Uldir: A Peep into Crimson Descent

Uldir-Zul-Crimson-Descent

In the second wing we continue to clear the enormous Uldir complex of G’huun corruption. There is not too much happening lorewise – much like in Nefarian’s lair in Cataclysm, we clear the wings from monstrosities.

The first LFR boss here is Fetid Devourer, a three-headed ‘dog’. It reminded me of a Helya’s pet, although this time you don’t bother with the breath or running mechanics – just step out of the bad cone. Also you need to dispose quickly of the appearing blob adds before their cast is complete. It is yet unclear what they do if not defeated – obviously something very-very bad. I guess I’ll learn it with later runs, but we managed to kill both quickly enough, myself even managing to contribute to both of them. So basically it’s nuke, kill a couple of adds, run out of the bad breath cone. Very-very easy.

I liked the boss design, it really is monstrous. A head of a lion, a dino, and maybe a bird?

What was bad was trash in the boss room. You have to pull it carefully, as boss is walking around in circles and easy to aggro in the most unconvenient time. I don’t really know why they did it but for annoyance.

The second one was Vectis, a blood leech abomination. This one was a mess. Now it is time to praise our tank which led the raid in the best way possible: explaining tactics, supervising the encounter and naturally performing his own tanking job flawlessly. For his efforts, we wiped at Zul only once, and with 3% of his health left.

So, the tank divided us in two groups to stand together, and there we went. There is a lot of blood contagion going on, in the most different ways. The encounter was a mess in metaphorical and literal sense. Before I step in with another toon, I will examine the tactics until I learn them perfectly. The amount of debuffs and puddles to run from or step in is literally overwhelming – and what is worse, it is not clear what you do. We ended Vectis with 4 people standing (not me), and it was barely a wipe.

The three wings cleared (from Devourer, Vectis and Zek’voz), staircases appear and allow us to descend to the central platform. It is flooded with trash blood trolls, and it is a hint of what awaits us.

Zul‘s boss design is an add fight. Apparently the priority is focusing hexers -> crasher brutes -> boss, while minor droplets and crawgs die from AoE. I literally spent 10% of my time planting spells at Zul himself, because adds were my priority. When close to death, Zul starts flooding the floor with blood, so you need to kill him quick.

This one I enjoyed a lot. It’s exactly the type of boss that I like: plenty of space to run around, quite comprehensible goals, personal choices to be made. And lorewise it is awesome. I was afraid that Zul will be enhanced with blood magic and become a monstrosity – no way, he keeps his own looks, and being a prophet, a spiritual leader, guides his followers to battle.

Got four cloth set pieces covered this week :) I enjoy this wing more than the first one, but so far, the bosses are definitely harder and more interesting than Emerald Nightmare. Rumors are that LFR now differs from other modes in numbers only, the mechanics are all there and are to be executed.

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Alt Leveling: Writing Your Own Canon

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Since the release of Warcraft Chronicles, we are aware that not all of the events were experienced by our heroes. For example, the Alliance was the only faction to storm the Lady Vashj domain in Zangarmarsh, while the Horde canonically laid waste to the red orcs of Hellfire Citadel and put an end to Magtheridon.

Which left me wondering: what if our alts did not participate in all of the events, but shared the experience among them?

Surely due to gameplay conventions you play them one by one, and through all the questlines. And yet, the ‘canonical reality’ maybe different.

I’ve come up with this story experience layout among my alts:

Micromantica 

  • She’s the leader of my Alliance alts. So she talks to the major lore figures like Cyrus, and Genn, and Anduin, and makes strategic decisions for all of alts.
  • As a water/ice attuned person, she solved the whole Stormsong business, including Anglepoint in Tiragarde and storming the Shrine dungeon.
  • She also repelled the naga invasion in Fort Daelin.
  • She was the one saving Jaina – her mentor and teacher!

Pins 

  • My gnome rogue was the one to investigate the plot of Ashvane along with Flynn, including the grand reveal at the Prooudmoore Admiralty.
  • She put a dagger through Harlan Sweete’s healthy eye.
  • She found the treasure in Deadwash in Stormsong Valley.
  • She also helped tortollans with Venture Co., as long as she was nearby.

Aurinka and Anibell 

  • The gnome priest and the human paladin traveled together through the grim forests of Drustvar to fight the witches’ curse, and stormed Waycrest Manor.
  • They also struck at Algerson Timber Yard in Tiragarde to eliminate the witch presence once and for all.
  • Anibell went for an extra horseback training and saved Norwington Estate from troggs.

