WAWK: Hellfire Citadel Part III

bastion of shadows

Moving away from orcs and the other traditional bosses we’ve come to expect from the expansion so far, we now move onto other races of Draenor that have been tempted by the Legion: The Felsworn Arakkoa and the Sargerai faction of Draenei. Most notably, we will be facing up against Shadow-Lord Iskar, Socrethar the Eternal and Tyrant Velhari in the Bastion of Shadows wing of Hellfire Citadel. Although Velhari doesn’t appear much outside of Hellfire Citadel, both Iskar and Socrethar have plenty of backstory to discuss and find out the answer to the question: “Who Are We Killing?”

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Shadow-Lord Iskar

I made a mistake last time saying that we already knew this bird from The Burning Crusade as he seemed to be a name I recognised even when we first met him in Talador and later Spires of Arak. After looking into it deeper, it turns out I was confusing him with Isfar, the Arakkoa responsible for giving you a bunch of Sethekk Halls quests back in the day. Regardless, despite being introduced for the first time in Warlords of Draenor, he appears multiple times during the questing experience as well as in the short story Apocrypha where he is the clutch-brother of High Sage Viryx, the last boss of Skyreach. As a result, he’s arguably still got the most lore behind him as a result within the Bastion of Shadows.

His story is a tragic one, starting off with picking up the pieces of Viryx due to her reckless behaviour of breaking the rules (going as far as risking getting her wings clipped and thrown from Skyreach). Unfortunately for Iskar, he kept on getting into the wrong place at the wrong time thanks to trying to keep Viryx out of trouble. Once captured after finding information derogatory against Rukhmar, his clutch-sister betrayed him by choosing Skyreach over Iskar and clipped his wings before exiling him into Sethekk Hollow. From this betrayal, he sought vengeance against Rukhmar and his Adherents throughout the Spires of Arak, culminating with the defeat of Viryx who had later become the High Sage.

However, during the events of the Spires of Arak we find that Iskar had desires of bringing Terokk back physically against the advice of Reshad (the other main Arakkoa protagonist of Spires). Instead, Terokk imbues the player with his powers to fight against Kargath Bladefist, and Iskar becomes outraged that outsiders were allowed to use arakkoa magic, and goes missing shortly after the events in Skyreach now that his ultimate goal had been completed.

The Order of the Awakened is formed after High Sage Viryx is defeated, allowing an alliance between the Outcasts and the surviving Adherents, though when their scouts go searching for Iskar, we find that he murders them. Unable to accept the balance between light and shadow, Iskar looks toward Gul’dan as the orc promises to restore his wings in return for finding the Cipher of Damnation, a spell used to imbalance the elements of Draenor and cause it to become unstable.

Once successful, Gul’dan fulfills his promise and orders Iskar to raise an army of felsworn Arakkoa, all bearing the gift bestowed upon Iskar. Knowing that his past was to seek justice against the Adherents of old, to dispel the myths about Rukhmar and the Curse of Sethe, it seems a shame to have to kill Iskar. He could have been a hero with us, but I guess once you lose the trust of those closest to you, I guess you become a little more trustworthy of those that can produce immediate results for your own selfish goals.

Socrethar

Socrethar the Eternal

A character that we did originally meet in TBC however was Socrethar. There wasn’t much character development for him back then (as was the case with most NPCs in WoW’s earlier days) but what we did know was that he wasn’t one of the original man’ari eredar that joined Kil’jaeden and Archimonde on Argus. He only joined the legion at a later date and all we knew of him was that he was once a renowned warrior of the Light and pride was his only flaw.

In the alternate universe in Warlords, he was introduced to us as Exarch Othaar, one of the five Exarchs that led the Draenei under Velen in Shadowmoon Valley. When the Alliance first arrive in Shadowmoon, Maraad requests the aid of Elodor for supplies as well as assistance against the Shadowmoon Clan of orcs. Exarch Othaar gathered the other four Exarchs together as he could not make the decision alone, but when the player meets up with them Exarch Hataaru had been murdered.

