Cataclysm Beta: Stormwind Tour pt1

To avoid upsetting anyone all my beta information is going to be hidden from the main page, So if you want to have content spoiled you will need to click the “read more” link further down the page. The only clue will be from the title of the post but these will, I promise, always be vague enough to not give anything away.

My purpose of playing the beta is to try to break the game, I’m not doing any actual content that I am likely to run Evlyxx, or any of my alts through a kajillion times after the launch. I am here for exploration, looking at the older Azeroth content and to see where I need to go to be able to power level professions.

If you have any requests for places you’d like me to go or NPCs to visit drop me a line at evlyxx at evlyxx dot com or leave me a comment below.
Assuming you have just rolled a new character, the first view yo’re likely to get pf Stormwind is the gryphon master area as you fly in from the new gryphon master in Goldshire (there is also now a gryphon master in Eastvale Logging Camp).

Stormwind Landing Pad (beta)

The area itself is unchanged except for 2 new NPCs, one selling gryphons and the other various flying skills. Down the ramp you get a view of the new improved graphics within Stormwind:

Stormwind (beta)
Stormwind (3.3.5 live)
As you can see the graphics are generally much brighter and higher definition. Still not life like I know, but that is not what the game is about.
Moving into the main square of the Trade District things look much different. The first thing you’ll notice is that the auction house (now referred to as Trader’s Hall) has a new entrance and has been refurbished inside, More like Sotheby’s than Steptoe and Son. The main square area feels less like home to be honest but that may just be a lack of bodies providing the life a city badly needs
The new and improved Stormwind Auction House
The good news is that the old auctioeers managed to keep their jobs and hopefully got a payrise too 🙂 Leaving the auction house you see that the fountain outside the bank has been fixed and water now flows through it. It is just what I would call fluff but it does add to the realism and overall is a good thing.
The view from the auction house to the bank (beta)
Moving over to the Stormwind Counting House (aka the bank) and you’re presented with another major refit.The tellers are now on each side of you and the Burnside family (Olivia, Newton and John) are still employed there. The bank must be doing well as they have employed 3 new tellers, Kirsten, Scott and Thomas Westmill (they like to keep things in the family obviously) and it was nice to see that they managed to include an homage to another actress with 3 names, even if they have got it slightly wrong, although there is a personal banker in the main vault (where the guild bank access is called Kirstin Cazarez so maybe its a deliberate mistake.
The new and improved Stormwind Counting House (beta)
The rest of the Trade District is pretty much unchanged, so now we’ll take a peek at Old Town. On my trip round to Old Town I noticed that the instance portal to nowhere has now been removed and replaced with a waterfall.
An instance portal no more!

So it seems our hopes aof a 2nd instance inside Stormwind have been dashed. The other thing that I noticed all over Stormwind is apples on the ground. They are everywhere. I assume these are a quest item for something  not yet implemented.

Into Old Town and everything looks pretty untouched, the water feature there now has running water. The Champion’s Hall is unchanged but moving into the Command Center and SI:7 area (now singular and everything has changed hugely.

SI:7 (ahead) and Command Center (right) area within Old Town.
As you enter through the Command Center Gate the most notable change is the ground. Gone are the harsh stone slabs on the floor and its now a grassy area. Presumably this terrain change has been done to make the surroundings more realistic for the stable master, mount vendor and riding trainer and in my opinion, the city location for riding trainers is very welcome.
The biggest change is the positions of SI:7 and the Command Center which have swapped around, most odd. Why would they do this?

The training dummies are still in this area all the old NPCs are housed in their original buildings. The only other change being hunter trainers in the Command Centre.

Moving to the Pig and Whistle Tavern, the obvious change is that there is now an inn-keeper so you can make this your home. A most welcome change as I never did understand why there was only one inn you could use in each of the 5 faction capitals. The usual NPCs are in the inn and mini-zone is otherwise unaffected.
Moving north out to the Canal district and into the keep. The changes are numerous and really only a full video could do it justice, so sit back and take a 3 minute tour or the keep, with Mugruith: 
As you can see the old place has been received more than a Changing Rooms makeover. It looks fantastic shiny and new. I love it, interesting points from the tour there, the new archeology trainer seems to be there but offers nothing to you /boo all the old quest givers are there and there seems to be a new zone full of what looks like portals. We’ll go there later. Now back to the main event and into the Dwarven District.
Immediately, I notice a change. Where there was previously an inn with a few quest givers for Deadmines and Sunken Temple there is now a fishing “pond”. A strange change but I’m sure we’ll find out why soon enough and it’ll all make sense. Moving round the hunter trainers and blacksmith areas are all unchanged. Moving past the entrance to the tram and we discover the  inn. A quick look around reveals this is now the home of the shaman trainers, and 2 are dwarves. Still no sign of the old NPCs from the “old” inn. 
Back outside and the old well has now been upgraded to a fully functional water feature that seems to becoming a theme. And the engineering vendors seem to have expanded to a cart from their tent. Behind the waterfall in the bottom picture is another bank, the Royal Bank of  Stormwind, identical to the bank in the Trade District staffed by the Crester family of Jamie, Lee and Curtis and the Wainwright family of Leslie, Ann and Warren (thereby maintaining the 3 named actress theme of Stormwind Banks..
Northern Dwarven District (3.3.5 live)
Northern Dwarven District (beta)

Behind me and to the left in the picture above is another auction house, called simply Auction House and it too is identical in layout of the auction house in the Trade District. The rest of the mini-zone is unchanged. Back into the Canal District and a quick check on Cut Throat Alley shows it is still there and totally unchanged.
Round into Cathedral  Square and it too look unchanged as you enter from the south. Orphanage, Righteous Plate and Cathedral all there as is the empty Argent Dawn building. City Hall complete with the 2 resident  NPCs is also unchanged. Then I noticed the big arch way leading to an area behind the cathedral that contains a lake and a rather large graveyard called Stormwind Cemetary.
Lake behind Stormwind Cathedral (beta)
Stormwind Cemetary (beta)

Continuing round the back takes you, unsurprisingly to the front of the cathedral where once again the old fountain has received a running water supply. Into the Cathedral itself and the paladin training room to the left as you enter has now been sealed off and the trainers moved to the room on the right alongside the first aid trainer and reagent vendor. Down to the crypt and all looks good as I run past Brother Crowley until I run my level 9 toon into a Warped Cultist who one-shots me. Good news, dying in Stormwind no longer means a run from Goldshire, I knew they put the cemetery there for a reason…As a ghost I look around and the crypt seems full of these cultists. They’re new I wonder what questline they are for?

With 2/3rds of old Stormwind revisited the signs are good, Stormwind is alive and prospering. 2 AHs and 2 banks suggets that Blizzard want this to become the Alliance hub in Cataclysm although a visit to Ironforge may proove that theory to be wrong.
And that concludes of the Stormwind Tour pt1. Part 2 will look at the Mage District, the Park, the Harbour and that new mysterious area with portals.

Posted by Evlyxx


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