“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.