Another 50

Nothing quite like exploratory ding sneaking up on you. After getting in good with Highmountain, I had Saintvache visit Suramar, since I wouldn’t mind a Nightborne. Once again failing to look up what is required bit me in the rump. I figured it would work the same as the Highmountain in that I needed to complete the initial group of quests. As you likely know, that’s not the case. But at this point, I’d now done two of the factions for “Uniting the Isles.” So it was off to Val’Ashar for some more samaritan work. It was while wandering about there the 50 happened. At this point, I’ll probably keep him up in that area to continue to unite the isles. That’s now the Paladin and Druid that are level capped for me. I think up next is someone on the Alliance side. The who is still up for debate.

Because I Got High (Mountain)

After dipping my toes in over the weekend, I decided to get my hooves wet. Saintvache was off to Legion Dalaran as I decided if I couldn’t have a Zandalari, I could at least get a Highmountain Tauren into the fold. Plus, it gave me a chance to do some leveling, which…wow. Such an improved experience. I’ll elaborate on a later date but I definitely approve. Saintvache is now 47, and that’s just from doing the main Highmountain story and a couple of bonus objectives that happened to be where I was questing anyway.

It didn’t take too long to complete that main story and set up the meeting between Baine and Mayla. I was in for a bit of a surprise as I never looked up how any of the alliances worked. I figured I would fly back to Orgrimmar and it would be a simple case of “hey, thanks for all your help. You proved the Horde is good. We’re in, ok?” Needless to say that is not what happened at all. I really enjoyed the story that lead to them officially joining the Horde. Though I can only imagine what it was like to have to do that chain without a flying mount. Dear Illidan it was like a classic WoW questline – all over the damn place.

In the end, though, it all worked out. The most difficult thing was getting back to Orgrimmar because everyone is logged in for Shadowlands.

See? Just a few people. I actually had to go to Pandaria and use the shrine portal to get back. Then I was able to scoot off and get my new mount and more importantly unlock some new friends. It didn’t take long for one to fall into the fold.

Not a fan of her default armor, but we’ll get that fixed eventually.

Warcraft Movie Thoughts

Obviously this is an incredibly late opinion on Azeroth’s foray into the cinematic world. Based on the comments at the time, I couldn’t bring myself to watch it in the theatre.  Many people I talked to only echoed the reviews of what I had already read. For a movie I was so hyped about initially, I ended up avoiding it out of fear of disappointment.

Now perhaps it is because I went in with such low expectations…I actually enjoyed it. If you’re not of that opinion let me cut you off and point out that I enjoyed it. I didn’t necessarily say it was a good movie. It has too many flaws for that to be the case and you could literally see them on the screen. Because at times the CGI was Gul’dan awful. And at what point did Gul’dan become jacked up and beat Durotan?

It wasn’t the only hole in the lore by any stretch of the imagination. I think that’s what bothered a lot of people (besides the bad CGI human stuff) the most. If I had gone in expecting them to adhere to the lore Blizzard has in place then I would probably have been upset as well. But I’ve learned when things get made for the big screen, you have to toss out what you know from the source material. The house elves of Harry Potter prove this. Game of Thrones has merged so many characters from the books it’s hard to even keep track.

Gul’dan’s physical prowess aside, most of the major players felt right. Lothar was the only character I had a hard time with. It could be the mystery accent that never seemed to settle in as something specific which took away from things when he often spoke. I even enjoyed Khadgar, which says something given how sick I am of that character thanks to the last two expansions.  And who doesn’t love a good Glenn Close cameo?

If anything, the movie tried to do a bit too much. But based on the material it chose to use, it was confined to do so. You couldn’t just focus on the human side of the conflict because much of the story and drama comes from the orcs. And focusing just on the orcs would have been hard to do without making the humans look like villains. They painted themselves into a corner indeed. But, again, taking it for what it was made it easy to watch. Do I wish I didn’t have to turn my brain off? Of course.

Despite it’s success overseas, I don’t foresee a sequel. We might get another movie in the universe but even that is skeptical at best. As such, I’m glad the producers gave us more than a handful of Easter Eggs. My personal favourite is easily the Summoning Stone. That and the clear suggestion there was something more to Moroes than the surface suggested.

I guess in a roundabout way, I could say the same about the movie itself.

Dee King…Has Returned

From the onset, let us just get it out of the way now that Vol’jin has not returned. Last we saw, he was passing on the Warchief mantle to Sylvanas and was on his way to hang with the Loa. Why? We’re honestly not really sure. The mantle of Warchief and the fallout of it played next to no major part in the overall Legion story. Khadgar and Illidan basically ran the show and we got to tag along. Anduin becoming king was a much bigger development and had more depth to his ascension. With the Banshee Queen she vowed to avenge Vol’jin and that was that. It rallied most of the Horde. And then Genn broke her nightlight.

But this isn’t about Sylvanas today. The focus is on the Warchief we barely had. When Vol’jin took over as leader of the Horde at the end of Mists it was an excellent moment and well developed (given all the crap he went through). Plus, it was the choice most players seemed to agree on after the whole Garrosh mess. Warlords came and we went back in time (in another time, no less) and left Vol’jin in the present. So he basically relaxed while we were gone. Then we came back and he died almost immediately. If that doesn’t leave a bitter taste in a person’s mouth, I don’t know what does.

At this point, we’ve established that him passing on the mantle to Sylvanas before he died (from a spear…) accomplished nothing. It has lead to nothing. But giving the benefit of the doubt, surely there must be a reason this took place and the writers have that mapped out for the next expansion.

