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Wrapping Things Up
Rumors were trickling through the grapevine. We'd been at the 67 level cap for a while... content was tested. Surely, the long-awaited increase to 70 couldn't be too far away, could it? We were excited-new abilities, brand-spankin'-new zones, dungeons, and flying mounts!
And, dear reader, this left me with a conundrum. I still had quite a few quests in Nagrand to take care of, and I had no idea if they would lead to chains or not. If I completed them but didn't turn them in, I could turn them in as soon as they raised the cap, giving me a fresh start-and ensuring that I'd never run out of content while trekking to 70. But, on the other hand, shouldn't there be enough content in the three new zones to do just that? Maybe I should totally finish all the current content so I could be ready to jump right in to the new zones when they get implemented!
I decided, in the end, that I had a responsibility to you as a journalist, dear readers-brand spankin' new content! So, finishing things up it was!
Ol' Hemet Nesingwary's thirst for blood was even stronger in the Outlands than down in Stranglethorn, but the quests did follow the same pattern: kill a bunch (in this case, 30-Hemet's more demanding this time around!) of a certain kind of animal (Clefthooves, Windrocs, and the antelope-like Talbuks). Then, kill 30 more of a stronger type. Then, kill an elite leader of that species. Finally, kill the big super ultra King Kamehameha-mambojambo-ElPresidente-Kahuna beast in the land. Nothing we ain't seen before.
Although, the elites do seem a bit harder than the ones in STV (and not just because of the level difference). While on my Mage, my Warlock, and my Paladin I was able to solo all three of the lesser lords and Bangalash himself, I needed at least two buddies to kill these beasties in Outland. The final quest, to kill a giant Elekk (Elephants! Draenei Moutns!) named Tusker... was actually fairly easy, as she didn't have too much HP and was on a big slope that lent itself to kiting rather well.
Anyway, I kill lots and lots of animals and possibly do serious and lasting harm to the delicate balance in the Outland ecology all because a crusty old Dwarf offers me some gold and items. I suppose I should be ashamed, but-ooh, shinies!
Apparently, Trolls are susceptible to ferret-shock. Who knew?
Up to the North in the Throne of the Elements, a giant rock elemental is rather unhappy with something-there's another elemental trying to horn in on his mastery over things.
He asks me to track down the usurper, which I do (mainly through killing lots of little rock elementals, and occasionally chucking a stone at them)... and then, I get a party to kill the offender, which I do. Nothing too special, though since you fight Gurok the Usurper on the top of a big hill next to a cliff, and he's got a knockback... I predict that people will have funny stories to tell when this goes live.
If you remember the old half-orc Blademaster I went to chat with instead of kill, he's got some plans to spark war between the Shadow Council and the Warmaul Ogres, since they're the biggest threats to both the Mag'har and his tribe of Ogres. First, he sends me to the Shadow Council fortress to the south (incidentally, it's called "Kil'sorrow Fortress" ... see one of my earlier entries about villains and their naming schemes) with a bundle of Warmaul Banners and two tasks. Task #1-kill a few Shadow Council, plant the Warmaul flag over their corpses. Task #2-get him some crates of Shadow Council weaponry.
Sounds like a plan. I'm just glad that none of the Shadow Council have the wisdom to tell their leaders "Hey, it wasn't the Warmaul killing our dudez, but some weird Troll guy in a dress with glowing balls on his shoulders." Maybe it's because I don't think there's anybody left alive in the Fortress to rat on me.
...come to think of it, if I just single-handedly wiped out the Shadow Council fortress, doesn't that, uh, solve one of the problems fairly directly?
NPCs can be so picky, I tell you.
Once this grisly task of pixilated gore is complete, Lantresar tells me it's time for me to carry out a "retaliatory raid" on the Warmaul all by myself. Just like Sylvester Stallone! Though this second step involves me planting Shadow Council banners in the corpses of fallen Warmaul Ogres (the fat adds extra stability!) there's another part where I have to find a certain bonfire and apply a damp cloth to make smoke signals, summoning some of the Blademaster's Ogres to come and lay Shadow Council corpses around the pyre with the Warmaul ones to make it appear as though a pitched battle took place.
The two Ogres have an amusing conversation as they lay the corpses around the fire, though it was bugged when one of them was killed by a bunch of respawning Warmaul and the surviving one kept on chugging with his end of the conversation as per the script. Anyway, the Blademaster is satisfied that this will pit the Shadow Council and the Warmaul up against one another for a good long while, so his guys and our guys can all be happy-safe-fun.
You'd think this would mean I couldn't kill his Ogres anymore, but I damn well can (and I get Mag'har rep for it, too!) Kinda weird, now that we're supposedly all buddy-buddy. Hm.
