The new expansion for World of Warcraft titled ‘Battle For Azeroth’, recently launched this past Monday at 6pm EST and already my wife and I have been gleefully battling our way through the new zones. We just hit level 117 (out of the new level cap of 120) last night and there is no sign of us slowing down anytime soon (we’re actually not leveling fast at all really, a streamer named Gingi hit the level cap in just over 4 hours after the expansion launched). I myself hadn’t played World of Warcraft for a couple of months (I felt I had done everything there was to do within Legion) and just resubscribed when the pre-patch events began 3 weeks ago. Leading up to this expansion the hype was palpable. The tensions between the Horde and Alliance have never been this severe. Now, the guild we’re in is vibrant and alive again. It’s nice to finally have new areas to explore and levels to gain. It really feels good to be back.
BTW Spoilers ahead, so if you don’t want some of the experience ruined, don’t read any further.
If it’s your first time logging in for a while, you’re greeted with the Battle for Lordaeron quest (if you didn’t finish it during the pre-expansion patch shame on you, the storyline has been insane leading up to Battle For Azeroth) when you do. If you did finish the battle, Magni Scholazar will give you a quest to come and see him to attain the Heart of Azeroth. It’s a new Artifact Necklace that gains Artifact Power and levels up so you can power up your Azerite gear. This new gear can be acquired through quests and other means and fitted with different abilities (some enhance your current talents, while others have an effect on your base stats) to help you around the world and in the dungeons and raids that you’ll take part in. It doesn’t feel quite the same as leveling up your Artifact Weapons like in the previous expansion Legion, since you’re changing gear constantly (whereas with the weapons, you were always using the same one based on your main talent tree and there was a serious bond there), but I’m sure we’ll get accustomed to it the more time we spend with it.
As of right now, we have only played our Horde characters (I’m a Blood Elf Rogue, the wife is a Blood Elf Priest). After a brief visit to Stormwind where we broke out our new Zandalari (a different race of Trolls) allies from prison and made a great escape, we arrived at the first area we would explore, Zuldazar. It’s a gorgeous area filled with forests, tall pyramids, and dinosaurs. There are dinosaurs everywhere, and it’s fantastic. When we arrive at the throne we are told that there is treachery, treason, and deceit amongst the Zandalari king and his people. Blizzard has stepped their game up in terms of storytelling and making this world feel cohesive and it all flows seamlessly. The story takes some interesting turns and the daughter of the king Princess Talanji proves to be a formidable ally. Even in later quests, she joins you in battle. She isn’t just some spoiled brat who sits on the sidelines. She’s pretty great honestly.
Once we were finished the main storyline in that area, we ventured over to the dank swamps of Nazmir. Blood Trolls fill these areas and are terrifying new enemies. Wherever you find them, there will always be buckets of blood and these Trolls aren’t afraid to tell you how much they love cannibalism. Death is a large part of the Zandlari culture, and that’s made very apparent in these swamps. Bwonsamdi (literally the coolest character to come to WOW in a long time) is a powerful loa that commands the spirits of the dead. When you die, he’s always there to greet you, which is shocking the first time it happens because the angel that has been reviving you since the beginning of World of Warcraft has never bothered to say a word. There’s an entire questline devoted to helping him deal with lost souls in Nazmir. One, in particular, has you reuniting a young troll child with his mother. At first, it seems sweet but quickly takes a very dark turn that had my wife and I both surprised. These side quests are turning out to be just as good as the main story. Now that we’re done with the main storyline in Nazmir, we will be heading over to the deserts of Vol’dun tonight.
Out of the ten new dungeons, we’ve only been through two of them. The first was Atal’Dazar, a pyramid full of spiders and dinosaurs. The second was Temple of Sethraliss, a maze of caverns full of a new race of snake people called Sethrak. This dungeon has different obstacles like waves of electric orbs you need to navigate through in its narrow corridors. Even the final boss is different in the sense that you have to heal him while fighting waves of enemies. What I’ve noticed in these two dungeons alone is that Blizzard has made adjustments and tweaks to make these dungeons more interesting. They have different mechanics that don’t just require you running from point A to point B. When we ran Atal’Dazar the first time as a guild, we were looking around trying to figure out where to go next. This honestly hasn’t happened in years and was a shock to the system. It’s refreshing and I hope this trend continues throughout the rest of the content.
Needless to say, the wife and I are really digging this new expansion. It’s literally all we’ve been talking about before it launched, and now it’s all we talk about during our days. Once the kids are in bed (and maybe even before) we’re online. The story is still very intense, but the worlds are much more gorgeous and vibrant this time around as opposed to the doom and gloom that was Legion (ok Nazmir is pretty damn dark, but it looks cool). With the prospect of World Quests unlocking once we hit level 120, World PVP to take part in, Mythic Dungeons to run, a new Raid to conquer, two new allied races available to unlock right now (Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orcs) and two more coming in the near future (Zandalari Trolls and Kul Tiran Humans) there are definitely plenty of things to bring you back to the World of Warcraft. – NVJ
World of Warcraft: Battle For Azeroth is now available on PC & MAC
If you’re interested in joining a pretty laid back Horde guild on the Kul Tiras server, be sure to send a message to The Eh Team.