*spoiler alert: the post follows both introduction questlines lore
As long as it’s a curse for one-faction-only players to follow the BfA story split in two, it is also a bliss for those who have toons on either side. The divided experience lets you to have a deep insight into the factions’ whereabouts, actions and feelings – this is not something you could just shove into cinematics.
I’ve started my playing with the Alliance – because my main Micromantica, and conveniently this is their initiative this time, so their story comes first.
I totally liked the very first quest: you meet not in the Proudmoore Keep, but in the green labyrinth nearby! A secret meeting indeed – I had some hard time finding the conspirators.
With bombs set under the major Zandalari flagships during previous campaign chapter, it won’t be enough for a head-on attack, because their fleet is too strong. And so a distraction move is planned: mimicking a major Alliance attack from the swamps of Nazmir.
To do so, the Alliance sends a significant force to Nazmir. Scepter of Tides comes to aid, as it is able to veil the whole Nazmir in the fog and conceal the real numbers of Alliance forces.
Speaking of morally grey, I liked how this attack is by default a suicidal mission. Of course Jaina, Shaw and the hero lead the onslaught, but they will leave soon enough to lead the main attack from the south. The bulk of Nazmir troops is left for the final stand. Their goal is stalling the whole might of the Horde and Zandalari armies long enough, they cannot retreat and thus sentenced to death. And they know it. Mind you, this is an army big enough to make the enemies believe that the whole Alliance came for them.
This is a tragic chapter, and it gives you a perfect impression of sacrifices and hero deeds that are required during warfare.
Jaina’s next level in badass must be mentioned here. I think it’s the first time we see a leader of her sort during war events: a calm one. What other leaders achieve through fierceness, passion or other emotions alike (For the Alliance!!!11), she achieves through being almost serene. This is a blend of her finding peace with herself and her family (no, this storyline was not in vain), being the leader of her nation, and being an ice mage may help too.
She is right at her place now, not devoured by destructive emotions like hate, grief, guilt or whatever background, and deadly as such, because she has overwhelming confidence – with a clear, non axe-crazy, sharp mind. She is the stalwart pillar, a heart of the onslaught to inspire her troops with her confidence like no other loud-mouth leader ever did before. Jaina doesn’t need to shout – a calm voice will suffice and work better than any warcry. And this results in being at the right place in the right time: providing the distraction attack success, but withdrawing to lead the main onslaught in the south, and as we know, almost single-handedly covering the retreat. A brilliant strategist – that’s what you get when you find peace with yourself and let intellect, not emotions lead the war campaign.
The Horde part takes place after the Alliance ends theirs: the leaders of Zandalari and the Horde receive message of a big Alliance attack on the Nazmir and Blood Gate. The hero goes to send naval, ground and avian forces to the north, leaving the city almost undefended.
We carve through Nazmir, repeating the Alliance’s path in reverse: clearing Blood Gate, Zul’jan, Zalamar and the northern coast only to discover that the looming fleet is but an illusion. And there come the explosions of Zandalari flagships which were left behind in the capital harbor, seen even from behind the mountains. The onslaught has begun. All the army hastily returns back, and the story leads us to the northern outskirts to start our battle there.
The Horde’s side is inspiring, it makes you want to rush and defend the city. You really feel for Rokhan and Talanji and see them as leaders. And even Nathanos restrains from his normal ‘kill the Alliance scum’ agenda to a more proper ‘we will end the war on our terms’ speech.
This questline is pretty short, but it is an excellent storytelling which builds up to the raid events. Motivated, I cannot wait for another week to start my onslaught – and my defence.