Finally, there's a lone Night Elf demon hunter standing out in the West of Nagrand with his pet Nether Drake. There are two nearby Forge Camps where the Burning Legion is making, uh, something... something EVIL!
He asks me to inspect them (and I get a nifty flyby courtesy of his Drake) and then to thin out their ranks a bit. He has me retrieve the plans from one of the demon planners, and, finding himself unable to comprehend it, tells me to head to Shattrath where I can find somebody who can tell me what's what.
This planner is Sal'salabim, a Mo'arg (one of the races of demons that works on the Forge Camps) who, for some reason completely left unstated, is currently no longer affiliated with the Burning Legion and is instead getting wasted at the Shattrath bar. I guess they really do serve anybody. I think I should be curious as to why A: the Naaru allow a demon whose entire race seems to be members of the Burning Legion and good for naught but evil and destruction and maiming to even enter Shattrath, much less get intoxicated... and B: why his Legion masters haven't come to kill him in painful manners if he's a deserter.
Actually, maybe I just answered my own question. He's a deserter, so not totally evil, so the Naaru tolerate him... and out of fear of the Naaru, the Legion commanders don't dare go for revenge. Huh. Okay, that makes sense.
When I ask Sal'salabim for info on the plans, he predictably turns hostile and aggros me (silly drunk demons)... but unfortunately for him, he's vulnerable to slows and snares and I just respecced to Frost. Easy peasy. After I freeze his extremities for a bit, Sal'salabim says he'll cough up the information if I help him track down three debtors of his, beat them up, and take the money they owe him. Yay for activities of borderline legality!
After I put the hurt (or rather, the death) on the three and get what they owe, Sal'salabim tells me the key to undoing the Forge Camps. Take the Fel Cannons... turn them around 180 degrees... and fire!
Yes, it is just that easy. I think I should feel insulted, but the prospect of unleashing mass destruction really appeals to my inner self. Also, my outer self. Okay, my whole damn self.
I take this back to Altruis the Demon Hunter, aka Altruis the Sufferer (sounds like the front-man of an emo band, to me... but he's got two giant double-blades so I'm not inclined to argue) and tell him this. He tells me to then kill the demon Overseers of each camp, get the Fel Cannon key from their corpse, and go to town.
Don't have to tell me twice!
The overseers (a fully demonic Eredar and a Pit Lord, respectively) actually hit kinda hard, so you need a full group for them. Still, they go down like all the others, and it's explosion time!
Only, it's less of an explosion and more of a BZZZAAAAP. Meh. Maybe it's just my inner Marvin the Martian, but the lack of an Earth-shattering KABOOM doesn't really feel as... visceral.
Well, that's done! All finished with Nagrand! Woo-hoo!
Hey, what's this? Garrosh has a quest for me? I need to go talk to the Greatmother? Hm. I wonder what this could mean.
The following section not only contains big spoilers, but also lots and lots of pictures. Yes, I screenshotted every bit of dialogue. You've been warned, people. It's also really awesome, especially for those total uber loser nerds with no life who like the Warcraft storyline. Like, for instance, me.
The Greatmother tells me about some things, like the state of the village, etc... she's old and dying, and knows that. It's nature, and her fate.
Geyah mentions the clan mothers that have come before her, and says that her predecessor, Mother Kashur, wishes to speak with me. However, since Kashur is currently deceased, I'll need a special potion to be able to see her. This is sort of puzzling, because I already took a magical dead-speaky-drink way back when (in the last installment!)... but who am I to argue with the NPCs?
So, I need to get herbs from all around Outland. Since Blade's Edge isn't currently open, I'm slightly puzzled as to how the hell I'm supposed to get the Dragonspine she asks of me, but it turns out that they grow on the bottom of the cliff face that quite literally is the border between Blade's Edge and Zangarmarsh. Once I have all four herbs, I return to Greatmother Geyah, she gives me the potion to drink, and I'm headed for the Ancestral Orc Grounds to meet Mother Kashur.
If I can just go on a tangent for a moment-this quest line is awesome. I'm relating it because I know that there are those of you who want to see it or play Alliance and won't get a chance to see it in-game, but I really feel bad spoiling it for you. Seriously, you might not want to read on.
The Trolls are my favorite race in Warcraft in terms of aesthetics, style, sheer awesomeness, and all that jazz... ever since Warcraft 2, that's been the case. But the Orcs are right behind them, and in the case of racial storylines... there's just no comparison. Their culture, their fall and blood curse, and their ultimate redemption-it's great stuff. And, of course, Thrall and Grom Hellscream both kick ass, and their individual stories are both superb.
