Ordinarily I don’t enjoy questing that much. The whole ‘kill 20 of these’ then ‘kill loads of these until you find one with a brain’ gets a bit tedious for me, especially as I did a lot of questing when I first started playing due to thinking you had to complete every quest in a zone before you could move to a new one. That said, the questlines in BfA have been somewhat more story driven, giving you more of a reason to kill 20 of something rather than to just help out some NPC so they can make a soup etc…
Each zone in the Alliance area is tied to one of the Houses that make up the council of Kul Tiras. Meaning each questline allows you to find out about what is going on in that area and why the council is seemingly falling apart at the seams.
I started with Drustvar while I was levelling and due to this I didn’t spend much time reading quest text but the dialogue for the NPC’s was complete enough that you didn’t really have to. I have spent more time going through it on my Priest to get a better picture but the whole area is being overrun by bad Drusts and witches was pretty clear without reading everything.
The area itself is pretty creepy. More so around the random villages and hamlets you come across. Helped even more by the creepy kid that you find in one of them.
While the Drust are seen as evil and need eradicating it is the witches that are the real enemy here. The models for them seem to be an upgrade on the wailing banshees that we have seen before (remember those ones at the bridge boss in Throne of Thunder?) close up they are pretty terrifying and I can imagine running into one of them in first person when you’re not expecting it could make you jump.
While witches and Drust are the antagonists the story of the Waycrest family is the plot in this zone. Meeting Lucile Waycrest just before she is publicly hanged paints a pretty bleak picture for the citizens of this area and how desperate the people are here.
The dialogue is quite witty. When the judge, jury and executioner is told that Lucile isn’t responsible for the ‘witchy’ goings on, he decides to declare that she wasn’t the witch that was responsible. We are told that he still thinks that she is a witch just not the one they are looking for… which is refreshing considering most quests with mistaken identity have the protaganist being profusely apologised to and sent on their way.
In a hamlet you help out the leading NPC there is a sassy bitch, Evelyn Pare, who is the Mayor of Fletcher’s Hollow. She greets you with scathing remarks that when delivered by her voice actor make you want to help her (to show her you are not shit) and let them die on their own.
You hear that, boys? The mainlander’s gonna help us take our town back!
Let’s hope you brought an army in that pack of yours.
Mainlander is a term of ridicule in this zone. You’re a squishy whelp that hasn’t had to deal with the harshness of living here. It’s said so much that it does become quite grating after a while and I personally couldn’t be done with this zone quick enough. The constant remarks from the NPC’s you were sent to help of ‘you keep your distance, I’ll keep mine’ seems contradicting to the fact that you had just saved them from being eaten alive by the Drust… Maybe it was supposed to place their plight front and centre but I ended up screaming “Oh fuck off!” at my screen more often than I should have been if they had actually had a dialogue that matched up to the fact that I was actually their saviour so to speak.
The end part however, leading up the the finale in the dungeon was the bit that redeemed the zone in a way before crashing slightly.
It’s only right at the very end do we find out Lucile’s back story and its presented to us through memories of her wedding. After accepting a quest from fiances ghost we go into the scenario expecting it to just be a regular ambush, only to be confronted with the information that her mother orchestrated his murder because he was ‘beneath’ the family in standing and it wouldn’t do to pollute the Waycrest name by having him for a son-in-law. When trying to find the list for Lord Waycrest, the scathing remarks from Lady Waycrest when you look in all the obvious places leads you to a ‘fuck you! Lets check under the bloody rug then!’ moment just to fight back at her put-downs.
You discover she is a two faced bitch and she has the poor lad assassinated. Her husband however, is too much of a wet fish to bring his wife down a peg or two and treat their daughter with some humility (like he did with her when he married ‘beneath’ himself) and it leaves him as a tag-along. It’s a shame as the first time we meet him hes already just a downtrodden NPC and he fares no better in the dungeon.
The other disappointment was Lucile’s reaction to having her fiances wedding ring given to her. She just didn’t seem to give much of a shit about it. After all of that, I was expecting some more emotion about it all. She discovered that her Mother has turned into the Grand-High Witch who has taken her Father with her like some sort of dog on a leash and I’m still not sure is she knows that her Mother is the reason that her Fiance is dead… We had this huge build up and then it was just left to trickle away… Although the dungeon itself is pretty awesome, even if I do get endlessly lost in it.
This was my last zone I did as I had inadvertently picked up and completed a third of the Tiragarde Sound questline by just going to an exclamation mark on the map rather than picking it up from the board in the Harbourmaster’s office but it was the second zone I had planned to complete.
This one had more of the ‘kill 20 of these’ quests which did drag come the end of it but the start point of going to the Tidesages compound in Boralus first was a nice touch as an introduction to the area. Meeting them as a ‘semi-enemy’ and having that constant feeling that they might all become hostile made the compound feel more hazardous than it was (at least in the beginning)
The scenery was amazing here, what they might of had lacking with the fullness of the questing plot-lines (eg: the main quest had to be bulked up by pointless side quests) the views you got made up for it.
We also get to travel with Taelia who has an amazing voice actor who gives her a personality that is enthusiastic about everything and wanting to change the world all in one. Shes someone who is never afraid to fight, which is great after experiencing an escort quest with Lucile Waycrest where she literally cowered and left you doing all the hard work.
