BA Shared Topic: The Explorer Task
What I propose to you, is to take your character on a journey around Azeroth and Outlands. Some of you may know the lore surrounding these places, some of you may roleplay, some may just like exploring.
I’m going to be looking at Zangarmarsh, folks. When I was first told about Outlands, I didn’t know what to expect. ‘It’s in space!’ my cheerful off-server Draenei friend told me. ‘And it’s really big, and it’s got edges, and its all split up like… like a Rubix cube.’ That was about as much as I got. When my hunter, Ort, hit 58, I took him through the Dark portal. There I found Hellfire Peninsula, and it’s awe inspiring sight of demons battling, a sky full of planets (seriously, look up in that zone) and what looked like a sprawling nuked demonic hyperactive Barrens. It wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but it was bloody impressive all the same. What happens after you finish Hellfire? You move straight on to Zangarmarsh. I did it the slow way, with the Ravager quests nearby. I was shooting my way through the spiky things when I saw some wilted, brown mushrooms. ‘How interesting,’ I thought. I followed the path, killing more Ravagers. And suddenly, I was round the corner, looking down on the Cenarion outpost, and out across Zangarmarsh. I just stopped dead. If it hadn’t been for my wonderful pet Oliver, I would have died to the Ravager that I still had on me. This zone floored me. I was reminded strongly of Studio Ghibli’s Nausicaä, a film I loved as a child and one you should definitely see if you like Zangarmarsh!
Giant, towering mushrooms, with luminous undersides and halos of light. Eerily glowing plants. A ground of what appeared to be moss and water, with miniature rivers. Spores floating through the air. As I delved further into this space age jungle, I came across Spore Bats, Nether Rays, and Fen striders. Now here, truly, it looked like the wildlife had flourished from the zone they came from. The Spore bat, in case you’ve never seen one, is like a ray with a long tail that connects to several bulbs. They look nothing like Bats, in actuality. The Nether Rays look like flying spiders without the legs, all multiple eyes, spiky bodies and chattering fangs. And the magnificent Fen striders, dwarfing even my proud Tauren. Looking like a biological tower, they strode through Zangarmarsh on three tall legs, with a turret like head that swiveled to face whatever it aggro’d upon. Underwater, armor plated Hydra, Mushroom boosted Makura, and ravenous Piranhas patrol.
I love everything about this zone. I’m even prepared to put up with the Naga. Another thing a lot of people don’t like, but I love, is the Spore Giants. Around the zone are a new type of giant. Instead of the standard two brutish hands and a face that you could crack a brick with, this giant looks like it grew from a seed. They have a looming back with plants growing out of it, arms ending in mossy tentacles, and a face with two lopsided glowing eyes of the same phosphorescence as the mushrooms that grow around it. Their mouths, or at least what roughly approximates to a mouth, is an opening in the face with plant tendrils hanging over it. I generally found the whole model to be amazingly impressive, and was very happy to see how many I got to fight (or in some cases, run from and resurrect Olliver from a safe distance.)
One of the best parts for me was finding the Sporeling people. Not only did they look awesome, as little moving mushrooms with glowing orbs in their skin, you could actually get on the good side of this charming faction. They don’t trade in money. What use would a tribe of Mushroom men have for money? They trade in other mushrooms. I loved that. Both of my TBC characters are exalted with them, and it’s an aim of mine to do it for my other 80s. They award you with several mushroom related items, a tiny adorable pet Sporebat, and a lovely Tabard with a Mushroom on it. I adore that tabard. If it didn’t clash so horribly with the green and orange ensemble that is my t10, I’d have it all the time on Zal.
So hear I am now, revisiting it. It hasn’t changed, I still love it. I must get round to sorting my rep with the funky Mushroom folk. The naga are still a pest. Unlike most zones, it doesn’t seem smaller now I’m 80. Flying my green proto drake here feels rather appropriate. It’s as awesome as it ever was.