He finds himself in the Barrens. Goblins, Orcs, Trolls, and Taurens, all having to level in this one spot...it's not for him. He checks his map and finds a nice plot of land on the other side of the world: The Ghostlands.
This new place is spooky, an amazing change of pace from his peaceful village. He goes about his business and finds that he may have chosen poorly. Everyone is talking about the Lich King and Kael'Thas, acting like the year is 2007.
Quickly he notices that those quest mechanics and character models he had so loved are gone from the world and replaced with turds. He gets blisters on his feet from running circles around a central mountain because, despite having multiple quest hubs, this place only has one flight path.
He finishes this zone and goes south to Hillsbrad Foothills, where the year is 2010. Here he encounters one inside joke after another that he doesn't quite get because, again, new panda. There is no serious questline to be found, no story to draw him in. Something is going on about dwarves and this old cripple named Drek'thar that won't help the undead and is branded a traitor. He wants to follow the story but it's all just one big self-aware joke.
He stops by the Undercity, where there was some huge betrayal that he never heard about so there are orcs everywhere. The undead aren't allowed to have abominations anymore, but they are because there are abominations. He accepts it. When he gets to the Plaguelands, he finds out that the Lich King that was assaulting the Ghostlands died and nobody told him. There's a new Lich King that took over because if nobody controls the Scourge they might continue to run rampant like they were in the Ghostlands and for years before that...or something. Accept it.
As he levels, everywhere he looks: Deathwing. And the Twilight's Hammer. There is literally no other antagonist in this world. Everyone's acting like the year is 2010, but he's coming to accept that. He goes from one zone to the next until he has a decision to make: Should he go up to Winterspring, south to Silithus, or east to Blackrock Mountain?
He chooses Silithus and is shocked to see that it's now 2006. The questing is infinitely worse than even the Ghostlands and that's saying alot. The Twilight Hammer is here, but there's something different: They're completely full of suck. They don't have any of the impressive buildings and magic he's used to. Killing elementals is gaining him repuation with the Hydraxian Water Lords, a group that he doesn't recall seeing in all of his travels across the world. The questline seems to be building up to some great climax, because now these bugs are the ultimate evil. But he's not getting the experience he used to so he goes to the Dark Portal, never seeing how it turns out. But that's fine because he will never, ever see or hear from the Silithid again.
On his way out, he goes on a quick adventure through Blackrock Depths, sort of as a goodbye to Azeroth. Somehow, the dwarven queen is there. He heard talk that her husband died six years ago and she's in Ironforge with their newborn baby (how that math adds up, the world will never know). He kills her husband again and leaves for Outland.
The year is now 2007 and the quests are full of suck again. Not as bad as Silithus, but pretty bad.
Nobody knows who Deathwing is but Kael'thas is back and he has Illidan with him. Up to this point, the Panadaren has never heard that name spoken once but apparently he's a bigshot and always was. He grinds his way through awkward quest mechanics and convoluted rep gains and even meets the Warchief. For some ineplicable reason he's never heard of the Horde and all of his power and strength was sucked up until he's a giant poon. Doesn't matter, he's ready to kill both Illidan and Kael'thas.
But he never does, because it's 2008 now and time to go to Northrend. The world is better than ever. The questing mechanics aren't as good as they were in the rest of Azeroth but they're more serious and aren't jokes about the internet...whatever that is. Quickly he discovers that the Lich King must have faked his death because he's back and who is this Deathwing guy anyway?
The story is cool, imagery is cool, but by the time he's ready to kill this Lich King for being a jerk (and Malygos, the leader of the blue dragons despite his earlier discovery that Kalecgos is the leader) it's time to go to Orgrimmar and clear out some portals. There is no new continent to discover. Everyone is going crazy about Ragnaros and Deathwing and Cho'Gall and...well, somebody mentioned Azshara. He fights at the World Tree and some underwater place that ends in a cliffhanger that goes completely unresolved and the Center of the Earth!!!! Er- the Center of Azeroth. He even goes through one zone in the desert that serves as one great big Indiana Jones gag.
He had read about Uldum, that it was a place that, for years, was hyped as an epic land of mystery and awesomeness, but no. There are some cat people that don't really fit into the main story, but besides that it's Indiana Jones and...inside jokes...He notices a very strange presence of Outland creatures, but nobody thinks anything of it so he shrugs. He doesn't even bother thinking about Deathwing because he will never, ever see any of these endbosses that are hyped up.
Finally he lands in Pandaria. It's 2012 again and the story is mostly serious now. There are no villains hyped up because when he hits 90...dailies. He doesn't have time for any of these dungeons or raids and he cant make an alt because...dailies. The story is progressing to the overthrow of Garrosh, which will only make his starting zone that much more dated and non-sensical. He visits the Stormstout Brewery and drinks himself to death.
As Wow veterans, we really take this game for granted. We don't look at it from the perspective of a new player. No other game can get away with such a convoluted leveling experience. There is no easy solution but the experience of, well, every single new character is so ridiuclously disjointed as to lack any form of storytelling whatsoever. Anyone else notice this?