The Curse of Flesh

A new short story in the style of mini-comics that has become customary for BfA came out a couple days ago and, like the other installments, this one is fantastic. The comic is all about Mechagon and giving the players a short but sweet introduction to the new content coming in 8.2, and the popular opinion seems to have been very positive. People (myself included) were surprised to have enjoyed a story that features solely Gnomes and Gnomish themes. I’ve been really loving that Blizzard has been spending more time on a race that hasn’t had much of a spotlight on it before, especially with Mekkatorque in the opening cinematic to Battle of Dazar’alor. As much as I can never get sick of a good Elf story, there are more races in the World of Warcraft (I suppose).

Why Mechagon? Why now?

My feelings on Mechagon have changed since Patch 8.2 was first announced. My first thoughts were that it was underwhelming and that the Gnomes were not interesting enough to me. Now, I like Gnomes for their quirky personalities and their Gnomish culture, I just wasn’t 100% Mechagon. To me this chunk of content seemed random and out of place when contrasted with Nazjatar, with its Naga and Old God themes. So why did Blizzard choose to release Mechagon Island, the lost and fabled home of the Junker Gnomes, alongside content that thickens the plot of Old God corruption?

A Little Bit of History

Way back in time when Azeroth was young, the Titans of the Pantheon cultivated the newly discovered planet and helped it grow into a world abundant with life. The Titans were drawn to Azeroth because of the World Soul that dwells within the planet even today, which will eventually mature into a new Titan. The whole concept of Titans being birthed from World Souls within some (not all planets have Titan World Souls within) planets is kind of weird, so imagine it like how Celestials are explained in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. In the movie Ego, a Celestial, is a being of great power who’s true form turns out to be the planet that he takes the guardians to. The humanoid being that he uses to communicate to them throughout the movie is merely an extension or avatar of himself. That is how I like to think of Titans, because every Titan in the Pantheon originated as a slumbering World Soul until it was mature enough to create a form for itself. One day Azeroth will mature and become the first Titan in a new Pantheon, and I think that day is soon.

The Titans helped Azeroth prosper. And to quicken that process the Titans created constructs with skin made out of stone, just like theirs. Some of these creations would be known as Dwarves, who shaped the mountains and the land, and Gnomes, who tinkered with and created Titanic machines deep beneath Azeroth. However, there was a huge problem with Azeroth: Old Gods. The Titans found that several monstrously huge Old Gods had embedded themselves inside Azeroth, seeking to corrupt the planet and spread chaos and disorder. After a time many Titanic constructs populated Azeroth, and the Old Gods saw an opportunity. The Old Gods could not corrupt these Titanic creations that were immortal and made of stone very easily, so they cursed them and turned the Dwarves and the Gnomes (and some other races) into mortal beings with skin made of flesh (1). This tragedy is known as the “Curse of Flesh,” and the Titans could not reverse it.

King Mechagon

In the mini-comic an old, flesh and blood Gnome finds Mechagon Island in the hopes that the Junker Gnomes will teach him their secrets of immortality. King Mechagon talks of returning to the old ways, the way that the Titans meant for all races to be. Mortal bodies made of flesh cannot be sustained forever, and are prone to error. Mechagon’s Junker Gnomes are notably different from the original Gnomes which were created by the Titans because they were created as mechanical beings called Mechagnomes. Junker Gnomes were originally mortal Gnomes that have gradually been augmented with machine parts.

I found the set up for the villainy of King Mechagon to be compelling because there is truth to what he says. He seems to be genuinely concerned with finding a solution to the Curse of Flesh not just for Gnomes, but for all races. He is right to be concerned, seeing as Azeroth’s intelligent races are only mortal because Old Gods wanted to find a way to corrupt us easier. But it’s the way he goes about it, using force and maybe other ill intentions, that make him a villain. I think that by replacing most of himself with robotic parts, King Mechagon has lost some vital mortal characteristics. But maybe the way that we finally defeat the Old Gods on Azeroth lies with studying the Curse of Flesh in more detail. Once I drew that parallel between Gnomes and Old Gods, Mechagon made more sense to me. I love Titan lore, so I’m excited to see what all this means for Azeroth.



Patch 8.2 Rise of Azshara Releases on June 25th!

So today was a good day. To me, it feels like a holiday when Blizzard announces the release date for a patch I’ve been excited about. 8.2 especially so because I love Queen Azshara. She’s a key part of Azeroth’s history, and a catalyst for a lot of things that have happened throughout time. When I was still new to the game I would read about Warcraft lore for hours, and back then I had a small glimmer of hope that Azshara would be even just mentioned in the game. She was like this mysterious character that seemed so far away, and we only got vague hints that she was even still alive. I want to know what her plan has been, ever since she sank beneath the sea ten thousand years ago. It has to be good, right? I just hope that Blizzard takes the time to give one of their coolest characters a fitting story. I already made a post about Queen Azshara, so I’m not going to talk about why I’m fascinated by her here, but I am glad that we are almost here. I would be even happier if we got a continuation of the Teldrassil story with maybe some insight into who/what Elune is, but I’ll take what I can get.

Azshara is also a big part of Aurashot’s story. In fact, Aura’s life would have been much different if it weren’t for the invasion of the Burning Legion and the subsequent War of the Ancients. I haven’t gotten around yet to organizing her story so that I can make sure it fits nicely into a series of blog posts, also because there’s a lot of revising to be done, but I can’t wait to talk more about that. The bottom line is that this upcoming patch holds special meaning to a story that I have been writing and re-writing both in my head and on paper, and I’m not quite sure yet what will happen next for Aura. I’ll be excited to do some exploring around Nazjatar, and gather what I can about Night Elf lore.

