This post is a bit of a play by play reaction. It is not short. You have been warned.
I started with gnomes. I'm not sure why. But we can't erase the mistakes of the past.
Majalah the gnome priest. I don't remember the server. It put me somewhere and I don't really care. Maybe it's a special server for people they hate for not paying them.
It's a new account because I couldn't figure out a way to use my old account. Maybe I can't. I don't care. I figure if I create a character and get really attached to it, I can remake it. If I find it too horrible to redo a mere 20 levels, that is not a good sign.
It's not off to a good start.
I'm supposedly in the middle of a very dangerous battle in Gnomeregionanon but it doesn't feel very dangerous. Anything hostile is busy fighting an NPC and the NPC doesn't seem to have much trouble. I don't think I should truly be in danger, since this is a starting area after all, but maybe at the very least, I should get attacked. Of course with all the crazed gnomes milling about (I was going to say running, but it's really more of a milling) it would be a bit too dangerous if they were all hostile. So why not make them hostile but have fewer of them? That way I get attacked without being likely to die. There we go, some illusion of danger without enough danger to quite scare anyone away, though if a tiny bit of danger is enough to scare them away, I doubt that person is going to be a contribution to the raiding game, or anything else.
Then I did a dangerous retreat to safer place, which looks equally unsafe, by which I mean not at all unsafe, just like where I started, so I don't see the need for me to have run over here, through the mulling hordes of neutral mobs.
I couldn't find the decontamination bot. I think it should have been an automatic process: run into decontamination room and the bot grabs the gnome, possibly while shouting at it for attempting to bypass decontamination protocols. After that I was told to talk to some guy for a teleport to the surface. I figured the important part was the "get to the surface", but the elevator did not complete the quest. Simple place for a minor choice and somehow Blizzard avoids it. Maybe a new new player would follow the rules and just talk to the teleporter gnome.
I seem to be a hero already. I'm not quite sure why. The S.A.F.E. Guide ran off before I could finish reading the quest.
I did like that the priest trainer told me that memory loss is a common problem after time in Gnomeland. It's just a line or two of quest text, but that's the sort of thing that can efficiently hand-wave away so many problems, such as why I have a backstory and don't know it.
The history of the Gnomerland invasion operation on the holotablepad was pretty funny. Or I'm a sucker for Star Wars references and excessively calm computers announcing doom.
I just noticed that the minimap has a marker for the current target. That's a nice touch. Maybe it's "dumbing it down", but I can't say I ever had a much fun trying to find something that I could target, but not quite see in the crowd.
Rare spawn! Gibblewilt had a bag. And a mean fireball... the guy took off almost half my health! The help feature told me that if I run out of health I'll die. The quests around the pools make a bit more sense, though I wish the living contamination was hostile. Bags auto-equip. I liked the fun of equipping bags. I don't know why, but I preferred that.
"You need to see a medic!"
"Make that a rocket scientist!"
Well done, Blizzard. This is what you do well: silliness.
The troggs are hostile. I got attacked by two at once. I wasn't likely to die, but it was still better than single-pulling neutral mobs. Someone whined in general about everyone else fucking up the daily for them.
Great Father Artcius killed me. AWESOME! Guy hits hard, easily half my health per swing. Second time around I was more careful with my health. He died. I got a bag. Woo! The respawn time on the NPCs seems a bit fast, since I think I'm the only person around.
The Paintinator has too short of a range. How does it make any sense to disable the sentry if I've already gotten close enough to aggro it and even get hit?
The battle with evil gnome wasn't all that impressive. It got worse when I saw that all the sentry bots were back. The celebration seemed lame. The music felt out of place.
Then it was off to Dun Morogh proper for the final disappointment. There are three gnomes pushing carts of rockets. Somehow, against all odds and all sense, they made it all the way to the gate without anyone exploding. Then they despawned. So much lost potential.
The first few quests were absolute garbage. Then they got better and turned into a good bit of fun, with a bit of gnomish silliness here and there, as is appropriate and expected. The big event of the area was a stunning disappointment.
So there's the gnome-specific content. It took a bit under two hours and got me about halfway to level 7. It doesn't actually take that long, but I kept tabbing out to write this and at some point, make lunch. I will use that as my measurement. I ate lunch late. So there we go, the gnome campaign was good enough to keep me playing through a bit of hunger. Not a ton, but a bit. I think that qualifies it for a thumbs-up.
Maybe this weekend I will get him up to level 20 and can tell a bit what the very early game priest experience is like. But that is for later.