After a short investigation it was revealed that Othaar was the traitor and reveals himself to be the eredar Socrethar. After his escape he becomes the leader of the Sargerei faction of Draenei, twisted by the Burning Legion in pursuit of power, and claims Shattrath for the Legion after we liberated it from the Iron Horde. The Sunsworn, Auchenai and Sha’tari Defense team up to remove him and his forces from the city, resulting in his supposed death.

Gul’dan had other plans however. Using the holy ritual practiced by the Auchenai that immortalizes a great Draenei warrior by placing his spirit into a vigilant, Gul’dan twisted it using fel magic to bring Socrethar the Eternal to life within the upper halls of Hellfire Citadel. An interesting tidbit that when we defeat him in HFC, he mentions that the nether is consuming him. Is this what the binding was for, to cement his presence on Draenor and become full-demon? Is his soul now in the Twisting Nether to return in the future, or did we stop the binding process? I guess time will tell.

Velhari

Tyrant Velhari

The final boss of the Bastion of Shadows is a Sargerei that was, previous to 6.2, unknown within WoW. However, with her unique mechanics, I’m pretty sure this will be a fight to remember for most healers in the game. The only presence she has outside of the raid is in the 6.2 Tanaan Campaign questline, where she is protecting Gorefiend alongside her disciple Adept Vatrusta underneath Auchindoun. When confronted, Gorefiend and Velhari escape while Vatrusta falls to buy them time.

From her abilities that she uses, it was clear that she used to be a Vindicator or some other style of Paladin before accepting the fel touch. From (un)Holy Power builders such as Annihilating Strike, Tainted Shadows and Bulwark of the Tyrant, to casting them three times before using a more powerful (un)Holy Power spender such as Infernal Tempest, Font of Corruption and Gavel of the Tyrant. In addition auras and her three Guardians of Ancient Kings simulating effects that Retribution, Holy and Protection Paladins would wield, it becomes clear that Blizzard designed her as a ‘fallen paladin’, showing just how much your faith will still empower you, whether or not it becomes tainted by fel magics.

As with Socrethar she is also a demon, so it’s unknown if we truly have defeated her or if she could make a return in the future until we destroy her soul within the Nether itself.


That rounds up the Bastion of Shadows! Next time we’ll be taking a deep dive into the full-blown demonic side of Hellfire Citadel in the Destructor’s Rise wing, taking a look at the not-very-well-known Fel Lord Zakuun and Xhul’horac before discussing the Destructor himself, Mannoroth!

WAWK: Hellfire Citadel Part II

Hellfire Citadel

From the Hellbreach and into the Halls of Blood, we’re continuing our series of Who Are We Killing by exploring the backstories and the reasons why different encounters are within the raid! In the Halls of Blood, we have three more encounters filling out the rest of the lower section of Hellfire Citadel: orcs, orcs and (ex-)orcs, but it’s the final time we see orcs as bosses for the rest of the expansion! In here we have the Hellfire High Council, Kilrogg Deadeye and Gorefiend!

High Council

Hellfire High Council

As advisors of war I’d have thought this trio would appear later on in the raid, but here we are with the most powerful orcs to come out of drinking the blood of Mannoroth (other than Kilrogg and Gul’dan). Dia Darkwhisper, formerly of the Shadowmoon Clan, is a master of void magic that rivals perhaps even Ner’zhul’s and acts as Gul’dan’s left hand – I assume after Cho’gall had betrayed Gul’dan and perished in Highmaul, he needed a new champion of the void that wouldn’t succumb to this dark master Cho’gall mentions. Gurtogg Bloodboil emerged victorious a hundreds times over by trial of combat, while the third member of the High Council, Blademaster Jubei’thos of the Burning Blade, was the only one who managed a draw.

