A new entry to the best WoW zone list, but a good one all the same. Suramar is kind of an odd zone in World of Warcraft, it feels different to the structure most of them follow, it actually feels like an area from an RPG more than an MMO. The last area of the broken Isles, Suramar is the fallen capital of the night elves that lived in isolation on the Isles since long ago. This not only takes up a large portion of the map, but becomes an almost separate zone where you disguise yourself to interact with an almost normal city, attend masquerades and dive into the politics of the Nightfallen. While the outside feels like your classic progression of allies and resources, finding and building up your base in secret, recruiting fellow rebellious Nightfallen, opening portals across the entire zone and connecting leylines to power your new stronghold. Suramar just feels so…busy, as if there is so much going on in both story and objectives. It really puts a surprising taste of RPG into the MMORPG and certainly made me hunger for every scrap of upgrade and resource it offered.
I’m not sure exactly why I like Tanaris so much, but I remember questing there during my vanilla days only weeks before Burning Crusade launched. Desperate to catch up to the coming content, it was just…enjoyable. The WoW zone is just varied and odd, littered with remnants of time and ancient evils. It’s a desert zone with that weird little town Gadgetzan, a place full of little gimmicks and tricks like the engineering teleporters that mostly worked, more or less. It has pirates and smugglers, buried ruins and hints of a more sinister threat approaching from Silithus. There’s a cave full of the bronze dragon flight, keepers of time itself, and entering it feels like getting sucked into a pocket between time and space. It has dungeons and raids, dunes and time travel, it’s simply a cool pocket of Azeroth, and has links to much more content than most areas in the game one way or another. Maybe it’s a strange mix of nostalgia on my part, but it’s always been one of my favorite and a strong contender for best World of Warcraft zone.
Uldum is a pretty cool zone in World of Warcraft, for fairly obvious reasons once you go there. The whole place is mix of ancient ruins, buried artifacts, fun quests and djinn filled raids. It’s simply a nice WoW zone if you like those themes, and WoW isn’t shy of throwing out the occasional lore filled area with titan left overs and forgotten civilisations. Uldum really does take the cake though, and whether or not that hits your fancy, it’s still a good place to hit up before ending off the old Cataclysm content. Just don’t go directly up, Un’goro Crater is, and always will be, a terrible place.
Purely in terms of looks, Deepholm may be one of my favourite WoW zones, certainly from the Cataclysm variety. A huge circular cavern through the maelstrom itself, Deepholm houses the shattered world pillar, and one of the nicest looking zones closely connected to the Earthen Ring. With swirling tunnels, floating shattered rock and crystal filling the air and a whole host of twilights hammer and element threats, it was just a really interesting place to be, and it felt like the story behind your actions was actually pretty important. It has a surprising variety of locations and areas to enjoy, and it makes a welcome attention to this list of best World of Warcraft zones.
It felt special going to Outland back in Burning Crusade, stepping through the dark portal into an entirely separate dimension, cut off from Azeroth barring the massive gateway behind you. The first look into Illidan’s domain was Hellfire Peninsula and it really made a hell of an impression, it felt so otherworldly, and it truly made you feel like you had left Azeroth far behind. Excitedly running ahead as demons bombarded the entrance to your world, doing the new quests and searching every inch of this new dimension, it was just so different from what you knew before it. Hellfire Peninsula really captured that sense of disconnection from what you knew and was a truly great start to WoW’s first expansion, it’s hard to write this one off as one of the most memorable experiences of grandeur and adventure as soon as you entered that portal for the first time.