A Classic Walk Back in Time

This is likely to be the only post I make on the topic of WoW Classic, but I am very happy with this video and had a great time making it. It was fun to go back and get as close as I could to recreating a memorable – and tedious – moment from Warcraft history. I am a person who is heavily affected my nostalgia, and I definitely felt it when I remade Aurashot as she was about 14 years ago and logged into the Night Elf starting zone of Shadowglen. Even though all the WoW Classic videos that show the original game developers talking about the magic of “coming home” are totally cheesy, there is a bit of magic when you log back into a world that’s as close of a recreation of the original as it’s going to get. It brings to mind the memories that I made and places I got to explore because of this character I made one day in what was, at least at the time, just an MMORPG. In a lot of ways I grew up with this game that at the same time also grew and evolved with each new expansion and story development. Even though I do not see myself playing WoW Classic in any serious capacity, for reasons that I will talk about, the nostalgia effect has definitely worked on me and has brought with it some emotions.

The Point of it All

First off, before I delve into the deeper part of this post, I should probably explain why I made this video. Back in 2005 there were only 2 major continents on Azeroth – Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. Each race in World of Warcraft has a starting zone located on one of those two continents, and Eastern Kingdoms has some major hubs like Stormwind City and Ironforge. Now, back in those days, players couldn’t learn the Riding skill until level 40 and even when they did become eligible to ride mounts they had to pay for both the skill and a mount. I don’t remember how much it cost to learn the skill but I believe a mount – say a horse – cost around 100 gold, which was a lot. My point is that being able to get increased movement speed was much more difficult than it is in WoW today. I’m not even going to talk about the mount that level 1 characters can use, although it has decreased speed than a normal mount.

Players who created Night Elf characters and wanted to get over to where Stormwind City and Elwynn Forest was, had to run there on foot from the Kalimdor continent. Many people made this journey at a very low level, much lower than the levels of enemies inhabiting the zones they had to run through. In the video we started our run on fresh level 1 characters, but in usually people waited until about level 5 when they were finished with the beginning tutorial area. PvP added to the danger of this run for players who were on PvP realms, which meant that when they ran through Contested zones they were easy prey for members of the opposing faction. We created characters on a PvP realm for this video but never ran into any Horde, although we were on a low population realm.

We also commonly had to “corpse-run” through the Wetlands zone, which was probably the most dangerous place we had to run through given that enemies there were around level 20. Corpse-running means that every time you die you pick the maximum distance from your body to resurrect, and do that over and over again until you make it out of whatever bad situation you were in. Another thing to note is that aggro range was brutal back in the day, especially for a low-level, and you really had to stick to the road and hope a bad buy didn’t spot you. Once you finally made it to Stormwind, it felt like quite the accomplishment.

The Test

The whole goal of this video was to see if the difficulty of this run in Classic is similar to the one I made many times back then. There are definitely similarities, like how slow and tedious it was, and how big the world seemed when you had to run from one continent to the other. But there were too many differences, like how there weren’t enough enemies close enough to the road to see us, or how some enemies that would attack on sight wouldn’t attack us in Classic unless we attacked them first. There were also only three deaths, which seemed like too low of a number to me. There was only one corpse-run where we had to get far enough away from an enemy, and no Horde waiting by the road to kill weak lowbie characters. Although the Horde thing is understandable since we were playing on a low population server. This run has always been boring, but it was largely uneventful in Classic. The accomplishment this time around for me was when I made the video, and not when we reached our goal of the Human starting zone.

WoW Classic is not Vanilla WoW

Classic was a great idea, and probably a really fun project for Blizzard to work on. I would love to hear stories of the developers and designers trying to recreate a nearly 15 year-old game. But it’s just that – a recreation. Blizzard did a really great job making the game look like it did. There are things they had to approximate, like the old character models. Their game engine has gone through many changes and iterations throughout the years, and those original models couldn’t be replicated. You can tell by looking at the faces and noticing that they look just slightly off. However, it’s not because of any character models that I don’t find myself very interested in Classic.

