With BfA’s second raid, Battle for Dazar’alor, opening tomorrow I took the time to compile some footage of some of my experiences in its first raid. I both loved and was frustrated by Uldir, for the right reasons. The fact that the entire raid took place in an ancient Titan testing facility with amazing architecture was awesome, and it had some great boss fights. Among my favorites were Taloc, MOTHER, and Zul. I didn’t consider Zul one of my favorites until relatively recently when I finally understood the fight. That’s where the frustration comes in. After dying countless times without realizing why, I finally understood that the entire first phase of the fight should be focused on the adds that are with him at the start of the fight. There are so many little things going on that seem really complicated if you don’t make a list of what you should be attacking first. Unfortunately Zul is one of the bosses that I don’t have any footage for, so I couldn’t include myself dying hilariously many times. Man, I wish I recorded the first time Zul cast Death Wish on me and forced me to run and jump off the platform. That made me laugh. Deaths, however, are a common occurrence in the video anyways!
I look forward to the next raid, where we get to fight exciting creatures such as Opulence, a golem made out of gold coins and riches, and Jaina Proudmoore. I try to stay away from story spoilers, so I really have no idea what happens during or after the Jaina fight. Dazar’alor does things differently in that Horde and Alliance have bosses unique to their faction only, and we’ll be able to experience the other faction’s bosses by hearing the story of what happened during the fight. During the “story”, we’ll participate in the fight by transforming into the opposite faction.
I’ll keep running Uldir because it’s really fun, and I need to complete my transmog set, but I’m so happy to be able to choose between raids I feel like running. To me, the most fun part of the raid, besides the loot, is learning each boss’ mechanics and the stories behind them. Here’s to some great stories (that don’t involve Jaina dying) ahead!
With the release of patch 8.1 came new questlines for the War Campaign, BfA’s version of the Order Hall campaign from Legion. I like the idea of these over-arcing quests because they act like a narrative for the expansion and they’re a fun and organized way to communicate the story to the player-base. That being said, the newest installment was no exception and I thoroughly enjoyed this lead-up to the raid Battle for Dazar’Alor.
Horde invasions started with 8.1, likely modeled after the Legion invasions during Legion where an entire zone was under attack for a few hours. World Quests in that zone were changed to be related to the invasion, where we had to kill x number of Demons or collect supplies or aid soldiers. They were a lot of fun, and were another opportunity to get some sweet loot.
The invasions added in 8.1 are about as fun, and start with a special quest upon entering in to the zone that’s under attack. The short questline, requiring players to complete 4 invasion quests, ends with players sneaking aboard the Horde airship and blowing it up. Can’t go wrong with explosions, right? The citizens of Boralus might disagree when the airship shows up in Tirigarde Sound, and can be seen firing cannonballs directly at the city walls. Innocent bystanders react by screaming and /cowering, both of which adds to the mood, but boy does that screaming get old after I’ve already blown up the airship!
Jaina Versus Horde
The campaign started off by tying the Horde invasions into the story, and players were sent to help Jaina repel the enemy forces. We killed Horde and got to see Jaina be awesome, by using her Frost Mage abilities to freeze a section of water so it could be walk-able, conjuring ice walls (inspiration from Overwatch), and ice spikes. The Horde was attempting to break through the gate protecting Tirigarde Sound over at Anglepoint with Azerite cannonballs.
After some planning, our Lord Admiral came up with a daring plan to teleport explosives onto the Horde ship and detonate them. Tirigarde Sound was safe and the Horde retreated, for now. This part of the campaign was fun because Jaina, of course, and explains the reason for the upcoming Alliance retaliation at the Battle for Dazar’Alor. Lastly, I snapped a picture during the ending cinematic that inspired me to make it even greater…
Followed by walking away from Azerite explosions was a mission to infiltrate the vault of Dazar’Alor, which is the capitol of the Zandalari Empire. They wanted me to rob that bank. I accepted without a second thought. Accompanying me on the mission were Matthias Shaw and Flynn Fairwind, polar opposites in terms of personalities. Our objective was to find the Staff of Storms, a powerful weapon from Stormsong Valley that the Horde got its hands on. Basically, I would switch the staff with a fake so that we wouldn’t trip any traps on our way out.