Baisa

  • As a seasoned gnome hunter, she traveled through the Tiragarde hunting grounds with pleasure. Kennings Lodge and Roughnecks hubs were her responsibility.
  • She also hunted the sirens in Tiragarde.
  • She helped to fight off the ettin in Stormsong’s mill hamlet.
  • She and Paitsu fought off the Horde invasion and attacked the Clearcut together.
  • And she hunted the BIGGEST GAME EVER! in Zuldazar with her old pals from Nesingwary’s company.

Paitsu 

  • The gnome monk had some really good fight on her hands :)
  • The Horde invasion in Stormsong was mentioned already.
  • She was the one to enter Briarback Kraul and leave with multiple scratches on her fists, but very much alive.
  • And then she solved the mystery of Mildenhall Meadery.

All of my Alliance toons took part in Siege of Boralus and Arathi Warfront.

Schlitzchen

  • The shaman’s ultimate quest was in Vol’dun, solving the great Mythrax mystery and putting General Jakrazet to nail.
  • She also learnt something new about calling the lightning power from sethraki.
  • She stormed the Temple of Sethraliss.
  • She was the one to investigate and explore the war campaign story.
  • She participated in Arathi Warfront, desperately trying to win the wild elemental circles favor and eventually losing to the Alliance.

Fearella

  • My goblin warlock’s life purpose is search for fun and pleasure.
  • She found the troll pirate treasure.
  • And the treasures of the lost temples along with vulpera.
  • She helped the goblin azerite mining operation in Vol’dun for little to no profit.
  • She traveled to Warbeast Kraal and had extreme fun educating a small direhorn.
  • She also participated in digsite operation in Xibala.
  • And helped the tortollans in the south.
  • King’s Rest was rumored to hold many treasures, so it was a natural lure.

Gorhaug

  • The orc warrior was solving the plot around king Rastakhan in Zuldazar, in the city of Dazar’Alor and surrounding territories.
  • Naturally, Atal’Dazar dungeon was her final endeavour.
  • She made many friends among the loyal city guard.
  • She also fought against the Alliance in Talanji’s Rebuke.
  • She participated in Arathi Warfront (on the winning side).

Jammu

  • The highmountain druid was greatly disturbed with unnatural ongoings in Nazmir.
  • She befriended many loa and even had to kill one.
  • She was down there in Underrot, putting an end to corruption.
  • Now besties with Talanji the princess, she brought the news of blood corruption to Baine.

All of my Horde toons joined forces in the battle by Blood Gate and answered to Talanji’s rally for Uldir.

Uldir-Scenery-Central-Hub

Kul Tiran Druid Moonkin & Zandalari Druid Aquatic

Beware, beware… of the new druid forms!

Kul Tiran Druid Moonkin

Zandalari Aquatic Druid Form

I would quote the Blizzard Watch post in full, because it made me laugh so hard, and they have a point :)

I’m just itching to create these guys (but seriously, enough alts is enough :) But mo-om, they fit so well into Zandalari and Drust fantasy!

Enjoy:

What is that thing?

The first time I saw this form I said, “It looks like someone who’s never even heard of a Moonkin got one described to them and they decided to make one out of a patch of dead trees and some taxidermy scraps.”

I stand by that description.

That head looks like someone found a turtle who didn’t make it to the water and mounted some antlers on it. It’s like an approximation of what you might think a Moonkin was if your day-to-day life was suffused in utter nightmares. In other words, it fits the Kul Tiras Wickerpunk Druid aesthetic to a T.

The best part is that they slapped a hood on it like that helps at all. “Oh, don’t be scared, children. That wooden corpse puppet is our friend! It’s come to restore the balance of nature, which of course includes the manifest truth that death comes for us all in time, even your beloved pet turtle!” I really have no words for how fast I’m going to race change my Worgen into a Kul Tiran Druid as soon as it becomes possible. This is just great. It’s baffling and macabre and everything about it makes me want to go out on a fall evening and think about my eventual death. They made a caster form out of mortality itself.

A very Ichthyosaurian aquatic form for the Zandalari

At first glance, this form appears shark-like — but the particular tooth arrangement reminds me of ancient, extinct marine reptiles like Cymbospondylus or other Ichthyosaurs. The back fins are much more like marine reptiles than sharks. They also remind me of the Machimosaurs, ancient sea crocodiles that evolved a more aquatic form; however, that tail is pure Neptunidraco. Like many marine reptiles, there’s a certain copying of shark elements, which isn’t surprising, as the shark form is a pretty solid one for aquatic predators. I might have liked a big Liopleurodon form, but this definitely works.