I will never be able to recreate my sense of wonder and adventure from when I first started playing WoW. Like I said, back then WoW was just a game to me, and I had no way to predict all the memories I would go on to experience. I was a noob, I knew nothing about the game. Even more, I hardly knew how to play an MMO as I was pretty young at the time. I can never “go home” again because that home has changed. My “home” in WoW isn’t a singular place way back in 2005 that I can return to. My home is the place that I have spent countless hours in, and made so many great memories and met so many awesome people. I can’t experience those things again through WoW Classic, and that’s what makes those moments special. I made the video as a funny tribute to an infamous experience back in the day, but even that isn’t the same as I remember it. It never can be, and I’m not blaming Classic for that.

I am happy for those who are having a blast in Classic and have groups of friends leveling characters together. Personally, I’m really not ready to return to the days where I had to buy arrows as a Hunter and resort to melee when I ran out in the middle of a dungeon.

8.1 War Campaign Story So Far

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

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!

Pew Pew

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.

That’s Not Good

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…

Yeeeeeeeeah!

The Heist

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.

Trial By Fire

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.

Friend Or Foe?

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

Remember That Horde I Was Leveling?

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.

Grong is Awesome

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.

Grong, True Alliance Hero

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.

Leveling My Lowbie in Eastern Plaguelands

Wow, has it been about a month since my last post? After taking an unintended hiatus from blogging, I found myself in a rut in Warcraft. I was only logging in to complete World Quest requirements and occasionally run dungeons. Finally I found a way to break my boredom: leveling a new alt! This time I started a Lightforged Draenei Paladin (original, I know), as I have never really given much effort into leveling a Pally before. Speccing as a tank at level 20, I took off to Duskwood and didn’t remember to document my progress until I was mostly done with Eastern Plaguelands.

The Paladin Pals At Light’s Hope Chapel

I totally forgot how awesome the whole story-line is here. Questing with Gidwin and Tarenar on their mission to reach Light’s Hope and become Argent Crusade Paladins, while also being best friends as Dwarf and Blood Elf, really is heartwarming. If there’s one thing I love about this game it’s a good story told through quests and Blizzard really nailed it with this one. Traveling by caravan with Fiona to the different Crusade towers while meeting new friends and watching the two Pals bicker makes me chuckle every time.

Even the side quests have good story-lines, like with Pamela Redpath and the undead Troll who seeks vengeance. The little scenario at the end of the Redpath quest-line shows what happened there, and it’s neat to see prominent NPCs since vanilla get a whole chapter in Eastern Plaguelands.

Questing through old content is just what I needed to get myself out of the daily rut of turning in WQs and logging out. So far I am loving Paladins and especially how tough Protection is. Throwing out the shield is just so damn fun, I feel like Captain America every time!

After completing Eastern Plaguelands I excitedly set out for Badlands, a place I haven’t revisited probably close to when it was redone during the Cataclysm era.

Questing Through Nazmir

Exploring Nazmir and uncovering new bits of story that revolved around Bwonsamdi and the other loa was a fun experience. Journeying to the home of the Blood Trolls with Talanji and finding out just how deep the corruption of blood magic goes was both chilling and interesting.

Through questing, I learned that two out of three seals in Zandalar were broken and responsible for G’huun’s increased influence over the Zandalari. Once all three seals are broken, G’huun can leave the titan facility Uldir and corrupt more freely. Since the blood god is stuck in his prison, he corrupts the minds of Nazmani trolls and promises them power in return for obedience. But is G’huun really an Old God? My guess would be no, because he is basically just an amalgamation of Old God creatures that was accidentally created by the Titans. Yet, even with all this cool Old God/Titan lore going on, I was really looking forward to Bwonsamdi the most!

The Necropolis, home of the Loa of Death

The Man Himself!

Among the first things the player does when setting up a base in the swamps of Nazmir is to watch Talanji call out to any loa in the area. She finds Krag’wa, Torga, Hir’eek, and, of course, Bwonsamdi. The latter being the loa with the strongest “signal”, so I set out to find and eventually make a deal with death in return for his help. With Torga being dead and Hir’eek a newly made servant of G’huun, help has proven hard to find.

Undercover Sista

Sur’jan Might Be Crazy…

During my time in Nazmir I did some pretty great quests, with one involving turning into a Blood Troll! I infiltrated a village and did some sabotage quests, which ended with discovering that the village has been sacrificing Trolls to Hir’eek, the Loa of Bats. That ended with me killing Hir’eek, which was sad because he’s one of the better known loa in the game.