“In our darkest time, you would be the one to save us.”

Those were Vol’jin’s words to the Forsaken leader as he died. Well, so far it’s been all the Mary Sue’s of Azeroth that seem to be doing the saving. Thrall, Malfurion, Illidan, Khadgar…heck, what has transpired to qualify as the Horde’s “darkest time?” Again, nothing. At least on the Alliance side, they lost their actual king. So is something coming in the next expansion? It has to, otherwise what’s the point.

There’s no disputing how fond I am of the Sylvanas character, but what had great potential has been underwhelming for an entire expansion because nothing was done with it. So in the next expansion something has to happen, as I just mentioned. But what exactly would it be?

Well, I still believe Vol’jin wasn’t necessarily talking to the loa at the time of his death. With the potential involvement of N’Zoth in the upcoming stories, part of me wonders if it was actually the whispers of an Old God that convinced Vol’jin to choose the successor he did. And if that’s the case, what else has the Old God been up to? I’m thinking much, but that’s a story for another day. But there’s definitely been manipulation going on. So as a result of that, our something major happening to the Horde should come from that source. And that’s where I see the proverbial prophecy coming true with Sylvanas.

I don’t think she’ll directly save the day. I think she’ll bring back Vol’jin to do it. Hear me out. First off Vol’jin wasn’t burned like most trolls are when it comes time for their funeral. Also, it wouldn’t be the first time Vol’jin came back from the dead (read Shadows of the Horde if you haven’t already). So at this stage the window hasn’t been closed yet. Not to mention, any time anyone asks who the leader of the Darkspear Trolls is the answer is more or less circles around Vol’jin.

While I love Sylvanas, she is not going to be Warchief for long. I think it’s great from a fanboy perspective, but all wrong from a somewhat realistic perspective. As pointed out, no one trusts her…and she has done nothing in this expansion to change that. She always has her own agenda, sometimes even revolving around her people. Windrunner is a great advisor or council member but she shouldn’t be leader.

As far as Vol’jin goes, again, he was never really Warchief. Garrosh was spared. That’s pretty much all he did. So are we just going to thank him for getting a Garrison? Seems very underwhelming. He was also the most respected of the Horde leaders. Even the Alliance held him under high regard. So you have his own people, his enemies, and the players all pleased with a leader and he was gone in a breath. Blizzard has even recognized the fans were not at all happy with this and it seems early on that some of the content that was written was done so based on Vol’jin just going MIA again and that clearly did not happen this go around.

As for the how or the why she brings him back, the circumstances could be one of dozens. Again, I think something or someone is going to push the Horde to the brink of disaster under Sylvanas’ reign and all the distrust she has earned will make it impossible for her to overcome. Instead, she’ll bring back Vol’jin as a beacon for the Horde because she knows they’ll rally behind him and that will be the “darkest hour” rescue. How she does it could be simple. A bargain with Bwomsamdi. Performing another act like she did with Nathanos Blightcaller. Eh, that one seems less likely. Doubtful the Trolls would be happy about that and the Forsaken don’t seem keen on bringing back non-humans.

The how and why could make for excellent questing on the Horde side in the next expansion and it really does need to happen. Vol’jin should have the chance to be a proper Warchief. Unless Blizzard goes to a Horde council, him leading the faction is the right choice to make because there’s no one else that should hold the mantle. As I said before, not even Sylvanas. That’s why I strongly expect it to happen in whatever expansion gets announced in a few weeks. And that’s why at some point, “Dee King Will Have Returned.”

Faction Divisions: Are They Necessary?

I never played the original Warcraft RTS games. To be honest, I would go so far as to say more than half the game’s population would say the same thing. A good percentage have also come in during later stages of the game. Maybe Burning Crusade when Demons were the focus, or Wrath when we were going after the Lich King. Possibly even this expansion. Regardless. Once you’re in the machine, you know full well it’s Horde versus Alliance.

Is it really? Mists of Pandaria was used to re-establish the line in the sand between the Alliance and the Horde, but that last for less than the whole expansion since we were working together again by the end in an effort to deal with nutjob Garrosh. Warlords was all about the orcs…the evil ones, not the Horde ones…and now Legion has been all about pushing them back. Yes, there were some cracks in the foundation (namely the scenario by which Sylvanas leaves with Vol’jin and pulls back her troops) but there is almost nothing that can’t be fixed (save for Greymane and Sylvanas of course). Aside from the PvP Battlegrounds, and servers, there is nothing that constitutes “war” anymore.

That the Alliance can understand the denizens of Highmountain, but not a Tauren, and the Horde can understand the elves of Suramar, and their own Blood Elves, but not a Night Elf is…well, silly at this point. Why can’t the two sides communicate in a general sense? Furthermore, we work together through every major bad guy in each expansion…but not at the exact same moment? Because the game wants suspension of disbelief in that you fight the fight together but when it comes down to the boss(es) you’re suddenly in parallel worlds or only one side is really doing the work. At this point, there’s no reason we can’t have mixed raids. None.

But that’s as far as it needs to go and you can’t easily get around it with the purists (for whatever reason) and have an optional filter to not group with the other faction. But at the end of the day if we can work together so much in the story, we should work together in the game. Heck, we are already sharing class houses.

Now I wouldn’t go so far as to say Guilds or the like. It doesn’t need to go to that extreme and obviously BG’s would be exceptions, but unless Blizzard tries to once more (and for much longer) restore the division between the Alliance and the Horde in the next expansion, the point really is lost at this point.