Most fresh in our minds with regards to alternate timelines of orcs we’ve already killed, Gurtogg Bloodboil was a memorable fight from back in Black Temple days of The Burning Crusade! However, even back then he didn’t have any character buildup so we don’t really know an awful lot about him, other than him being a really big orc and he has an insatiable bloodlust that causes him to sometimes fixate on a target and for whatever reason has a knack for raising the body temperatures of those furthest away from him.

Those that have played Warcraft III may recognise the Blademaster joining in on the fight, Jubei’thos. Interestingly enough, in this timeline he becomes the leader of the Burning Blade clan after Azuka Bladefury’s demise (it’s assumed) whereas back in WCIII he was a member of the Blackrock clan. I had a bit of trouble when Warlords was released and found out that the Burning Blade had allied with the Iron Horde when in the main timeline they’ve usually been without chieftain and, more importantly, held loyalty to no one. Although this could still be viable, as we don’t know events of the Burning Blade before the Second War that could have led to this clan’s regression. Still, in Blackrock or in Burning Blade, it seems that his lust for demons is still the same.

Dia on the other hand is completely new and has never been mentioned before in Warcraft lore, although we kind of got rid of most of the Shadowmoon Clan already, and they’re the ones most likely to know void magic. Maybe Nethekurse instead of making him a rarespawn in Tanaan? Though he mainly played with felfire anyway, and that doesn’t really follow the idea behind Darkwhisper’s abilities shown in this encounter. Instead of secreting Dentarg away in the legendary questline where he’s not particularly memorable, he could have been a good option here too to have three nostalgic bosses (one back to WCII, one to WCIII and the final one to TBC). Wasted opportunities, Blizzard, wasted opportunities…

Kilrogg

Kilrogg Deadeye

Our next stop in nostalgia-town is the final killable warlord on the box of WoD (spoilers, we don’t kill Durotan or Grommash this expansion – unless Blizzard decides to throw a spanner in the works between now and 7.0, and Gul’dan is stated as a boss in the first tier of Legion). Kilrogg Deadeye of the Bleeding Hollow clan has been an interesting character to me. As outlined in the Lords of War video, Kilrogg and his entire clan know how they will die in a coming-of-age ritual practiced throughout the clan. If they see an event coming up that does not include this vision, they will march head-first into it with all the ferocity they can – after all they already know they’ve won!

That’s what makes the 6.1 legendary questline trailer interesting for me: Kilrogg already knew that he would die as a fel orc inside Hellfire Citadel, and so he resides within the Halls of Blood, waiting to lock eyes with the ones he met in his vision. He was always going to “betray” Grommash by drinking from the cup, but I’m guessing he withheld on certain information to Gul’dan that his killers may also be the ones to stop any plans he had with the legion overall – a double agent as it were. It keeps his death honourable, that all orcs strive to have while keeping to his clan’s traditions.

He could have outright denied the vision by never drinking the blood of Mannoroth and cheated his death. However, the rest of his clan likely also saw their deaths in Tanaan Jungle as fel orcs too, so that would have been pretty awkward to tell them that they no longer know how they’ll die, and for them to go into battles without the surety of their deaths isn’t a great morale booster for a clan that have always known if they will die in this fight.

In essence, we kill him here because that is what his destiny was.

Gorefiend

Gorefiend

Another character who’s history has massively differed between the main timeline and this alternate one, the final boss of the Halls of Blood is Teron’gor in his alternate incarnation of Gorefiend! If you ever thought that souls were not just edible, but also had calories, this boss is your answer – an abnormal amount of them also seems to have cancerous properties, unfortunately. So draenei souls are definitely off the weight-watchers lists!

