I had an interesting discussion with my 7-year old son the other night. He loves, and I mean LOVES to watch me play wow. I let him play too, he's actually quite good. Let me rephrase, he's exceptionally smart and understands the spells and mechanics of just about every class, has the NAMES of quests memorized from dozens of locations around Azeroth, and has all but memorized the speech given by the Lich King at the Battle for Light's Hope Chapel. Clever kid...he also gets straight A's in school...but I digress.
We were discussing the virtues of escaping the capital cities and much of the senseless chatter on the chat channels. He was right, unless I've got some business there it can get boring to hang around the big cities, it would be better to blast my way through the Deadmines. At least I'd be "doing something", as he likes to put it.
So I asked myself, if I was stressed or just fed up with the mindless repitition of capital city chat, where would I go and why. Here are my top 3 hot spots (or cold, as appropriate) - in no particular order, just my top 3:
1) Winterspring: Snow. If for nothing else, snow. I grew up in New Hampshire and now live in the freakin' Mojave desert, of all the many, many things I miss, it's snow. With it comes a crunch under the feet, where the foot breaks the millions of tiny snowflakes and compresses them into the ground. The sound alone brings back fond childhood memories. Snow also brings with it a sense of sleep.
The grass, the trees, the bushes, the animals, just about everything takes a long nap during the winter. But it's not dead, you never feel like the land is desolate, just asleep. There's a longing that reaches for me, a hope that in my life I can sleep with the peace of winter instead of the back pain that constantly wakes me. Snow is white, a symbol of purity. There is no place in the world as white as Winterspring. Dun Morogh comes close, but Ironforge is there so I'm not really "getting away" in that zone.
I almost feel bad that there are bad monsters there that want to kill me, but even then I don't quite believe their resolve. I'm sure they wish I would stop going there and disturbing their hybernation...why do you think those Yeti's are so angry? They just want to take a nap but we adventurers keep going back to kill them.
So if I wanted some peace and quiet and still enjoy Azeroth, I would go to Winterspring because of the tranquility of the snow and, I must mention, it's one of the most out of the way zones in the game.
2) Sholazar Basin: I enjoy getting away to this jungle land for various reasons. It reminds me of a new world, a world where humans (or gnomes, goblins, etc) have not yet settled. I admit, there are some scourge and dragons...and some nasty bees flying around, but as long as I stay away from the north/north-western part of the zone I can convince myself they don't exist.
It just feels like a place of history, magic and nature all rolled into one. There are a few reminders of ancient Titans, but it's not overwhelming. There are these little creatures that both seem to have a claim on the land, they are at war, but even then I don't feel like they blame me for anything. So I'm free, safe to travel among them as I wish.
And the flowers, there are so many flowers. It's nice, because not only do I get to smell them, but I get to pick them and sell them for gold that I can spend on a really awesome...wait, I'm supposed to be here to "get away", I need to stop thinking about money.
I enjoy getting away to the basin, nobody seems to bother me there, I'm sure I'll be back soon.
3) Nagrand: The great thing about this place, it's in the Outlands. Which means, it's not exactly a part of this world, but it is, but it's not...I actually have no idea. What I do know is that it's so far away only a giant magical portal will get me there (or a Mage, or a portal from a capital city, but let's just pretend for a min, shall we?).
So much of Outland seems to be infected by some unnatural disease, but as soon as I cross into Nagrand a certain familiarity washes over me. I know this place, but I've also never seen it before. My eyes become wide as I see the floating lands with everlasting waterfalls, the green grass sprawled out before the feet of my horse, and the crystals...powerful, beautiful, dangerous.
I know there is danger here, and the worst part is that so many of Nagrand's waters are polluted or infested, it makes me sad. I remember hiking Mount Washington in New Hampshire (where they get the Worst Weather in the World) and dumping my head into a perfectly clean mountain glacial stream. I want to return Nagrand's waters to that blissful state as well, so I'm willing to fight if I need to.
The elements are everywhere, Earth, Fire, Water, Air...of course it seems natural to be here, relaxed in the mist of the great protecting and life giving powers. Nagrand to me is definately a place I go when I want to "get away" but still remain a part of the game I love to play.
So there it is, that's my list. I think my son said: Elwynn Forest, Moonglade, and Ashenvale. All very serene as well. Where do you like to go to get away from the madness, while still playing the game?