The whole path to the Staff of Storms was full of little puzzle rooms with traps to solve. They were all similar in that once I made it to the other side, I could flip a switch so that Matthias and Flynn could progress with me. Even though the traps were easy, one time I ran into the fire and instantly halved my health.
Even though I was able to switch the staves without a hitch, the “trap” was still triggered when a giant golem made of gold and riches caught our scent! This guy is none other than Opulence, one of the raid bosses from Battle for Dazar’Alor, and I thought that was a really cool little introduction for him. The heist concluded with the 3 of us booking it back to the void portal that we arrived in.
The Monkey, The Kaja’mite, and the Embiggifier
Players who have already done the quests involving the extraordinarily intelligent apes in Zandalar will be somewhat familiar with this already. Basically, a group of jungle apes stumbled across a supply of Kaja’mite which increased their intelligence exponentially. The same thing happened with Goblins on the island of Kezan, who were originally enslaved by Trolls to work the mines. Eventually they discovered Kaja’mite which gave them intelligence and ideas (hence why they’re such brilliant salesmen). But, I digress. Let’s focus on the smart monkeys.
Enter Grong, leader of the group of intelligent apes who have been hunted relentlessly by the Horde. He is considered to be the strongest and smartest among his kind and he is understandably pissed off. All he wants is to keep his kind safe no matter the cost, so he jumps at the opportunity when he hears about a new experimental device that the Gnomes are working on. This device, ingeniously called the Embiggifier, causes the wearer the grow in size relative to their intelligence. In other words, the smarter the subject the larger they will grow in size and brute strength. The major side effect of this is that the wearer’s intelligence is lost in the process.
Knowing the cost to his own intelligence Grong selflessly proceeds with the plan, much to the excitement of the Gnomish engineers. Grong keeps demanding to go bigger, until he becomes comparable to King Kong, all at the cost of his intelligence. In the end he was out of control and had to be tranquilized and taken away for his, and our, safety. Grong was a true hero, willing to sacrifice his newfound clarity to protect his kind from the Horde. I heard a little about this quest-line beforehand and I did not think it would affect me the way that it did. This is not the last time we see Grong, but the next time we meet will be under very different circumstances.
Originally I had planned on posting about another topic, but that was before I watched Nixxiom’s video about why he still loves and enjoys playing World of Warcraft. I found myself agreeing with parts of the video, which led me to thinking about why I love this game so much. What keeps me logging in, year after year, even during content droughts or new content that I’m not excited to experience. I thought that a nice way to begin the new year would be to explain why I have continued to play this game throughout all the years prior.
It’s Not Just a Game
World of Warcraft is many things, but MMORPG is just the beginning of it for me. I grew up in Azeroth and, just like each expansion is placed along the game timeline, I can recall real life memories according to which expansion I was playing at the time. After playing for a while I became interested in what Blizzard Entertainment was, and why they were the ones that were able to create a game that I and many other people connected with so much. To this day Chris Metzen is still a personal hero of mine, and the world of Azeroth has been a fountain of inspiration. It’s probably why I love writing/reading fantasy stories so much and even motivated me to write my own stories about Aurashot, one of the first characters I ever created in the game. Through WoW I have made friends in the game and in real life, and we have gone on countless adventures together. I have even bonded with family members through this game. Best of all, WoW has made it possible for me to connect with those who have a shared passion for games. With this game, I discovered what it feels like to experience a huge world with countless wonders and endless opportunities.
There’s Nothing Like It
Nostalgia is powerful, and I can’t replicate the feelings that I’ve had with WoW when playing any other game. Each game is different and brings forth different emotions, and I have experienced so much more in WoW than I have in any other game. WoW was not my first game, but it was the one that made me think of myself as a “gamer”. I am so proud to be a gamer, because it opened a door for me to experience many other worlds and stories from the perspective of many different character.
Does This Make Any Sense?
I’m not sure if any of these ramblings make any sense, but it seems to me that everyone has their own special game that started it all. One that brings back fond memories of curiosity and discovery. This post was meant to be a love letter written for mine, as a way to collect some of my emotions about a virtual world with its share of quirks. When I log into WoW I am greeted by a world that has been there through good days and bad days, and all the days in between. Azeroth brings a sense of familiarity to me that can only be described as coming home, a feeling that I hope everyone gets to experience with their own special game.