For those that didn’t make the reference yet or begin the Tanaan Campaign quest chain, Teron’gor became Gorefiend after we sent him to the depths of Auchindoun. In order to power the Dark Portal for yet another invasion on Azeroth, it was the power of soul magic that would ignite the portal and keep it maintained. Knowing that he didn’t have the numbers to capture and slaughter draenei like he did in the main universe’s version of opening the portal, Gul’dan settled for sending Teron’gor to Auchindoun, the mausoleum city of the dead, to “bleed it dry”. Whether or not he intended to become the vessel himself or carry a LOT of soul shards around with him remains to be known, but thanks to our meddling it becomes the former.

Yeah, we helped Gul’dan with his plan. Again. During the Tanaan Campaign, we are sent to Auchindoun because the Auchenai sensed that something felt wrong about the place since Teron’gor’s attack, and we find Teron’gor has slightly transformed while bathing in some fel soup and eating a rather large portion of draenei soul goulash – he’s also taken the new name Gorefiend. Tyrant Velhari (a boss we’ll talk about another time) and Adept Vatrusta are protecting him as he gorges on more souls, though when we interfere Velhari and Gorefiend teleport away to Hellfire Citadel while Vatrusta fights us off to give them time to escape.

In Hellfire Citadel, it can be believed that Gorefiend is the battery to open the portal to Azeroth, unleashing the souls he has consumed in order to power and maintain it. Defeating him and releasing the souls of the dead will bring some comfort to the Draenei, but will also cause Gul’dan to go to desperate measures to try and stop us later in the raid.

Interestingly enough, Blizzard decided to call his orc Teron’gor instead of keeping his Orc name Teron Gorefiend – introduced in Warcraft II he was already a Death Knight so could have had the name change when his orcish soul was in a human knight, but even when going to his past he was never called Teron’gor. Minor slip-up on their behalf, or did they want to differentiate between the TBC raid boss, the Warlords questing experience orc, and the HFC raid boss?


And that concludes the Halls of Blood, and the orcish part of the expansion! Next up is the Bastion of Shadows for Arakkoa and Draenei-themed bosses and the start of the Burning Legion and Shadow Council influences among the non-orcish races of Draenor! Two of which are again old friends from TBC, while the final encounter is newly added for the tier.

Legion Initial Thoughts

Legion Logo

Yesterday, Blizzard made their announcement of the new expansion at Gamescom. Spoiler alert, it’s the above image. With the quality of Warlords, I’m a little dubious to see how Legion will turn out, but let’s take a look at everything they’ve announced, and fingers crossed the team they pulled from Titan was put onto this expansion rather than WoD because there’s A LOT of features announced:

Illidan Returns

The first thing we’re met with is the resurrection of Illidan, by Gul’dan. Why does Gul’dan want to resurrect Illidan? At the end of Hellfire Citadel Archimonde pushes Gul’dan through the nether portal to Azeroth mentioning a pact – likely to be the legion’s domination over Azeroth, with the potential resurrection of Sargeras in its wake.

However this Gul’dan is still the alternate universe Gul’dan, he doesn’t know much about Azeroth so he’ll enlist what help he can to find the Tomb of Sargeras. How he finds Illidan is a question to be answered elsewhere (perhaps Archimonde shot Gul’dan straight to the Vault of the Wardens, who knows) but at the end of the day, he does know exactly where the Broken Isles are, where the Tomb of Sargeras resides. The only other people to know this location are Aegwynn, Medivh and Maiev, and I doubt they’ll be helping Gul’dan any time soon…

We saw at the end of the presentation this image nestled in the background, which looks like it means that Illidan is going to betray the Legion AGAIN. Probably realised that the skull he’s been talking to for a few years prior to BT is inside that living Orc’s head, and he wants to become even more demonified than before.

Redemption, killable or runs off to make his own destiny, only time will tell!

