There's an interesting post on WoW Insider today: New Fishing Dailies Appearing in Undercity. This implies that Blizzard may be adding some new dailies in the other cities in an effort to bring more people back to them. That's because Blizzard made a huge mistake...
They killed the cities in game.
Okay, so maybe not ALL the cities. Orgrimmar and Stormwind are very much alive; they're the lag capitals of the game! But have you been to any of the other cities recently? No? I thought not. Neither has anyone else. By removing the 'major hub with portals to other cities' combination from the game, Blizzard has made the abandonment of cities even worse!
Deeprun Tram anyone? .....Anyone?
I completely understand their reasoning for removing these portal hubs. They wanted people to see the world they'd just made, to have to actually travel in it- and most of all to keep people from leaving their hearths in Dalaran so they could have an easy way to get around to all the cities, but never actually being in the new game content. It was all very valid reasoning! The thing they didn't take into account was that no one wants to travel anymore!
Now I LOVE Ironforge. It's my favorite city in game. I like the look and feel of it, and I play a dwarf. I HAVE to like Ironforge! I would gladly set my hearth there, in fact nothing would please me more! But currently, the time it would take me to have to take the tram or fly to the Stormwind, just to be able to portal to other areas of the game to reach the new content is a huge turnoff. Sure I can take flight paths, and boats, and trams betwixt the cities, but they all take a fairly large chunk of time between them, and why should I bother to do so when I can hearth to SW and it's all right there?
When I took the screenshot above, there were a total of three people in all of Ironforge, counting me. I was the only 85, the others were an 83 priest, and a 68 rogue. This makes me sad! And it's even worse in those more out of the way cities such as Darnassus. I remember during the days of Shattrath and Dalaran, while most people did idle in those cities, any of the cities you portaled too (With perhaps the exception of Silvermoon and Exodar) there were always a fair number of people hanging out in them. I'm sure a lot of this had to do with the lack of auction houses in these locations, but the majority of the cities in the old world had some kind of activity in them.
The trouble is, what to do about it now? A hub/portal city can hardly be added now- what in the world would it actually be lorewise? Splitting up the portals to the new content zones would just be an annoyance on top of the fit the community (myself included) would pitch. And Blizzard would never bring itself to put in portals between the cities when there's already a transportation system in game.
The fact that they're adding these dailies tells me that they realize this is an issue (Blizzard's always seemed to try and combat the issues of abandoned and too little used areas) and they're trying to correct it and bring life back into these wonderful places. I'm just not sure that a daily or two is going to be enough!
PS- Yes, I did use the Pauldrons of Surging Mana for a fair time after I first reached level 70. I was a complete huntard and couldn't manage my mana very well by aspect dancing... much to my boyfriend's annoyance I INSISTED I needed the extra intellect and spirit they gave me! Be kind, Brunn was my first toon! Plus that helmet made me look like Shredder!