After a few minutes, the rugged beauty of Desolace had seeped into my consciousness, prompting me to ponder several of life's fundamental questions. Things like, "For the love of all that is holy and pure and good in the world, what major mental malfunction made me think that questing in Desolace would be fun?"
Yeah. The landscape is barren. There are hordes of annoying and dangerous critters all over the place, just waiting to gnaw on your tender limbs. For fighting off lightning-breathing lizards, you get the reward of mining a copper node. Those parts of the desert that are uninhabited by face-gnawingly repulsive lizards and scorpids are the dwelling place of undead, demons, or - even worse, IMHO - centaurs that all seem to think that bathing is something that other people do. The starting quests in the zone? They almost literally take you to the four corners of the map, and we're not talking a small map, here, either. Even with a fast mount, it was a painful slog.
My visit did bring back some fond memories, though. A bit of further contemplation revealed that those fond memories were of leaving. Which I did, posthaste, swearing never again to return... unless, of course, if Blizzard decides to allow us to witness the Cataclysm upheavals in real time. If that ever happens, then I'll gladly return to Desolace, park Aeven up in Nijel's point, pop some popcorn, and spend an hour or two cackling madly and /lol'ing as I watch this cursed land get torn asunder.
Then, I'll send Deathwing a thank-you card.
I managed to reign in my quest-completion co-dependency enough to just pick up a handful of quests there.... not even enough to get Aeven to 45. A quick taxi ride to Tanaris found her in Gadgetzan, in the middle of an entirely different desolate wasteland. One that was similar to and yet so much better than Desolace. One spinkled liberally with goblins, each of which seemed to have a level appropriate chore for Aeven that - strangely enough - did not require traveling 10 minutes to accomplish. Take that, add in the cold hard cash to pay for services rendered, and you can see that in comparison to Desolace, Tanaris is like paradise... at least until the quests dry up.
Aeven reached 45 pretty quickly, and then it was a quick trip back to Ironforge to empty her bags, pickup some training, and... buy her first set of plate armor! More on that later, but I'll say this: with her new armor and spiffy new enchantments, I finally feel like she's a real tank. We'll just have to hit Uldaman, Marudon, and Zul'farrak to see if that's really true or not.