Eversong Forest Preview - 10.27.06
Ten Ton Hammer's First Look at
The Burning Crusade:
The Blood Elf Starting Area
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Eversong Woods wraps around one of the better known locations of Warcraft lore - the location of the ancient city of Quel'Thalas, or "Silvermoon City" as it's known today. Silvermoon City and environs are where the remnant of elves stranded on the continent of Lordaeron have made their stand against the plague-ridden forces of the Scourge. However, the Eversong Woods of today will strike you moreso as an island of grandeur in an expansive wasteland rather than a province under siege, owing to the power of the "Burning Crystals" and the protection of large magical runestones which keep the blight of the Scourge at bay.
The Blood Elves owe much of their livelihood to magic, and ask still much more of the magic they possess. While blood elf living spaces are serviced by magical brooms and mops like something out of "Beauty and the Beast", the nearby woods are rife with magical misanthropes - from creations gone completely awry like manawraiths and manaworms to the rebellious treant-like "tenders" and elemental guardians who turned against their former masters. The insatiable blood elf thirst for magic is tempered by a sylvan regard for their environment and the military realities of their situation- thus the blood elves have escaped the fate of the city of Gnomeregan, destroyed by the gnomes quest for horrific military technology.
Some handy maps...
This is indeed a region of unmatched beauty; the woods themselves seem to match the extravagent tastes of the blood elves and their preference for deep scarlet, golden, and purple hues. The woods themselves are a match for the translucent drapery, the hovering potted plants, the suspended chandeliers, and the many gaudy charms that make up the blood elf decor. This is clearly a new race (or, more accurately, a re-established and re-named race) that emerged from its initial struggle with the Scourge fiercely proud and equally scornful of their far-away Night Elf kin, who they regard as traitorous cowards. Their hatred impels them to make a new alliance with the other hangers-on of Lordaeron - the undead Forsaken and their Horde allies - against the swelling presence of the Scourge now that the Dark Portal yawns open once again.
The single blight marring this ethereal landscape is the mark of the Scourge's advance - the Dead Scar, which runs like a river of death and torment through the heart of the Eversong Woods, slicing the once grand city of Silvermoon City in half. Even the ruined eastern section of Silvermoon City has regained something of its former lustre (though it remains populated with magical miscreants and outcasts), but aside from hellish wraiths and zombie-like creatures, nothing grows in the Dead Scar to this day.
New blood elves start their lives at the foot of the Sunspire in Sunstrider Isle (if you're noticing a theme here, these lands and structures were named in honor of the Sunwell, from which the elves drew power and strength prior to its necromantic destruction by Arthas at the coming of the Scourge). This is the questgiver and trainer area of the newbie region, with class trainers and vendors in the Sunspire proper and a handful of tradeskill trainers in a nearby outbuilding.
If you've played World of Warcraft before, you probably know something of how a World of Warcraft newbie area is laid out- with trainers, quests, and mobs aplenty in a level 1-4 newbie "teaching" area, a level 4-5 "dungeon crawl", and so-called "breadcrumb" quests to lead you to your next quest hub. Sunstrider Isle offers several nice variations on the triedtheme. First, the quests are focused on fixing the magical excesses of the blood elves (this is an ongoing motif throughout your time in Eversong Woods). Second, the "mini-dungeon crawl" (where players learn to move and fight in something of a linear path) is the open-air, towering Falthrien Academy - home of a blood elf gone mad with magical power. And finally, Sunstrider Isle lies extremely open and on a downhill slant from the Sunspire, allowing easy visibility of the Isle's many landmarks (important for finding quest objectives).
Once I'd dropped off the head of Falthrien and was well into level 5, it's time to head toward Silvermoon City. But first stop: Falconwing Square, in the southern part of the Ruins of Silvermoon.
Falconwing Square, and the North and West Sanctums
I crossed a footbridge and followed the former Dawning Lane south, picking up a breadcrumb quest sequence on the way. I noticed fearsome mobs on either side as you walk along, but heeded the questgiver's advice to proceed straight to Falconwing Square. The Square itself, complete with the fountain and plenty of decor, seemed to express the blood elves' casual regard of the mischievous creatures inhabiting the ruins in front of the square.
Falconwing Square offers players the first chance to "bind" their hearthstone to an Inn, as well as the most complete set of class and secondary tradeskill trainers anywhere in Eversong Forest outside of Silvermoon City. Though my time doing Falconwing Square quests in the Ruins of Silvermoon was rather brief, the entrance to Silvermoon City is still a bit of a hike, so I found it best to return here to pick up my level 8 quests.
The usually vapid message uttered by mobs as you begin a fight proved a little unsettling when I ventured up to an Arcane Guardian in the ruins. "Protect the innocent!" was this one-time blood elf protector's cry. Maybe I read too much into it, but it seemed the underscore the idea that the blood elves' preoccupation went far beyond the realm of curiosity, into something very close to evil.
After polishing off the two odd quests in Falconwing Square and selling off my vendor junk, a breadcrumb quest sent me southward toward the remaining operational seats of the blood elves' magical power: the north and west sanctums. These two points of interest form a quest loop with Falconwing Square. While the North Sanctum is functioning normally, the West Sanctum is behaving erratically, spewing out monsters born of the latent mana. Since the authorities suspected Alliance sabotage, I was sent off to investigate. Without giving away too much, it proved an interesting bit of questing that provided a little bit of insight on the blood elves' brand of justice.
With all quests in the area complete, the next breadcrumb quest sent me southward toward Fairbreeze Village.