Examining Draenor: Shadowmoon Valley

by Julio Matheo Gavilano on         follow @vagabundomg

In this article series, I will explore Shadowmoon Valley, and detail my experience leveling and questing through the zone.  As a result,  some story details about Shadowmoon Valley will be revealed. If you are trying to stay away from any spoilers on the quests and lore from Warlords of Draenor, then let me offer this short, spoiler-free summary:

Shadowmoon Valley, The Alliance, starting zone does not disappoint. It has immersive story elements mixed into a stunning landscape that will take your breath away. Shadowmoon Valley’s exciting quests take players all over the zone. I’m excited to call this zone home because I know I’ll play for the Alliance in this expansion.

With that out of the way, please be advised that the rest of the article may contain story spoilers. You have been warned!

From the start, Shadowmoon Valley had me completely captivated. It would be an understatement to say this zone is beautiful. It reminds me of why I like the Warcraft universe in the first place. It’s a fantasy setting that has a clear use of Warcraft’s trademark cartoon aesthetics but with a dark atmosphere.

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The zone starts out with you setting up your garrison. Its location is pretty convenient and because of how rich the zone is, making it your home is an easy task. The Alliance garrison’s organization was much better than the one of the Horde. I could easily find everything I was looking for and even when upgrading your garrison the changes felt natural.

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The questing was a little lack luster at the start. On the Horde side you are put directly into the action and the first hour of game time passes very quickly. Shadowmoon Valley does not have that initial burst of epic game play, but it steadily grows from one quest hub to the other. It is the kind of zone that people who like the lore and read the quest texts will enjoy the most. It references many characters that are important to the lore quite early on and you are able to seem them grow and struggle through the conflicts created by the Iron Horde.

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Some of the complaints I would have with the zone is how disorganized it is. I was sent going up and down the zone to do all the quest hubs and extra objectives, which became pretty annoying after some point. Unless you have previous experience in the zone I find that new players will have a hard time knowing what quests to do and when . I completed some of the extra hubs and then found myself there again for the main story line, which I could have done more efficiently if I had known what order to do things on. The extra objectives also felt a lot more trivial than in Frostfire Ridge. Most of them where just killing X and collecting Y, but because of how rich in story the actual quests in the zone are compared to Frostfire Ridge it compensates this overall.

I feel that Shodowmoon Valley will become one of my favorite zones in game and I look forward to work on my garrison there. Having to level my most of my alts through this zone will not feel like such a hassle compared to other expansion starting zones. I enjoy questing through rich story zones and I can’t wait to get to play through Shadowmoon Valley in live.

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If you have any opinions on Shadowmoon Valley and would like to share them, I would encourage you to write them on the comments.