I won't be one of the first people to experience it on live being I am at work but I have taken a sneak peak already like a lot of curious players surely have. The changes are astounding to say the least but I can not help but already miss certain things.
For instance, the docks when you first arrive to darkshore. I've started many new characters on new servers where I did not have a sugar daddy 80 to give them gold and I used those docks to make gold. A brand spanking new character, with 30 minutes of fishing from those docks, could easily find themselves with 50 gold. That 50 gold would be enough to get somewhat decent bags and bags make leveling 100 times easier. Where can I go for quick and easy cash now?
There are some places that needed a boost really because there was almost no reason to visit them. Changes to the areas will surely bring a lot of visitors there but it will be a temporary thing. Once people have gone there and taken in the scenery then what? They go back to where the top level content is so they can hang there, farm there, or wait there for their raids.
There are a few places I will miss but over all the impact on me outside of those small things is extremely minimal. Leveling in the new world will be fun. I have a Hunter, a Pally and a Warrior that are still just babies on an RP server that will get some attention in the new world. That is something to look forward too.
Changing the old world is nice and all and it does progress the story of the game but over all it is sadly a complete and total waste of programmer and designer resources. The amount of time that was spent redesigning what was there must have been huge. While I do agree that a change was needed I do not believe that change should have really been, what seems like, a large portion of what this expansion will bring. I do understand that the changes are across the whole world, not just for the expansion owners but it is still marketed as part of cataclysms changes so we have to consider that the time spent making cataclysm is also the time spend doing this.
If they spent even half that time on working on raids, mechanics, class balance, stopping bots, etc then the game would be 100 times better then it is now with just new scenery.
The new Feathermoon is amazing I think. I hated the old one because it was blah and it was so far away. Now it is a tiny bit closer and looks incredible. Does this mean I will go there? Nope. Will I go there to look at it? At some point, maybe. Outside of a quest requiring me to go there I do not see any reason I will ever go there. So all that time spent redesigning that is completely and totally wasted on me. Actually, it is wasted on everyone. Even a first time player.
There is no need outside of questing to ever go there and the old version was fine for that purpose. After I quested there on my main my first time through playing the game I have never been through there again, never. No need to. It is so far out of the way and the quests are all spread out. It is not an ideal area to quest. Once you see it, there is never any need to go back. Even with the redesign it will be the same. Once you see it there is no reason to ever go back there.
While over all I support the changes, I do think an update of sorts was needed, I do not think it should be something that is being considered part of an expansion. They could have just as easily updated little bits here and there when there was nothing going on and worked on other important things.
Don't get me wrong I do like the changes and being I am a questing fool I will do each and every quest that has been changed or added and is open to me to do. It will give me a chance to enjoy the new old world. I really am going to enjoy seeing it all again with new eyes.
I just question the over all thought put into this rebuilding. As I said before, there is no reason to visit feathermoon before the change and there is no reason to visit feathermoon after. All that work for nothing.
Blizzard should have considered making zones a bit more dynamic instead of making them pretty. Scale mobs to the person attacking them. If a level 40 runs past it will attack a level 40 creature, if a level 80 passes by they will attack a level 80 creature. If a miner at level 20 passes by he will find a copper node and if a level 80 miner passes by he will find a saronite node.
You get where I am going with this? Make the zones all current for when you are at max level. Only when at max. So if a level 60 goes through a 40 zone they see 40 stuff but if a level 80 goes through they see 80 stuff, they pick 80 herbs, they mine 80 nodes, the skin 80 leather, they get 80 drops, etc. Now there is a damn good reason to make me go to feathermoon. It is so out of the way no one would ever go there. So it would make for a perfect mining, herbing, skinning area being there would be less competition. Now I would have a reason to see this feathermoon more then just once as I visit and never come back again.
It would have been as easy to code as redesigning the entire landscape was most likely and it would have actually made all these areas worth visiting again. As it is, even as pretty as they look, 98% of azeroth will still be unused once everyone gets their first visits out of the way. The way they did it gives top level players a reason to visit it once, if they made it dynamic based on top level it gives top level players a reason to visit it often.
Now that would have been a fantastic change to the game and not just a minor cosmetic one that this will be. So say goodbye to the old things we will miss, say hello to the new things we have and when cataclysm comes we can go back to completely ignoring them like we have ever since we passed them the first time. It will be like a kid with a new toy. Everyone will love it and enjoy it and then cataclysm will come out and no one will ever see any of it again. Sad really. All that wasted time to make it and it will get thrown away again in 2 weeks. They really should have used that time to do something that would have been good for the game.