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This week’s shared topic over at Blog Azeroth comes to us from Spinks, at Spinksville, who asks the following question.

Cataclysm is coming! The old world is going to be destroyed and remade.

Which town, quest, NPC, or zone really needs to be purged with fire, in your opinion? Will you enjoy dancing on the ashes of a particularly hated quest giver? Or is there some zone you avoid like the plague (plaguelands excluded) where being nuked from orbit could only improve the experience? And why do you hate it/them so much?

This is a question that, with the new expansion on its way sometime in the not-so-distant future, has probably been on the minds of a lot of WoW players.  A lot still isn’t known for sure about Cataclysm.  How much of the Old World will be left?  Will old quest hubs even exist after the change?  And when is the thing even going to arrive?  And with all these questions up in the air, it’s only natural a lot of players start to ponder exactly what changes the new expansion will bring.

And on that same note, if we were blizzard, and we had the power to just hop into that code and make some tweaks to WoW, how  much would we change?  And what would we  change?  Or, more importantly… what would we destroy?
Throughout my illustrious career in WoW, there is one thing which, above all others, I have hated, despised, and abhorred.  And that one thing is the Barrens.

Now I know that we all know for sure that the Barrens are going to be redone.  There’s going to be a whole fun volcanic eruption type of thing going on, and it’s going to be pretty crazy.  According to the somewhat shifty information Blizzard has already provided, we’re going to be seeing shifts to volcanic craters in some areas, and lush wetlands in others.  I’ve seen a couple pictures of the volcanic apocalypse areas, and yes, it looks sweet.

BUT- it’s not the appearance of the zone which I dislike.  I play Horde, I’m totally fine with the desert wasteland sort of areas.  If I wasn’t okay with those, I would have leveled a Night Elf, with all their pretty early zones.  The thing I hate about the barrens is that it is, above anything I’ve experienced in the game- a HUGE drag.

Everytime I step into the Barrens with an alt,  I essentially lose interest in that alt, because I just can’t bear to submit myself to the horror of that place again.  I usually get through it… but with much crying and gnashing of teeth.  I feel on occasion that I’ll probably go pre-maturely gray, largely because of the Barrens.

What’s wrong with them?  Let me explain.

The size.  The barrens is a HUGE zone.  Baby orcs, trolls, and Tauren all go from Mulgore or Durotar (both of which are around half the size of the Barrens) into an enormous, sprawling mass of hills.  It doesn’t seem that bad, until you find yourself running from the Crossroads (on foot- because you’re still mountless in these early levels) to a  bunch of savanah-themed mobs and back again for the 90179874th time.   It gets old very, very fast.

But even that wouldn’t be enough to cause my hatred of the place.  I can deal with that, there’s plenty of other zones that have similar leveling styles.  It’s the fact that, after finally clearing your way out of the Barrens, you always end up going back.  You finished the area around the Crossroads?  Congrats.  Now go take a break, and come back in a few levels, there’s Camp T and Ratchet still!  My first time through the place, I was horrified to find that even in my mid to late twenties I still had some quests to finish up in that god-forsaken zone.

My issue with the Barrens boils down, not to its monotony, that’s just part of the Old World (until Cataclysm, that is), but do to the length.  You enter the Barrens at level 12, and even upwards of levels 26, 27, you’ll still find yourself going back.  I do not want to spent 15 levels in a zone.  That’s way too much.  I need to move on and have some fun somewhere else.

So, if I could throw something into the fire before Cataclysm, it wouldn’t be the look of the Barrens.  It would be the layout of everything inside them.  And with the huge shakeup in that zone, I can only pray I won’t find myself in the same horrible place, with a new, prettier skin.

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