I recently found myself talking about this in a forum I go to – namely, the really unique sense of exploration that was to be found in this game all those years ago when I was new and the world was young.
Back then, a lot of stuff was blocked off, gated behind walls or doors or what-have-you. I’m talking about the Timbermaw Fortress in Azshara. Or old Grim Batol guarded by dragons. Or the gate to Uldum down in the bottom of Tanaris. Or the Greymane Wall in Silverpine Forest. Or Mount Hyjal, which you could barely glimpse through an instance portal in Winterspring.
There was something about all of this stuff that you couldn’t get to. Something compelling. Despite the fact that I knew that this stuff wasn’t programmed into the game, it almost felt like it was. Almost felt like if you could just squeeze through a hole in the wall, you could break in, and discover an amazing new unexplored world ahead of you. Did anyone else ever get that feeling? I got it a lot.
Although we went on to get most of those locations actually in game, we did lose the mystery. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but I kinda like a little mystery sometimes. And sometimes I kind of miss it.