Take Two

After I finally ran out of quests in the Dragonblight and unable to level further, I restarted Wrath by entering the Borean Tundra. Two levels later I can say that Borean Tundra is definitely the place to go if you're Horde.

First of all, the main theme of Wrath, the struggle against the Scourge, starts right outside Warsong Hold, and you'll run into Kel'Thuzad quickly enough. You're also re-introduced to the one of the major schisms within the Horde. And I'm not talking about the Forsaken here: It's Thrall's new Chessmaster approach versus Hellscream's "Orc Smash!". In the main hall of Warsong Hold, Garrosh Hellscream and Saurfang the Older discuss strategy. That is, whether to use strategy or not. Garrosh's drive to push through is understandable, considering that a creepy variety of the Vrykul ambushed the Horde ships and the Nerubians are literally undermining Warsong Hold. To stay still is to die slowly, but rushing into things might lead from bad to worse. Such as the quest to kill a necromancer that's been turning the local Horde farmers into monsters, cutting off the Horde's food supply. The necromancer is way out of your league, so Saurfang has to bail you out.

In general, it seems that all of the continuity in quest lines was made for Borean Tundra, and the Horde part of Howling Fjord was made as an afterthought. I missed a lot by starting at the Howling Fjord. To name a few:

  • The introduction of the Tuskarr and the Taun'ka
  • The civil war between the Red and Blue dragonflights
  • Scourge's overall objective to infect, dominate or resurrect ancient beasts
  • D.E.H.T.A. vs Nesingwary
  • Exodus of the Taun'ka and the start of integration of the Horde
  • Remnants of the fragile truce between Horde and the Alliance
  • Origin of the Gnomes, seasoned with a nice Cybermen homage
  • Murlocs, including one where you control a zerg of (non-combat) murlocs. Also, you get to loan the Blizzcon Murloc suit
And while the Blue Dragonflight obviously has been stealing Naaru technology, the overall look and feel of the place is very blue and thus omnious. You're also introduced to the crystal trees you'll see later around Dalaran. If you did the Nexus first like you were supposed to, arrival to the Crystalsong Forest should trigger an "Oh crap, they're here as well" reaction instead of just "Oo, pretty". There's also one room where the flames from the torches (along with everything else, including the air) are drawn towards.. a huge rift in space and time. The air around the rift is filled with blue drakes fighting etheral snakes, so it seems that the Blue Flight bit off slightly more than it can chew. Thus the resulting miniboss fight has a definite Final Fantasy / Chrono Trigger feel to it. It also prepares the player for a questline in the Dragonblight where the Blue Flight tries to make a truce with the Ethereum, the antagonists from the Netherstorm. While there's plenty of reasons to dislike the jarring departure from the fantasy/steampunk mythos that was the Burning Crusade, having some plot glue is nice.

Eventually, you also get a glimpse of Malygos. However, he's somewhat of a disappointment. I was looking toward into seeing his insect-like, almost skeletal form that was described in the Day of the Dragon. Instead, he's just like every other dragon out there. At least Alexstraza got a decent model.

Eventually, I finished the rest of the quests in the Borean Tundra and returned to the Dragonblight. Now that the other half of the quests were open, getting to level 76 wasn't a problem. However, my quest log is rapidly filling with group quests, and I'll probably have to start rejecting quests soon.

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