Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The State of Our Cities

Now, if only they could get rid of this smog  ...
Blizzard pulled a fast one on us this week by removing the city portal hubs from Shattrath and Dalaran. No longer shall we be setting our hearthstones to these neutral cities for the benefit of centralized teleportation abilities.

I'm honestly not looking forward to a three stage travel itinerary to reach most places in Kalimdor, but I kinda appreciate the logic of sending people back to the old world for real right now. Blizzard has said they want the cities to feel lived in and populated, but to do that, they needed to take out the neutral city hubs. I can understand that.

But to be honest, I felt just a wee bit sad when Shattrath was vacated at the end of the Burning Crusade. It's an utter ghost town now. The same is about to happen to Dalaran, which is a shame because Dalaran was a raging success of city design. I'm less certain of the horde cities, but I think that other Alliance cities are going to suffer somewhat as well:  Exodar, for example.

Personally, I have preferred Exodar to other cities a lot of the time. No lag problems. You can hit the training dummies without somebody rocking up to throw you off. Exodar was the only city that you could teleport into and appear outside of all structures, and thus not get automatically dismounted. It's sorta hard to find things in Exodar, but once you finally know where they are, you could generally reach them faster than you can in other cities which are less centralized.

But now... heck, even I won't be going to Exodar anymore. Two boats, an instance portal and a ground mount ride are a little too far out of the way (note: flying mounts do not work in Draenei or blood elf starting zones).

As it is, all the love and design updates are going into Stormwind and Orgrimmar. I can't find one single change to Ironforge. There is a new tree in Darnassus.  The gnomes have retaken Gnomeragan and Greymane City has joined the Alliance, but these are not to be mistaken for real cities.

Stormwind has expanded neighborhoods, a few of them blown up by Deathwing, portals to the new high level content, extra auction house locations, and are flying-mount friendly.

(Undercity, for example, is really not flying mount friendly because of low ceilings and a design full of detritus that hanging around most areas. Sometimes I fly up into that and can't get out again without dismounting so that gravity can show me the way out.)

There are going to be some things to get used to, but I hope that Blizzard can find a way to revitalize the other cities besides Stormwind and Orgrimmar. Ironforge has long been a fave place to congregate and it's weird to think that it may be faced with a diaspora.


  1. It's funny but I almost always bring Somaric back to Darnassas. The auction house is much easier to get to and, well, it just seems like home for a Night Elf.

    One thing. It was always a pain to return to Exodar to upgrade your Jewelry skill. Has this been changed? Are there trainers in all cities now?

  2. That was a really good question, so I went and looked up a list of trainers in Cataclysm. It is possible that they are not up to date, but no new JC trainers have been added.

    I wanted to go look around Stormwind a bit and see for myself, but the beta servers are all down while they put in a new build. So I'll have to get back to you on this one