Not only is this particular quest line tied into the lineages of both Thrall and Hellscream, it's got some excellent backstory about the Naaru, the Draenei and the land they called Draenor, and Orc culture as well. It goes all over the place, and it's certainly very cool. But what I was really surprised by was how well it was put together. Everybody knows that Blizzard has always been astounding with the polish they put into games, and barring any discussion of Space Paladinz, their creative staff is talented. Even knowing that, I was still impressed by just how well this quest line was crafted.
In particular, the pieces of dialogue with the Greatmother are not only extremely well-written, but I found them to be genuinely emotional as well. I really wish I hadn't seen the event in question prior to this chain so I could be surprised by it, because it's just that damn good.
Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled sarcasm and wit. Pardon the tangent, please.
I hitch up with a guildie Mage who's on the exact same part of the chain as me, and we figure we might as well get this done together. The ghost of Mother Kashur lets me know that the potion actually didn't do a damn thing; a spirit like her can only be seen by those she allows to see her-she'd given me a test, and I'd passed it. Good to know, I guess. Kashur tells us that the spirits of the Orc Ancestors have been restless lately, and are causing disturbances throughout Nagrand. There are some orc spirits wandering around that supposedly represent their state of being, and she asks us to get rid of some of them to help the dead rest easier.
We do so... only, it doesn't work! She's worried but not particularly surprised, and asks us to investigate four ancestral orc towns throughout the zone. We ride through Sunspring Post, Garadar, the Laughing Skull and Burning Blade ruins... there are certainly orc spirits about, but they all seem to be heading towards the south-towards Oshu'gun, the diamond mountain.
Mother Kashur tells us that Oshu'gun used to be the centerpiece of the shaman culture the Orcs practiced way back when... but when the tribes became a Horde, the spirits of Oshu'gun fell silent. However, something is drawing the ancestors there, and she asks us to go find out what it is, exactly.
It turns out that there are actually some demons of the Burning Legion sort inside Oshu'gun, but since none of them have a gold question mark over their heads, they've got nothing to do with it. Interestingly enough, there's a series of hallways inside the diamond mountain that makes the place look strikingly similar to the Exodar and other Draenei architecture. Huh...
At last, deep within the giant diamond, we find what we seek: a Naaru named K'ure, with lifeless (well, they're dead, but you know what I mean...) Orc Ancestor spirits floating all around in a rather creepy fashion. The precious golden punctuation floats above K'ure, so we know we've found our mark.
K'ure talks to us, and says that he... she... it... is, regrettably, indeed the cause of the disturbance affecting the ancestors' spirits. Oshu'gun, says the Naaru, was the vessel in which the Draenei and Naaru originally came to Draenor. Though their crash from the heavens was many centuries past, and the Draenei were able to leave to spread and live on their new world, K'ure was trapped inside the diamond mountain, unable to leave.
You know what? I'm going to assume all Naaru are male for the sake of convenience.
His energies slowly drained away over the years, and with their absence came a vortex that pulled at the spirits of the land, drawing them inexorably to the halls of Oshu'gun. The Burning Legion used this vortex to trap spirits and creatures of the void in order to bolster their own ranks, and K'ure remained unable to stop this seemingly neverending cycle. He is unable to do anything, but he believes that there is somebody who can...
To Shattrath we go, to speak to the Big Daddy Naaru, A'dal himself. However, even the being described by Khadgar as "the most powerful being you'll ever meet" is unable to help, but there's yet another who possesses the ability to bring serenity back to the troubled spirits of the orc ancestors.
If this third guy sends me to yet another, I'm gonna be peeved.
Remember the Naaru I mentioned last time, that appeared in the Auchenai Crypts when Exarch Maladaar was a smoldering corpse? Yep, it's him. That Naaru was, apparently, technically dead-and the mausoleum of Auchindoun was built around his tomb. However, since we got all the Dragonballs together and wished for it, he's not dead anymore (hey, I dunno, that might have been what happened...!) A'dal tells us to go into the Crypts to speak to this guy.
As leet as my friend and I are, we can't do the Crypts by ourselves. So, it looks like we're at a dead end.
...but wait! A third guildie mage is on this part of the quest, and he's willing to come too! A Druid is willing to go all RAWRTANK-and since we've already got four, it's not too much of a hassle to convince a Priest to come as a healer, and it's off to the Crypts we go!
Even though I believe that the Mage got a shorter stick with their expansion changes compared to some of the other classes, the sheer destructive power of a well-geared trio of waterboys is not to be underestimated. I think it's somewhere around halfway to Shirrak, the first boss, when we give up on single-burning down enemies and just decide to AoE all the pulls. Fun times, and it's easily the fastest Crypts run I've done, bar none (we clocked in at just over 30 minutes).
