There’s Fireflint, off helping Kul Tirans as he levels up. He took some time to partake in a hunting party, and moments later I was literally having flashbacks to Hellfire Penninsula and the characters I took through there…probably Tum the most. Back then, that early entry into Outland, it was quest away and kill boars. You had to, because the bastards just kept showing up. Sometimes you’d get real lucky and end up with a few of them at once. All the healing in the world couldn’t save me. And it only got worse because Illidan forbid you were on a quest for a drop item (or multiples), because half the time the stuff wouldn’t drop. This place? SAME DAMN THING. Six expansions later and I have to suffer like this again? Is this the thanks I get for coming back? Ugh. Thank Illidan Fireflint has some durability and damage output otherwise I’d have probably lost my mind. Suffice to say I doubt any of the other Alliance toons will be visiting these yahoos. For shame Blizzard, for shame.
I made good on my promise to take Lioux to the Isle of Thunder. Unfortunately I didn’t consider how undergeared he still would be. The third scenario clearly illustrated that for me, though, and so I decided to putter elsewhere. I realized I didn’t have any of the Tempest Keep pets as of yet so that seemed like a logical choice. As I was talking to Tome at the time, I asked her if she wanted to go and so off the two of us went.
Four bosses in Tempest Keep and three of them have the chance to drop a pet. Well, none of them did. I had this great theory that Kael’thas was just in a really good move and was saving our luck for the Ashes of A’lar. Yeah, theories aren’t always that practical. I followed Tome’s notion that we should then head into Molten Core. I hadn’t been there in a little while, probably once ever on Liouxpold, so I was game. Once again we had pet opportunities…and one managed to drop. We both happen to have the Ashstone Core, so even that wasn’t a huge victory.
But, can you measure fun by the RNG? If you could, I would probably be miserable playing this game. No, the fun was had when just two friends on a whim decided to go bounding off into some old content. We didn’t find any pets or great drops that either of us needed, but we did find a good time together. Just the way it should be.
Absolutely The Scourge. I can connect with The Scourge. Not as if I were the walking dead mind you (ok, some mornings). I mean that I can realize them, their purpose, the threat they possess. From years of playing Dungeons & Dragons (now Pathfinder, much better btw) I’m pretty familiar with the undead and how they tick. When it comes to demons, you tend to have to level a fair bit higher to really encounter the good ones. We didn’t do that very often.
World of Warcraft’s approach is not all that different. Particularly old WoW wasn’t. Undead in the Deadmines, Duskwood, and the Plaguelands to name a few places (and excluding the Forsaken from the discussion). By the time you hit 60, you had more than your share of prominent walking dead. Heck, you also had Naxx back then to stoke the fire. Burning Legion? What’s that? Then came Outland and it still never felt like The Burning Legion so much as it just felt like Outland and there happened to be demons there. When Wrath hit, though, it was full on Scourge Invasion and it felt like it. Most of the expansion felt like you were crawling through the wretched Scourge to get to Arthas in the end. As I say, I feel The Scourge. Can’t say that about the Legion in the slightest.
Favourite Dragonflight? Oh geeze…that’s tough. I mean, truth be told, I like them all. To pick just one is a bit difficult. If I’m going to, then I’ll buck the trend. I’m going to select Black. I think collectively, they have the most compelling lore and stories. They were the antagonists in many cases, from Onyxia’s puppetry in Stormwind, to the fall of Deathwing at the end of Cataclysm (not that he didn’t cause enough trouble the first time around). This is one time where it’s not necessarily rooting for the bad guy, it’s more to the effect of a hero only being as good as his/her adversary. The black dragonflight challenged everyone to fight back. And we did, and as a result were up for pretty much anything out there. They set the proverbial bar, as it were.
I could probably write a two part post for all of the things the Black Dragonflight were a part of, or responsible for, but I’m just going to mention a couple of personal favourites:
- Onyxia’s manipulation of Stormwind. As Katrana Prestor, she controlled much of the human kingdom’s city and people. The lead to her grand reveal was just so much fun to do (save for escorting Marshal Windsor through a circling of BRD).
- Neltharion giving in to the whispers of the Old Gods. Deathwing’s betrayal and then causing the Cataclysm gave Azeroth two rounds of chaos.
- Blade’s Edge Mountains. The Black Dragonflight had sought to hide from Azeroth in Outland, and specifically the mountains themselves. The Alliance came knocking though, but so did a rather large Ogre named Gruul. It’s actually a great story if you haven’t done the zone.
- Wrathion. Say what you will about Rogue Daggers and Epic Cloaks…this kid is going to be more than just a pawn in WoW’s future. It’s just a matter of what happens when he utters “checkmate.”
Since we’re going back in time to visit Outland soon, I thought it would be good to think back on what it was like to go there in the modern version. So here’s my take on some of the good and the bad.
The Dark Portal
Granted I didn’t actually go through the portal until a few months before Wrath launched, but it was still a pretty cool feeling the very first time. When you’re talking about the exciting things in Outland, going through the door for the first time has to be among the list. Even the Mannoroth fight kind of had me going “am I going to aggro that thing?!?!”
The Shaman And The Wolf
For this, you genuinely needed to play Horde. There is a short quest chain in Terokkar Forest where the text tells the true story and the connection. Malukaz explains a great deal over the three quests and it’s unfortunate the Alliance don’t get something similar. I’m glad I got the chance to stumble across this one.
For whatever reason, I always found the zone relatively quick to go through, even if I don’t do poop quests. But more importantly than that, the zone is gorgeous. It’s like nothing I’ve seen, except for Avatar…but I think that movie ripped off half of Outland anyway.
“What happens in Shadowmoon Valley, stays in Shadowmoon Valley.” Actually, what happens in SMV is a lot of fun. You have the Netherdrake Mount acquisition, and most important of all: Black Temple. Let’s face it, the moment Illidan showed up in the trailer, people were clamoring for the chance to have that fight. Sneaking in through the side lead to one of the better raid dungeons in the game (even if it’s a bit confusing to navigate some days).
I’m tempted to find the person who programmed this zone and have then taken out and flogged. As a plate wearing class, I did fine. Anything else and I spent way too much time fighting boars, because no matter where you went they seemed to have an aggro circle that was half the damn zone. Even the quests themselves didn’t really do much for me.
This makes almost everyone’s list of best zones in the game. Not just Outland, the game. I swear it got the Avatar treatment as well, but that’s not necessarily the point here. The waterfalls in the sky, the land itself, it’s just beautiful. Some really good questing (I like working for the Ethereals, myself), and a few chains that really bring the lore together. Of course, there’s the Nesingwary quests as well that you’ll either love or want to punch someone in the end.
“Ramps” was a great introduction dungeon for Outland. It was a straight forward process that had a 1-2 option for the last two bosses. The way it was laid out, you had to be careful not to aggro another group nearby. So proper pulls were in order, along with keeping an eye on well placed patrols. To this day it’s a dungeon I enjoy, even though most times you run it now it’s “GO! GO! GO!.”
There really wasn’t anything overwhelming about the city itself (aside from the Aldor plummet, which we’ve probably all done once). Perhaps the He-Man reference was pretty amusing. But it was the fact it was a neutral city is why I remember it fondly. It was the first time Horde and Alliance pass one another in a city without one or the other dying. Sure, we’ve had one every expansion since (save for Cataclysm…but it had a few neutral locations)…but it’s the original I’ll always remember.
What about yourself? I’m sure there are some annoying things I forgot to include, and some wonderful things as well. My list is items that jump out at me the most without going back and exploring again….which now that I’m back, I just might do.