Congrats to everyone who got their drake.
Crappy little video I made of us. Next week should turn out better with better recording equip.
Drawing Loremaster Logo
Just a speed up version of me working on the line art logo for future Loremaster videos.
Achievement Completion Comments
Starting Level:59 Zone Levels: 49-52
Quests: 40 Quests Over Required Completed: 3
Altar of Storm:
These relics of the old war were originally used to imbue Ogre-Magi with power by Gul'dan. As it stands in current Azeroth there are only three easily found Altars of Storm, even though Thrall supposedly had several re-purposed for shamanistic purposes. You will see me mention the other two in Azeroth when we see them because I feel they were a very important part of the Old Horde that still exists in Azeroth. Sure splinter elements of the Old Horde still exist such as the Blackrock Orcs and Blackrock Mountian but when I see the Altar of Storm it always reminds me of Warcraft II.
I have mentioned the importance of this mountain before in the Searing Gorge review but as Blackrock dominates the landscape of the Burning Steppes and the Blackrock Orcs play the most important role in the area in terms of politics it is worth mentioning the Mountain again.
Originally home only to the Dreadmaul Ogres and a decent place to farm cloth in vanilla, Dreadmaul has become home to more of an allegiance between the Dreadmaul Ogres and the Blackrock Orcs in their efforts to push both the Alliance and the horde out of the Burning Steppes.
Reward for Seven!Up! for the alliance. Not a whole lot of new armor options from this zone but it is always nice to get a fairly easy to find vanity pet. Only two of this model pet exist in WoW and you can't get the other until Zangarmarsh.
This quest is nothing new in terms of mechanics it is just a basic kill quest but what I like about it is that as your fight the golems they supposedly learn from you and change their tactics. Of course all the learning is purely surface dressing from a game development standpoint but I also like the change up that you are trusted enough as a random person in the world to be held accountable to training Golems in the defense of the Alliance. There is always a line between make a quest to centric on the characters importance of the world. We as players are faceless adventurers some quests attribute great actions to us such as the whole of Deepholm while other quests our actions really don't effect the overall world. I like this quest because it is one of those nice quests that finds the happy middle ground between most important person in game and random adventurer.
It is nice to see John J. back in the alliance quest lines. Quests around him always have an air of macho bravado. I especially like this line because it is one of my favorite style quests in the game the subversion type. You get to pretend to be a member of the enemy and ruin their plans. A lot of times these quests are cover mechanics for simple kill quest lines but I like that through the disguise system you can see and feel your actions taking their toll on the enemy instead of simply "thinning the herd".
Okay let me say out right that this is probably one of my favorite subversion quests in the entire game. You give an orc the runs, another an uncontrollable demon object, and another leader a pile of dead imps that he can't rez. Then you proceed to blast the hell out of the camp with a dragon while the Blackrock Orcs think they are friendly. It has the great line of "I never called any dragons...". You also get to see the fruits of your subversion attacks on other areas in the zone as the orc commanders you kill are unable to come to defend the rock. Really this is a great way to end any zone as it ties everything you have done up in a nice tight bow.
How was the Burning Steppes in Vanilla? Crappy. I never understood why this zone which should have had so much importance in the WoW narrative was such a poorly planned zone in vanilla. The Burning Steppes is the gateway between the Alliance and what remains of the Old Horde. Every threat from the Blackrock Clan, who was one of the major enemies of the Vanilla content, emanates or passes through this zone and it always felt empty.
But my how the times have changed. I really feel like the zone now conveys that importance to the zone. Does it have the grand scale of an invasionary feel like Icecrown in Northrend or Twilight Highlands (more the horde here then the Alliance)? Not really but you have to be realistic that the Alliance and the Horde can not commit full invasion and defense armies to every zone. What you get in Burning Steppes is what you would expect from a kingdom spread thin- a small group of the Alliance's best bringing down an entire army of the Blackrock Orcs. Through the good story telling and quest design of this zone you feel right there in the action if not completely responsible for the safety of Red Ridge to your south and the greater human empire. I never really felt lost in this zone. The hub flow was great and the story of the zones quests keeps you wanting to finish the zone. It was easy to go over the required quest limit for this zone.
I give the overall zone four out of five stars.
Sorry I have been away from this blog for a bit now. As I explained earlier I had been giving SWTOR a try, then I started running raids of old content for Reddit (which consumes a good deal of my saturday nights and I will continue to do), and I finished up leveling my retadin. I finally have her at a point where I really only can do LFR and the 1000 VP cap grind for gear each week. I am also currently actively developing the idea of taking this blog to video format when I hit the outlands. Mainly to do supplemental videos and to prepare for my MoP beta invite. I hope to have all of the loremaster content done by the time that invite happens and I can start cranking out videos about the zones and lore of MoP. I do have the year sub that promises me a MoP open beta invite, before you ask, and I have gotten the closed beta invite for the last two expansiosn so *fingers crossed* that I get in a little early.