Hell, I think we took that entire last AoE room in two gigantic pulls. It was kinda funny that we had three mages, all with the 41 point talents in different trees. Yay for synergy within a class.
Once Maladaar is eating dust, the Naaru awakens from his slumber and approaches us. D'ore, the Naaru, was all but killed in the crash of Oshu'gun-and Velen & Co. laid his remains in the sarcophagus, believing him to actually be deceased. After almost a thousand years of regeneration, he is almost restored, and the "cycle is almost complete..."
Without light, there is no shadow. By the same token, the Light of the Naaru depends on the existence of the Void. The existence of the Naaru is just that-a constant, eternal fluctuation between light and dark. Over the centuries, the slow but constant pull generated by D'ore's Void energy drew spirits and creatures to Auchindoun, and the current state of the cursed catacombs is largely due to that. The same thing is happening now with the orc ancestors, K'ure, and Oshu'gun. The revived Naaru tells us that the only way to grant the ancestors peace is to destroy the essence of the void within each of them.
He grants the three of us each a Soul Mirror, which we can then use to reflect the Void within the ancestor spirits, turning them into a creature which can then be slain-granting that spirit rest. Thankfully, instead of having to free all of the ancestor spirits, we only have to do 15 or so. Thank god for quest limitations.
The Darkened Spirits are all elite, but can be slowed and rooted. As you can imagine, three Mages make short work of the creatures, and return to Mother Kashur. The spirit thanks us for doing what we have done to help preserve the serenity of the ancestors... she is grateful, and asks us to return to Greatmother Geyah with the news, hoping that it will bolster the morale of all the Mag'har-especially Garrosh.
Geyah is, of course, incredibly thankful. As the clan mother, she must watch over and protect her people-and we have aided the Mag'har in tremendous ways. She believes that if we tell Garrosh himself what we've done, his foul mood will surely be lifted.
However, the son of Hellscream continues in his whole emo vein, saying that perhaps I should now lead the Mag'har after what I've done, and he would then be permitted to follow the Greatmother into death, rather than live with the shame of his family name.
...huh? Hey, wasn't Grom Hellscream one of the greatest Orc Chieftains? I certainly remember him like that. Hm. I think we may be getting to the root of Garrosh's malaise.
He then confirms it, thanks us for what we have done for his people, but says that he cannot step up to lead. His blood is cursed, and he will not "become the second Hellscream to damn the orcs." We tell this to the Greatmother, who is understandably disappointed-but accepts the news serenely. Her time is almost nigh, and it is something she must accept. Well, this quest chain certainly ended on a down note.
(This is the part where I pretend I don't know what happens to write about it better. Joy!)
The Greatmother says that we remind her of her son, a great warrior and chieftain of his people, who sacrificed so much to oppose the forces of Gul'dan and the Shadow Council for the good of his people... she only wishes that Durotan could be there, right now.
I know that name. Sounds an awful lot like that place I spent the first 10 levels of my WoW life in, don't it?
Hey, wasn't he, like, the father of that Thrall person or something like that? Hey, I think he was!
At the news that her son had a child who is now the Warchief of the Horde, leading his people from a land named after his father (her son!) on the other side of the Dark Portal, Greatmother Geyah is understandably shocked but overjoyed. She asks us to go to Azeroth... to tell her grandson about his heritage, and to ask him to see her before she passes.
It's a good thing we've got three Mages. Otherwise we'd NEVER be able to get to Orgrimmar!
Thrall, like his grandmother, is stunned at the revelation... and tells us to go back to her and tell her that he will come as soon as he makes the proper preparations. Thank Blizzard for Hearthstones, eh?
We tell Geyah that Thrall's on his way, and the sound of war drums fills the air. Thrall, son of Durotan, is home at last...
Well, I've already covered this. Sure as hell not gonna write out the entire thing again. (I DID, however, take a screenshot of each individual piece of dialogue, because the first screenies left too many holes and I'm having some trouble with the video hosting... just keep adding one to the ID number of the above picture to see them all!)
After the awesome-socks event, I get my nifty head armor. Almost immediately after, I hear that they're taking down the servers to apply a patch... a patch that will raise the level cap and add in the two new zones of Blade's Edge and Netherstorm! Flying mounts, too! ...except, the flying mount vendors are in Shadowmoon Valley, which isn't implemented yet. So, uh, no flying mounts quite yet.
Still, this entry has gone on a bit too long. I blame my lore fixation.
Tune in next time, when we go to infinity... and beyond!
...well, okay, to 68... and beyond!
Ugh, FINE. 68 and not quite beyond, to 70! Thanks for ruining my ending. I hope you're happy.