The Burning Crusade Classic

The Burning Crusade has been a part of World of Warcraft Classic for a couple weeks now, which means I’ve been able to explore the depths of every new high-level zone the game has introduced. It’s only fair that I rank them in some arbitrary manner, where the only thing that matters is my opinion. And my opinion is, of course, 100% factual. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

It will be interesting to see how this list compares to the one I did prior, where I just recalled the zones by memory and ranked them based on how I remembered them.

So let’s begin.

7 – Shadowmoon Valley

World of Warcraft - Shadowmoon Valley

Sure, Shadowmoon Valley has Black Temple, the Netherwing Drakes, and the Teron Gorefiend quest chain, but this place honestly sucks. It’s dark, dreary, and drab. Every moment I spend in Shadowmoon Valley is a moment I’m wishing I were anywhere else.

It’s a shame that one of the max-level zones is just so unappealing, especially considering I plan on farming quite a bit of Netherwing rep here for my totally cool flying mount. But it is what it is. It could be worse, I suppose.

Shadowmoon Valley isn’t a bad zone, it’s just boring.

6 – Hellfire Peninsula

World of Warcraft - Hellfire Peninsula

I will always maintain that Hellfire Peninsula is more of a spectacle than a questing zone. The deeper I dig back into Hellfire, though, the more I remember that there’s a lot of really cool storylines here. Thrall discovering that his ancestors are still in the land formerly known as Draenor is a great moment. The Fel Reaver waiting to stomp all over unsuspecting 60s will never get old. The Dark Portal and entering the melee of the Burning Legion’s forces is really cool.

Hellfire isn’t boring like Shadowmoon Valley, but its downfall is that is feels like an experimenting ground for new questing ideas that result in some logistical frustrations.

5 – Blade’s Edge Mountains

World of Warcraft - Blade's Edge Mountains

For the love of all things holy, please make sure you have a way to fly through Blade’s Edge. This zone very nearly becomes all style and no substance, and it is far more manageable when you can fly everywhere, high above the dangerous crags that line its every corner.

Like Hellfire, this is a zone that feels like Blizzard was experimenting with verticality, something that would be far more accessible and feasible thanks to the flying mounts introduced in this expansion. The issue is that those mounts won’t be available to players until level 70 (68 if you’re a Druid), which means this zone can be a bit of a pain to navigate at times.

It’s a shame, because the zone is pretty solid, but I have to ding it for all the frustrations it caused me until I just simply skipped it in the leveling process.

4 – Terrokar Forest

World of Warcraft - Terokkar Forest

I want to preface this by saying that I love Terrokar Forest more than most people. To me, it’s a zone that’s more subtle than others on this list. While Hellfire and Zangarmarsh, the two zones you quest in prior, will get in your face to tell you, “Hey, you’re not on Azeroth anymore,” Terrokar portrays this message in a more subdued way.

On the surface, this is your basic World of Warcraft zone: there are questing hubs, several storylines, varied enemy types — you know, the works. Yet there are clues that this is a new world hiding behind the scenes. Terrokar is a zone that rewards exploration and paying attention to quest text. 

I’m not saying that Terrokar is a zone that naturally encourages players to explore hidden treasures. A vast majority of WoW players will blitz through questing zones with add-ons that automatically accept and turn in quests — I do it too! Leveling has become so optimized for some that it’s a very on-rails experience.

However, Terrokar is at its best when you step off the beaten path and take your time with it. 

3 – Netherstorm

World of Warcraft - Netherstorm

I want to preface this by saying that the top three zones on this list are all interchangeable, really. I flip-flopped a handful of times about where they should go in this order. They’re all fantastic.

That said, Netherstorm is placed third because it didn’t meet the lofty expectations I had in my memory. Still, you can’t go wrong Netherstorm. It offers amazing music, a cool sci-fi aesthetic, varied storylines and factions, and enjoyable questing. 

2 – Zangarmarsh

World of Warcraft - Zangarmarsh

The mushroom swamp won me over. It’s an incredibly effective zone for questing, thanks to the various centralized hubs. You’re killing literally everything, so even though some of the drop rates can be frustrating, they won’t make you pull your hair out. The visual serenity lulls you into a groovy play session.

I know some people will find this to be a controversial ranking for Zangarmarsh, including some good friends of mine. To them, I say this: Do you want a zone that’s well-designed in terms of getting you from point A to point B? Do you want a zone packed with questing hubs that keep you centrally located and not traversing across the map for little to no experience points? Do you want a zone that dives into some of the lore and narrative that will be featured in a later raid? Do you want a zone where you kill everything?

Well, that’s Zangarmarsh.

1 – Nagrand

World of Warcraft - Nagrand

The beauty of Nagrand is that it’s always going to be a relevant zone. We can talk about the kill quests, the introduction to the Consortium, Garrosh Hellscream (yes, I play Horde), or the Ring of Blood. It’s Nagrand’s constant usage in my play time that puts it on top for me.

In addition to farming various reputations to access both heroic dungeons and high-level profession recipes, I’m often farming the many elementals in this zone to work on some of the best gear available to me thus far. Once you step into Nagrand, you’re always going to be coming back. That’s what makes it so special: you’re never done with a zone that’s extremely enjoyable.

Nagrand is a throwback to everything that made baseline World of Warcraft great, complete with a Burning Crusade twist and some great features.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x