Infraction: You've got to be kidding me
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Message to User:
You not only post a short response, but then actually go so far as to edit in content that's explicitly been banned by not one but two mods. Congratulations, you win your very own custom infraction.
Well, part of the reason (or the main reason) for the Belf and Draenei starting zones being 'part of' Outland was that those loading screens also perform the "Do you have a TBC account?" check. That is, people without TBC cannot enter those parts of Kalimdor and Outland.
It looks to me like the DK starting zone is basically located in EPL. The difference is that now, people without WotLK can still enter the new area, although they aren't able to be 'beamed up' to the Archerus necropolis, I would reckon. This means that DKs will put load on the Eastern Kingdoms server, which is probably not a real problem (but still, many people close together translates into more updates and more work for your client, so lag of some kind is still a factor).
These are just observations from the beta, but I had my warrior camped in Silvermoon, and my Death knight leveling through Outland. Whenever Outland got a 'world server is down', my Northrend and Azeroth based characters would likely be available, unless multiple servers were down, but my warrior would be unavailable, and /who checks for the areas would yield no results.
The DK starting zone is initially an instance, and is on the same server as Northrend. There is also a non instanced version of it, on the Easter kingdoms server but it's only accessible after the entire Death Knight chain is completed. In that sense, it's expected that the whole Northrend server requires WotLK, and generally the people chosing to reroll to DK will experience the same server failures as people leveling in Northrend.
Zones and Quests
Hellfire felt epic, and more than that, it felt familiar. Overall, it was a great area to start the expansion.
Zangamarsh was pretty nice, but it suffered from an insanely implausible story line, even for a fantasy game. The design was great, but... come on... Nagas stealing water?
Terokkar was just... bland. And what the fuck is Auchinodoun doing there anyway? Because there's no quests to actually tell us what the story behind it is. Remember all the quests telling us what the Blackrock Mountain story?
Nagrand is great. It has its share of problems, though. Firstly, Halaa, and everything it implies. Then the Elemental plateau, concentrating much of the crafting productions' raw materials in one single place.
Blade's Edge. Awesome in design, but rather cumbersome to navigate.
Netherstorm and Shadowmoon were both very original, and they felt epic in their own individual ways. Both of them were very rich lore wise (especially Shadowmoon Valley - remember Cyruk? but the Kirin'Var village was also great) but they suffered from a lot of bugged quests at first.
The daily quests were a great addition to alleviate the grinding, but even more so, they reinvigorated fishing and cooking, and they added some incentive for the antiquated battlegrounds.
Overall, the massive problem that BC suffered from was that the lore was concentrated in Hellfire and Shadowmoon, mostly, and the Horde got a bit of a history lesson in Nagrand.
While vanilla WOW offered us very little (Scholo, Strat and Dire Maul for end game, and BRD\LBRS for leveling and preparation for MC), BC hit us with a multitude of dungeons and their heroic versions. Diversity, no question about it, but it made looking for groups a lot more difficult. Also, the dungeons had some more inherent problems. Firstly, they were short and straightforward, which is great for PUGs but that's a horrendous loss in terms of feeling. The lore, as I said, is sublime, but it's completely missing for most dungeons.
And there's the heroics. Totally abysmal idea. The rep grinds for the heroic keys were a bad idea, but by no means the worse. Heroics were meant as something to prepare you for raids; something to do before you jumped into Karazhan. Except they needed full tier 4 groups for that, which kind of defied the point of going there. Oh, and there were 360 cleaves And you needed to run every guild member through some of the hardest if you wanted to raid beyond gruul.
Pretty piss poor tuning prior to 2.1. Some exceptionally well designed encounters (KT, Vashj, Hydross, bar the absurd resist check, ROS, Teron, Illidan, Kalegc, Magtheridon). The problem was that you couldn't bypass tier 5 content to Kael and Vashj while progressing in BT/MH, and the attunements were probably a good idea turned bad. BC is full of those. The systematic nerf system was probably a good idea, in terms of progression, even for perfectly tuned fights like SWP.
The battlegrounds turned stale in the absence of a ranking system. The daily quests sort of rejuvenated them, but there's still work to be done.
The arenas started as yet another great idea, but it turned tits up somewhere between S2 and 3, for various reasons *cough* class balance *cough*.
Jewelcrafting was a nice profession, but the fact that you could only pick it up after you had upgraded to burning Crusade created some massive economic problems. Apparently, Inscription is trying to avoid that, so Blizz learned the lesson.
Blacksmithing had a nifty idea to reward crafters, but sadly that was a massive fuck up, as warriors and shamans found themselves pigeonholed into Hammersmith, with little other benefits. Every PVPer had a stunherald. Every PVEer had a Drakefist.
Engineering still sucked, especially since you couldn't turn in shells for arrows, and there was little utility except for a tier 5.5 ish helm.
Everything else was rather fine, after the 2.1 Alchemy changes. Oh, yeah, the discovery system wasn't a good idea for must have items like flasks.
Best and Worst
Best: Kael'Thas 25 man, Hellfire Peninsula, bombing run quests,
Worst: rep grinds, the place of heroics in the progression chain, the distinct lack of lore surrounding dungeons, the arena balance