8.2 is going to be a pretty big content update with different things to choose from. The key points are going to be the two new landmasses – Nazjatar, capital of the Naga and Queen Azshara, and Mechagon, island of the mysterious Junker Gnomes. There’s a new raid, Azshara’s Eternal Palace, and a mega-dungeon called simply Mechagon. The island of Mechagon is going to function a lot like the Timeless Isle from Mists of Pandaria, in that there’s lot of re-playable content like rare bosses that drop cool items or treasures to discover. There’s also a new type of engineering on Mechagon, and when you explore the island and collect resources eventually you’ll be able to construct cool things like mounts or pets. Nazjatar will be a smaller area in comparison, and it’s primary focus is to help deliver the story of the new patch to the player. After all, Queen Azshara lured us into a trap by allowing us to find Nazjatar, so now we need to figure out her plan.

One of the things that surprised me the most about 8.2 is how my opinion about all the Mechagon stuff changed. At first I wasn’t excited for it at all, in fact I thought it was going to take away from how cool all the other content seemed to be. But the more I saw pictures of Mechagon City and I read a little bit of the story with the Junker Gnomes and some of the things we’ll be able to craft, I changed my mind. Gnomes are cool. I never thought I’d openly admit that, but there it is. Plus we need to find out what happened to Mekkatorque after the Battle of Dazar’alor!

Until then, Aurashot will be preparing for what’s sure to be a relaxing beach vacation…

Taking the Crucible by Storm

The idea of a mini-raid is cool, it helps bridge the gap between major content patches. It helps blend the line between faction war and the Old God/Naga stuff that’s coming in patch 8.2 and definitely served as an interesting transition. I enjoyed it, but I want more! I think mini-raids are a good idea and really help to carry a theme or story without giving us too much information before a big patch hits. That being said…

I have questions! Where is Xal’atath now and what is her plan? Who does she actually serve, or is it just herself? And why are we, the player, suddenly so important to N’zoth? Or maybe he’s just manipulating us, I hear Old Gods are great at that. And furthermore, why did N’zoth need Xal’atath to free him and not his powerful servant, Azshara? We assume that the Naga are attacking and preparing dangerous rituals to aid N’zoth, but maybe it’s something totally different. Maybe Azshara was never going to free N’zoth. She made a deal with the Old God ten thousand years ago, who at that point was still trapped in his prison. Azshara is known for her cunning, so maybe she saw an opportunity to control N’zoth’s power while he’s still in chains. It would make a lot more sense because I have a hard time believing Azshara would fail at such a task, given she was actually loyal to the Old Gods. Queen Azshara does not serve, she rules. Watching this story play out in 8.2 and perhaps 8.3 will be very interesting.

The raid itself looked pretty neat. It has that creepy feeling that all Old God things do, with eyeballs on the wall and misleading whispers. Or are they? It took me a little while to figure out that, after the first boss when we fall through the Crucible, we are falling into part of N’zoth’s body. I’m not exactly sure what the anatomy of Old Gods are, other than that they’re ginormous. So that’s pretty cool. The bosses were cool for sure, although they aren’t very memorable compared to Battle of Dazar’alor. This raid was exciting to me from a lore standpoint and that it helps to get me into the mindset of Old God/Naga stuff instead of faction warring. I’ve also been doing a pretty good job staying away from spoilers, and especially spoilers about the new raid coming, so I’m excited to see what Azshara’s Eternal Palace will offer.

Finishing up BoD – Might of the Alliance

I’m back after a crazy month IRL! Finally I got around to editing and posting the last bit of footage from our Battle of Dazar’alor clear on Normal difficulty. While the Jaina fight stole the show for me, another standout fight is definitely Mekkatorque. The neat mechanic there is when he uses his Gnomish shrink ray on three random players, who then have to communicate in order to deactivate robots that shrunk players can take control of.

I love how this expansion has really been show-casing Jaina’s powers and showing the extent of her Frost Mage abilities. She left her home of Kul’tiras to study at Dalaran, the city of mages, and was apprentice to the late Antonidas. Her story in Battle for Azeroth has been one of my favorite parts of the expansion, and I’m looking forward to seeing her make that ship fly again!

After the Mekkatorque fight, we see him escape in an ejected pod into an unclear fate. He is apparently being kept alive in a machine with magics the likes of which even Jaina hasn’t seen, so it’s probably a big deal. My guess is that it’s going to serve as a lead in to Mechagon in 8.2. For this last wing of the raid, Alliance players were turned into Horde in order to play out the story of how the Horde defeated Mekkatorque, Stormwall, and Jaina. Blizzard has made quests like this in the past, where a quest-giver is telling a story that you participate in, in order to see the ending. Being on the opposing side of Jaina was awesome because we fought her at full force (and she gets away at the end), whereas with Mekkatorque it was sad because we don’t know yet if he survives.

A huge part of this expansion is the story, told through cinematics and quests to get the point across. This raid is no exception, as it’s the next step in a progression of battles in this expansion. The Battle of Dazar’alor, with it’s beautiful design and music, fits right in with the “Battle for Azeroth” theme. While I have issues with how this expansion began and think the whole war theme was forced upon both Horde and Alliance, I do really enjoy this raid and think that Blizzard did a great job creating a raid which carries that theme.