My initial trek lead me from the basic grassy knoll of a starting area to a long rope bridge extending between two land masses, with a vast precipice below. Looking out away from the bridge, I spotted a row of dragon heads far off in the distance, some kind of gargoyle-esque display. Moving in that direction I came upon the camp of Nifflevar, where mounted enemies riding on the backs of dragons circled overhead, and men wielding giant axes stood defending the various tents. Being the Undead daredevil that I was, I rode straight through the dangerous fort, issuing a cry of "olo" as I charged. However, without a map to guide me, I found myself stopped at the edge of a cliff, with no way down and a train of angry Vikings on my tail. I leapt into the air in desperation, only to be saved by a well-placed ledge. Impossibly stuck, surrounded by death on either side, I prepared myself for a meeting with the Spirit Healer.
A hungry shark on my heels, I arrived on the shore in a hurry. Relieved to finally be back on land, I took a few quick steps toward the safety of the town--and suddenly felt like another swim. My zombie avatar had wandered right into the middle of the Alliance town of Valgarde. Before I could turn to make my escape they were on me--filthy Alliance dogs, and a few guards as well. All the Blinks and Frost Novas in the world couldn't save me. As my corpse of a corpse hit the floor, I decided it was time to head in another direction.
Emerging from the cinders I found myself at the peak of another cliff, this one serviced by a towering elevator named Westwind Lift. After entering the transport--which was adorned by a rock sculpture in the shape of a gryphon--it was a long ride down to the ocean shore, a zone called Garvan's Reef. Past the shoreline several circular icebergs of all sizes floated on the water's edge, arrayed in a stepping-stone configuration. Not one to pass up the excitement of platform jumping, I made for the nearest berg, leaping up onto it with timed jump. After bopping from float to float I was feeling pretty good about myself, until I ran smack into an invisible wall like a Loony Tune. Of course, unlike our world, the World of Warcraft is flat. Reaching this depressing conclusion, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of hopeless finality. With nothing left to explore, I ducked my head under the plainly-textured water, and promptly committed suicide.
I only had one more direction left to head in--to the north of Northrend, into the frozen wastes. After plowing through another Dragonflayer camp, I eventually arrived at the base of a tall mountain. The snow had begun a while back, and now the ground was covered with a thick coating, the isolation and general creepiness of Northrend giving this a wholly different feel from zones like Winterspring. An enemy camp full of strange miniaturized soldiers sat at the foot, so I made for the summit as fast as I could--but not fast enough. Knocked off my mount, I was accosted by a band of monsters, who were previously ringing a spectral necromancer in its defense. The zealots were chanting, "My life for Ymiron!" over and over as I ran toward, rather than away, from their icy cave. I wanted to get a closer look at this Ymiron--but a giant zombie creature called a Spectral Wight soon ended my view of the ritual.
While one could ask whether the game will meet expectations, the better question perhaps is what those expectations are. How much are Warcraft fans expecting? Will siege warfare, a new class, more instances, and some new zones be enough to satiate the masses? Probably. As for what I've seen, the new continent is an effective re-imagining of Warcraft III's northern battlefields, and it's difficult to say any more at this point. Look back later in the year as Blizzard releases more details, and removes some of those annoying boundaries.