New Continent

The Broken Isles

For our first dosage of retcon we have what were sunken islands that were only raised from the sea bed a few decades ago by the main universe’s Gul’dan in Warcraft II. On here we have Vrykul, Nightborn Elves, Mountain Tauren and many other races that have allegedly lived and flourished on these islands for millenia. This was my first alarm bell that rang off for Legion being fan-service instead of following on logically from the lore. I even mentioned to friends and guildies that it would make sense for a South Seas expansion that involved the Tomb of Sargeras, but if Blizzard are making it seem like these islands have been here since the Sundering they’ve got some serious explaining to do! It is a graveyard of what it was, but to say that these guys have been here for 10k years is pushing it a bit.

Before the expansion even launches, our 7.0 event will be to go to the Broken Shore and fight against the Legion invasion at the Tomb of Sargeras. Something happens that severs any kind of cohesion or willingness to work together that the Horde and Alliance may have gained from the events of Siege of Orgrimmar, Warlords of Draenor or the time leading up to the battle at the Broken Shore.

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For the islands themselves however, we’ve got gorgeous scenery coming our way in a mashup of Northrend’s Grizzly Hills/Howling Fjord style mixed with northern Kalimdor’s elven territories. Being a Druid, seeing Val’Sharah teased first was pretty awesome as it’s where Malfurion first learned Druidism under Cenarius. Unfortunately this zone has never actually been mentioned ever before, so we don’t know much more than that for the time being other than it being full of Druid-related lore as well as fighting against Xavius and the Emerald Nightmare. Cenarius will appear here, as well as an appearance from Ysera. We’ll also be able to sink our teeth into Black Rook Hold here that HAS been mentioned previously in lore.

Stormheim is another exciting premise, with more lore and story on Vrykul, Val’kyr and even Kvaldir that chose to not follow the Lich King. We get to see the Halls of Valor (references to Valhalla) and Helheim (references to… Helheim) with the heaven and hell of this Vrykul culture. We’ll be racing against the God-King who is under the influence of the Legion to find one of the Pillars of Creation. Azsuna (Aszuna? The Priestess was called Aszune, unless it’s a reference for Azshara?) was teased next as the reference to the graveyard and bare bones of the ancient night elf culture 10,000 years ago. Here we will find ghosts of these elves as well as a dying breed of blue dragonflight – the second reference to dragons in this new continent. Finally, another Pillar of Creation is found in this zone, racing against Azshara to collect it, though it looks like we’ll be going head to head with Tidemistress Athissa instead of Azshara herself for this relic! Seems we have SOME content left for the future of WoW.

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Next up we have Highmountain, home to the Highmountain Tauren and a new race called the Drogbar who have previously lived in peace with one another, allegedly surviving for 10,000 years underwater until Gul’dan raised the islands to the surface – unless Highmountain was still high enough for its peaks to be above the water. However when the legion arrived, the Drogbar leader Dargrul the Underking stole the Hammer of Khaz’goroth from the Tauren and intends to take control of Highmountain. Nesingwary is going to make his return here too for some big game hunting. We also have the Lair of the Earthwarder, Neltharion. Whether this has a clutch of uncorrupted black dragonflight that Wrathion couldn’t detect, or if there’s another storyline there is something to consider, but this is the third reference to dragonflight that we see in the Broken Isles.

Finally we have Suramar teased for us, where we have another alleged old tribe of elves that have somehow managed to not only survive, but flourish despite being underwater for so long, and ALSO have no reference to existing in the Warcraft III campaign mission where we visited Suramar. These Nightborn, sitting in front of their Nightwell are pawns of the Burning Legion and are also owners of the final Pillar of Creation, so I imagine we’ll be seeing the end of this flourishing civilisation within the first tier. Afrasiabi also mentions right at the end of his presentation that this is the zone where we will finally see Alleria and Turalyon. Because it makes sense that these two heroes lost on Outland somehow turn up back in main universe Azeroth. All will hopefully be explained.