Did you enjoy this zone? Do you hate it? Do you think the idea of me starting to do more content for Youtube is a good idea? Let me know in the comments.
Reddit Raids 02-11-12
Runs this week went great. We got nearly every achievement for Naxxaramas, Obsidian Sanctum, Eye of Eternity, Onxyia, and Trail of the Crusader. Additionally one black drake went out to our druid.
Next week is either ICC or Uld. Thanks to those who opened up vent for us. We had one player streaming so I might be able to link the video of us goofing off from this week and if they are streaming again next week I will try to put notice up so people who aren't raiding but want to see can watch.
Fun fact from this weeks raids: Patchwork is linked to all the trash in his area. Makes the fight much more exciting as we discovered.
Results from the BC Reddit Raid
First let me thank everyone who showed up. We had a good time and it gave me faith that we can do some more raids each week.
We learned in Black Temple that our mage hates frogs as she committed genocide on every frog and toad she saw.
We also learned that Shamans are whores.... as our hunter comments.
No phoenix sadly.
Did you know you can get feared through a small hole in the wall and fall out of the Tempest Keep in wave one? I do now.... so I didn't get credit for the kill.
Archi takes a dirt nap
Nothing too funny here except we ran around like headless chickens during the horde camp.
I won a Warglave. Fair and square. Seems there was some karma for the guy putting it all together.
Next week it is off to WOTLK content.
Star Wars - The Old Republic vs World of Warcraft
Some of you may have been wondering where I have been and why I have not updated the blog lately. Well the simple answer is I decided to give Star Wars - The Old Republic a try. I am only roughly halfway through the leveling progress of the game but I want to give my thoughts about how SWTOR stacks up against WoW to say what I felt SWTOR has gotten right that WoW doesn't and what WoW has gotten right that SWTOR did not. Is it fair for me to judge the game this early in my leveling process (I am 31), I can't say, and I intended to do a blog when I finish my characters storyline but more about all that in closing.
Let me say at the start before you ask who am I to judge the two games other then just another gamer. No one really. I am about 80% done with a degree in Game Art and Design (ironically my adviser called me today to start talking about my estimated graduation date) and I currently work as a mobile game and application developer. I am sure there are smarter gamers out there then myself (no doubt with better grammar and spelling)who are more qualified but if you come to my blog it is to get my opinion. You may have noticed I try to sprinkle actual game developer terms into my blog to make readers a little more savvy about WoW design.
Next important thing to say is a lot of people ask if it is fair to compare current WoW to release SWTOR. People in the SWTOR camp like to say it is only fair to compare SWTOR to day one WoW and not current WoW. As a game designer I am going to call out the fallacy in that logic now. You don't compare a current car to a ford model T. To think that SWTOR was developed in a vacuum, or any MMO now, devoid of the lessons learned by the Blizzard WoW team is insane. SWTOR borrows heavily from what works in WoW and overlooked some of what worked while it takes a stab at fixing some of what doesn't work in WoW.
Lastly let me say I am not a WoW fan boy. I know having to say so immediately devalues my opinon because it is like saying I am not racist and then saying a racist joke but I will try to keep this post as fair handed in it's remarks as I can.
What SWTOR got right:
Story telling through dialogue-
Let me say out right that the voice acting for each quest is a nice change of pace. I really enjoy the way the main story line plays out. But this is not the end all solution to getting your players immersed in the game because at times the dialogue gets burden some. Around level 20 I started using the space bar to skip through some of the side quests while saying out loud "Let me guess, rebels doing rebelie stuff, kill em... yeah fate of empire... control planet..." Additionally the voice files take up a great deal of the install space of the game and SWTOR is not a small install.
Having that dialogue box pop up and being able to directly interact with your main quest line outside of the simple accept button is nice. I also enjoy how comments determine your light side v dark side alignment. I really wish that the voice acting had been left to just the main quest story lines and some of the more important side stories (like the Revainites) and that side quests were text boxes.
Do you like Star Fox? I like Star Fox, do a barrel roll... Seriously I really enjoy breaking the sometimes tedious nature of questing by going and doing the space combat based quests. They are fun, usually take less then 5 minutes because they are win/fail determined off a timer. Also Bioware was smart and made them decent XP but not enough to grind your way to 50 doing only space missions. I guess you could if you like uber grinds... Disagea fans... Upgrading your ships is also not a massive money sink which means you can continue to complete these quests and upgrade your ship to feel like a boss on little income.
