Updated Thu, Feb 21, 2008 by Ethec
Thrall settled his orcish tribes in Durotar after a ravenous plague and undead aggression forced all the civilized races away from the continent of Azeroth and onto the distants shores of Kalimdor. When the burning legions were defeated and Azeroth was resettled, the orcish capital of Orgrimmar was cut from the stony cliffs and barren red desert plains of Durotar. It's here that the Horde find solace from the treacherous humans and the Grand Alliance following the Proudmoore debacle that left the Horde-Alliance peace in tatters. The orcs protected and resettled the Darkspear trolls after a darker evil overtook their ancestral home of Stranglethorn Vale during the last age, a favor the trolls hope to repay with their unwavering allegiance.
Generally speaking, you'll fly through the lower levels faster (and, in my opinion, more enjoyably) if you work your way through quests rather than attempt to grind for experience (that is, to simply kill every creature you come across that offers experience benefits like some level-happy psycho). If this is your first time out, quests are given by non-player characters (NPCs) with a yellow exclamation above their head, and generally require you to kill certain things and/or deliver items (or pickup items), and reward you with bonus experience and sometimes items or coin.
The natural progression, levels 1-12ish, is to complete the quests in the starting area in The Den, then proceed northeast to Sen'Jin and knock out the quests there, some of which will take you northward to Razor Hill area. After you finish just about all the quests in southern Durotar, explore the principal Horde city of Ironforge (north on the map), then wrap-up the quests in western Durotar and Skull Rock area.
Other quick notes: if you plan to pick up the primary professions of skinning, mining, or herbalism (you can only choose one!) the sooner you can shell out the silver to the trainers in Orgrimmar (there's a handful in Sen'Jin and Razor Hill), the better. Durotar is decently endowed with resources of every type, and the sooner you get started, the less backtracking through easier areas to progress your skill you'll have to do (this is especially true of the skinning profession). Thanks to Bloch of Sen'Jin server for this hint: If you don't have a crafting profession in mind, choose two gathering primary professions. Stacks of gathered components sell for much more than you could make with low-level crafted items, so this is essentially free money. Don't worry, you can always ditch one gathering profession to choose a crafting profession later on.
Starting out in The Den
You'll start your career facing an orc named Kaltunk, and he'd like you to report to Gornek (the quest is named Your Place in the World). Head over to Gornek; he's just inside the cave to the west. He'll give you the quest Cutting Teeth. As there's no other quests available to you, kill ten boars to the north and south. As you do so, you'll level up. When you're finished, head back to Gornek. He'll offer you two more quests: Encrypted Tablet and Sting of the Scorpid. Grab them, plus Vile Familiars from Zureetha Firegaze and Galgar's Apple Cactus Surprise from Galgar (slightly to the north) outside.
Take care of "Encrypted Tablet" by speaking to your class traininer. This is a good time to point out that you'll need to train every two levels or so - getting new spells and abilities is important (until level 20, it's even more important than new equipment). Work your way northwest, grabbing cactus apples for Galgar's quest along the way, until you come across an ailing troll named Hana'zua. He wants you to kill a scorpid named Sarkoth, located on a small plateau to the south. Kill scorpid workers until you hit level 3, then you should be able to solo him with ease (he also gives a scorpid tail to help you finish Gornek's quest). If you've got the inventory space, head east to knock out the vile familiars, or else head back in to sell and settle up on the 3 quests you've completed.
Foreman Thazz'ril, on the eastern end of Valley of Trials, needs you to whip some Lazy Peons into shape. You've probably seen these guys lounging around; complete this quest to get Thazzril's Pick before tackling the Burning Blade Medallion quest from Zureetha upon turning in the "Vile Familiars" quest so you'll only have to crawl through the Familars cave once. Take the northern track through the cave to go straight to Yarog Baneshadow and collect the medallion. Thazzril's pick is found at the dead center of the cave. If you'd rather not fight your way out, simply "run" it - keep running and you'll shed the aggro - or use your hearthstone to return to the Den (thanks Bloch of Sen'Jin server!). Do the turn-ins, and you'll get Report to Sen'Jin Village from Zureetha. Congrats, you've cleaned out The Den and now it's time to move on to bigger and better things!
Sen'Jin Village, Razor Hill, and the Echo Isles
Head east, then south to Sen'Jin Village (pick up A Peon's Burden from Ukor but hold onto it for a few minutes) and talk to Master Gadrin. He'll offer you Minshina's Skull, Zalazane, and Report to Orgnil. In Sen'jin you can also pick up A Solvent Spirit, Practical Prey, and Thwarting Kolkar Aggression. Shelve the Echo Isles and Kolkar quests for now; and if you're level 6 (if not, kill some crawlers down on the shoreline for "solvent spirit" until you level) and head to Razor Hill we've got some deliveries to make. Follow the road north.
