Blizzard Entertainment is revamping the level 1-10 gameplay experience by unifying most races and classes into completing a series of quests in the Exile’s Reach Isle. The Death Knight and Demon Hunter classes; the Allied Races; and the Pandaren Monk are the exception.
Note: This article was heavily edited after the latest build introduced content that negated the main concern about Exile’s Reach. Players can now choose the level 1-10 experience of Exile’s Reach or the old-school starting location.
Right after you create a character and choose a name for that character, a new UI pops onscreen to choose whether you want to start at the Exile’s Reach (selected by the default) or the old-school starting location for your race. For example:
- Humans: Northshire Valley (Elwynn Forest).
- Dwarves: Coldridge Valley (Dun Morogh).
- Night Elves: Shadowglen (Teldrassil).
- Gnomes: Gnomeregan (Dun Morogh).
- Draenei: Ammen Vale (Azuremyst Isle).
- Pandaren: Shang Xi Training Grounds (The Wandering Isle).
At the moment of this editing, the Horde starting location UI hasn’t been implemented, but it will eventually.
Curiously, none of the Allied Races have a starting location UI. So I don’t know if Blizzard plans to give them the Exile’s Reach experience or just the default starting location for Allied Races. We’ll have to wait.
THE BAD: EXILE’S REACH LORE
In terms of lore of the Exile’s Reach, I don’t know why we are there for other than searching for a missing crew. Why are there ogres in this isle raising undead in large numbers? Why are they attempting to raise a dead dragon? I have no clue.
Are these ogres — remnants of the Second War? Or are they from AU Draenor? I don’t know. Their fort looks eeriely similar to the ones in AU Draenor (post-Garrosh’s timetravel), and I think I saw one of the AU Draenor creatures that should be extinct in Outland. So I would go with AU Draenor as an unexplained explanation as to where these ogres are from.
THE GOOD: QUICK LEVELING
It took me about 1:30 hours more or less to reach level 10. It was a very smooth leveling, and each level would grant me one or two new abilities to play with.
Before long, as a Hunter, I got my first pet, then my second pet — both via class-specific quests. Each class has their own NPC advancing through the isle alongside with you — so you don’t have to walk back to the start to learn a new ability. They come with you.
The Exile’s Reach experience starts with a cutscene (not finished in this current Alpha build, of course) — but you are shown the basics.
You are a soldier of the noble Alliance, a coalition of nations dedicated to upholding the ideals of peace and justice across Azeroth. Representing the stout and enduring dwarves of Ironforge, you have emerged from the mountain and stand ready to face any challenge.
Two weeks ago, an Alliance expedition sent to explore an uncharted island in the Great Sea disappeared without a trace.
A rescue mission led by Captain Victoria Garrick has set sail from Stormwind City with you aboard. It is up to you to find the missing expedition members and bring them home. For the Alliance!
You start aboard a naval ship. Captain Garrick asks you to warm up against Combat Dummies for about 2 quests. Suddenly, a storm hits the ship as you approach the isle. As usual, your ship is wrecked at the shore.
A cutscene plays, and you spawn at the shore. Captain Garrick asks you to kill a few murlocs to collect some of the ship cargo’s healing kits. Then heal the injured crew.
You gradually advance through the isle until you reach the massive ogre fort which leads to a 1-player dungeon. The tank is Captain Garrick. The healer is her son Henry Garrick.
Darkmaul Citadel (dungeon) has two ogre bosses: Tunk and Gor’groth. Then a reanimated dragon named Ravnyr — who drops an item level 26 necklace.
After leaving the dungeon, gryphons pick you up and take you straight to Stormwind City.
There you follow a gnome named Lindie Springstock at the gate of Valley of Heroes. At the end of this Exile’s Reach isle experience, I look pretty darn good (hopefully, you can transmog this set) as a Hunter.
Lindie Springstock tours you through Stormwind to meet Curly the Stable Hand. I jaw-dropped when at level 10-11 I was given a mount and asked to train the Apprentice Riding skill. I didn’t even bother to summon the Gray Ram given to me as a dwarf hunter. I grabbed one of my favorites from my mount collection: Arcanist’s Manasaber — riding at 60% speed!!!
Here I noticed I had 5 gold and 66 silver at the end of this level 1-10 tour.
Lindie Springstock led me now to the class trainer at the Old Town to learn a Class Specialization: Marksmanship, Survival, or Beast Mastery. All trainers are under one roof now instead of scattered throughout the city.
Afterwards, Lindie Springstock leads you to talk to the Innkeeper to get a Hearthstone.
Henry Garrick shows up out of nowhere with two Stormwind Royal Guards to inform you that your presence has been requested before King Anduinn Wrynn.
From this moment forward, you experience the questline to accompany Jaina Proudmoore into Kul Tiras. You are now ready at … level 10 to start your adventures in Battle for Azeroth.
The new Exile’s Reach Isle level 1-10 experience in a way cuts a lot of red tape and puts you where you need to be quickly to catch up with friends. Especially, with the level scaling where you can join a friend in the open world and he sees enemy npcs as max level, while you see them as level 10+ (depending which level you are at the moment); as well as raiding.
In that front, Blizzard Entertainment has done a terrific job.
The latter choice speeds things up nicely with a ribbon to get you on track for Battle for Azeroth content and Shadowlands.