While Drustvar and Stormsong themes are about land business, nobles/cults and farming respectively, Tiragarde Sound is the most “Kul Tiran” zone. It is mostly about sea-bound people – or centered around them.
It is quite diverse in questline themes, unlike Drustvar or Vol’dun.
North’s unique questlines are brave mountain trappers and Norwington estate which provides Kul Tiran horses and fights with troggs. Northern part also gives you two questlines which may effectively be previews for Drustvar and Stormsong – probably Tiragarde was meant to be the first for questing, to give a first taste of the remaining two.
The southern part can also surprise with diversity: you help gnomes to organize a steam spring resort, you struggle with an outpost mutiny and you also are charged with some hunting quests in pelts-providing lodge.
This is already six different themes! While all of them are interesting to explore and playthrough, the seventh is the main and central course: pirate/Ashvane plot.
Pirates were finally done properly. We were given a nice look from the inside in Stranglethorn, but it was but a couple of ships. This day we get a vibrant Tortuga – I wouldn’t say “Suramar” of course, but the quality approach for developing a proper town is the same.
Here’s what you call “grey” storytelling. Pirates are bad, they are our nemesis in the zone. And yet they do not all kill you on sight. There are friendly NPCs (damn, we even have a flight path there!), factions, a lovable anarchy. Pirates are doing pirate things, of course – but in so many different ways. Drinking, brawling, hunting for treasures, signing up crews. You observe how alliances are formed and shattered – just as quick as a bandit would do it. You do not just wear the colors for masquerade, you talk to people, pursuing your goals, and things actually change, progress and evolve depending on your actions. For a change, it’s not about earning trust – on the contrary, you’re gradually ruining it, and this is so realistic.
In two words, this is exactly how you must feel in a real pirate city: a stranger will not survive for long without a proper guide and acquaintances. The thing that you want to ruin their plans doesn’t help.
Lady Ashvane, although largely absent in the zone itself, is my favorite villain character so far. Vol’dun, Drustvar and Stormsong offer your normal “pure evil/corrupted good” options. Lady Ashvane is not. She’s not necessarily cruel (despite using child labor), she’s more realistic and down to earth – power hungry, working to maximize her profits, scheming to get all that. For a change, it is nice to have a villain that doesn’t fall on his/her knees and offer her soul for ghosts, death, demons, whatever occult thingies occur nearby. And that also makes her a great character – mark you, I easily see her understanding a thing or two and making a heel-face turn. Although probably not, as Blizzard sees it :) But she’s not the one we need to put a sword through – and for that I’m grateful.
She’s also very stylish, reminding us of Disney villains. I definitely like her appearance – not in a fanboy attitude, but for what unique and great character she makes.
Tiragarde, flooded and separated by many waters, is one of the most serene zones (now played through Stormsong – the second next to it). It has the most appealing and catching ambience melody which I could compare maybe to Highmountain. Thoughtful world questing will definitely be nice here. Here you also make a heavy usage of ferry boats – they are your bread and butter for travel.
Out of minor highlights, there is Flynn, and there is Scratchy quest (someone in Blizzard perfectly understands about cats and cat behavior).
Tops and 10 out of 10. I’m afraid this is the only grade I’m giving to BfA zones so far, and having played through Stormsong, I’m afraid it’ll be the only one.
Battle for Azeroth Zone Reviews: