There’s only so much punishment a gnome Warlock can take, and I can’t take no more. World of Warcraft’s Battle for Azeroth expansion is live, and the Horde is going to pay for their grievous trespasses. Once I finish finding a little girl some seashells, hunt for some treasure, and some other stuff. But after that—WAR.
It’s not like anyone expected a World of Warcraft expansion to immediately cast the two warring factions against each other in real-time battles. That sort of thing is for the old, basic Warcraft games and Starcraft II mods. Before we can get to all of that warring in Battle for Azeroth, we have to receive a powerful artifact called the Heart of Azeroth, which will doubtlessly be completely useless in the next expansion pack. Here’s a look at how that goes down, courtesy of Royal Phalanx Gaming.
The Heart of Azeroth is a device which, among other things, gives one the opportunity to capture a really cool screenshot of their character in mid-cutscene. My gnome Warlock, Murlock, has never looked so mischievously powerful.
The Heart also allows players to collect artifact power just like they did for their artifact weapons during the Legion expansion (which are completely useless now). By feeding power into the Heart of Azeroth, players unlock special abilities that can be applied to select pieces of powerful armor. It’s a neat mechanic that would be much neater if not for Blizzard’s habit of throwing out neat mechanics when newer ones show up.
Now that we’ve secured the Heart of Azeroth, it’s time for war!
Well, almost time for war. First we have a stop to make. Kul Tiras, the human island nation that hosts the largest naval force on the planet, hasn’t been all that involved on the global stage in recent years. Our first war-time task is to change that. That’s going to take a lot of questing. Three different areas’ worth.
Following a pattern similar to Legion, Battle for Azeroth gives quest-lovers a choice of storylines to pursue. One involves getting the ruler of Kul Tiras to stop hating the Alliance, no mean feat considering one of the Alliance’s greatest hero is her “traitorous” daughter, Jaina Proudmore. The legendary Kul Tiras fleet is missing, so that seems like a worthwhile thing to look into. There’s a third section, but honestly I was so tickled by the thought of my tiny gnome discovering the location of a missing fleet where an entire island nation had failed that I immediately went boat hunting.
So far the Battle for Azeroth has been exactly what I’d expected. I travel to new places. I stop to take picturesque screenshots. I take on three quests, which lead me to three more, which lead me to three more. There’s not a lot of new structure here.
There are distractions, familiar but not unwelcome. The wandering boss creatures and hidden treasure troves from Warlords of Draenor and Legion return, making it much harder to follow those yellow quest arrows. It’s always nice to take a break from the beaten path and meet up with some random players to take down a powerful wandering critter.
But where is the war? As much as I love scenic locations and strange new creature to play with, the lead-up to Battle for Azeroth has my blood boiling for some Horde-slaying. Since the two factions are leveling on their own island nations, I’m not running into any random Hordies, and the idea of hunting them down when I’ve got all of these quest markers to follow seems counterproductive. I guess I’ll just keep questing until I find some war to craft.
Oh, this shall do nicely. FOR THE ALLIANCE!