Welcome to Zoned Out In, the series where we visit a different zone in World of Warcraft in each new instalment. Today we embark on a snow-filled adventure to Winterspring.
Another zone that is no stranger to vanilla players, Winterspring is a frosty valley located on the way up to Mount Hyjal. It’s a place where many players would have finally hit level 60 during vanilla, being one of three max-level areas along with the Blasted Lands and Silithis.
Many old-school players no doubt have some great memories of finally hitting the level cap in this zone.
Winterspring has long been a favourite of a large portion of the WoW community, due to it’s subdued and relaxing atmosphere, recognisable by it’s trademark purple hue.
The zone seems to be in a perpetual state of twilight, emphasised by it’s milky, purple sky box, which really fits its dreamy atmosphere.
Glancing up towards the South will grant you the sight of the imposing Mount Hyjal, putting into perspective the tucked-away insignificance of Winterspring against the sheer size of the mountain that houses The World Tree, Nordrassil.
Were the mountain not in the way, Winterspring would provide quite a view of the rest of Kalimdor.
I obviously can’t speak for everyone, but one of the biggest reasons I love Winterspring is because I love snow. Being the only zone in Kalimdor and the only zone in vanilla besides Dun Morogh that has snow makes it quite unique.
Not only is Winterspring one of only two winter-climate vanilla zones, the terrain is also completely different to that of Dun Morogh. The rough dwarven mountains have been exchanged for snowy forests dotted with rolling hills to accompany the icy springs.
Another reason why Winterspring is a rather unique zone on Azeroth is because, when you are levelling a character, there is only one entrance to the zone from Felwood and one exit that leads into the much higher-level Mount Hyjal. This means that, 95% of the time, you will enter Winterspring through this single entrance.
Although many zones have multiple entrance points, through roads and across bridges, Winterspring is one of the very few zones that has you enter through a tunnel. A very cool, maw-shaped tunnel.
This entrance gives you an instant feeling of being transported to somewhere completely different. Coming from the fel-tainted forests of Felwood into the fresh air of Winterspring is such a refreshing juxtaposition.
The first thing you’ll probably note when you enter Winterspring, if you’re questing there for the very first time, is the abundance of furbolgs.
Like killing Furbolgs? because you’re going to be doing a lot of it for the first quest.
Salfa requires ten winterfall spirit beads, held by crazed furbolgs in the Frostfire Hot springs. The kicker is that these beads have a drop chance of about 50%, which means this could be over in a matter of minutes or it could take waaaaaaay longer than it should.
Those looking to raise their Timbermaw reputation will be well-versed in this quest, as it is repeatable in order to gain rep. Although this doesn’t take too long these days, I can imagine it being a long and arduous grind in vanilla.
After tackling some furbolg-related problems, you’ll most likely head to the only main town in Winterspring; the goblin town of Everlook.
Everlook is a completely neutral goblin trade town and the furthest North in Kalimdor. Run by the Steamwheedle Cartel, this makes Winterspring one of the only zones with absolutely no Horde or Alliance presence.
The result of this is a more cheerful, light-hearted atmosphere as the zone almost seems to be isolated from Azeroth’s numerous conflicts.
Here in Everlook you’ll help out a whole host of colourful characters with their problems, pranks and even some ice sculpting.
An npc-of-note here is Nymn, a blue dragon-kin in Everlook who may, or may not, be a reference to popular WoW machinima & music parody creator Nyhm.
Unfortunately he just gave me a weird look when I asked him if he was tired of pursuing all those honour kills…
Although Nymn’s only quest is to direct you to another quest hub, the possibility of him being a reference is still worth noting.
Just as a side story, because it’ll probably never fit in anyway else, Nyhm’s parodies were a huge part of my early time playing WoW during Wrath of the Lich King.
I have a friend who used to insist on playing all the songs down his mic on Skype, sometimes very loudly.
Anyway, enough about music.
There’s a group of quests that are actually quite similar to those found at Nesingway’s Expedition In Stranglethorn Vale. Again, another similarity between the two zones that I didn’t even realise until I started writing this.
Adventurers looking to hunt the native wildlife in Winterspring can do so for a generous reward, and some tasty food, at the Goodgrub Smoking Pit.
Whether you’re out hunting frostsabers, polar bears, Winterspring owls or even the local chimaera, the folks at Goodgrub are sure to be able to fix you some good food with whatever you bring back.
Another well-known quest is ‘The Perfect Horns’, which sends you to a yeti-filled cave, to the East of Everlook, to retrieve the horns of Icewhomp.
However, checking the Echo 3 goblin machine just outside the cave will result in you being caught off guard and knocked out.
You’ll awaken suspended from the ceiling at the back of the cave, in a reference to the beginning of Star Wars Episode VI: The Empire Strikes Back.
Unfortunately we couldn’t get a picture of this, as Velaaru started grumbling about bad blood circulation in the cold, or something…
(What he means is that he’s already completed the quest)
Those seeking a great reward can certainly find it in this zone, in the form of the Winterspring Frostsaber.
To earn this rare mount, you’ll have to prove (despite all of the hunting that you may or may not have just done) that you can build a deep bond of trust with the frostsabers.
This involves taking on an adorable questline that has you train and bond with your Winterspring pup for 20 days under the guidance of Rivern Frostwind at Frostsaber Rock.
Completing these tasks will earn you the right to ride your Winterspring Frostsaber into battle.
Winterspring truly is an impressively memorable zone, because it has no raids or dungeons to it’s name. The entire zone stands on the merits of its visual design and questing.
It’s easy for a zone that you spent a lot of time in, particularly at end-game, to be more memorable than others but Winterspring manages to proudly stand amongst my favourite zones.
That just about does it for our tour of Winterspring. Hopefully you can all still feel your fingers and toes. If not, it might be time to retire for a hot chocolate at the inn in Everlook.
Find yourself already wanting to get ready for our next trip? Not sure whether you’ll need wellies or sandals? Well, let me clear the air by showing you where we’ll be going next time:
You guessed it, next time on Zoned Out In we’ll be tackling inter-planetary travel as we head to Outland to visit the deep cerulean marshes of Zangarmarsh. Bring an umbrella, it’s going to be moist.