Before I delve into the post I will leave a warning that I expect a lot of people to disagree with my favorite zone because I do have an odd taste in my liking, heck I loved the dread wastes and I think many people hated that place. It was still my favorite zone in mists based on design, quest flow, story line and atmosphere. But to each their own right? These, of course, are based purely on my opinion, feel free to share your own.
The zones of warlords of draenor are among the best I have ever experienced in the game. They have a nice quest flow and good story for the most part and they are very good to look at. If I were to make a list of all zones in warcraft I would not be surprised if the zones in warlords all were in the top third. Even the worst zone in warlords is better than most other zones I have had the pleasure, or is that displeasure, of leveling in. So lets get on with my opinion on the best zone of warlords, the worst zone of warlords and my favorite zone in warlords.
The Worst Zone in Warlords:
The award for the worst of what I believe are all good zones goes to Gorgrond. There was not even any thinking that needed to be made on my part. It is with complete certainty that when posed this question Gorgrond would get my answer as the worst zone in warlords. It is a no contest decision for me.
Not to say that Gorgrond was a bad zone, far from it. The quest flow was done nicely and it told a decent story, even if one that I did not find great, it was still nice. I also love the way that depending on what building you took the story was told in different ways which is a standard warlords design but done just a little different here as your choice also gives you an active ability that you absolutely will use in the zone whereas the other zones you could easily forget you even have the abilities.
Gorgrond also happens to be home to my favorite quest line this expansion thus far. Not because of story or because it was great in any way, shape or form, but because you got to be a goren and roll around and take their little tunnels. I found this to be fun and who does not like having fun while questing. If you did not do that quest it might have to do with it requiring you taking the sparing arena. Sadly I believe over all the quest flow goes better with the lumber mill so I would suggest that one over all, but it is worth taking the sparing arena just for that one little quest line.
So why does a zone I feel has decent questing rate as the worst zone for me so much so that it did not even have another zone to compete with it for the title? The zone design.
There are so many places in Gorgrond where it looks like you can walk right past something but there is an invisible wall. The areas with vines where there is a gap that you could drive a tank through it but for some reason not even a gnome can squeeze past it. There are tree branches that are high off the ground and with more than enough room to walk under but you hit a wall and can not do that.
This zone has to be one of, if not the worst, designed zone ever from that perspective. There are a great many of these issues throughout the game in many zones but none so much as in this one. There are a great many areas where the design looks like you can just walk straight but for some reason you can't, even if there is not much of, or any, real incline that would keep you from walking up it.
I have had to use my hearthstone to get out of holes I fell into that I could not get out of at least a dozen times, probably more. The zone was just very poorly designed. I am even used to wall jumping and finding my way into places I am sure I am not intended to be and I could not get out of these places, so I am sure I am not the only person that has found myself stuck in Gorgrond. Or perhaps it was my exploring that got me stuck, either way, any zone with so many places you can easily get to where you get stuck is designed bad, that is for sure.
So the poor design of the zone and graphical display of that design not being very telling on where you can and can not go is why I rate Gorgrond the worst zone of warlords.
The Best Zone of Warlords:
I will award this one to Talador. This, unlike the worst, was a much harder decision to make. There are many good zones in warlords, even the worst zone in warlords is actually good. The starting zones of Frostfire and Shadowmoon deserve an honorable mention because they were excellent introductions to the new alternate draenor with some great story telling and even better cut scenes, but Talador takes it one step further and that is thanks to the reason Gorgrond gets the vote for worst zone.
The design of Talador is very well done. There are very few, as in nearly none, areas where I found myself thinking I could walk up a hill and I couldn't or squeeze between things and were not able too. Whoever it was that designed Talador I do not know but there is one thing I am sure of, it was not the same person or team that did Gorgrond. There is no way someone that make Talador so visually telling of the surroundings and terrain could have had anything to do with Gorgrond which was the exact opposite.
As far as story goes there were a lot of small stories going on throughout Talador that made it exciting. There was the iron horde to deal with, the legion minions to deal with and side stories galore. The quest flow was nice and full. There were nice little packets of quests and I've always liked questing like that. Even if the entire expansion used the packet quest design I do not think any did it was well as Talador did.
I would not say that Talador was my favorite zone however, that will be left for another, but it was the best designed zone over all in my opinion. From the look and feel, to the actual design and how we as players interact with our environment, to the questing and the rewards such as the cut scene at the end which was amazing, not quite wrathgate amazing but surely up there as one of the best cut scenes in the game thus far. Talador had it all, and for that it is the best made zone of warlords in my opinion.
My Favorite Zone in Warlords:
Get ready for it because I know you are expecting Nagrand and it is not that, it is Spires of Arak. I told you that my favorite zone might be different from what people would expect just like dread wastes was last expansion.
I like the art of the zone, I like the story of the zone, and I like the flow of the zone. Really do not need many more reasons than that do I? While it does have some of the issues that Gorgrond did with areas looking like you can walk right up them but you can not, it was not as prevalent as it was in Gorgrond. The zone just screams for flying with its large mountains all over the place and no one, not even me, will say it is no big deal to run around them because it is annoying at times, but I still like the zone even without flying, a lot.
I can't really place my finger on why this zone hit me in such a way that other zones did not. We like the things we like for reasons unknown sometimes and this zone fits that for me. When leveling a new character I can't wait to get to this zone and when I do reach this zone I do not leave until it is done, even if I happen to get all the get to 100 when I am there I will finish the zone anyway. I just really like the zone.
It feels like there is so much involved in the zone even if it is not really bigger than others or have more quests than them. From goblins, to admiral taylor, to the saberon, to the iron horde, to the arakkoa which are the center and main focus of the zone, everything about it just feels as if it is a full and complete zone.
So what do you think are the best, worse and your favorite zone of warlords?