Minions... I mean companions and crafting:
I really enjoy, especially after you pick up more then one companion, that all your crafting is done by your companions as well as mat farming. Now granted Bioware offset this by making things take longer then the near instant cast crafting and looting in WoW but you can easily continue to quest while your companion runs off to get special materials for crafting or crafts 5 of an item for you. I was never a big fan of the hours that can get dumped into WoW to be a serious crafter of some items.
Also with crafting comes the fact that it is actually easy to start crafting items you will use in a couple of levels instead of items that seem too many levels below you. No matter how actively I try to keep a profession up to my level in WoW I always seem to be making items I can barely use. A perfect example of the crafting issues in WoW is with Nurishment. I skin every mob I kill, even farm sometimes, craft every leather into an item trying to powerlevel my leatherworking and still I am stuck in a hump where it is hard to get items my level crafted without the money sink of the AH. This is not an issue for wealthier players but for new players or cheap skates like myself it becomes an issue.
PVP player equalizing:
This is a hard to come up with the offical word for... but it is a simple concept to understand. There seems to be, and I could be wrong, some normalization going on between player skills in the PVP format. For example it seems a level 15 hits as hard as a level 50 on a level 50 but only in the PVP environments. This opens a larger pool of players to pull from and reduces twinking. There does seem to be some issue of higher level players gear getting them into overpowered positions and overcoming this system but it has been rare in the few games I have played.
What SWTOR got wrong:
But I said I liked the quest dialogue system and the main story line quality, I did indeed. Where SWTOR starts to get to me is the side questing and if you intend to finish the story line you have to do side quests as the main quests do not give you sufficient experience to be able to move along in the story-line without doing them. This is a catch 22 in the design phase of the game because you want players to do your side quests so you make the xp from them a requirement to progress otherwise players will not do them. That does not mean you have to make them so god awful repetitive in nature.
Does WoW have a lot of fetch, kill, and escort quests? Sure but WoW breaks those up with the occasional vehicle based quest, masquerader style quest (pretending to be an enemy NPC), and goofy mechanic quests (the Katamari quest in Uldum). But SWTOR is basically a giant fetch and kill quest driven game... hell most fetch quests are loot fetch and not find item. I have seen one escort quest that automatically completed when I found the NPC to escort. I didn't have to take them anywhere even though the quest text said "escort".
Most MMOs are all kill based questing as it is the backbone of the system but a good design hides that by inventive game design. SWTOR does a poor job of this. I know before I get a quest that it is going to be kill 15/20/30 "random name" rebels.
Expansive zones filled with... nothing:
This was a common problem during vanilla WoW but having zones as big and nice, and they are pretty to look at, as SWTOR has there isn't much excuse that 30 mins of a one hour play time is going to be spent on my hover bike flying to quest spots. Tatoine was criminal of this failure, I know I flew over more sand then I did actual fighting. Any student of MMOs today should see the zone compression that has happened in WoW, of which I mean near every corner of a zone is packed with quest related content, and learn from it not regress as SWTOR has.
No Auto Attack:
This is a personal preference to me not a design failure because several MMOs with no auto-attack are popular and people make their fair cases against auto attack. For me as the player auto attack keeps combat fast and furious filling that time between player input attacks. Sometimes combat crawled to a stop for my character as I waited for attacks to have enough energy. In the games defense there is a filler attack for my character that costs no energy but it requires button mashing and sets off global cool down so I still have that second delay between my mash attack and my next attack. Doesn't break the game just makes its combat feel less visceral to me.
Mob Elite System and Companion Dependency:
When I first found out about the tiered mob elite system I thought it was cool because it allowed developers to place mobs into the game that players would always require groups for no matter their gear. Then I started playing the game and realized that 75% of the mobs are the silver level mob and 10% seem to be the elite level mob. As a pure dps character I can kill the gold level mobs but not with out my companion and when my companion's AI fails me I usually find myself dead. This is frustrating beyond no end, at first it is fun because you feel you have to think about every engagement but then you realize you are stopping and thinking about EVERY engagement. As a designer there needs to be a level or curve of mob difficulty. Players need low difficulty creep to chew through for enjoyment and higher difficulty mobs to make them think. These harder mobs should be sprinkled in among the easier mobs. Not how it has been for me in SWTOR, I often have to hold my breath while fighting a gold level mob two levels lower then I am and hope my companion doesn't do anything stupid (like start shooting another mob pack mid fight!?!!?!). Additionally as a pure DPS I have to stop and heal through the eating equivalent between every pull. This cause the game flow to crawl.