Dalaran was cited as the neutral hub, and before you get confused why Jaina would allow the Horde back in – apparently she has a strop and walks off while Khadgar becomes the leader of the Kirin Tor in her stead! Because he is still Captain Neutral, he allows the Horde back in to save Blizzard some art rework for the city and says it’s because it’s necessary to succeed.

Artifact Weapons

Artifacts

Deciding that loot drama in raids for weapons was too much, Blizzard have decided to fix this problem by giving all 36 specs in the game their own unique weapon that defines their role. Some specs get weapons of old, others get new ones from the new continent. The first thing players will do upon reaching level 100 and entering Legion content will be to get this new artifact weapon.

Retribution Paladins will go to the Broken Shore on the new continent in the aftermath of the Tomb of Sargeras event to seek out where the Ashbringer sword fell so that you can wield it. Protection Warriors go to the tomb of an ancient Vrykul king to go on a quest to find his sword and shield (made from the scales of Neltharion, interesting to see that these Vrykul were either already Iron Vrykul and obviously friends with the Earthwarder, or were already afflicted by the Curse of Flesh to become standard squishy skin Vrykul BEFORE Neltharion turned into Deathwing). Frost DKs go to the base of Icecrown to retrieve the shard of Frostmourne, and reforge the weapon into a pair of runeblades (goodbye 2h Frost).

The weapon levels up as you do, and you gain Artifact Power as you adventure. You can then spend it to unlock certain traits such as for Ashbringer to mimic Holy Power spenders 2 seconds later, or for Frost DKs to be able to use Raise Ally on themselves when they die. Some are multi-point talents whereas others are new abilities or utilities that affect existing spells. It’s almost like a return of Path of the Titans system in its conception in Lich King, allied up with the talent trees of pre-Cata. Yay, nostalgia rejoices and we keep the better talent system!

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However, a large problem with having these artifacts right from day 1 would be that every single person of your spec will be wielding the same weapon, even if it’s customised to do things differently or has more power because you killed a certain boss or whatever. It’s almost like as if the entire game became Druids with how variable they can look to each other. Fear not, however, Blizzard have already thought of that and are coming out with 5 models for each weapon! Unlockable in different ways such as (I believe) doing PvP, killing raid bosses, doing a certain questline, completing the weapon talent tree or simply reaching level 110 or other completion steps you can upgrade the base model to new ones! These models also have different skin-tints so that your Ashbringer still looks unique to others, and again these skin variations are unlocked by doing things ingame.

Continuing the Ashbringer hypetrain, the different variants of Ashbringer do look pretty unique with how it could look like with devout fire, a new version of the corrupted Ashbringer as well as one shattered that’s held together by lightning. No idea how that last one works out lore-wise, we’ll see. Mistweaver Monks get Sheilun, Staff of the Mists by returning to Pandaria to seek out the staff of the Emperor Shaohao, with variations of their staff to look sha-like or how a follower of Yu’lon or Chi-Ji might design their staff.

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Fire Mages get to follow in the footsteps of Kael’thas Sunstrider by wielding his legendary blade Felo’melorn, lost at his defeat against Arthas at the foot of Icecrown Citadel. If they get an offhand to go with it, or if the weapon is powerful enough for the weapon to take a 2h slot remains to be seen, but the fel, molten and titanic versions do look pretty awesome with interesting connotations. Survival Hunters got a shock to their system when they found out that their unique weapon wasn’t a bow, gun or even crossbow: it was a spear! Blizzard are massively changing Hunter specs and included in that was Survival becoming a melee spec that utilizes a pet! For their artifact weapon, Survival gets to explore the lore of the new Tauren tribe and acquire The Eagle Spear with different beasts adorning its head.

