We Wish You a Happy Winter Veil and a Blessed Lunar Festival! My Year in Review

Season’s Greetings From Aurashot And Andromeda

It’s the end of another year, and an especially busy one for World of Warcraft. 2018 brought us patch 8.0, Battle for Azeroth, after an epic conclusion to Legion. As sad as it was to say goodbye, we looked to the future with high hopes. At BlizzCon 2018 in November we got a glimpse into that future at patch 8.1 and beyond, with Nazjatar coming as an outside zone in 8.2. So far in Battle for Azeroth I’ve been having a pretty good time, even if I still miss Legion.

Conclusion of Legion

Ah, yes, the expansion that built upon Khadgar’s character after giving him a makeover in Warlords of Draenor. What more do I need to say? Seriously, though, I loved Legion and after it came to a close I was anxious that BfA would not live up to the standards set by Legion. The Suramar quest-line gave max level players some new and interesting questing content, as well as being able to explore the gorgeous Suramar City. I bonded with the Nightborne and felt sympathetic to their plight. The questing experience from 100-110 overall was really good, and personally had really good replay value. Going back and leveling an alt was exciting because I got to replay favorite quests or stories.

Speaking of the story, I think that it was something that excited a lot of players because it was similar to things they have experienced before. This expansion was all about the Burning Legion launching an all out attack on Azeroth where Illidan Stormrage was a main character. The story was easy to follow, and built upon the tragic stories of the Draenei, Broken, and Orcs, and brought us to Argus in the last major content update of the expansion. I had so much fun in this expansion, and of course there were things I did not like, but those are covered in another post.

The pre-patch leading up to Battle for Azeroth was strange and controversial among the player-base. The event was stretched out across three weeks with small quest-lines opening up each week. I was frustrated with how rushed and time-gated it was after how it was advertised at BlizzCon 2017. Tyrande annoyed me with her carelessness towards Teldrassil burning. However, I can’t deny the impact that the burning of the world tree had on me. It was shocking and emotional when players rushed to save as many Darnassian citizens as they could, yet found that it was hard to save any of them. The spotlight on the Night Elves is one I welcome, as I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next with the story in Darkshore. Similarly, the attack on the Undercity and the cut scene with Jaina was totally a fist-bumping moment. Watching Anduin lead the troops into battle was a real “that’s my boy” moment, and I love watching his story progress as he has grown up throughout the expansions.

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The Coming of Battle for Azeroth

Battle for Azeroth went live on the servers in August, and I devoted that whole night to the new expansion. I was logged on before BfA hit and I had a seamless transition into 8.0, and I only learned later on that it was not so smooth for other players. This expansion had a weird start with Sylvanas going full evil mode and the burning of Teldrassil, an act that I was still shocked by even though Blizzard told us it was going to happen. To me, the faction war doesn’t make much sense and still seems forced, although Warfronts are a really cool addition that keep it interesting. And Queen Azshara and the Naga are front and center in BfA, which means that N’zoth will finally be making an appearance! I already posted about my obsession with Night Elf lore and Queen Azshara, but I’ll just say it again. Man, do I love Night Elven-themed stuff and lately I’ve been getting some nice content to fuel my obsession.

Jaina Proudmoore’s story has been told wonderfully thus far, and I realized that I didn’t know much about her. Her Warbringers video made me want to learn more about her, and that song was just amazing. Watching her come to terms with herself and things that have happened in her past was a compelling arc that ended with her becoming Lord Admiral of Kul Tiras. However it seems that Jaina’s successes cast a long shadow as we haven’t seen Khadgar at all this expansion. I’m hoping that Blizzard has big plans for him in the future, and his absence is due to lore reasons, because I really miss him. I like to imagine him on a beach in Tanaris waiting for the faction war to blow over.

What Do I Think So Far?

Well it’s definitely different from Legion, that’s for sure. Instead of an outside force threatening the whole of Azeroth, it’s the inhabitants of Azeroth itself that are going to war with each other. While poor Magni just wants to find a solution to Azeroth’s wound, everyone else is busy fighting in a silly war. While I think the story has some weak points, it gets a lot of stuff right.