Still, I feel bad for this terrifying aquatic hunter to be in the same post as that wickerskull monstrosity up there. I’m sorry you got upstaged, bling-wearing sea reptile. It’s hard to follow that.

Project: Final Zone Run

The chart pretty much explains it all:

Sep24

Yes, I’m finalizing my alt leveling project this week. All zones but Nazmir now have only one run left, and this means proper reading quest texts again.

It is vital to immediately get to your capital city upon 120 to get world quests/flight whistle access. Do I have to explain? When Baisa hit 120 tonight, she completed the world quest in Sagehold which would otherwise be her leveling +34k experience points. And couple of Tortollan quests + a rare kill – on her way as well – granted her first emissary reward, the awesome shoes of 305.

Gear is so vital. I need to share my pain. Hitting 120, much like in Legion, immediately drops your survivability and DPS to ground floor and below. The mobs are just smashing you – be it the self-healing priest or a personal tank-protected hunter/warlock, 4-5 mobs coming at you will mean a certain cemetery run. Amusing, but the last leg of leveling is the most painful experience.

Yet the end is near.

Aurinka-120

A few more thoughts:

My Jaina’s questline advice of delaying dungeon runs is not legit. Apparently you need to unite all Kul Tiran nations first which means final dungeon quests, and then go for repeated runs along Jaina questline. But still you will get your 120 gears anyways, right?

Horde’s Ready for War quest-before-last is awesome! Right when Alliance strikes the ships in the open sea, you spend the whole fight underwater completing your mission and arrive on the surface to witness the circumstances :) Questing in the bottom is amazing! You do it in complete darkness, and once you switch on the lamp, a deadly shark may come in a while if you’re careless. Just yesterday I watched a giant shark thriller movie with Statham, all to add up for my immersement :)

And there is also such a major and unexpected find there! The Horde has now a major ace in its sleeve, and I’m itching to find out where this leads.

Warfronts are confirmed to serve as a raid replacement content. You cannot queue there under ilvl 320 (like in LFR), and you get 340 gear for its activities (like in LFR).

My best guess is that the rewards won’t scale. A warfront is tied to a raid tier. So, Arathi equals Uldir, and the upcoming Darkshore will give the same gear ilvl as for 8.1. tier of Zandalar Siege. So don’t save the warfront runs, you may want to farm the hell out of transmogs, toys and mounts while it’s current – like from a current raid.

Micromantica is digging emissaries. While the hasty guys already have Dark Irons running along Kul Tiras already, I’ll be hitting my fair and square Revered BfA Diplomat achievement this week. Tortollans and Magni lack one emissary to complete. My best shot so far are Storm’s Wake with 8,5k Revered.

More Uldir runs in the first wing brought me a couple of tier pieces.

Looking forward to endgame with all my toons!

Leveling: Final Stage Incoming

My project with a code name ‘Complete zone #2 per alt’ is finished! Here’s where we are now:

September 20

And hereby starts the project ‘Complete zone #3’ where we hit level 120 with every alt. My plan is as follows:

1. Fearella – Vol’dun (started)
2. Baisa – Stormsong
3. Aurinka – Drustvar
4. Gorhaug – Zuldazar
5. Anibell – Tiragarde
6. Jammu – Vol’dun
7. Paitsu – Stormsong
8. Pins – Drustvar

It is very nice now that every alt receives 270-280 ilvl which is close to the high level gear.

It is nice that all of them see the end of the tunnel.

And with the last alt completing a zone I’ll be reading quest texts again. It’s gonna be a farewell to leveling BfA experience, so every small questing nuance shall be carved in stone of my memory. Knowing that this is your last run for a long time suddenly makes the experience of the N-th zone re-run very precious.

And then – to the endgame! My alt goals are as follows:

  • Dungeon runs for zone climax quests and Jaina story
  • Completing war campaign quests
  • Reputations – through emissary runs
  • Uldir attunement (320 ilvl)
  • Uldir transmog sets
  • Warfront stuff

Looking forward to it – I have plenty to do before the next patch. Those sweet routines :)

Battle for Azeroth: Horde Leveling Guide

Having played through multiple alts, I’ve worked out my best ways of leveling through the zones.

General notes: 

  • The goal of this guide is to provide climactic story experience;
  • Without getting lost in side questlines;
  • And leaving no side questlines behind.
  • Exploration achievements will be completed on the way.
  • As well as all flight paths opened.
  • The order of the zones is optional.
  • Each zone provides ~4-5 levels upon full completion.
  • You will hit level 120 by the middle of your third zone.
  • I choose to put aside gathering and war campaign quests until level 120 – not to distract from the zones, but you may choose to do them in between.
  • Beware the spoilers ;)

Zuldazar

Zuldazar is the southern part of Zandalar continent and holds the magnificent Zandalari capital city. The city itself has three flight hubs, and holds a couple of main story quest hubs as well. Something evil lurks behind the golden facades, and you’re investigating it. Zuldazar also provides multiple wildlife side questing.