Icebringer and Soulreaper are the weapons to be used by Frost Death Knights, with their variations looking pretty similar, but very death-knighty nonetheless with different places to put skulls, or to change the size of them. Kinda wish that you’d be able to have two different variations at once, but that’s neither been confirmed nor denied. I’d imagine that the game would only allow the same for whatever code they put in for the artifacts, but who knows? Enhancement Shamans got excited by seeing the Doomhammer becoming their artifact, though I don’t know if it’s because we might see the demise of Thrall in order to get it, because it almost signaled the return of 2h Enhancement (spoiler, it doesn’t), or because it’s such a badass weapon anyway. These variations were the most interesting for me to see, with lightning, fel, molten and crystal being the different variations available to Doomhammer, and for the offhand we were told that we’d get a “negative energy” lookalike for that second slot.

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Feral Druids got a rather long joke talked about with how they never see their weapons, but the Fangs of the First Nightsaber was teased to completely change the cat form for the Druids (with Guardian having a similar effect on their artifact too). Ferals were also teased with new HD versions of their cat form too for those levelling from 6-100 without the Fangs in the previous slide. Other artifacts included the Maw of the Damned for Blood Death Knights, Ebonchill, Greatstaff of Alodi for Frost Mages and Thas’Dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners for Marksmanship Hunters.

With 36 specs, 5 different models and each of those models having 4 different colour variations… That’s 720 new weapon skins coming at launch – we might still get a new skin for the second tier of raiding or the second season of pvp. That’s a ton more artwork that seems to be a proper evolution of the class accessories that were teased for Warlords. Unless even those are still to come…?

Because a friend was talking about them too, I would totally dig the Challenge Mode rewards to be an armor set that you could customise so that you could match them with your artifact, unless the CM reward was in fact one of the reskins tints for the PvE versions of artifacts.

Class Order Halls

Class Orders

Halfhill Farm mkIII, Garrisons 2.0, whatever you want to call it, this sounds awesome and I have absolutely no idea why it’s being implemented. It doesn’t exactly fit the lore to include it now, but it’s something that probably should have happened years ago. These class orders are groups of the same class, both Horde and Alliance, coming together in a certain location to work out where to go next. You’ve assembled these people together because Varian and Vol’jin won’t or can’t and it’s the best bet that Azeroth has to fight against the Legion.

So there are a base of operations for your class that is thematic to where your class would go: Shamans would be in a conclave overlooking the Maelstrom; Paladins create a templar sanctum underneath Light’s Hope Chapel; Warlocks have an enclave on a Legion portal world; Mages get a section within Dalaran; Death Knights have brought Acherus over to the Broken Isles.

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I imagine Monks will use the Peak of Serenity and Druids are in the barrow dens of Moonglade, but I have no idea what multi-faction, class-specific areas could be created for Hunters, Priests, Rogues, Warriors or Demon Hunters. Priests especially with many races worshiping different deities: Pandaren with the Celestials, the Forsaken with the Forgotten Shadow, Trolls and Loa, Tauren with An’she, Night Elves with Elune and the everyone else devout to the Light – judging by Earth’s history they’re going to wipe each other out in their own class order hall!

These won’t have AH or banks in them, they’re purely there for the mission table (and possible class-specific quests?) and to upgrade your artifact. The mission table this time around is slightly different, in that instead of recruiting anyone you can find to fuel your army against the Iron Horde, we are now recruiting champions of our classes to join our cause against the Legion. It seems with Ghostcrawler’s absence Paladins are coming to the forefront even more with another example of a champion being someone like Lady Liadrin.

The missions this time around are different too! Instead of just being a facebook game where you send followers off, reap the rewards half an hour later and then send them off again, you can send your champions to different zones, and they can discover new things that you can go out and investigate. It looks like they’re learning from their garrisons mistake in Warlords by sending people out – but it really depends on if the rewards are worth it for us, otherwise we’ll just sit in Dalaran all day complaining at how terrible Legion is compared to previous expansions.