The first order of business is to talk to the Innkeeper and complete "A Peon's Burden" - be sure to "make this inn your home" as well. If you destroyed your hearthstone to make space earlier, he'll give you another so you can recall to here anytime. Then talk to Orgnil to complete your quest; he'll give you Dark Storms. From Garthok (up top) you'll get Vanquish the Betrayers and Encroachment, and from Cook Torka you'll get Break a Few Eggs.
I found it easiest to tackle "Vanquish the Betrayers" and the subsequent fetch quest From the Wreckage first. Lieutenant Benedict is inside the main keep, climb the stairs to the 2nd highest level and he's inside a small room. Benedict is a level 8 easily soloable at level 6, but beware the other named mob that spawns (level 9). Luckily there's usually higher level folks around to clear him out. Benedict drops a key; climb the steps to find a chest on the parapet and a document that will open the quest The Admiral's Orders, a simple delivery quest to the Valley of Wisdom in Orgrimmar (when you're ready to go there). For "From the Wreckage", skip the first ship aground you come to, and the three requisite chests are aboard the first two sunken ships in the harbor (on the top deck). Swim around the ships for more makura eyes for "Solvent Spirit" - there's no better place to do this (you'll do the crawlers to finish out the quest shortly).
Sell and train in Razor Hill if you need to, then head down to Sen'Jin Village. Clear the shoreline north to south of crawlers for "Solvent Spirit", then proceed into the Kolkar stronghold along the southwestern ridge. Fight the kolkar singly and they'll present no challenge at level 7. The three attack plans you're to destroy for "Thwarting Kolkar Aggression" are in the 3 tents at the extremities of the area and are guarded by level 8 outrunners. Do the turn-in in Sen'Jin, sell, and head east out to sea and the Echo Isles. On the outer rim of Isles, you'll find plenty of Durotar Tigers for "Practical Prey" and taillasher eggs for "Break a Few Eggs." When you've finished, do the turn-ins, and congrats! You won't be returning to Sen'jin again (that is, unless you're a troll; this is where level 40 trolls get their mounts!).
It's time to go to Orgrimmar. Hearthstone to Razor Hill and run north on the road. You'll come across Rezlak on the outskirts of Orgrimmar with a 2-part questline: Winds in the Desert and Securing the Lines. The supply sacks for "Winds in the Desert" are located along either side of the first section of Razorwind Canyon slightly to the east - don't go too far in. "Securing the Lines" is all about the slaughter as you go past the first cavern and into Drywind Ravine- savages are easy prey, but Storm Witches are guaranteed to give you trouble. Go slow, be sure to take on one at a time, and don't fight any battles you can't win. Finish these and you should be getting close to magical level 10.
When you reach Orgrimmar, be sure to climb the central tower and talk to flight master. Though you can't fly anywhere yet, doing so will allow you to quickly return to
For now, hearthstone or run back to Razor Hill to finish up "encroachment." The quillboars and scouts are within view of Razor Hill to the southwest, the dustrunners and battleguard are to the north as you step maybe 200 paces out of Razor Hill on the road going west. When finished, make your way into Thunder Ridge (see the map) to complete "Dark Storms" - yea, those thunder lizards are huge, but rather weak. Having a friend along will speed up this quest tremendously, and make killing the final goblin warlock, Fizzle, much safer. Turn in these quests in Razor Hill, and Orgnil will ask you to talk to Margoz near Skull Rock (it's actually directly south of Skull Rock, which is located east along the wall from the Orgrimmar entrance). He'll assign you the quest Skull Rock to gather Burning Blade collars. Grab a friend and head in - these quests will be more difficult than anything you've faced before. Kill Gazz'uz and you'll get an item that begins the quest Burning Shadows. Both "Burning Shadows" and "Skull Rock" (after you talk to Margoz) require you to speak to Neeru Fireblade in Orgrimmar's Valley of Shadows. This is a great time to do your level 10 training and grab your level 10 class quest as well.
Directly to the west of Durotar lies The Barrens, to my mind one of the best designed regions in the game. Not only will your class quest take you here, but you'll find plenty of adventure in Barrens (plus some... interesting player chatter) until your late teen levels and early 20s. There are other options: Silverpine Forest near Undercity (across the Great Sea via the zeppelin tower you saw east of Orgrimmar) for one, but I'd personally choose Barrens for fluidity of questing, line of sight, and other reasons. Feel free to explore though; it's your world to explore!
Thanks for reading! Feel free to email me with comments, suggestions, or whatnot.