Ever notice how Ghostcrawler hates this? Seems to try to fight it at every post? Look at SWTOR and see why. Every class has stuns, CC, knockbacks, and there is really no difference between them. There is nothing to distinguish classes out side of their base archtype of melee dps, caster dps, healer, and tank. This could be said of WoW but I would point out in WoW that there is a difference in play style between a frost mage and a fire mage. When you fight one in PVP you do fight in different styles. At level 31 I literary think I have three interrupts, three stuns, and one knockback. There is no distinction between the three stuns other then a slight cool down and duration difference. In WoW there is certainly a difference between a paladin stun and a rogue stun and really outside of stunlock rogues no class has more then one longer cooldown stun. You plan for a player when you see their class. In SWTOR you approach every enemy the same.
What I am ambivalent about
LFG system/No LFG system:
First let me say STWOR has a LF PVP system similar to WoW but no LFG system. Sometimes I miss it and other times I don't. There can be a case made for how LFG breaks communities and reinforces isolation among the community base. I agree this is true but as a bit of an introvert myself I like the ability to just auto-form up a group and do an instance from time to time. Currently I haven't been able to do a single instance because no one seems to use the note system in the /who system and you can only really see groups forming in the central city, which I only visit for the occasional crafting train up.
Do I like the orange system? I don't know really. It is very similar to the transmorph system in WoW and Bioware might have even announced it before transmorph in WoW. But what makes it different is you have to work to upgrade your orange equipment via socketing like JCing. I like the idea of getting a set of armor you like and keeping it and upgrading it. There is decent choice but at the same time you really have about three to four looks to choose from for each class. I have seen player complaint about high end gear all being essentially identical which saddens me.
Would I suggest SWTOR?
Sure. The story arch for each class type is awesome. And the overall content could get better with maturation and they can overcome some of their design issues in time. It is not a bad game or a bad MMO, infact it is probably the 2nd best MMO I have every played and a great attempt.
I like WoW.... Can SWTOR replace it for me?
Probably not. If you are new to MMOs I think SWTOR can fill that spot in your heart but if you are a fan of WoW you will come back to it.
Am I going to come back to WoW and finish the loremaster challenge?
Yep. I hope to hit 50 before my free trail ends for SWTOR, do a blog on my final thoughts, and likely cancel my SWTOR subscription. I did not go into the game knowing I would quit it after ending the story line. I actually considered canceling my WoW sub when first getting light sabers and a space ship had a certain nostalgia effect to it. But that wore off... luckily for me before I started paying for two online games and pissing off my wife.
Achievement Completion Comments
Starting Level:57 Zone Levels: 50-55
Ending Level: 59
Quests: 41 Quests Over Required Completed:0
Yes... I died... again... in the lamest way ever. I was doing this zone and making dinner for my family. Made the mistake of stealthing right where Blazerunner spawns and came back to a wisp...
The Shaper's Terrace:
While you can't really get to this spot without a flying mount, you do come back here as part of other quests at higher levels. For the longest time it was known that their was some form of Titan technology in Un'goro that kept the Sithild army from marching north out of Sithilus but we couldn't really see it other then they pylons in the zone. Shaper's Terrace is the spot we came to find later in exploration of the zone.
The Slithering Scar:
An example of some of the Sithild that did manage to penetrate Un'goro but I think that being this close to the Titan technology had an effect on the Old God spawn as they clearly lose most of their intelligence that they show in Sithilus.
This camp used to be farther to the north but was over run and reset up. It is one of the nice signs of the zone changing between WOTLK and Cata.
Reward for Ballad of Maximillian. First this is a trinket not a weapon as the image might make you think but it summons a weapon to fight temporarily along with you similar to the DK ability. I think it is a pretty cool little trinket.
Reward for How to Make Meat Fresh Again. Has three other models like it in the zone but is a pretty cool mace none the less.
This is a slightly redone quest from Vanilla. It is a nice version of a escort quest where you have to do something more then stand around watching an NPC run from one place to another. Also there is the great Beetles reference of the quest title and Ringo the npc. Leave it to the drummer to be lost in a jungle and dying of dehydration.
Let me say I love all the quests that involve Maximillian because of their off key humor. Damsels Were Made to be Saved is hilarious because of how Maximillian "saves" each of the damsels and then puts the blame on your his "squire" if anything goes wrong. Also it is worth pointing out that one of the "damsels" you save is a male blood elf, who is quite confused. I love this subtle nod to some of the internet humor about Blood Elves in this quest.
