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I just recently started playing World of Warcraft, and finally made it to level 60. I had chosen a dwarf as my race, so I had only been around the Eastern Kingdoms. Once I hit 60, I decided to use my newly purchased flying mount to explore Kalimdor.

However, everwhere I flew over in Kalimdor seemed to be very Horde-friendly, and when I finally landed (I don't quite remember where) I got smashed by a "skull-level" NPC.

So, is Kalimdor sort of the "Horde" continent? Would it be better to explore as a high-level character or Horde character?

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This is somewhat of a broad question. There is more obvious horde presence on Kalimdor (Orgrimmar, the capital, and Thunder Bluff are both located there), but there is an Alliance presence as well (Darnassus and sort of the Exodar). The continents are designed such that there is a clear leveling path (with a few branches) on either continent regardless of faction. That is, you can level an orc on Eastern Kingdoms and have a full questing experience just as easily as you could level a human on Kalimdor. Your map should show a level range above each area indicating the level of content there.

As a dwarf, you could find friendly faces in the night elf areas (Darkshore, Ashenvale, Stonetalon, etc.), although after Darkshore the territories will be "contested" if you are on a PvP server.

Lorewise this is somewhat of a different question, with several races not even being native to Azeroth.

As for which continent players of a given faction prefer to hang around on, that is also difficult to answer. I would assume Horde players would have a bias towards Kalimdor (given Orgrimmar's location) and Alliance players towards Eastern Kingdoms (for Stormwind and Ironforge).

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  • Reminds me when I played a human doing dwarven quests in the Kalimdor plains for fun...
    – Thomas
    May 7, 2015 at 1:09
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    Those tendencies were probably stronger a few years ago. Previous each faction had only one auction house, the "Looking for Group" functionality did not exist, flight points were a PITA, and each city had its own chat channel. Those things in combination probably kept people closer to Orgrimmar and Stormwind than now. Possible anecdotal evidence of this is the relative lack of "Barrens chat" compared to a few years ago.
    – Mike R
    May 7, 2015 at 17:31
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Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms both have cities and towns for each factions. One of the following things probably happened:

  • You landed in or near an enemy town or city (Guards and other NPCs in these locations typically have higher levels than other mobs to prevent griefing by the other faction, especially in newbie zones).
  • You landed in one of the level 80-85 zones that was added in the Cataclysm expansion. If this is what happened, you would have gotten smoked no matter which faction you were :)

You can see this for yourself that each faction has locations in both continents by starting a level 1 character of each race and seeing where they begin the game.

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  • Ah, thank you. I probably did the latter of the two.
    – Gokurin
    May 6, 2015 at 18:14
  • You can run into zones that are significantly higher in level than you are in lots of places. Ahh, how fondly I remember the Western Plaguelands zombie-bear welcoming committee at level 15-20. May 7, 2015 at 13:01
  • @GalacticCowboy I remember that too. it did quickly teach me that aggro and tether range are affected by level though.
    – Mike R
    May 7, 2015 at 17:33

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