One of the side quests I did involved a Troll named Sur’jan, who appeared to have some kind of multiple personalities disorder. This questline stood out to me because Sur’jan is a memorable npc, and we find out nearly nothing about him through his story! The whole questline involved killing and collecting items from beasts in the area so that Sur’jan could regain his strength and kill a T-Rex who nearly took his life. I got the idea (from his other personality) that he has ulterior motives for making me collect weird items, but after the Dinosaur is dead Sur’jan runs off! I was intrigued by the whole thing, and I hope he shows up again so I can learn more about him.

Grand Ma’da Ateena

Taloc

The chapters in Nazmir are wrapped up with the player and Talanji contronting Ateena, the leader/matriarch of the Blood Trolls. Throughout the whole of Nazmir, Ateena has eluded us and no matter how many times we fight her she got away. We finally stop her when she reaches the top of Uldir and attempts to free Taloc, who is the first boss in the Uldir raid. Once she is defeated I return to Dazar’alor and pick my next and last zone to quest in: Vol’dun! While I had an idea of what to expect story-wise in Zuldazar and Nazmir, I’m not really sure what to expect in Vol’dun aside from the short intro I got while on the Alliance war campaign.

I really enjoyed Nazmir. Helping out different loa like Krag’wa and finally visiting The Necropolis was awesome, and made for some good story. The whole zone felt off, as is should with all the Old God corruption going on. Uldir was a constant, intimidating structure  that seemed to assert itself in Nazmir, and that if you venture too close you might begin to hear some strange whispers. The bit with Bwonsamdi was both amusing and serious, as your deal with him involves the souls of those you kill in the zone. Yet, every time you die in Nazmir, Bwonsamdi is there to taunt you with comments specific to each class.

Ready To Fight

Just as Zuldazar provided an introduction to the overall problems of the Zandalari, Nazmir expanded on that with the seriousness of the Blood Troll corruption. Before Talanji decided to make her excursion into Nazmir, nobody dared to go near the place. We were also given a little bit of an intro to Uldir and why it plays a role in Nazmir and the shifting alliances in Zuldazar. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Sur’jan turns out to be a raid boss or even N’zoth in disguise…

Warfronts Begin and the Updated Arathi Highlands!

Yesterday I was surprised when I logged in and accepted a quest that took me over to Stromgarde in Arathi Highlands. I was not expecting to log in that evening with the first Warfront, Battle for Stromgarde, going live just yet, but I sure am glad it did! Warfronts were released on the same day that BFA’s first raid, Uldir, unlocked so there were bound to be server problems. All things considered, I had minimal issues and only experienced occasional lag when in Arathi.

I think that one of BFA’s biggest features finally made it into the game at a good time, because by now most players have reached 120 on their mains and have been looking for new things to do. Revisiting an old zone that I haven’t been back to in ages was a fun little trip down memory lane, and the visual updates to Arathi are beautiful. All the new things there have definitely helped to breath life back into the zone, and it can be compared to a smaller Timeless Isle. For now, Alliance players get a handful of quests to go slay each of the different creatures in the zone in exchange for Azerite, War Resources, and an epic ilvl 340 item. These quests also reward some reputation with the 7th Legion, and help to pass the time while the Horde mount their attack for the coming battle!

Ar’Gorok

Stromgarde

In case you’re confused about how Warfronts work like I was, I’ll explain. Warfronts are massive 20 vs. 20 PvE scenarios in which the Horde and Alliance fight to control the zone, much like back in Warcraft 3 days. Just like in Warcraft 3, players will gather resources and command troops and take the place of a Hero character. Basically, Warfronts allow us to see the battle from a different perspective, where we are directly involved. Warfronts start when one of the factions gather enough resources and mount their attack against the other, starting the Battle for Stromgarde scenario. Blizzard estimates that it’ll take a week for us to gather enough resources and start the Warfront, so in the meantime the faction controlling Arathi has access to a World Boss.

Hammerfall

Refuge Pointe

Dabyrie’s Farmstead

Of course, there are other things to do while you’re waiting for the battle to start. The zone has tons of rares that drop toys, pets, and mounts. I already have most of the pets, but I have to keep farming to get the toys and mounts! This addition to the game has been exciting so far, and I love being able to fly again and get around the zone quickly to tag rares. I can’t wait to try Warfronts and collect the full Arathi Warfront set!

