Cataclysm Day 2: Deepholm

After spending Cataclysm‘s launch day clearing out Hyjal and leveling my warrior to 82, I decided to skip Vash’jir (the other level 80 “starter” zone) and go straight to the elemental plane of Deepholm. In retrospect, I probably should have found some other way to level to 83, as I found the zone pretty underwhelming (no pun intended).

In theory, Deepholm should be a pretty badass place. I won’t pretend that I understand the backstory, at least not beyond the fact that this used to be Deathwing’s home before he broke free and began frying noobs topside in Azeroth. Now some faction called the Earthen Ring is on the scene trying to repair the damage and hold the world together. I think.

I can’t even point to one specific thing I’d consider a dealbreaker for the zone, because there’s so much I didn’t connect with. It’s basically a giant hole in the earth with a dreary midnight blue color scheme. There’s one temple at the center, and the rest of the zone is just a circle of craters and rock formations filled with run-of-the-mill elementals and demons. Although it make sense within the backstory, the lack of any real settlements beyond the central temple (good luck finding a mailbox or a vendor) makes the zone feel kind of dull.

I guess Blizzard was hoping that the new NPCs introduced here would help give the zone some personality, but the ruler of the zone, Therazane the Stonemother, is just one of the most awful characters I can recall seeing in WoW. I don’t know what the inspiration for her was, but I couldn’t help thinking of Mojo from the X-Men universe, who I have to believe must at least be a second cousin or something.

And the quests aren’t any better. As long as you’re playing WoW, you’ll always going to have some FedEx quests or need to Kill X Foozles. ¬†Blizzard usually does a good job of breaking things up with more original quests, but little of it is to be found in Deepholm. In fact, it’s not until the very end of the zone that anything really interesting happens, including an assault on the central temple and a drake chase reminiscent of one in the Hodir quest line.

Maybe the most depressing moment of the zone was when I completed the “final” quest and was bombarded with light blue !’s, signaling a chunk of daily quests to be done. These are Cataclysm’s version of the Sons of Hodir dailies, which give some significant rewards when you’ve acquired enough rep. So (sigh), I guess I’m far from done with this depressing zone.

Before calling it a day, I spent an hour fooling around in Uldum, the next zone in Cataclysm‘s leveling progression. It was obvious almost immediately how much more fun it would be: The environments are more varied and colorful, there are actual towns with characters roaming around, and the whole place seems like one giant homage to Indiana Jones. Sitting at 83 (and a half), I’m looking forward to hitting 84 in Uldum and making the final push in Twilight Highlands to 85.