This is the conclusion of the Maximillian quests where Maxmillian's strange view of the world comes to a full when you kill the head dragon by riding on the back of Maximillian's horse and stone a giant dinosaur to death.
So Un'Goro holds a special thought in my mind as a noob during the Vanilla days because I got stuck here for a long time not sure what the hell I was doing. I also spent a lot of time running from the Devilsaurs in this zone. Un'goro used to have some decent quest lines in it but the whole zone felt disconnected compared to now. The quest to activate each of the pylons was a cool quest back then but it didn't seem to really have a good flow to it or a sense of purpose.
Today though Un'goro is more flushed out then it used to be and you progress through the zone pretty cleanly. The Maximillan quest line is a a great addition to this zone and a must stop by for anyone just wanting to do a fun quest. There are sadly not really any game changing quests outside of this quest line that break the norm for WoW standard quests. I wish now that the Titan tech in the area is better known that we could have done more with it then we do as players. A suggestion to the quest team, if they read the internets which they don't, consider doing something with the Titan tech that allows the players to wipe out the Sithilid hive here in Un'goro and phase it out. I think that would be a pretty cool touch.
Un'goro is surely one of the nicest looking zones in the game with a great atmosphere. The questing here is up to par for a Cata revamped zone but it isn't really ground breaking in any way out side of the for-mentioned quests. All that considered I give Un'goro
Three out of Five stars.
Next it is off to Burning Steppes and the return of one our personal Rambo heroes...
Achievement Completion Comments
Starting Level:57 Zone Levels: 45-50
Ending Level: 57
Quests: 35 Quests Over Required Completed:3
This is a large area of the Dark Iron Dwarves outside of their normal dwellings with in Blackrock Mountain. This is one of the few large communities that lives outside of the mountain, sustained. There are several small groups attacking other parts of the Eastern Kingdoms but the Cauldron is clearly one of their working cities and outposts. The Dark Iron dwarves have a large amount of slaves in this area mining and crafting both weapons and golems for their army.
I don't think I need to go into too much detail about this area but I can. Blackrock Mountain is just not only the home of Dark Iron Dwarves, the entire mountain is a giant struggle for control. Prior to Cataclysm the Black Dragonflight and Ragnaros via the Dark Iron Dwarves did not get along. The Orcs that serve the Black Dragonflight here were fighting for a long time with the Dark Iron Dwarves to control this mountain with the upper half belonging to the Dragonflight while the bowels belonged to Ragnaros and the Dark Iron Dwarves.
This is the site from where the Thorium brotherhood strikes out at the Dark Iron dwarves. Most players may not realize that the Thorium brotherhood is not a faction of the traditional alliance dwarves but rather a splinter group of the Dark Iron dwarves, and yes I know that the Dark Iron dwarves are now sudo part of the alliance because of Moria returning to Ironforge but we will get to that later.
Reward for Rise, Obsidion. This axe shares three other models in the game but this zone is rather scant for good looking new models. When I saw this one I liked it, so you get it.
Reward for Welcome to the Brotherhood. Again fairly commonly modeled shoulders but they have a nice look.
Lunk related quests:
There is several quests through out this zone that Lunk the Ogre will give to you. The funny part of these quests is that Lunk is a pacifistic who doesn't like killing. Often he will show up in the progress of a general kill quest and give you an option to collect the objects you need without killing enemies. For example he will ride spiders and then let you scrap venom off his stomach instead of killing them or sit on dwarves to put them to sleep instead of killing them. Lunk also plays an important role in the zone that working with him you get an ally in later recruiting more dwarves to the Thorium Brotherhood's cause.
Recruit the mountain lords to support the Thorium Brotherhood. The mountain-lord's weakness? Dancing it turns out. Which I found hilarious.
I liked this quest because it begins your quests to take down the Cauldron area. This starts by you killing a large number of the Dark Iron dwarves at the start which makes more sense as to why you the player and a handful of NPCs can go into the Cauldron and bring it down.
A simple collect quest but you humorously weaken the Dark Iron dwarves by taking their comfy pillows. As a former military person I say if you take an entire armies pillows they will really have their will to fight taken from em. Careful though occasionally large groups of sleep deprived pissed off dwarves can spawn. I didn't have much trouble swiping em down but a non-AOE class might get frustrated by them.
My memory of this zone from Vanilla was mainly passing through it on my way to raids for the Blackrock area and grinding the Thorium brotherhood reputation. The Cauldron was a decent part of the zone by the story line wasn't very fleshed out at the time. I did notice in the process of going through this zone that they have taken out a rather interesting questline where you once helped a black dragon gather some items and he gives you some black dragon scales.