War Campaign Progress and Establishing Alliance Footholds

The other day I finished the second part of the Alliance war campaign, which is a series of max-level quests gated behind reputation gains with the 7th Legion. Progress on my war campaign stuff has been pretty slow, since I haven’t had much luck with earning rep very quickly. But I figured I’d write about my experience so far because the most recent quests were in Nazmir and some pretty interesting stuff happened. I’m also throwing in some photos of establishing footholds on Zandalar, since those got swept under the rug while posting about my leveling experiences!

After starting my war campaign in Vol’dun, where I assassinated the leader of an important Horde archaeology assignment, I was sent to dark, swampy Nazmir. My mission there was simple, learn about the Horde’s war efforts there. After helping some Tortollans who were being held captive by Blood Trolls, they kindly informed the Alliance of a secret meeting being held.

Saving Tortollans and Disposing Blood Trolls

The Necropolis

Bwonsamdi, Troll Loa of Death

While in the area I went to the Necropolis, a sacred place of the dead for the Zandalari Trolls. To my surprise I ran into Bwonsamdi, Loa of Death, who I haven’t seen in-game up until now. I’ve avoided a lot of spoilers about him so far, but I can’t wait to play through the story with him.

After spying on the Horde meeting where Princess Talanji and Rokhan were present, a surprise third person also showed up: Blood Prince Dreven. Yes, that means that the San’layn are relevant again, at least for now. The San’layn are a race of vampire elves, originally appearing in Wrath of the Lich King, that greatly resemble Blood Elves. Differences include gray skin, different eye color, and of course all their magic has to do with blood. I don’t actually know much about the San’layn or where they came from, but they were supposedly mostly wiped out after WotLK. In this current expansion, though, they have made an uneasy alliance with the Horde thanks to Sylvanas. For some reason Sylvanas thinks these elves can be useful to her, and I have to assume that she hopes that the San’layn can help with the Forsaken plight somehow.

The meeting between Talanji, Rokhan, and Dreven didn’t tell me much, but after that I set out with Shandris and Keeshan to kill Dreven. That didn’t go so well…

Fallen Sentinels

Three members from Shandris’ Sentinel Army were killed in the process, and Dreven got away. That was the end of that quest-line, so I need to work on my 7th Legion rep to unlock the next part. It seems like Blizzard is trying to set up the San’layn as an Allied Race, but that depends on if they don’t betray the Horde. In all honesty, I would be so excited for vampire elves as a playable race but I’m trying not to get my hopes up!

Shores of Zuldazar

Zuldazar is full of lush forests and jungles and is home to many different types of dinosaurs. This zone was the first area I chose to start setting up a foothold in, and I love how it reminds me of an updated Stranglethorn Vale.

Uldir, Former Titan Facility

Nazmir is a spooky place with lots of swamps and Blood Trolls, but it’s also the place where the Titans built the Old God research facility Uldir an untold number of years ago. Of course, the Titans’ research went horribly wrong and the facility had to be locked and abandoned. Through thousands of years evil festered inside those sealed doors, twisting the land around it. While I don’t know much about Nazmir because I still haven’t started leveling my Horde character, I can assume that that ancient evil is what drove the Blood Trolls to madness. Questing and stumbling across Uldir was startling and left me in awe.

John J. Keeshan

When arriving in Nazmir I was pleasantly surprised to see Keeshan, an NPC Alliance players will remember from the Redridge Mountains quests. Keeshan was put into the game as a reference to Rambo and, while he usually spends his time killing Orcs, when I found him in Nazmir his gaze was set on the Blood Trolls.

Vol’dun

Vol’dun is a harsh desert environment where the worst criminals from the Zandalari empire are exiled to. This zone is my favorite out of the three possibly because it brings back memories from my time in Uldum, a zone introduced in Cataclysm.

Jani, Loa of Scavengers

When I started my war campaign here, I did a small quest-line that was so unlike any quest I have ever done before! I don’t think it was part of the war campaign, and was just a normal quest that Horde players could complete while leveling. Poor Quartermaster Alfin just didn’t know how quick Karma would hit him when he had me kill teeny dinosaurs, called Saurids, that were terrorizing the new Alliance foothold. The Saurids were one of the first things I noticed when I established the foothold in Vol’dun, they’re like rats!