Dungeons and Raids

Dungeons and Raids

Blizzard realised they dun goof’d when it came to dungeons in Warlords. They realised that they should be more than just a short experience you have for a few weeks at cap and then move onto raiding. So this time they’re giving dungeons more replayability, more varied challenges, and more reason to do them throughout the entire expansion. Starting off with 9 dungeons (and none of them updating old ones… Unless Violet Hold isn’t a new wing and we get rid of the old one for this) we’re onto a good start from what Warlords offered us.

We got glimpses of Halls of Valor, a levelup dungeon in the clouds above Stormheim with heavy influence on Valhalla; Black Rook Hold, a max level dungeon in Val’Sharah – a night elven military fortress where Lord Kur’talos Ravencrest once resided; and Vault of the Wardens, the prison where Illidan and other demon hunters were held, alongside other terrifying monsters.

Other 5mans included the Eye of Azshara in Azsuna, featuring naga; Darkheart Thicket at the base of the World Tree to save Malfurion who has once again napped and got himself stuck in the Nightmare; Neltharion’s Lair where we venture into the capital of rocky people and recover the Pillar of Creation wielded by their chieftain; Helheim, the polar opposite of Halls of Valor in a dungeon similar to Grimrail Depot where we board the ghost ship of the damned and sail to Helheim fighting off Kvaldir as we go; Suramar City holds the Nightborne and we find out their plan and ties with the Burning Legion; and finally Violet Hold has some deep secrets within it that weren’t uncovered the first time we were there – however with the Tomb of Sargeras nearby, certain horrors are now awakened.

Xavius-still

The first raid tier of Legion will offer us 17 bosses spread across two raids – 7 in the Emerald Nightmare and 10 in Suramar Palace. Seems about average to kickstart the expansion off with. There wasn’t an awful lot of information given about the Emerald Nightmare, but mainly just explaining what it is and why Blizzard are providing fan-service for it. Most of the story was covered in the Stormrage novel, and the Nightmare was fought back so hard it could never be an expansion in itself, so resolving it as a raid is likely the best option here. Not to forget that a certain Old God responsible for the Nightmare has yet to even be spoken of as a topic this expansion – and Xavius certainly looks more like something that an Old God would create rather than his old masters, the Burning Legion…

Suramar Palace is where we will find the Grand Magistrix, who has the final Pillar of Creation and has corrupted it to create the Nightwell, and Gul’dan himself. Blizzard’s stated that Gul’dan can’t run away this time, so it seems his final hour ends here. It’s a shame really, I do like the idea of the puppet master always being one step ahead of us, and you always know Gul’dan is going to be pure evil and pursue a greater power every time. I kinda wanted to see his demise at the Tomb of Sargeras for the whole timey-wimey flatty circle-y stuff instead of having another orc as the final tier boss, but I guess he’ll be the last we see for a while (hopefully).

Demon Hunters

Demon Hunters

The latest class to hit the roster is the long-awaited Demon Hunter, the second hero class to be introduced to WoW. Illidan sent his best, most elite Demon Hunters on a suicide mission to the demonic prison world of Marduun. This was a world that Sargeras created to hold demons that he vanquished as a good titan, then later shattered to create the Burning Legion. In the Demon Hunter starting experience we’ll go through this world back when Illidan sent us on this mission, then jump to present day where we’ve been captured and kept prisoner in the Vault of the Wardens to break out and learn what it means to be a Demon Hunter – and the sacrifices it entails…

One of the sacrifices being two specs, it seems! Demon Hunters roll out the gate with just two specialisations to choose from: Havoc (melee DPS) and Vengeance (tank). Blizzard will be de-homogenizing the classes in Legion (as explained in the Icy-Veins interview) and as a result, they felt that Demon Hunters didn’t really suit two different tanking styles or two different melee DPS styles, and ranged/healer was out of the option for the WoW Demon Hunter (Diablo may disagree). So we’re left with two distinct styles of combat for them, making dual spec that much easier for the class.

Personally, if it’s a new tank I’ll be trying it out regardless, but the basics certainly seem interesting for the class.


For the TL:DR