Now though the zone is pretty well fleshed out. I like that the zone consists of working with the Thorium brotherhood. You have to gather allies in their war against the Dark Iron and then lay siege to major Dark Iron production facility in the area. The zone didn't have too many new inventive quests but it created a good in zone story line that you can progress through.
I do want to say something about the Dark Iron dwarves that we need to understand while going through this zone. Players doing this zone might wonder if it actually fits into the WoW timeline after Cata's start because the Dark Iron dwarves should be docile towards the Alliance now with Moria sitting on the council of Ironforge. The answer is yes Searing Gorge does exist after the start of Cata in the timeline. I believe the Dark Iron dwarves are continuing their plans with Moria's knowledge because they seek to control all of the dwarf kingdom. An example of this in the past before Cata was Magatha Grimtotem's presence in Thunderbluff as an adviser despite her clan's openly hostile actions against the horde in other parts of Kalimdor. I assume Moria is feigning the same kind of ignorance about the rest of the Dark Iron dwarves actions when she is fully aware of them much like Magatha was. I speculate we will see Moria eventually do something to get herself kicked out of the Alliance for good. She is in away becoming the Sylvannas of the Alliance. We aren't meant to trust her.
Overall I give this zone a 3 out of 5 stars.
Next is off to Un'goro
Lorecrafting - Illidan Stormrage the Savior
I think most players are well aware as to who Illidan Stormrage is and some readers might have gleaned from now by my comments I am a bit of a Illidan apologist. I actually think that Illidan is not a bad person or even an evil person. I actually think Malfurion is a bit of a racist dick and jackass brother. The following post will be fairly subjective as I try to sway you to see Illidan's actions as I see them and convert you to an official member of the pro-Illidan camp. I am writing this lorecrafting because I just finished doing Felwood's blog in which you get a flashback to some of Illidan's past and also at the most recent Lore panel at BlizzCon '11 Metzen was asked if we would see Illidan again. Metzen remarked something along the lines of "Maybe, we love a good redemption story" which made me cringe because what does Illidan need to be redeemed for having done?
Let examine Illidan's supposed crimes. His motivations for his actions and Malfurions tendency to take a reactionary stance instead of an understanding stance.
War of the Ancients
Illidan had been a faithful follower of Queen Azshara and strong user of the Arcane. When Azshara's started to dabble in the Legion both Malfurion and Illidan left her service. Illidan did this willingly or likely followed Malfurion because of his feelings for Tyrande.
Illidan was horrified by Malfurion's insistence that the Well of Eternity had to be destroyed. Sure Azshara was using the Well to fuel the Legion's invasion but Illidan also saw the coin from the other side. If Malfurion was allowed to destroy the Well then the Night Elves would be cut off from both their Arcane magic and their immortality. Illidan was stubborn at the idea of introducing the ability to die and the devastating pain that comes along with that. Realistically who would not be? Illidan did not want to see his friends and family suffer.
Illidan did give the Demon Soul to the Legion in an attempt to gather more strength to help defeat the Legion, which will become a running theme for Illidan. As part of this deal Illidan had his eyes removed by Sageras and mystic orbs place in his sockets. This was a pretty big mistake on Illdian's part but he did attempt to redeem himself. As we now see in the events of the Cavern of Times, Illidan made great efforts to close demonic portals as well as helped confront and repel Mannoroth. Sure Illidan had given the enemy powerful tool but he did so in an attempt to gain power to help him defeat the Legion then proceeds to help in the repelling of the invasion.
After the War, Illidan took seven vials of the Well of Eternity and climbed Mt Hyjal and created a new Well of Eternity. The Night Elves did not regain their immortality but this was due to the well not having dragon aspect blessings like the original well once had. Illidan may not have know this fact but he was clearly making a new well in an attempt to return the ability to use Arcane to the Night Elves as well as possibly return their immortality. Illidan argued that magic would be needed to repel the Legion (and we will see it certainly was). Malfurion reacted like I sadly expect Malfurion to do. Since the Night Elves had just been ravaged by the insanity of Aszhara and her misuse of Arcane, Malfurion was angered by Illidan's actions. You could argue that Malfurion was right to want to cut all Night Elves off from Arcane magic but I can counter that the actions of one mad woman and her innner circle is not a reflection all Arcane magic users. Even further the Night Elves have begun once again embracing the use of the Arcane during Cataclysm. Additionally the tree that Illidan created which at the time so enraged Malfurion became a central part of saving Azeroth during the Legion Invasion later and when Deathwing returned.
