By now if you have a max level Alliance character you are familiar with the quest chain in Stormwind that sends you off to the Twilight Highlands. For those who are not, you get the opportunity to spend a little quality time with Prince Anduin Wrynn wandering around uncovering a plot by the Twilight Hammer. What many people may NOT realize is that even after you complete the chain you can go back to visit Anduin at anytime and take him about Stormwind. I like to think he enjoys these visits as he always greets me with "I thought you had forgotten me!"
One of the things I always enjoyed about Blizzard games was their lore or "story telling". They make compelling characters and Anduin is one that has a special place in may heart, not just because he is so close in age to my own sons. It was as the direct result of Anduin that I made a rather enlightening discovery. In Cata some of the quest givers will respond to you differently based upon your class and/or gender.
When the Plate wearer went to do My Son, the Prince, Anduin greeted him by saying "Your a Paladin? Highlord Fordragon was, as well. He taught me a great deal. I...I still miss him." This got me asking around and sure enough Harrison Jones is extremely flirtatious with the females, while the males are treated more like lackeys. So I wanted to see what more I could find...which lead to a problem. With Blizzards new questing design you can't just go and find the chain that you want the lore for and do it. Instead you have to pretty much do the entire zone. And in some cases, you have to do it on a specific race. It has been extremely frustrating.
Places you once could go for accurate information like books, and websites such as Wowwikki and even Wowhead may not be up to date either, as they have completely revamped old content and are continuing to do so. On one hand I like this as individuals we once considered lost in time are coming back into prominence, like Commander Jarod Shadowsong, Garona Halforcen, and of course his confused Druid self Malfurion Stormrage. Players often have a better idea who the major figures are, what roles they play in the greater picture and how they relate to the over all theme of the game. On the down side, the only variation you have from character to character maybe in how the npc greets you. You no longer have as much freedom of movement within a zone, especially in relation to gaining access to specific factions.
For a Lore monger like myself, I have found I often out level a zone before I complete the quests in it. This with out using Heirloom pieces. Add on guild perks and you can find yourself struggling to stay "level appropriate" and not find yourself locked out of some phased area.
Phasing is another thing I am finding myself loving and hating at the same time. I love that it changes the environment so that you see your actions impacting the world around you. It helps to advance the story, that "lore" I love so much. At the same time it can be such a pain in the butt when you are trying to do simple things like pick herbs, mine or just help out a friend when they are in one phase and your in another. Northrend was a big enough bear, now we have the entire world covered in phasing, the only zones I can think of that DO NOT have phasing in them are Silithus (because they haven't gotten around to it yet), and the Draenei and Blood Elf zones (because they are still tied into the Burning Crusade expansion).
Cata has been such a mixed bag for me. There are some things that I have greatly enjoyed and others that I question what they were thinking. We all have those times I suppose. Perhaps it says a lot that beyond the dungeon redesigns one of the things that they did this expansion that I was happy about was they finally updated poor Anduin.
Anduin has been my role play companion while I do my cooking daily, as well as occasionally accompanying me on blackmailing expeditions. I had always felt sorry for him when he looked like every other snot nosed little kid running around Stormwind, yet he was stuck up in that Keep with Miss Congeniality herself. At least he had Bolvar to balance things out. Now he has Mr Split Personality as a house mate, I figure the least I can do is give him a break and let him spread his wings from time to time. Auntie Jania can only let him visit so often since the last time he took a road trip he managed to get kidnapped. I can understand his Father's over protective nature, being a parent myself but I would prefer that the next King of Stormwind be sane. So each day I do my small part by giving him a little break from his royal duties of keeping an eye on his Dad. Taking him out amongst the general populace and inviting him to just be a kid. I'm sure he would appreciate more than lessons on how to take money from the auctioneer or picking locks. Though those are VERY useful things to know.