I pray you are well. As we draw near the Broken Isles most of the militia are penning letters to their loved ones in case they do not return. I know you could care less about my welfare however I do not wish to be left out. It would also not do well for morale if I was to parade around complacent in the knowledge that whatever may befall my lesser skilled companions, that I, Tirion Fordring shall return unscathed. I mean really, what harm could possibly befoul moi? Ah I must dash, I hear Varian preparing to give some encouraging speech or something equally futile, bless him.
P.s. I may have left my hair straighteners on. Be a dear and see if someone would call round and check?
P.p.s. I really do believe its time to reconsider the restraining order darling, I mean really.
Final letter from Tirion Fordring to his ex-wife Karanda. Found on the BMAH at a buyout offer of 59 copper.
Right at the end of Warlords of Draenor, just as we put Archimonde down in the ground again, with his final ounce of telekinetic strength he managed to fling Gul'dan through a portal back to Azeroth. Gul'dan, always known even in the orc crèche he wast sent to, is nothing if not resourceful. A bit of corpse stealing here, cobble together a small intergalactic world dominating invasion force there, and voila, he managed to bring the full might of the Burning Legion right to our doorstep. Or more accurately to a bunch of islands called the Broken Isles, that for all their importance, once again we hadn't bothered to explore before now. (The mapmakers in Azeroth are sketchy at best.)
Legion begins with the Broken Shore scenario, during which we lose not one, but two major Alliance heroes. (I mean yeah the Horde lose Vol'jin as well but it's the Horde, easy come easy go right?) Not only does the mighty Tirion Fordring with his perfectly straight hair exit the spotlight mid-scenario, but during the final cinematic Varian Wrynn bravely sacrifices himself to provide the Alliance time to escape.
Varian's death dealt a double blow to the mighty Alliance. Not only was it a major setback for morale in the face of the Burning Legion, but we were also left with the milquetoast Anduin Wrynn as our commander in chief. At least he has the very good boy Genn at his side. (Who's a good boy, who's a good boyyyy)
And in preparation of future storylines it was reinforced that it would not be forgotton that Sylvanas had abandoned the Alliance at the Broken Shore. Poor Sylvanas, so misunderstood, she was just following Vol'jin's final wish to protect the Horde!
And here is your visitors guide to the Broken Isles...what..no it doesn't come in Demonic....wait who are you again...
- Val'sharah – a land of green and plenty, where you can watch former Dragon aspect be taken down in one shot.
- Azsuna awaits champion! And so does the voice actor of a well known Baldurs Gate NPC, Minsc!
- Highmountain – umm I dunno, something about Tauren with antlers?
- Stormheim – token zone where Sylvanas is clearly misunderstood once again! Right...?
- Suramar – *error* Please come back to this zone after completing multi week quest-line.
The first raid of the expansion was the Emerald Nightmare! As something which has been present in the lore of Wow for quite some time, especially for druids, but had continued to remain elusive until now, it was interesting that we would finally get to go there. Mechanically it fared well as the intro raid, similar to its predecessors like Highmaul and Mogu'shan Vaults. Among the most memorable bosses of course was Elly Referral. (Elerethe Renferal...who? Yes exactly.) And Cenarius provided an unexpected bump in the difficulty spike road as the second to last boss, leaving Xavius as a somewhat mediocre end boss for some.
After Emerald Nightmare we progressed through the Nightho.....wait what's that on the horizon? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! Its a surprise raid, awkwardly placed between two tiers! It's the Trial of Valor! I believe the blue post announcing this read something like “Surprise tier!! We didn't let you test this on the beta because we wanted it to be a surprise, not because it totally wasn't content that was supposed to be part of the Emerald Nightmare tier and wasn't ready for launch or we only starting pulling together after a weaksauce reception to Emerald Nightmare...no no!”
Trial of Valor was, just like its arrival, a bit bizarre! A three boss raid taking place against Odyn (or Havi as he prefers being called), best dog Guarm (Genn is a bit jealous) and finally resolved by killing off Helya....touchy touchy! The difficulty carried on perfectly from Xavius, adding to the feeling that this was supposed to be the original end to the first tier all along.