It’s very non-linear, and you get side questlines upon advancing through the main story arc. You will report to the central hub after every part, and find new quest errands waiting for you.

zuldazar-leveling-map

  • After reporting to the king and king’s advisors, fly to the harbor and solve the disturbance among the troll factions (1). Don’t forget to befriend Tortollans there and run a couple of their quests.
  • Travel to the second pyramid of Zocalo in the north and investigate the blood cult (2). Open a flight path when there. Don’t forget to meet and do your first errand for the mischievous Jani (hek hek hek).
  • Help Zul the Prophet deal with his rogue pupil in Tal’Gurub (3). By now you should have quests to Nesingwary and Warbeast Kraal.
  • Travel to Warbeast Kraal and have fun educating a direhorn (4).
  • On your way to Nesingwary, open the Tortollan flight path (5).
  • Complete Nesingwary’s questlines (6). We will need this flight path soon. This time it’s real big game you’re hunting.
  • Return to the main story arc. Travel to Warport Rastari and open their flight hub (7). Do all that must be done – the plot against the king is solved immediately after.
  • Another round in Zocalo (8) and Garden of Loa (9).
  • As long as you’re there, deal with a minor sethraki attack (10).
  • Then via Nesingwary flight path we travel to Zeb’Ahari, deal with traitors (11) and help the mighty T-Rex loa Rezan (12).
  • Deal with blood troll invasion at Blood Gate (13).
  • Now we go for a shore tour. Start with Kaja’mite/gorilla questline (14).
  • Proceed to Xibala excavation site (15).
  • Battle mogu in the southern Tusk Isles, starting from major harbor (16).
  • Solve Tortollan/naga story in Dreadful Shallows (17) and Talanji’s Rebuke (18).
  • Deal with Alliance castaways in Talanji’s Rebuke (19).
  • Return to the high seat and finish the story by the gates of Atal’Dazar (20).

The zone is a lead-in to Atal’Dazar and King’s Rest dungeons.

Nazmir

Nazmir is a very straightforward questing experience with almost none side questlines, and they are done on the way. Actually you do a perfect circle and then hit the heart of the zone.

nazmir-leveling-map

  • Arrive at Nazmir entrance, kill your first pack of blood trolls (1) and see the epic horror awaiting.
  • Retreat to Zul’jan ruins and make plans with Talanji (2).
  • Help a troll crazy hunt a mighty t-rex Urok (3).
  • Proceed with the main questline to the north, dealing with blood troll enclaves (4).
  • Make a base, enter the Necropolis, home of the death loa Bwonsamdi, and do his bidding (5).
  • Travel southwest and do three quest hubs there (6): main story of Zalamar where you kill a corrupted loa Hireek, dealing with a necromancer blood troll and dealing with a monstrous dino which ate the whole exiling party. Hard to miss once you’re there. I suggest doing it in this order: dino -> necromancer -> Zalamar, because Zalamar questline drives you back to your base.
  • Drive all the way east along Tortollan pilgrim path and deal with blood troll cannibals (7).
  • Save the remnants of loa Torga from blood trolls (8). This is the creepiest questline in all BfA questing.
  • Arrive at Gloom Hollow (9).
  • Do Kragwa’s biddings (10). Don’t forget to deal with side naga (11) and pet crawg (12) questlines.
  • Now it’s time to help the goblin squad and acquire our doom weapon hailing straight from Warhammer 40000 (13).
  • Just around the corner we unveil the mystery with the help of a titan keeper (14).
  • Now armed with knowledge and with a Warhammer dreadnought, sail these treasures by raft to Zul’jan base (15).
  • Storm the Uldir surrounding nest of blood trolls! (16) Don’t forget to do Rokhan’s quests before talking to Krag’wa and final onslaught.

The zone is a lead-in to Underrot dungeon and Uldir raid.

Vol’dun

Vol’dun is a vast desert inhabited by a sethraki snake people faction (split into good and bad), sturdy and kawaii scavengers vulpera and a bunch of surviving exiles from Zuldazar. Yet another bitching counsellor is plotting something here, far from king’s eyes, and an ancient evil sleeps under the sands.