The actual Tidesage part of the zone is really good. You learn that the sages have been lead to the Old Gods by their leader, Lord Stormsong. Who has been swayed by the whispers and now feels that adding their ranks to Azshara’s Naga would be a better destiny for the Tidesages than being under the thumb of the ‘elites’ in Kul Tiras.
The Old Gods influence isn’t just hinted at here, its a full on assault. To the point where you have to burn a boat full of the devotees as its the quickest and kindest way to get rid of them. With the NPC Sam showing you how quickly and relentlessly you can be swayed by the whispers of the Old Gods if you are not careful. When Alleria said that it was a constant struggle, she was not lying!
The only thing I didn’t really like about this zone is that you have to do some pretty shit quests to help farmers to get to that point of discovering what is going on with the Tidesages. There’s a hedgehog mob invasion that’s like Troggs 2.0, collecting honey for some dude that you never really find out why hes experimenting with it, kill a Horde invasion that randomly happens here for no seemingly good reason as there’s no Azurite at the town they invade.
The quest leading up to the Shrine of the Storm dungeon finale has one escort quest that gets a bit grating. You have to escort Victoria to the shrine. If you just run off she yells at you that you have just left her there to die. Which is fine, if she wasn’t so slow and didn’t complain that she doesn’t think that she can go on every five seconds. She does redeem herself however when faced with Old God minions she suddenly finds the courage and strength to hold them back so you can escape. Even if that means sacrificing herself.
It’s a strange turn of character from her. One second she is shitting herself and then the next she is sacrificing herself…
You do get the bumblebee to ride on though… Which is a major plus, to the point where I have gone as far as I could go on it just to be able to sit there and look at it in all its cuteness as it zipped along.
This was my third zone. I waited for this one as it is the one that finishes off the story that greets you when you first get to Boralus, namely that Katherine Proudmoore is conviced by Pricilla Ashvane to lock up Jaina for treason due to Jaina allowing her father to die. Its taken some time to get here but no this is the main story and the reason that we are here in the first place, it turns out that sorting out the witches and the Tidesages were side quests to this quest.
The nice thing about saving this to last is that you con just do the main story line in the part below Boralus without having to venture up north into the hills. That also means that you get to team up with Flynn Fairwind, the former pirate Captain (with none other than Harlan Sweete as his first mate) turned good-guy who uses his contacts and charm to get the job done. Taelia and Flynn are as thick as theives when it comes to doing things their own way to get things done, luckily though, Cyrus understands and allows them to do what they have to do.
Flynn is another one where they have found a gem of a voice actor, he has a personality that resonates with cheeky charm that masks a character that knows more tricks of the trade than you do when it comes to sorting out pirates and the like.
From drowning his love sick sorrows to getting lost when drunk, his dialogue never seems to be a contradiction of the NPC’s character which when compared to Tidesage Victoria it’s a welcome change!
I really enjoyed this questline. The knowledge that we had to find Jaina. The cinematics with Katherine and Genn. The hint that Pricilla wasn’t the kind friend Katherine thought she was by the inclusion of the Azurite necklace she was wearing in the opening cinematic kept me on the edge of my seat. It felt like a race against time without feeling like we were wasting time questing. even with Flynn being utterly pissed at points it didn’t make me want to shout at him to hurry up. If anything, it was me that he felt was being slow!
Bewitched bears…? Nope! Absolutely not. Please uh… just get rid of them.
Done? Good. The fewer crazed animals that can and will eat me alive, the better.
Getting your hands on an invitation will make the job easier. Or, just rush in and attempt to kill three of the most feared pirate captains all at once. Your decision, mate…
No idea what you’re talking about… But I think we finally have some real dirt on Ashvane.
I liked the fact that even when we are done with the pirates we still looked to Flynn for help. Despite been given ‘whatever we need’ from Katherine in our quest to locate Jaina, it is a former pirate who has the knowledge to find her rather than the Admiralty’s finest.
This questline also brought back the Order of Embers you helped found in Drustvar and the Tidesages that you assisted in Stormsong Valley. With both of them you are able to get to Fate’s End where prisoners are left and they never return. Only once there you find out she is in the Drust version of the Twisting Nether… Jaina’s interaction in there are heartbreaking, where we see her point of view on why she made the choices she did and the burden and guilt she now carries because of them. Something which her mother also finds out and helps the rift between them heal.
This questline also ends with the Siege of Boralus dungeon. Its one that really finishes the story of what Pricilla Ashvane was actually up to, and that is taking over Kul Tiras and selling everyones soul to the Tidesages and Azshara. The atmosphere created here is amazing and the end with the engineers begging you for help really steps it up a notch rather than them just being silent NPC’s that are languishing until you do something.
Luckily, Jaina is the only one currently able to summon the fleet back from the storm that Lord Stormsong had kept them trapped in and we get to witness Pricilla panic and then surrender like the wet dog she is.
As we don’t see what happens to her after her surrender it can pave the way for her as a mini raid boss if they do something like Trial of Valor/Terrace of Endless Spring in this expansion. Or she could be another dungeon that gets added in later. I also hope that we do something more with Fates End as that seems like a really creepy place to put something else there to hunt down and kill, the lore built up with it as a place of no return and one that even the Tidesages wont step foot on makes it the perfect place to put something else in the future.