The Legion's Return
So Malfurion accused his brother of betrayal, hince the title Illidan carried for the rest of his life, and had Illidan permanently imprisoned. Illidan spent 10,000 years in imprisonment only to be released by Tyrande to have him help fight the Legion. Now a normal person would be completely enraged after being locked away this long but Illidan still sane agreed to help the Night Elves, mainly because of his love for Tyrande. Illidan might have expect some form of reconciliation from his brother after all Illidan was likely the premiere demon hunter, capable of training a new army of Night Elves to fight the legion, and was willing to do so. But no Malfurion was cold to his brother's return, calling it a catastrophic mistake. So Illidan ventured off on his own to destroy the legion. Illidan is still not trying to destroy the world, his captures, or even the Night Elf race.
While free Illidan encountered Arthas, who told Illidan of the Skull of Gul'dan. Illidan defeated Tichondrius and his army then consumed the power of the Skull of Gul'dan. At this point Illidan had single handily destroyed a major member of the Legion and his army. But when Malfurion and Tyrande found Illidan, Malfurion again chastised his brother and banished him from Felwood. At this point Illidan had still not willingly made a deal with any member of the Legion or betrayed his people. Everything he has done has been to protect his race.
The Legion was eventually repealed in events that are all too famous. During all this time and even after you also have to remember Illidan had been doggedly chased by Shadowsong who wanted to place Illidan back in prison and constantly belittled by his brother for his every action.
The Lich King
After the Legion's second invasion was stopped Illidan spent most of his time fleeing Shadowsong and banished permanently from his entire race. At this point Illidan is approached by Kil'jadeen with offer of more power if he can defeat Arthas before Arthas makes it to the Frozen Throne and releases the Lich King. Illdian recognized the Scourge and Arthas as major threat to the Night Elves and took Kj's offer. Some might argue that Illidan could have done this purely for power but I argue that Illidan's track record proves that he at least considered this deal a chance to defend Tyrande and the Night Elves. Illidan needed an army and a powerful artifact to destroy the Lich King. Illidan found this army in the Naga and his weapon in the Eye of Sageras. Illidan had made some shaddy friends but he was still defending Azeroth. When Illidan attempted to destroy the Frozen Throne with the Eye of Sageras, Malfurion once again intervened. This is the one time I give Malfurion a pass, as he felt that the Eye of Sageras (and likely true) was going to tear Azeroth apart. Additonally Malfurion was upset with Illidan due to the fact that Shadowsong had lied to Malfurion about Tyrande claiming she was dead and Illidan was to blame. Luckily Kael'thas was there to clear up the misunderstanding and Illidan offered to help search for Tyrande. Illidan did eventually find Tyrande and returned her to Malfurion. Finally Malfurion could have seen his brother for what he was: A misguided but true protector of the Night Elves. Instead Malfurion allowed Illdian to live but banished him from the Night Elves again.
Outlands and Back
After this Illidan fleed Azeroth, not because he was guilty of real crimes against the Night Elves but because he was trying to get away from his deal with KJ. This is another example that Illidan's heart was never in serving the Legion in anyway. It is his actions here that we are supposed to interpret for the reason for hunting down Illidan in the Outlands. But lets look at what Illidan actually did in the Outlands...
Illidan dethrones Magtheridon as the leader of the Outlands. Frees the Fel Orcs of their servitude to the Legion, sadly he was not able to end their dependency on demon blood.
We are supposed to see the fall of the Broken and Akama because the Black Temple has become corrupted as a reason to hate Illidan. But is Illdian blame? NO. The temple was corrupted by Magtheridon before Illdian toppled his regime. All Illdian could be held accountable is his inability to cleanse the Temple and save the Broken from falling deeper from the Dranei.
Unfortunately Illidan was not able to hide from KJ forever as he was forced to return to Northrend and confront Arthas. Sadly Arthas won and Illidan again fleed back to the Outlands. Where he stayed until Azeroth came knocking.
What did we find in the Outlands when we arrived? The Hellfire Peninsula and Shadowmoon Valley is under assault by the Legion. Sure the Naga are draining part of the Zangarmarsh but it is unclear if Illidan is aware of his ally's actions as he is pretty focused on his current war with the Legion. And Kael is up to some pretty bad deeds but we know for sure that Illidan is not aware of his actions by Kael's own admission. Illidan only seems truly concerned with his war with the Legion as he is training a massive army of fel orcs and demon hunters. Sure he could have used them to invade Azeroth but (and I don't care how badly the quest/lore writers want us to think he might) I don't believe he would have. His army was largely demon hunters which would have done him little good in Azeroth and were clearly meant to destroy the Legion. So even from another world Illidan is still trying to destroy Azeroth's major threat.
