Ages past there was a tribe of Elves who called themselves “Children of the Stars” in their native tongue. Their feral traits, dusky skins, and dark hair gained them the name “Night Elves.” The Night Elf young would start their lives and early careers in their tree island, and would be without the benefit of the civilized things like an auction house, or even the more mature members of their own society. A lot like the domed city in Logan’s Run. Nobody over the level of 21. Late teens, early twenties, new to the land, they would make their way from Auberdine to Menethil Harbor, and then on a long run through the Wetlands, a mountainous gauntlet with Orcs, and then into the lands of the Dwarves, and with a run through the snow for the last stretch, they arrived at the capital of the world, Iron Forge. They’d never have a reason to look back at their start in Shadowglen.
Humans just went to their main city and took the train to Iron Forge. Gnome and Dwarves left their beginning area, passed through Kharanos, and into Iron Forge.
And there everyone passed the rest of their days, a short flight to Thorium Point and a year spent in the depths of Blackrock Mountain.
All that is to say, in the beginning days of World of Warcraft, if you played a Night Elf your experience was very much different than if you had started as one of the other three races.
(I think that difference was good. Too much became equalized.)
In Rift I was surprised at how asymmetrical the starting experiences were.
As a Defiant, in Terminus, you are literally on one road, after leaving the rebirth lab, as it winds it’s way through the mountains to the time machine. There are waypoints and gathering spots along that road, but if you stick to the road you will experience your story.
As a Guardian, it’s a little different. You start in the church where they’ve brought you back, and make your way down into the town. You do a few tasks in town, and then a few more outside of town, and then wind up in a war camp. A few quests in the fields before the war camp, and then on a precariously perched temple of sorts above those fields and camp. And finally through the fields to the final confrontation.
The Defiant had a road to follow. The Guardians had, for my lack of a more apt term, a destiny to meet. Playing through one in no way prepared you for the other.
And then the experience in the Defiant Freemarch and Guardian Silverwood are completely unique. And then into Defiant Stonefield and Guardian Gloamwood. It appears that through mid-level cap the Defiant and Guardians have their own unique zones to quest in.
It appears Defiant and Guardians converge at last in the Scarlet Gorge.
And then my level (26-27) means I have no knowledge of how further travels will separate or bring the sides together. There are 2 full zones south of Freemarch only reachable through Freemarch. There are three zones northwards, none of which require passing through Silverwood to reach.
Interesting. With the great passion I see sometimes for Yin=Yang, I am curious to see how this apparently uneven world will play out.