After turning in the pest control quest I found a junk heap that turned out to be an altar to Jani, who is the Loa of Scavengers. To teach me a lesson, Jani turned me into a Saurid and made me go bite Alfin’s bum. I loved every minute of that quest, and I was so happy to find that there’s an achievement for completing all of Jani’s quests!

So far I’ve been really enjoying the Alliance war campaign and exploring the Horde continent, and I can’t wait to start on my Horde character!

Questing Through Stormsong Valley

I finally finished all eight chapters in Stormsong Valley after making myself go back there so I could get the Kul Tourist achievement. I knew I’d have to finish the zone at some point anyway if I ever wanted to unlock flying! Stormsong is in a weird place for me maybe because it’s the last zone I quested through and by that time I was a little burnt out. After questing through long and intricate story-lines in Tirigarde and especially in Drustvar, the quests in Stormsong didn’t give me that same feeling of awe.

While the zone itself was beautiful and the music was calming, I was anything but calm. I was in a rush to finish all the quests so I could get the achievement, and then go write this blog post because I’m terribly behind on that. But, even though there are a number of factors that may have led to why it didn’t have that same feeling as the other zones, I can’t shake the feeling that there was something else, too.

Overlooking the Valley

I have to agree with many people from the community on some of the out-of-place quest-lines in Stormsong. The whole part where a section of Brennadam got destroyed by the Horde didn’t seem to fit with the story, and I recently learned that this wasn’t Blizzard’s original intention (Edit: ctrl+f+”Stormsong” to find it quickly) with that quest-line. I heard a lot of talk about the Quillboar part and, even though it wasn’t my favorite, it was still ok. I may have been under the wrong impression that all eight chapters would have something to do with the Tidesages and the lost Kul Tiran fleet.

Horde Incoming

Right after first being introduced to the zone, Taelia and I started investigating the strange behavior of the Tidesages and why they seem to be of no help in locating the lost fleet. While we do get our answer (Old Gods, man) in a compelling quest-line, it eventually ends and we are left with a dungeon quest for Shrine of the Storm. I was left wanting more, and with lots more chapters to play through I was excited to find out what was next. While there was a great quest-line involving the Naga (more on that later), the rest of the zone didn’t really deliver on my expectations of more spooky Old God stuff. This could be a problem of me getting my hopes up, however, and I do know that Blizzard fully intends to give us more Old God stuff in light of the Azshara Warbringers video.

Confronting Lord Stormsong

Speaking of Azshara, I fought Naga over at Fort Daelin who were summoning a giant water creature thing, called the Pride of Azshara. Players from Legion will remember the final boss, Wrath of Azshara, from the Eye of Azshara dungeon. The one I fought in Stormsong looks the same, but has a slightly different name. These creatures seem to be magical manifestations of Azshara’s emotions, and aren’t that easy to defeat. The one from the Eye of Azshara dungeon was already greatly weakened by the time the boss encounter started. It was very exciting to have a quest-line all about the Naga, and it was awesome to be able to see their updated model used so much.

Pride of Azshara

The Naga were exciting to me because ever since watching the Azshara Warbringers I know they have a plan that has been stewing for ten-thousand years. No, these Naga aren’t just part of a random quest to kill ten of them (but there’s still lots of that), in Stormsong they are clearly attacking the Kul Tirans with a purpose. Azshara has been waiting ten-thousand years for whatever is about to happen in the next couple major patches, and it is going to be big. Plus we finally get our first in-game glimpse of Azshara’s new model when we pick up a quest item that has a message from the queen herself! Needless to say, I’m very excited for what is to come, and chances are you already know that if you read my last post!

Aside from the usual excitement that comes with Old Gods and Naga, I did some other quests that stood out to me. The first being a quest-line that takes place entirely in Deadwash, where the Irontide Pirates are attracted to rumors of lost treasure. It was here, after turning in a couple quests, that I hit level 120 and took a short questing hiatus. But after returning to Deadwash and finishing up the chapter there, I found the treasure and was awarded 83 gold along with a letter in the mail claiming that the rest of my share would be mailed next week. I’m fairly confident that my gold will never show up, and I certainly wasn’t looking forward to buying a new mount.