So wrapping up I would like to point out that I still stand by my belief that Illidan is not a bad person. I will concede any day that Illidan made mistakes and bad deals with the wrong kinds of people but everytime he did so he did it in a manner that would protect his people. Hopefully I have pointed out a great deal of the hate that is pointed in Illidan's direction is because of Malfurion's inability to come to terms with the use of Arcane because of Azshara's actions and not Illidan's. You as player may have hated him for all those times you went into his fortress and attacked him. Sure he might have wiped your raid plenty of times but also remember you unleashed a woman who had become so manic about capturing him that she willingly told Malfurion that Illidan had killed the love of Malfurion's life. Illidan is as dead now sadly as a WoW NPC can be. Is there chance to bring him back? Sure. The Skull of Gul'dan was left after his death and he could be in a way imprinted on it. Also with the Night Elves coming back into the use of Arcane maybe some of Illidan's "crimes" could be over looked. Metzen says he loves a redemption story but I think that Metzen has woven a zealotry into Malfurion's character too strong to allow Illidan to return and for them to both exist.
Achievement Completion Comments
Starting Level:55 Zone Levels: 45-50
Ending Level: 57
Quests: 55 Quests Over Required Completed:5
Ruins north of Whisperwind Grove:
I can't remember or find on the map the name of this spot but it is the supposed location that Illidan consumed the Skull of Gul'dan which gave him his more demonic powers and appearance. The quest line at this spot from a demon hunter seems to imply it is true but the spot also shows flashbacks to Illidan's first fight with Arthas and Illidan's confrontation of a dreadlord. The skull was last used by the Legion in it's corruption of Felwood which would pretty much confirm this is indeed where Illidan found the skull.
This site has existed at least since the start of WoW. Populated by members of the Shadow Council who worship the legion. They have erected a shrine to Kil'jaedan here.
One of the passive or friendly races of the Furbolg live here. The Furbolg are one of the oldest races on Azeroth having been confirmed as to have lived in Azeroth before the Titan's came to Azeroth. Originally living primarily in what is now Northrend the Timbermaw likely migrated south before the Sundering as the Night Elves are known to have had dealings with them. Be warned Timbermaw is a faction that starts unfriendly and will attack players who have not done some of their quests.
Reward for Open Their Eyes. Trinket that summons a rainbow for you. I love to see these go off during PVP battlegrounds because nothing says war like a rainbow... well I suppose if you are a blood elf this is not actually a joke but rather reality.
Reward for The Core of Kroshius. Sadly this is a pretty common shield model but when I saw it I thought it was a great troll shield model so I don't really care how common it is. I still don't see a lot of people running around with it as their transmorphs.
Scare some imps with the light! Not a hard quest but I like to yell "stay away from the light Carole Ann" as I blast imps with holy light and watch them flee. (How is there not a video of that on youtube....the poltergeist reference that is). Plus this quest gives one of my favorite trinkets, aforementioned, to screw with in PVP.
This is a decent little quest chain where you help raise a little snapling into a full blown Ancient Guardian to defend Felwood as part of the Night Elf effort to redeem the land. I enjoy quests where you ally grows up in a manner.
I really enjoy these flashback style quests because they give the casual player a look back into events that happened before wow. As always this flashback to the actions of Illidan raise even more points in my ever growing case as to why Illidan was not a villian... lorecrafting post I think....
In Vanilla I thought Felwood was dull. Just that place you went to grind the horrible grind to get exalted with the Timbermaw and if a warlock was already there grinding before you then Felwood was the place you didn't bother going. For a zone steeped in legion based lore it was pretty lame at the time. Sure it used to and still does have a pretty decent Satyr population, whom I mentioned earlier are another form of corrupted Night Elf.
I think the zone has overcome a pretty decent transformation. I like some of the updating and some of the subtle touches that they throw in for older players. For example Bloodvenom post used to be a full blown horde outpost with questing hub but not the alliance players see it as over run (I assume so does the horde). They have done a good job weaving in some of Illidan's very important actions in this area despite him being a boss from 2 expansions ago, meaning the quest team has a respect for the lore that has come and gone. Most of the Cenarion Circle quests have the normal save the animal's feel but the new Worgen hub in the north has a nice counter Goblin theme. Plus I kinda enjoyed lighting spewing oil on fire.
I give the overall zone four out of five stars.
Next off to Searing Gorge... which used to be a cobbled together cluster... but gladly has changed.