It’s no secret that World of Warcraft’s in-game lore is a mess. Thanks to changes made in Cataclysm, almost all of the 1-60 zones are set immediately after the events of the Cataclysm. The only exception is the Pandaria starting zone (1-15ish) which is set at the beginning of the Mists of Pandaria. Which means if you start out with a level 1 character, their story starts out three or four expansions after the original story.
To make matters worse, Allied Races are all canonically recruited only after events in Legion at the earliest, but they’re immediately thrown into Cataclysm zones.
Also, zone scaling and adjusted levelling speeds also mean you’ll often skip large chunks of the story as you out level them.
So while the game itself went:
- Burning Crusade
- Wrath of the Lich King
- Mists of Pandaria
- Warlords of Draenor
- Battle for Azeroth
Your in-game experience is more likely to go:
- Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria beginner zones (All races beginning at level 1 start out in a Cataclysm zone except for Pandaren who start out in Pandaria zone)
- Lower level Cataclysm zones (All races starting at level 20 – the Allied races – will begin their journey in a lower level Cataclysm zone of their choice)
- Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King zones (Death Knights will start here. They can go to Northrend or thoroughly confuse themselves by going back in time to Outland)
- High-level Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria zones
- Warlords of Draenor zones
- Legion zones (Demon Hunters start here. Technically their story began at the end of Burning Crusade.)
- Battle for Azeroth zones (which are split so much between Alliance and Horde it’s almost impossible to get a full understanding of the story without playing both)
It’s… confusing. To say the least.
So for the longest time, I’ve really wanted to make myself notes so that I can get a fuller, more comprehensive idea of the stories we’re dealing with. Despite leveling through many of the Horde zones more than once, I still feel like I’m forgetting or missing out on large chunks of story. And I have a bunch of characters I’d like to level (mostly Allied races) so it feels like the perfect opportunity to start this project. And I think others might be interested, so I’m going to run the series here, on this blog, in between posts about moving to Scotland as well as any other posts about World of Warcraft I might decide to write.
I plan to begin with two posts – one focussed on Horde, one on the Alliance, about the early, early starting zones for all races that begin at level 1, excluding the Pandaren, Goblins, and Worgen. As those three are locked into zones until they’re around level 15, I will let those three races share a post.
From there, I’ll work on Classic zones, then Burning Crusade, then Wrath of the Lich King, and so on and so forth.
And yes, once Classic comes out I will make an effort to collect and write about all the original 1-60 zones, no matter how painful that’s gonna turn out to be.
Here’s what I’ve done so far – I’ll update as I do more
Chapter 1 – Horde starting areas. This post covers the storylines of the early starting areas for Orcs, Forsaken, Tauren, Trolls, and Blood Elves.
Chapter 2 – Alliance starting areas. This post covers the storylines of the early starting areas for Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves, Gnomes, and Draenei.
Chapter 3 – Goblin starting area. This post covers the storylines of the unique starting area that Goblins are locked into.
It’s a hell of a project to undertake, so I don’t feel terrible about asking for any support anyone’s got to offer. So I’ve set up a Patreon over here. Feel free to wait and see if you even like the series before even considering supporting me, but also, feel free to support me.
Lok’tar ogar, and Zandalar Forever x