The scenery is lovely – peaceful even, would it not be for the more carnivorous inhabitants of the area: Stalkers and gian Spiders, down here around level 29 upwards. Following the road north, a large basin is opening up to Dragast’s left – and with it a look on the walls of Stormgarde Keep.
For now, young Dragast has been clutching to the road, holding on for dear life and in hope to not cross the path with any of the creatures roaming. The goal is the camp at Refuge Pointe, this is where the Alliance gathers in the Highlands.
Refuge Pointe is a small valley which just holds a set of huts and tents with the most basic NPCs a player might need – vendors, repair smith, some crafters, etc. It also holds the entrance to the Arathi Highland Battleground (which Dragast never had a chance or urge to visit.
From Refuge Pointe, the first quest can be taken – they are taking Dragast around in Arathi. First, the Ogre population at Boulderfist Hall is receiving an unwelcomed visitor, then Dragast continues into the east, towards Witherbark Village where the Trolls are.
It is located off the way, coming from Thandol Span so Dragast had to fight his way through the Creepers and Sneakers first before messing up the Ogre population. Not much of a challenge for a young adventurer.
Witherbark Village is situated around a small lake, again in the southeastern section of Arathi. The area consists of the village itself an a larger cave. As long as Dragast has been paying attention to roaming guards, it has never been an issue to “work” that tribe and get some bounty, glory and experience points.
One of the two – I cannot remember which one – gave Dragast a quest to guard and accompany the NPC into the camp itself.
The quest is not difficult – but it requires some discipline. But hey, both NPCs are well above the level of the average Orc that is roaming the compound so Dragast did not really have an issue keeping the chap alive.
Dragast must have skipped the quests around these circles – I remember having done them with another character of mine – but they will take you well through the Arathi section which in my eyes is still one or the more beautiful places to be in the old world.
Traveling further west, Dragast came by the aforementioned Circle of Outer Binding – its counterpart, the Circle of Inner Binding lies next to the ruins of Stormgarde Keep.
Venturing further west, the Farmstead once owned by the Northfolds comes into view. Northfold Mannor these days is taken by the Syndicate. Remembering how Dragast got them out of nowhere is fun – they died without ever knowing what had hit them.
In the west, Thoradin’s Wall and its gate guard the entrance to Hillsbrad Foothills, the bordering area. But before we leave, Dragast is paying a final visit to Stormgarde Keep, the ruined capital of the Stormgarde tribe. Much blood has been flowing the streets of this old town, some added by Dragast in search of fame (or experience).
Stormgarde itself is a so called “micro dungeon” although it is an open world territory – other would call it a sub-region. It is entirely enclosed and there is only one way in (and out). The whole area is split into three pieces – one controlled by the Ogres, one controlled by the Syndicate and one controlled by the remains of the Stormgarde Military.
The last place to mention is Faldir’s Cove – a small bay in the southern part of Arathi. The story has it that three ships entered the bay, two of which were sunk by the Naga. There are quests around this story that Dragast skipped but the undersea area is a neat example for the careful design Blizzard placed on reef areas in the early days, even when they had not been main battlegrounds then.
Dragast – after having skipped most of the adjourning areas like Wetlands and Dun Morogh for their lower level quests – enjoyed hunting in Arathi. Especially the beauty of the open landscape is something that occasionally brings me back here even today but compared to other places, it is more or less “upper third” of my favorite areas to be in.