Following on from my Alliance woes in ‘retail’ Warcraft, I was interested to find a similar (but different) problem in Classic. In Classic my original characters were all Horde, one Undead Rogue and a cluster of Tauren. The Rogue is still parked in Brill, but the Tauren all finished Mulgore and moved on to Crossroads and the Barrens.
I had no trouble levelling a Hunter and Warrior, knowing Mulgore intimately even in this original incarnation. My retail muscle memory served me well despite the small variations in quests and locations compared to the post-Cataclysm zone: Plainstriders -> Cougars -> Quillboar -> Palemane -> Swoops -> Windfury -> Cougars -> Wolves -> Venture Co -> Thunder Bluff.
More care was required, but it was the same peaceful journey through rolling Mulgore plains. As a consequence it didn’t take too long to have multiple teen-level characters. I vacillated between two PVP servers and a PVE, which meant ending up with about 5 level 15ish Tauren. Clearly I like the low level levelling best.
Meanwhile my few friends that were interested in Classic dropped out pretty quickly. Only one has stuck it through, being determined to experience Molten Core having missed when playing during the original Warcraft launch fifteen years ago. And he’s made it all the way, getting to 60 and joining MC raids just this week.
I realised a while back that he was my only hope for playing with someone I know, but there was one problem: he’s Alliance. So I gritted my teeth and rolled up a Dwarven Hunter and a Human Rogue, and set about the levelling journey. And it was so … much … slower. Not being familiar with how the zones work, where the mobs are, what to be careful about, and how to navigate gigantic places like Stormwind and Ironforge, made a huge difference.
I struggled to complete some of the early Human quests - killing Defias in a pumpkin patch was almost too much for my Rogue before a higher level player happened to run past and pull all the mobs. And while I was more comfortable with Dun Morogh, I still found it a trial to find quests and not die.
I can’t believe that the Alliance zones are actually harder than the Horde variations, it’s much more likely that simple familiarity makes all the difference. Even though you’re basically doing the exact same thing - a cave of fast-spawning Wendigo vs a cave of fast-spawning Venture Co - without the ingrained history it’s all that much harder. And in Classic, a small amount of hard adds up to a large amount of time.
So, like retail, I think my Alliance plans may have to be abandoned. If I struggled to get to level 10, I hate to think what the journey to 60 would be like. And given that’s a journey I’m only likely to make once, Horde seems to make more sense - in both my head and my heart. As usual!