The leveling experience in Battle for Azeroth is great for the most part. Tirgarde Sound and Drustvar are both amazing, with Drustvar being the stand out in regards to questing in story, yet Stormsong Valley fell a little flat. After a few great chapters on the Tidesages I was left wanting more, and instead got quests that didn’t advance the story. Over on Zandalar, Zuldazar had a slow build-up at first but by the end I loved it. Nazmir had Bwonsamdi and other Loa, so it was amazing, and I still haven’t finished Vol’dun (procrastination). The World Quests and dungeons are definitely great, and improved in some cases. For the most part it’s hard to compare BfA and Legion because they are so different, but Blizzard did improve Legion systems and carry them over into BfA.

Personal Favorites in Battle for Azeroth

I was pleasantly surprised with how fun a lot of the new World Quests are, like the Tortollan ones and Penguin sledding. The one where you save baby turtles has become a meme now, and that somehow makes it better to me.

Frozen Freestyle
Make Loh Go

Warfronts are super cool, even if they aren’t what I hoped they’d be like. I was under the impression that I’d be in charge of Alliance forces and responsible for spending resources for upgrades, but it turned out a little differently. The Arathi Warfront was very confusing to me at first, as I had no idea what to do and it seemed to be a free-roam outdoor scenario. I think most players felt initially awkward with Warfronts, but the Darkshore Warfront improves the experience greatly. I’m probably biased because of the Night Elf stuff, obviously, but it just feels more stream-lined. Also the Night Warrior quest-line does a great job with an introduction to the Warfront, something Arathi really didn’t have.

Uldir is a great first raid for the expansion, with bosses that have fun mechanics and some that aren’t so fun (I’m looking at you, Zul and G’huun). Anything with new information on the Titans is welcome, as well as a reminder that we still don’t know all that much about them. I mean, we just found out that Azeroth is a Titan World Soul. That kind of changes your perspective.

Again, questing in Battle for Azeroth is awesome. There is so much to do in each zone that it’s ridiculous. The main characters that you quest alongside on Kul Tiras and Zandalar are memorable in their own way. The war campaign that becomes available at max level does a good job of filling in story gaps and gives players another way to experience the faction war than just through raids and Warfronts. Lastly, Lucille’s Sewing Needle changed my life. Never have I had so much fun with one of the in-game toys before.

That One Time I Was In Prison

While the story direction with Sylvanas confuses me, and maybe I’m in denial that an evil character is being written as such, but I’m not confused about these other characters. Genn Greymane, Jaina Proudmoore, Anduin Wrynn, and Saurfang are all great in this expansion. The cinematics with these characters have been phenomenal, and do a really good job of making the audience care about them. I mentioned this already, but watching Anduin grow up into a capable leader has been really great. His character has been in development and constantly shifting for so long, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

More To Come

In January we will have access to two new raids, Battle for Dazar’alor and the Crucible of Storms. I’m looking forward to the continuation of the story in Darkshore as well as more prominent Naga content, which means Old God stuff. Nazjatar and Mechagnomes are coming in patch 8.2, the latter of which I have no idea what to make of. It seems like another huge story with tons of quests and content, which I am always excited for. Aside from that, I hope it means more Titan stuff. It would be super cool if the Mechagnomes were trying to combat the Curse of Flesh in order to fight the Old Gods, but only the future will tell!

Here’s to 2019!

2018 was a good year, with lots of amazing content to experience. After playing this game for so long, I have become invested in Azeroth and all of its special inhabitants and I still love seeing where the story will take them next. This year I made my first blog post in July, and I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun with it. It’s amazing that it took me this long to find an outlet for all of my passions and ramblings on this subject, but I am so glad that I did. There’s no telling what 2019 will bring us, but I do know that I’ll be excited to share my thoughts about it with you.

Until Next Year!

Patch 8.1 – Tides of Vengeance!

The first major content patch finally went live on the 11th, and it was just what I needed as a player. I’ll admit that I had been in a bit of a slump with WoW and when I did log in, it was mostly to do my Emissary quests for my 1500 rep and then log out. I didn’t know how to feel either way about the patch, and I wasn’t particularly excited about the Darkshore Warfront after getting burnt out in Arathi (but I do enjoy killing rares for a chance at sweet mounts). I had forgotten that a very important part of 8.1 involves a quest-line where Tyrande undergoes the ritual of the Night Warrior, a very spooky process where most people who have attempted it in the past have died. Fun, right?

Becoming The Night Warrior

While there isn’t a lot of information yet about what being the Night Warrior really means, we do know that it’s Elune’s wrathful side and successfully invoking that side of her, like Tyrande did, means that Tyrande has become the avatar of Elune’s wrath. Elune is the goddess of The White Lady, one of Azeroth’s two moons, and is primarily worshiped by the Night Elves. Elune has different faces or aspects, and the Night Warrior aspect is probably the dark side of the moon.

