damn zone. Or looking through those tomes only to be cursed time and time again, trying to uncover the history. I remember when you had to complete “All Along The Watch Towers” to spawn A’raj, and that A’raj was bugged. When it took a full group of people to kill him, and the death runs back praying that you returned in time to loot the mystic box for your quest item before it despawned.
Let’s not forget our first forays with Chromie here either!
Western Plaguelands had a ton of quests, but most of them were hidden at the cauldron camps. You were sent out to the camps, but unless you were curious, you likely missed many of the quests in the zone. Of course, it’s in completing these quests that you found a lot of the lore of Azeroth. Such as how Jeramiah Peyson came to be lonely, sad, and selling cockroaches under the stairs in the Undercity.
One of the Heroes of Azeroth that you learn of is Uther. Of course, while most people may remember him for his deeds, the Horde were required to defile his tomb. Which of course PvP flaged them. Which, much like the Barov Family, meant world PvP. Of course, if you let those memories go, the Tomb is a very beautiful place in Western Plaguelands.
Many of my memories of Western Plaguelands are from Scholomance. I was one of the first group of people on the server to clear out this zone in a 5 man group and obtain my Barov Peasant Caller. Believe it or not these trinkets used to be worn like a status symbol “look what I did”. Scholomance was hard. Before they removed all of the trash, and made it a slightly more friendly zone, it would take a 5 man team more than 5 hours to do a full clear of the zone with quests. I still remember the other 4 people I cleared this zone with, including the shadow priest who healed us through it, and how he would artfully stay out of combat until he was sure we had a good pull…so that he could rez if we did it poorly.
Even now I still clear this zone while leveling if I can. I think it was beautifully zone, the lore within it is fantastic. If you haven’t done this zone in its entirety, inclusive of all of the quests, it really is worth going back and checking it out.
How many people know how to activate the teacher and students in the library? How about purchasing the recipe for Major Mana Potions?
Of course, part of the rich lore out here is dealing with the Scarlet Crusade. However…that isn’t what I remember about this particular tower. Enchant Weapon: Crusader. This is the only place that it dropped. If you wanted it, and believe me it’s value was well worth it, you spent many hours in this tower.
However, this is also where Tirion came out and kicked some serious ass avenging his son. This is quite honestly one of the best quest chains in the game. A lot of the lore that we find in Northrend starts here.
I will always remember Hearthglen as that area you accidentally wandered into and got your ass handed to you by the elites at the gate. That is until you were disguised to infiltrate their ranks and could move about freely. Of course, the area itself is also very beautiful, which is part of why I enjoyed it so much.
Really, the best thing about this zone is how much you learn about Azeroth while experiences the area. I think that in all of the quests and zones that Blizzard has done, in all three expansions, this is one of the best areas. I truly enjoyed this zone, and I hope that there isn’t much changed in Cataclysm. I would be very sad to lose the lore that was built here. And honestly, I don’t think there is much to improve on quest wise!
What experiences do you have with Western Plaguelands? What memories were made in this zone for you?