Through my Screenshots of the Week, I’ve had a few people comment about perhaps expanding it. One person suggested I do a whole post about Nagrand, since I said how much I loved it. So, here’s the first of my focus on a specific zone – in screenshots. I try to limit myself on how many I will use, as it’s quite easy to take a whole lot of them.
The first thing anyone notices going into Hellfire Peninsula, and the rest of Outland, is the Dark Portal. Anyone who has played any of the RTS games will know about this, and I know the first time that I went through it I was a little bit in awe. The Azeroth size of it is quite small, but seeing the enormity of the Outland side was amazing.
After going through the portal, the next stop would be your faction’s respective home base: Thrallmar for the Horde, and Honor Hold for the Alliance. Each of the bases has a history, but the Alliance has a little bit more – it was founded by the Alliance Expedition Force who went through the Dark Portal many years back (the events of Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal expansion). Alleria and Turalyon and the rest of the force prevented the corruption of Outland to spread into Azeroth, and basically saved the world… along with beating up Deathwing and a few others.
Other quest hubs in the zone include Falcon Watch for the Horde, run by the Blood Elves who were longing to get to Outland to drink in the energies, and the Temple of Telhamat, run by Draenei who are also wanting to get back to Outland for different reasons. The landscapes here always strike me, even through how desolate it all is. Take the large red crystal, a focus for a small quest chain. Simply adding that in gives the area a lot more character.
Since Outland is an alien world, there has to be things that set it apart from what is considered normal. Simply looking up at the sky, and seeing energies flow across will show you that you’re not in Azeroth anymore. That, along with multiple moons, gives the zone that much more of an exotic look. Before Outland was what it is now, it was a world called Draenor, but succumed to demonic corruption. One area is called the Pools of Aggonar, which is where a pit lord was once killed. His skeleton remains, along with many pools of his sickly green “blood”, and creatures that feed off of it and are born of it. Definitely corrupted.
In the middle of the zone is Hellfire Citadel, where there are four instances – three 5-man dungeons and a 25-man raid. The biggest change of the instances from Vanilla to Burning Crusade was that many of them were tremendously shorter and more streamlined than before. People weren’t used to being able to complete an instance in under three hours.
Once Hellfire Peninsula was done the next destination was Zangarmarsh, which will be the subject of next week’s Memories of Azeroth.
One of the best parts about World of Warcraft is that there are many things to do that appeal to all sorts of people. If you have lots of time to play, there are things for you like dungeons and raiding. If you only have a short period of time to play, there are things for you like questing and professions. Today’s focus will be on the latter, and more specifically focused on one of the best things to do if you’re short on time: archaeology.
Firstly, I define having a short amount of playtime as being under two hours a day. Previously there were more dungeons and raids that could be completed in that amount of time, but with Cataclysm we’ve seen a shift to slightly longer time invested in those. The fastest random heroic that I’ve done was around 45 minutes, which falls into this time allotment, but that will be another post.
Archaeology was introduced in Cataclysm as a new secondary profession, added to the existing ones of: cooking, fishing, and first aid. This means that you can have all four without having to leave any out. The idea is to go around the world to various “dig sites”, where you’ll unearth certain races’ artifacts by collecting fragments from these sites. The benefits are mainly monetary from selling what you make, but also offer some fun vanity and other useful items.
Azeroth (and Outland) is a very diverse place. Within its realms lie many different people, races, classes, professions, and landscapes. The world itself is amazing, sometimes making me want to break into song. This article will focus one just one part, which will be the races that make up the world, and those which are my favourites.
There are many races in World of Warcraft, some of which are playable and many of which are not. Some can be seen as virtuous, evil, neutral, or just plain weird. Among the playable races, people sometimes think that the Alliance is the “good” side, and the Horde are the “villains”. One thing I like about the game is that within each race lies examples of both sides of the spectrum. Whereas some races could have fewer examples, and like in real life, we can’t paint a whole race by a few bad (or good) apples.
Horde – Tauren
The Tauren have always been a favourite race of mine, since I played Warcraft III. There was something about them that always appealed to me, and to this day I’m not entirely sure what. In part, it’s because out of the Horde, they’re the race that is the most on the “good” side. Plus, they’re cows that can carry huge stumps of wood and use them as weapons. How is that not awesome?
This race has a splinter group which is finally being expanded upon in Cataclysm, the Grimtotem. I never understood why Magatha was offered a spot in Thunder Bluff when she never agreed with Cairne Bloodhoof and wanted to see him dead. Unfortunately, she was ultimately successful in her quest to kill the Tauren leader, and almost succeeded in a coup of the capital city. Thankfully, Cairne’s son Baine is as much a warrior and level-headed as his father, and was able to get support to drive them out and retake his rightful position as the new leader of the Tauren.
I have not yet played through the quests in Thousand Needles, but my wife tells me that there’s some not-so-subtle hints that we’ll be seeing Magatha another time. Hopefully, it will be to make sure she doesn’t pose any threat to this peaceful nation ever again.
The runner-up race for the Horde are the Orcs. If you haven’t yet, read through “Rise of the Horde” by Christie Golden, and you’ll get a great history lesson of how the race has changed over time. I highly recommend this book.
Alliance – Draenei
There’s something about the blue-skinned space goats that pique my interest. Their story is a very long one which started with the corruption of some of the original Eredar leaders of Archimonde and Kil’jaeden, and ended with the Draenei we know today being the splinter group from the original people. A majority of the Eredar are now used by the Burning Legion as their troops, helping Sargeras accomplish his goals of wiping out life in the universe.
On Azeroth (and Outland) there aren’t any specific splinter groups off of the landed Draenei, just a few places here and there that have Draenei among their ranks. The main part where they’re evident is wherever there are groups of the Burning Legion, there’s bound to be an Eredar hanging out. Or to spice things up, there’s Prince Malchezaar hanging out at the top of Karazhan.
For more history regarding the Draenei, once again the book “Rise of the Horde” by Christie Golden covers parts of it.
Runners-up for the Alliance would have to be the Night Elves. As much as I may hate to admit it, I like the story behind the race and everything they’ve gone through to become the race they are today. With a few
Non-Player Characters – Dragons
Dragons are awesome. In World of Warcraft, they’ve become even more awesome than most other series or games that are out there. Not only are they dragons, but the idea of being separated into the aspects and each aspect having dominion over a certain part of the world is a great idea. Many series have dragons as being the “bad guys”, with some certain ones breaking away from that – which is what I like. They’re freaking DRAGONS.
Runners-up for the NPC races are a tie for me: the Naga – again, I really like their history and what happened to them after the Sundering; and the Murlocs – say what you will, they’re still entertaining.
I truly could go on about the different races and what I like and dislike about each of them. Thankfully, Blizzard gives us many options and stories to choose from. It will be interesting to see what future expansions hold.