As I'm continually late to the party I haven't seen all the changes to the zones post-Cata. Which, in many ways, is lovely. I still have that sense of 'ooooooooohhhhh' on a regular basis, which means that I'm not hitting my boredom threshold too quickly. As I've (mainly) played Horde since the x-pac I've seen some of them, but my reasonably recent re-rolling of some Alliance alts means that there's a bucketload more content that I've not yet seen. Darkshore is a good example. If you haven't yet played through this zone and it's on your 'list of things to do' stop reading now as you REALLY need to experience it for yourself. And to be doubly sure this happens, I'm putting in a cut (for the first time ever on this blog, I might add) to ensure that it isn't ruined for you.
Darkshore really is an excellent example of how well Blizzard can re-vamp content when they choose to. It has everything, as far as I can see. It's rich in lore (but we all know that lore isn't my strong suit so I won't expound on this. Let me just say that I really read the quest text, which is a rarity for me, even nowadays.) It has moments of utter poignancy - the first quest I was given required me to find some survivors, all recognisable NPC names, which inevitably meant one stumbles across those unlucky few who didn't survive.
There are wonderful comedic quests - one of which provides an entirely new take on battling with our old enemies - the murlocs. If you want the best way to kill murlocs you should definitely consult a gnome. Preferably one with a pink quiff, and beard to match, called Gary. He has an effective method that merely required a modicum of your assistance. All you need to do is take control of a clockwork bot (with gnomish self'destruct' technology) and wade in...
And watch the murlocs go KABOOM! What more can you ask for! Once your joy has subsided (and really, I think as a quest reward we should just be given one of these bots to keep, should the murlocs, unfathomably, not have learnt their lesson!) you move on to Lor'Danel proper and start questing there.
Darkshore used to be one of those zones that irritated me as it was long and thin and you had to run from one end to the other over and over and bloody over. Which, if your default position is 'idle mare' like mine is, just makes you tetchy. Blizz (goddess love 'em) have resolved this by giving you nightsaber pick-up points to ferry you between quest hubs. Some of the old quests remain - A Love Eternal, for example, which still makes me cry. Literally, no matter how many times I do it, I hate killing Anaya. That's always round one of tears. Then giving her pendant back to Cerellean starts me off again: "Perhaps it would have been better... if I had done it myself. But even after these thousands of years, I could not bear to raise my hand against my beloved." /sniffle, /sob, /WTB tissue.
Then another of my favourite beings - Grimclaw, appears to be deceased (more sniffling). Fortunately there's a handy Keeper around who can heal him, and even nicer, the quest to collect the ritual materials means you don't harm the local fauna. Rather the opposite, in fact. You can only gather the required items peacefully. Carebears of the world join me in rejoicing! Once healed, Grimclaw returns to Lor'Danel to keep Cerellean company: "And you needn't worry about my loneliness. Grimclaw has taken to keeping me company, and I have to say he's a more comforting companion than I would have expected." If that isn't enough to make you happy (and frankly it should be) there's something even better as a quest reward - Withers! Again, I was SO grateful that I hadn't read about Cata zones - this was a huge surprise (and made Himself smile a LOT as I wriggled with glee and squees in my chair!) and a really, really nice one. Withers is not only epically cute (and a very nice pet for a night elf) but he works with his environment... As I ran through water (inevitable in Darkshore) he absorbs the moisture and grows, then shrinks again when he starts to dry out. Totally unnecessary, I grant you, but really very sweet indeed.
I've totally outlevelled the zone - I'm playing a night elf mage on AD so she's wearing heirloom robes and shoulders - but I'm staying here until I've 100% done it. And I am playing a MAGE! Kind of. But really badly. Himself roared with mirth at my method of combat, which involves running into melee range then starting to cast. Apparently this is not the way of the mage? What can I say... I'm trying...