The major questline is straightforward, but there are lots of side quests scattered across the desert which require some leg work.

vol'dun-leveling-map

  • You arrive by the air, but not for long: your party is blasted from the skies and you find yourself trapped by sethraki. Meet your first vulpera and escape together (1).
  • Arrive at Vulpera Hideaway and do some simple quests (2).
  • Take a caravan to Temple of Akunda. On your way you will hear the famous Dolly and Dot song! Do all th Temple questing (3) – first funny, then disturbing.
  • Proceed with the main story arc towards Atul’Aman grounds and befriend your first nice sethraki, a major guy (4).
  • Now a big distraction. Solve the melioration problem nearby – make the desert bloom! (5)
  • Help the troll exiles nearby (6).
  • There is an Ashvane Company port we will disrupt for disruption sakes (7).
  • Then we go for treasure hunt in Port of Zem’lan! (8) If that doesn’t sound cool enough, we’re doing so with… troll skeleton pirates.
  • Now we can return back and take flight to a friendly sethraki Temple of Devoted (9). Repel the evil sethraki invasion there.
  • Distraction again: help a vulpera snake-charmer (10).
  • As long as we’re there, help the goblin azerite miners – Horde’s force (11).
  • Now we’re good and ready for a major battle against evil sethraki’s strongholds around Temple of Sethraliss. Naturally all forces combine there (12).
  • When done, there is another distraction: scavenge the ancient troll temple with mysterious constructs and spirits (13).
  • And proceed to Tortollan reclusive hub to repel naga invasion (14).
  • Now we can fly back to Temple of Devoted and get a climax quest to solve all the mysteries (and witness an unspeakable horror) (15).

The zone is a lead-in to Temple of Sethraliss dungeon.

Patch 8.1. – Tides of Vengeance

Wow, that’s a lot of news!

First of all, I don’t understand those who tell that expansion is dull and nothing happens there. Come on, it’s been a little over a month, and you wanted to kill N’Zoth by Blizzcon? We’ve just arrived!

We solved the local faction problems which were plenty! And at the same time we were not idle, we tested the other continent’s weak places and founded a handful of secret hideouts. Do you call that ‘nothing happens’?

 Lore: Assaults, Warfront, Raids

In the next patch 8.1. the war will be unrolled in its full might.

First, we have faction assaults. They worked perfectly in Legion (demon assaults), and they’re more than justified today – with faction fleets attacking the shores.

Second, a new warfront is Darkshore. Take you night elf and avenge the undead for Teldrassil! Yet again, the buildings and units will be based on Warcraft 3 – namely, night elf and undead factions.

I wonder what will be another warfronts :) If we mighty please get an attack on Mulgore gates (dwarfs and tauren) and literally everywhere with gnomes and goblins theme, I will be squealing with happiness.

Third, our new raid is no less than Siege of Zuldazar! The faction experience will be very different – this is the first time that raids have different points of view. How cool is that? The main raid takes you to kill 6 bosses, but after you finish, you may try on the skin of your enemies and see the other side (+3 extra) where you’ll be fighting your allies. A sort of bronze dragon thing.

Lorewise, I think it’s 100% that the Alliance kills the current good but failing king Rastakhan, and his action princess daughter Talanji will take over. And the Horde will repel the invasion to keep their capital.

One more raid is very small – its two bosses close the Shrine of the Storms arc, much like Valor raid in Legion.

jainatalanji

How to Get New Allied Races

  • Get Exalted with Zandalari Empire/Proudmoore Admiralty;
  • Complete War Campaign;
  • Prove your ultimate worth by finishing the Siege of Zuldazar raid – most likely this finishes war campaign arc;
  • Complete a small introduction questline.

And this is it, Zandalari and Kul Tirans may run Azeroth under your command. Easy, huh?

Island Expeditions 

Two more isles will be available. COULDN’T CARE LESS.

New Pet Dungeon

Gnomeregan. COULDN’T CARE LESS. Tried this in Legion, and didn’t like the activity.

Visuals and Transmogs

Legacy armor is being prepared for EVERY RACE. Blood elves and dwarves will be the first lucky ones to experience a small race story and get their legacy armor.

All you need is have a 120 character. Does this mean I have to level every race now?… *sob*

And one more happy thing: once you earn Exalted with one toon, the faction tabard will be available to all your alts. Transmoggers, rejoice!

======

I wonder when this all rolls out. After all, they have PTR tests to go. But even if it happens in January, I have plenty to do until then.

I’m hyped. It’s the best expansion since Pandaria so far:

  • Pandaria brought us the most exciting adventure
  • Draenor brought visuals
  • Legion brought gameplay
  • Battle for Azeroth combines all three.