Now where was I....ah yes! After Emerald Nightmare we progressed through the Nighthold. We had been good Samaritans for some time now, helping the Nightborne with their drug problems and managed to sufficiently built up their confidence enough to step back into the world and move back to their hometown.
The Nighthold itself was chock full of different encounters. Towards the start we had encounters like Trilliax, who just really wanted everyone to have cake (was he really so wrong?), and Spellblade Aluriel, who showed everyone how a mage should really be done. Then we had Krosus the bridge smoosher, standing in his pool of fel pee, and Star Augur Etraeus, master of sunday horoscopes and annoying camera angles. And to top if off Grand Magistrix Elisande, queen of the most coveted cloth helm model in Legion, and Gul'dan himself. Gul'dan finally gets his long awaited comeuppance at the end of the Nighthold, after having putting us in a real pickle for the last two expansions His death is used however to finally return Illidan to the fray, as part of his antihero redemption story arc.
With the Nighthold out of the way, the mighty forces of Azeroth, and the Horde I guess, returned to ground zero on the Broken Shore, in order to march upon the Tomb of Sargeras. This nine boss raid had perhaps one of the smoothest progression curves of the raid tiers this expansion, with a few notable and infuriating exceptions. The Demonic Inquisition had a few mechanics which quickly could add up to the term clusterfuck, among them the “instant cast without any warning aoe zones on ranged”, which massively increased your torment and slowed, and the “dispel these targets but not too soon but not too slow” debuffs. Another personal....favourite of mine for inducing high levels of fury was Mistress Sassz'ine, known as the she-bitch of too many mechanics. ARROW TO THE FACES! The rest of the instance, Kil'jaedan as the end-boss included, did not present many brick wall difficulty spikes, and mostly came down to tidy execution and bigger deeps. And as the Tomb of Sargeras drew to a close, Illidan decided this expansion was all about him and his issues, and ripped a gigantic portal in space, to the far side of the Delta Quadrant where the husk of the planet Argus remained. And Khadgar is his eternal optimism decided what better place for a picnic. Or maybe it was to strike at the heart of the Burning Legion and end it once and for all. Potato, tomato.
The setting of the final raid on Argus was in Antorus, the Burning Throne. Most players by this stage were thoroughly sick of the fel greenish desecrated ground effect we had been spending most of our time on from when we returned to the Broken Shore, so the initial few areas of this zone were rather uninspiring. Aesthetic aside however, Antorus provided probably the most consistent series of bosses from start to finish. The two probable outliers would be the encounter with Eonar the Life-Binder, which while set in a beautiful location, did not probably meet the expectations Blizzard had for it, and the Coven of Shivarra, which provided an unusual difficulty spike especially on Heroic, which left the two subsequent bosses, Aggramar and Argus the Unmaker feeling like a step down in terms of difficulty.
And in true drama queen style, Illidan once again made the entire expansion about him, and decided to lock himself in a box with Sargeras for all eternity. Talk about a self made martyr.
What do you mean Velen's trinket had an on use...
And so with the Burning Legion finally doused, our focus would be returned to Azeroth. Sargeras' final blow to our world has left it in a bit of a state, with azerite, the life blood of Azeroth herself, pouring out around the world. As it had been a hot minute since the Alliance and Horde decided to resume their ongoing (and clearly outdated) hatred of each other, the power of azerite has proven enough to launch both factions into a war no one asked for.
Sylvanas struck first, with the burning of Teldrassil the world tree. Did no one ever teach her, hell hath no fury like a Tyrande scorned? (Bonus points if you say that like Malfurion.) But as we all know, Sylvanas is clearly misunderstood. She knows something we puny mortals do not.
In retaliation the Alliance assaulted Lordaeron, but op or no op floating arcane mana ship, Sylvanas had the last laugh and submerged Lordaeron and Undercity in blight, leaving it uninhabitable. (Is anyone else getting a Cersei Lannister vibe here?) But I mean.....she...she knows something we don't know....right?...RIGHT?
Now the Alliance prepare for full scale war and our first aim is to recruit the Kul Tirans back into the fold to eventually unlock different body shapes for humans because it's about time right? So cast aside your artifact weapons and your legendaries. Embrace the second stat squish of your life! I didn't like new class specific tier gear appearances anyway!1! And join me as we say...