Treasure Hunters of Deadwash

In my travels through Stormsong I came across the honey bee farm, Mildenhall, where its owner was experimenting with honey production. Increased honey production as well as increased bee hostility made for an interesting time when I had to help save the farm. The new bee models are adorable and makes me want to get a honey bee mount that much more!

Buzz…

Overall, Stormsong Valley was as beautiful as the first two zones I went through, but leaving Stormsong to the end and feeling burnt out may have contributed to why I wasn’t as excited about questing here. Some of the quest-lines were really awesome, like with the Tidesages and Naga, while other ones felt out-of-place, like the Quillboar and Horde. I’ll have to revisit how I feel about this zone when leveling alts and I’ll make sure not to save it for last! Right now, Stormsong to me feels a little bit like a missed opportunity, but I also understand that Blizzard really wants to build up to the Old God stuff.

Questing Through Drustvar

Last week, shortly before I started feeling awful, I left Tirigarde Sound for Drustvar, eager to start in a a brand-new zone after all the time I had just spent in Tirigarde. Going into it I didn’t know much about Drustvar, except that it’s spooky! I wasn’t sure if I was going to like Drustvar as I’m not normally a fan of spooky things, but I ended up loving it and having a blast with the story there.

The whole zone oozed dark magic and spookiness, which made the whole place feel like Halloween, except in Drustvar it’s like that every day. Before arriving in Drustvar I thought that only part of the zone was spooky, and I severely underestimated their witch problem! But, running through there for the first time in order to turn my quest in at Fallhaven, I quickly learned that I had the wrong impression. Especially when I met the creepiest little girl, Abby Lewis, who insisted I find her stuffed animals for a “tea party” and didn’t seem phased by all the terror going on around her. I ignored her quest until later, so that I could head to Fallhaven and grab the flightpath…

There I learned firsthand of witches’ curses when I found that all of Fallhaven was under some kind of spell. But it wasn’t until after I helped Abby Lewis with her “tea party” and she performed some kind of ritual did I start to realize that all of Drustvar must be under some kind of curse.

Party Time…

I love the story there, and though I still need to go back and finish Stormsong Valley, I think the quests in Drustvar were my favorite. Through the ten chapters there, I learned a lot about the history of Drustvar and why Kul Tiran Druidism makes sense. I am still surprised, even while writing this, about how much this story resonates with me and still gives me a feeling of awe.

My journey in Drustvar truly began when I came across the daughter of the ruling family, Lucille Waycrest. House Waycrest has been a supporter of the Proudmoore Admiralty for a long time, and they are known for their strong military. As such, I was sent to investigate the absence of the Waycrests at council meetings and look into why the place is just so darn creepy. Through my adventures with Lucille, I learned about the Order of Embers and even helped resurrect the Order. Back two-thousand years ago when Humans first came to settle Kul Tiras, they encountered the Drust. The Drust were a savage race that went to war with the Kul Tirans right away, even when they tried to negotiate for peace. The Drust used a dark magic that nobody had seen before and could not be destroyed by normal means, so the Order of Embers was formed. Within the Order, members figured out methods to kill the Drust and were seemingly successful when their leader, Gorak Tul, was killed by Arom Waycrest.

Meeting Lucille Waycrest

The mystery that the newly re-established Order of Embers set out to discover was the reason for the return of dark magic in Drustvar. Eventually, after much witch-hunting, I got a quest that sent me to Whitegrove Chapel to pay respects to a former love of Lucille’s. I played through the short quest-line there and learned that Lucille’s fiance was murdered by assassins on the day of their wedding ceremony. Learning about Lucille’s past was heart-breaking, and even more so when I learned that her mother payed off the assassins because she didn’t like that Lucille was marrying a common merchant. I did feel a little better when I returned the wedding ring to Lucille, so that they would be able to be together in some way.

Now I’ve learned more about her parents and I really didn’t like her mother at all. However, the worst was yet to come when we finally made it to the gates of Waycrest Manor and found that the surrounding town had also succumbed to dark magic. When Lucille approached the Manor to see if her parents still lived, she was faced with the truth. Her mother was the leader of the Heartsbane Coven that was responsible for spreading witchcraft in Drustvar, and her along with Lucille’s father had been turned into monstrosities.

