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World of Warcraft Nostalgia: Stranglethorn Vale

Updated on April 10, 2013

I do want to point out that I only have an alliance perspective of this zone because I never brought my horde characters to this place. I didn't play horde much at all until BC so by the time I did, the leveling curve wasn't that bad anymore for 1-60, so I could skip this area.

Let me preface this by saying....I hate Stranglethorn Vale. Well then, let's be on, shall we?

Now my initial character was on a pve server so the infamous ganking in this zone did not apply to me on my first way through but, despite that, I always found this zone annoying. It was large, had incredibly grindy quests, and a lot of tasks that had you running back and forth through the zone. It is actually kind of funny that in the Cata revamp that they split this zone in two. It just goes to show how large this place was.

As alliance, you would enter the zone and take a few steps before reaching the Rebel Camp questing hub. Now this part of the zone was alright, a cool quest line to kill Kurzen who led this guerrilla military organization. That was fine. But then you travel down to Hemet Nesingwary's expedition and things just turn sour.

Hemet Nesingwary's Camp
Hemet Nesingwary's Camp

Nesingwary's Expedition

Here is where the tradition of the “Hunter” quests started. The Nesingwary quest lines which have appeared in every single expansion. The “go kill 30” and then “go kill 30 more” quests. The grueling task of finding a bunch of tigers, panthers (that stealth), and raptors, which finally lead up to a group quest to kill a white tiger. The reward in the end was pretty good but this has to be one of the most boring quest lines that ever existed.

I did eventually level through here on a pvp server on my paladin so I do remember the ganking. To make Nesingwary's hub even worse was that it was the prime ganking zone. You want to turn a quest in? Well, odds are that level 60 rogue is gonna come out of nowhere and one-shot you. Think you can run? Well you don't have a mount yet and they do, so no, you're pretty much boned. Honestly, it was pretty awful.

What could be fun was having players of your own level attacking you, at least then you could have some fun fights. I remember so many rogues trying to gank me that I would just turn around and defeat on my paladin.

Let us not forgot the final annoyance of this quest hub, The Green Hills of Stranglethorn. The quest to gather page after page of a story. These pages were simply a drop off of any npc in the zone and there were a lot of them you had to collect. It wasn't a generic item that you could stack, no you needed the specific numbered pages which meant this quest would just fill your inventory. The easiest way to complete it was to trade pages with other players or to use the Auction House in Booty Bay. I remember general chat being flooded with requests to buy specific pages or to trade one for another. I'm a bit of a completionist but this is the one quest I have never done. (And I was an achievement junky when that system came out, got lore master and everything) I tried to, got sick of how much space it took up, and just said to forget it.

Vanilla Map
Vanilla Map

Booty Bay

Booty Bay in comparison to the rest of the zone was amazing. The town itself was great, a pirate themed bay town that has a cool, stacked layout. The quests to defeat the Bloodsail Buccaneers were pretty amazing as well. I especially liked boarding the ships and killing off the captains. Also, on pvp servers, you were a lot safer here. There were actually guards to defend you, ganking still happened, but at least there was a good chance the ganker would also die.

That isn't to say that Booty Bay didn't have some awful quests. One for alliance made you travel all the way back to the rebel camp to fix a crock pot. Another had you go far back north to get some crocolisk hides, turn it in, and go back north for more. There was also another mission that sent you to Alterac Valley to kill a mage only to come back and be sent out to the northern part of the zone again to kill water elementals. Lots of running.

This town probably had the most charm out of any in vanilla though. In fact, it still does. It is one of those places that almost makes you want to role play even if you weren't on a RP server, it is just built that well. I have a lot of memories of this place and even Blizzard seems to love using it for neutral events. One of the fishing competitions is held here, the wow TCG loot cards are redeemed there and even the new black market was added there.

Booty Bay
Booty Bay

Gurubashi Arena

One more detail to note about the zone is of course the arena. Right in the middle of the zone, the Gurubashi Arena, was a great place to kill time. Every 3 hours a chest would be placed in the middle of the arena (this still happens) and people would go in and fight it out to claim the prize. What was so amazing was that it was a factionless battle, meaning you could kill anyone in the ring.

Huge, player created, events would happen at the arena. I remember that my guild held a tournament there where we had round robin battles to the death. Since this felt a lot more real than a duel, as you could actually fight to the bitter end.

Gurubashi Arena
Gurubashi Arena | Source

Now I know I didn't cover Zul'Gurub but I'll leave that for an article onto itself. Next time I'm going to break the chronology and talk about World PVP. It seems appropriate after talking about STV.

If there is anything about the old zone you want me to talk about, leave a comment below.

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