2. Off the beaten path
Once you have an assembled minimap, what can you do with it? Well, to start off with, I went exploring. My goal was to see if there were any interesting areas that I had not yet visited. I discovered, as you can also see on mapwow.com, a number of out of the way spots. Just below are the minimaps of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms labeled with several of these interesting places. I found four along the coast, two a bit inland, and surprisingly, an entire island off the southern coast of Tanaris!
The first place I went to was the small farm to the east of the Arathi Highlands. To get there, just jump into the channel between the Arathi Highlands and the Wetlands and swim east. Bear north when you get to the open water of the Forbidding Sea and you’ll discover the farm complete with fields, buildings, and a dock. There is even a dwarven farmer to chat with if you want to!
Once you have finished exploring the small farm, there is a tower on the coast to the north of the Eastern Plaguelands that is fun to visit. One way to get there is to head north from the farm and hug the coastline (be careful passing Revantusk Village if you are using an alliance character). It’s a long swim but after about twenty minutes or so, you will start heading west in earnest. When you get to where you’re sure the new ‘Ghostland’ area should be, it won’t be there. This is because Blizzard only added the ‘Ghostlands’ and ‘Eversong Woods’ to the Eastern Kingdoms logically. To actually get to the Ghostlands and Eversong Woods from the Eastern Kingdoms, you have to go through the portal just to the east of Quel’Lithien Lodge located on the north edge of the Eastern Plaguelands. Also, if you try to return from the ‘Ghostlands’ to the Eastern Kingdoms by swimming along the coast, you’ll hit an invisible wall. This is Blizzard’s method for keeping the Burning Crusade expansion pack logically separate from the pre-expansion areas. It is interesting to note that the minimap on mapwow.com very carefully merges the Ghostlands and Eversong Woods minimaps with the Eastern Kingdom minimap. If you look closely at the boundary between the Ghostlands and the Eastern Plaguelands, you can see the details of their handy work.
So, back to our journey. As you first head north from the small farm on the coast east of the Arathi Highlands, and then west you will eventually come across an interesting and oft overlooked tower. In addition to the tower, there is a set of ruins and a small dock. No npc’s to talk with here, but it’s a very quiet and peaceful spot to rest a bit after your long swim. It took me about 35 minutes to complete the swim from the farm to the tower. If you want a quicker route, head to northern coast of Tirisfal Glades and swim east. On the other hand, swimming north from the small farm is nice journey if you are looking for a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. And there are lots of interesting landscapes along the way to explore. An added bonus is the fun of ‘swimming’ across the Ghostlands.
To visit one last ‘way out of the way’ spot in the Eastern Kingdoms, called ‘Newman’s landing’, it is quickest to first head to the city of Stormwind and then to the northeast corner of Westfall, hug the coastline and start swimming north. After about fifteen minutes the landing will appear out of the mist in the distance. There is a dock, an old dilapidated building, and a sign that says ‘Newman’s Landing’. Like the tower area, there are no npc’s here, but it is nice peaceful spot to sort out all the junk in your bags. This is one spot definitely worth adding you your list of areas visited.
In Kalimdor, there is a Tauren settlement located on the coast to the southwest of Silithus. While its probably quicker to head south from Feralas along the west coast of Kalimdor, I like to get there by heading south from Tanaris to Land's End Beach where the ‘Cuergo’s Gold’ quest is located, and then heading west across the southern coast of Kalimdor. There is a nice beach about one third of the way to the settlement near the border of Tanaris and Un’Goro Crater, and after about 20 minutes of swimming, you will reach the settlement. As you swim around the last corner you’re greeted with beautiful trees, and a very large cave just to your right. There are no mobs in the cave, but it is surprisingly large for such a remote location. Just a bit further west from the cave entrance is the Tauren settlement complete with a large tent, a corral, and a windmill.
On your way to the Tauren Settlement, you might have noticed the South Seas Islands way off in the distance to the south of Land's End Beach. The islands are involved in two quests that provide the means of reaching them across deep water before dying of fatigue. However, it is possible to reach them even if you are not on the quests. Swim speed potions, an azure silk belt, and class specific abilities will be helpful if you attempt to reach the islands without the quest buffs. Note that if you die in deep water on the way over to the islands, you can run back to your corpse, res and continue. But you will fatigue in deep water even while dead, and if you dont reach shallow water quickly enough you will be sent back to the cemetery. When preparing to swim across to the islands, it is helpful to use the minimap to find the shortest possible route. Once you get to the islands you'll see some Gnome and Goblin buildings, an oil refinery between the islands, and some level 45 south sea pirates on the second island.
To the north of Kalimdor, you can find the Shatterspear Troll Village tucked away in the mountains just to the west of Moonglade. You can actually see this area as you fly from Auberdine to Nighthaven. I was able to get there by climbing over the mountains just to the north of Felpaw Village in Felwood. At one spot, I had to cast 'blink' to get past a particularly steep cliff face, and slow fall was helpful descending from the mountain ridge down into the village. The village is populated by level 53-58 shatterspear trolls that can be killed for loot if your so inclined. There is a large group of them having a party in the middle of the village. I also found a shallow cave to the north east of the village.
One last interesting place to visit is Stonetalon Lake which can be seen on the flight path from Auberdine to Stonetalon Peak. Its very easy to climb up over the hills near the lodge to the west of Stonetalon Peak and make your way down to the lake. There is a shallow cave at one end of the lake and a few ancient ruins. Further to the northwest, there is single troll tent and a few more ruins, and if you keep heading west up to the top of the ridge, you can get a nice view of the Veiled Sea.
These are just a few places that you can visit with the aid of the minimap, but don’t stop here. There are many more out of the way caves and interesting spots all across Azeroth! Have fun exploring.