This side of Elune is unsettling, to say the least. When we usually imagine Elune, we think of the gentle moonlight or the peaceful quiet of the forest. The goddess is not usually depicted as a warrior or even willing to fight at all, so Elune bestowing her wrath upon Tyrande is important. It’s also worth noting that in order to start the ritual Tyrande tossed the head of an Orc in a moonwell, which then turned an inky blue black. If you go to the updated Darkshore and look up at the sky, you can see the moon hanging high in the sky. It looks dark and imposing, and the sky itself seems to part for it.

Beautiful Yet Terrifying

Has Elune Forsaken Us?

The Ritual of The Night Warrior is not a gentle beseech for help by a Priestess of the Moon. No, invoking Elune’s angry side is a demand by a person who seeks vengeance. Tyrande, former High Priestess of Elune, is angry and vengeful and believes that Elune let Teldrassil burn. The Night Elves have worshiped and prayed to Elune for millennia, and have largely been peaceful nomadic types since the Shattering (Well of Eternity collapse). But the Night Elves are still battle hardened, being one of the oldest races on Azeroth, and have aided in battle as members of the Alliance. The burning of Teldrassil, their home since the War of the Ancients, plunged their world into darkness and chaos. I’ll admit that I’m excited to see some bad-ass Night Elf battles in the future, because they are truly skilled fighters.

We still don’t know who or what Elune really is. Until now, she has always seemed to be a benevolent goddess and an almost mother-like figure to the Night Elves. This new face of darkness is concerning, and I can’t shake the feeling about the new Night Elf eyes are just plain freaky. Not only was Tyrande altered in appearance and power, but anyone who bore witness to the ritual now sports dark blue eyes. I think that this new arc won’t end well for Tyrande, either with her being consumed with wrath or being a pawn of evil. The mysteriousness of Elune makes for a good story, and I’m glad to see more Night Elf-themed story.

It’s Not Just A Phase, Mom

The Darkshore Warfront

The second Warfront in BfA pleasantly surprised me! I expected a Warfront with an almost identical formula to Arathi’s, except with a different setting. What we got instead was an improved Warfront experience, gathered from trial and error. The whole thing feels stream-lined and just flows much better. Gathering resources isn’t nearly as tedious, and it seems easier to stick together and fight lots of stuff. I don’t know how different it really is from Arathi, but it seems much more natural, and I’m probably a little biased because I just love Night Elf content. Bottom line is I’m enjoying it and I didn’t get nearly as confused in Darkshore wondering what I should be doing next. It’s all “go go go” whereas in Arathi there seems to be some slow points. Maybe it’s just that everyone has gotten the hang of Warfronts by now, so there’s not as much of an awkward phase.

Where Did The Orc Head Go?
Lor’Danel Plague-ified
Getting Ready To Fight Sira Moonwarden

I’m not sure if the end-bosses will rotate like in Arathi, but killing Sira at the end is one of my favorite parts. She has a mechanic that I really like and uses the entire boss platform. I’m looking forward to more fun boss fights as it’s a big improvement from the bosses in Arathi, who weren’t very fun for me.

So What Do I Think?

There’s a lot more content to cover in 8.1, and this post inevitably turned into Night Elf Appreciation Day. For instance I didn’t talk at all about the new war campaign stuff for the Alliance, which is really cool. The new patch also added World Quests in both Warfront zones, which I’m super excited about and was hoping for. The two new raids, Battle for Dazar’Alor and Crucible of Storms won’t be out until early next year, so there will be lots to talk about when those are live. For now, I’ll leave you with my thoughts thus far…

I’m enjoying 8.1. This patch has done just what a major content update should, which is make me excited to log in and participate in that content. The Night Warrior quest-line set the tone for me and was a perfect introduction to the Darkshore Warfront. Being reminded of all the tragedy that the Night Elves have gone through since this expansion began really helps to associate the Warfront with certain emotions, and that’s really what I look for in games. With Darkshore came new rare bosses, mounts, pets, and toys, which are easy to get even if their drop rates are kind of low. The new series of war campaign quests were fun and give a little background into the upcoming Battle for Dazar’alor raid, and I hope that the Crucible of Storms gets the same treatment even though it’s only a two boss mini-raid. Overall, I’m looking forward to experience all of what 8.1 has to offer.