Touring the Hellfire Peninsula

“Welcome to the expansion pack. It’s a whole new world! Go kill some boars.” I know, they are hellboars, and don’t think that my Paladin does not appreciate their being classified as demons rather than beasts. And those little guys in the cave just outside the welcoming town, the jawa-looking ones, they are totally not kobolds, because they do not have candles on their heads.

That said, the new models can be pretty spectacular. The leaders of the totally-not-kobolds are great steampunk things with whirling blades and tubes that glow malignantly. We have souped up versions of kenku and hooked horrors. The ravagers are exactly the sort of wandering beast you would expect in a hell dimension. Elite crystal giants that split into many smaller giants, with corpses you can mine? Fun.

The downside of great models is that the enemies are not that tough. Unless ganked, I only hit the ground when I get sloppy seeing how many I can fight at once. The real demons are exactly what you would want from Warcraft, somewhat new yet perfectly consistent with the RTS and thirty feet tall. And then I gut groups of them effortlessly. The humanoids with scythes for hands are tougher.

The bombing run is fun, a few times. I know it comes back later, but for the Peninsula, it is a one-off that sits in the corner. For everyone who ever wanted god mode, here is your chance to one-shot defenseless targets in a rail shooter. The other new mechanic of the zone, controlling the three PvP spots, seems to lead to more unfortunate bickering and ganking than anything meaningful or interesting, but maybe it worked better before there were level 80s.

Flying mounts at level 60 was a late change, wasn’t it? Things like the bombing run, or the flight around Zangarmarsh, imply teasing you with flight rather than expecting you to already have it. I love the speed, I love not being bothered by wandering monsters, but I especially love being a paratrooper. I fly until I see my quest target, then I dive, drop, taunt as I fall, and hit the ground fighting. Kill the boss, get the item, then fly away. It trivializes their defenses, but hey, they’re here for my entertainment, not their survival. They’ll respawn anyway. On another note: no magic pegasus for the Paladin? Maybe that’s at 70.

Finally, money and loot practically fall from the sky. If you could not afford your flying mount when you entered the zone, you will be able to before you leave. This is the order of magnitude difference: quests suddenly award multiple gold, give you an item worth multiple gold, and then partial stacks of vendor trash also sell for another gold. Any time you spent scrimping in the old world was pointless: the wash of gold means that pushing to Outland is more rewarding than any time spent thinking.

The loot quality is absurd. I replaced half my gear during a Molten Core run at 60, and the first Outland quests give rewards only marginally worse than the purples (tier 1?) I got there. I replaced my purple weapon with a green within ten minutes. I replaced all but two items before leaving the zone.

And I completed the zone. I have the exploration achievement and the quest achievement. What was quest #80? Searching through Fellhound poo for keys.

My impressions of the Hellfire Peninsula started mildly negative but ended strongly positive. Yes, you start out with orcs and boars again. Once you get past that, the entire zone is full of new models and new toys. The new beasts are spectacular, as are some of the demons. There are burrowers and crystal giants and bombing runs. Many quests start with item drops, which looks to be increasingly prevalent in the Burning Crusade, and found quests can seem more organic than !s. The most common comment on the Peninsula seems to be, “Don’t worry, it’ll be over soon,” but I rather enjoyed the place.

: Zubon

10 thoughts on “Touring the Hellfire Peninsula”

  1. flying mounts at 60 are a very recent change, yes. – an NO, no magic pegasus for the paladin – druids are the only ones who get a special flight mount….well, druids and DKs.

    MC gear is tier 1 quality, yeah – although technically only the set items are called “tier 1”, the rest is just “MC gear”.

    Hellfire peninsula is great fun, the first time, yeah – did you do either of the two dungeons? both are really nice changes from the pre-BC dungeons and really set up how dungeons work past 60.

  2. Conversely, I got the opposite reaction in Northrend. In the whole leveling process, I think I replaced one item, and even that was a sidegrade. It’s as if item design was warped back to pre-60 era.

  3. The philosophy behind the amazing quest reward gear in Hellfire was to normalize players coming in from vanilla WoW when BC launched. There was such a vast difference between raiders in their Tier gear and non-raiders in blues and the odd purple, that they had to give everyone amazing gear in order to have any sort of average player difficulty level.

    They approached it differently in WotLK. Players wearing level 70 raiding gear wouldn’t replace some of those pieces until level 74 or so, whereas players coming out of Outland without gear of that quality can start upgrading from quests right away. This encompasses the vast majority of characters now coming to Northrend from Outland at level 68.

    Now, in a WotLK world, by level 58 when you go to Outland you are closing in on your 51-point talents. Part of what makes Hellfire easier is the gear, certainly, but a lot has to do with spells and talents aimed squarely at a level 80 game.

  4. @Hirvox

    There was a big outcry on the forums about how leveling in Outlands wiped away all of the hard work players did in Azeroth before.

    Cue Wotlk, they listened to the player base.

    And the player base still wasn’t happy.

  5. Eh. I think a big part of it was that non-raid players had no real way to get anything approaching raid quality loot in WoW Classic, so when BC launched, there were tons and tons of upgrades to their old blues. Towards the end of BC, heroic tokens were raining from the sky and people were farming BGs for honor for arena gear and everybody’s alt had Kara on farm status. LK did have some good pieces, but there weren’t as many people so undergeared. Cataclysm is going to be the same way; current raiders have some fine loot, but they aren’t all that far ahead of people who farm Conquest badges and heroic ToC.

  6. It’s my least favorite zone in the game. So ugly. But, I do like the improvements over vanilla.

  7. If you weren’t flattened by a ninja Fel Reaver, then your doing the zone wrong :) Getting killed by a 100+ foot tall mechanical monstrosity that shakes the ground and makes lots of noise but still manages to catch you unawares is almost a rite of passage.

  8. After pushing so many alts through Hellfire Peninsula I had actually forgotten how much I liked it at TBC launch – and the new feeling that came with it (although it reminded me a bit of the Blasted Lands all the time).

    Thanks for reviving that memory as you’ve put it quite accurately :)

  9. Silvanis, I had managed to push that memory out of my mind. Thanks for bringing it back >:(

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