Waycrest Manor

And now the full story has been uncovered. When Lord Waycrest became sick and was dying, Lady Waycrest desperately tried to call out to any power or being that could hear her. Gorak Tul, leader of the Drust, had been locked away in the Blighted Lands for two-thousand years after the war, just biding his time until someone released him. That someone was Lady Waycrest when she called out to him unknowingly. Using Lady Waycrest and giving her dark new powers, Gorak Tul’s curse was unleashed upon Drustvar. The Heartsbane Coven was formed with a mission to bring Gorak Tul fully into the physical world.

After finishing up the main story, I went and completed all the side-quests that were left. Of note were the quests I did for the Thornspeakers, which is the group of Kul Tiran Druids. After finishing the quests I was taken to meet the High Thornspeaker, who turned out to be one of the last remaining Drust. It turns out that not all Drust wanted to go to war, but wanted to live in Drustvar peacefully and practice Druidism. Drust are naturally shapeshifters, so some Kul Tirans who are descendants of the Drust can learn Druidism. I was curious about the reasoning behind Human Druids, so that explanation was really cool!

Overall I loved Drustvar and like Tirigarde, it had some really great memorable characters. I loved learning about the history of the Drust and Kul Tiran Druidism, and the whole thing gave me Game of Thrones vibes. The whole time I was learning about the war with the Drust I couldn’t help but think of the First Men in GoT, when they were trying to defeat the White Walkers.

And, most importantly, I learned that poking another player with Lucille’s Sewing Needle has a chance to turn them into a witch! I’ve poked so many people with that needle so far…

Witch! Witch!

Ding! Level 120!

A lot has happened since my last post, which was wrapping up the quests in Tirigarde Sound. Yesterday I finally reached level 120, even though I wasn’t feeling too great! While my brain has felt like mush for the better part of a week, I have been questing and documenting my experience all the same! So, in the next few posts, allow me to recap what’s been going on. This post, though, is about some of the things that I have been up to since reaching max-level.

After hitting 120, I didn’t jump into max-level content right away. I was a little burnt out after grinding through zones densely populated with quest-givers. Instead I switched over to my Horde character, because I told myself that I had to finish leveling my main before getting distracted by the Horde continent. The scenario that I played through as part as the introduction to Zandalar and the Zandalari Trolls was pretty fun, and had a small twist that I wasn’t expecting! I’ll talk more about that when I upload a video of the scenario, because I really enjoyed it. Other than that I headed to Zandalar and did a few introduction quests there, but I haven’t left the city left. In fact, there is still a lot to explore as I’ve heard the Horde capital has a lot of little details just like the Alliance one.

Arriving in Zuldazar

On top of Dazar’alor

Today, on my Alliance main, I started the max-level War Campaign content. I know there are some quests that open up in Boralus at level 120 that involve Jaina, so that’s what I thought was going to happen when I turned in “A Mission of Unity”. Instead I was sent to Vol’dun on Zuldazar to observe and assassinate some Horde archaeologists. I’m not complaining, the quests there were neat, but now I’m confused about that quest-line with Jaina everyone’s been talking about! Especially since it ends with a cool cinematic that I’ve had to avoid on YouTube. But I really like Vol’dun, and it might be my favorite Horde zone. I could only complete a  small quest-chain in my War Campaign before my quest log told me I needed to get more reputation with the 7th Legion to continue. That’s ok with me, especially if this is a Suramar-like gigantic quest-line.

Today I also figured out how to open the locked Merchant’s Chest in Drustvar, which is located on the side of the road leading out of Whitegrove Chapel. I thought that the birds circling around the dead merchant might have the key, and was further intrigued when one of the birds cast a spell called “Steal Trinket”. Only after I found the key and opened the chest did the birds respawn, and I noticed that one bird held a set of keys from his talons and had a Merchant’s Key buff. I love these types of details in games that give players a sense of accomplishment when they figure out the puzzle.

That’s all for now, I still have a lot more to explore. I have probably five quests for dungeons that I haven’t seen yet, and I need to start skilling up my professions, among so many other things that come with a new expansion! Next I plan on getting my blog up to date with all of the questing I did leading up to reaching 120.