Last time we ended up a bit abruptly. The post grew longer than I expected, because the story detail required for a full zone of an expansion was unsurprisingly large. I managed to detail the first four chapters of the zone’s storyline, which included a lot of worgen, arakkoa, and Wild Hunt lore. Today, we move on towards the last two chapters of the zone, leading up to the climactic resolution of the storyline began in the pre-expansion patch. This time I do not have long rants prepared, so we’ll head into the story proper in a minute.
But before we do that, I wanted to give the proper attention to an actual game design point lost somewhere in the body of the text. It’s about the garrisons and Dream of Creation, and how their question is solved by me. In short, in every zone your central quest hub contains an Outpost – a special, unique building that contains a few garrison services. The first is the mission table, which works just like the one currently in the garrisons. The second is the work order table, which replaces building up an actual garrison. The work order table lets you assign a follower with the proper profession trait to a fitting work order. The resulting items are then left in the box outside the Outpost. If you had an inn in your garrison, there is also a headhunter waiting for you (it might not require building an inn – TBD). Your bodyguard followers are also found there, awaiting your orders. Finally, in all of Emerald Dream you have one garrison ability, Call to Arms, identical to the one from Shadowmoon/Frostfire. That resolution allows you to continue the best aspects of a garrison, without the “facebook game” aspects of it. And yes, the new zones do give you new followers – I just didn’t decide on them yet.
Without further ado, let’s jump into the continuation of our storyline. When we left off, we just helped the Trooping Fey gain a fighting chance against the Nightmare and the Wild Hunt. Also in the last part, we helped Ivar Bloodfang fight off a resurgence of feral instincts caused by the Emerald Dream. When you return from the Core Hunting Grounds to Veil Kirrik, you are directed to a new area to the west, the Verdant Falls (5). Here, the local brooks fall from the Verdant Plains towards the canyon of Korredon which you can see from above. However, upon your arrival here, you are greated with a sight of Celestine (in worgen form) and Lorna Crowley in cages. As it turns out, Celestine suddenly had a bout of aggression and bit Lorna, which has the unfortunate side effect of causing her to become worgen soon. Tess Greymane is here with a group of Gilneans, including Krennan Aranas and Ivar Bloodfang and they’re looking for a cure to this affliction plaguing the worgen here.
Krennan Aranas was the one hired by Tess to help find a cure, but Verroak couldn’t help himself and is trying to help the Gilnean. Surprisingly for Tess, the two alchemists are understanding each other very well. In your first quests, you are sent to the nearby mushroom forest. Usually, the oddball but friendly fey known as korreds live in those forests, but here, it was overtaken by little, green, malicious fey called redcaps. You go into the forest and gather ingredients for the cure, as well as try to help the wildlife plagued by the redcaps. There are also a few healthy korreds inside the commune, and you help them get back on their feet. The korreds direct you to the presence of a nightwalker deep within. It turns out, it’s the same nightwalker who killed his beloved to turn into this monster. With the help of a swarm of angry korreds, you destroy the monster and return to Tess’s camp.
While you were gone, Ivar Bloodfang suddenly went crazy again. Tess was bitten, Ivar escaped and the defenses are in shambles. You however deliver your ingredients to Krennan and Verroak, who together with you complete the cure that is then used to help Celestine, Tess and Lorna. Just as you finish and are about to move out looking for Ivar again, you are attacked by the Wild Hunt, headed by the Grand Master Wodan himself. The vrykul specter is leading his troops from behind and after you defend the camp, he teleports himself and you into an isolated layer of the Dream. You get to fight Wodan one on one and lose badly, leading to him taunting you about you needing an army to take him down. Then, you return to the regular layer alone and find the Huntsmen gone from your camp.
Luckily, a number of hippogryph riders from the night elven faction of Stormrage Advance have arrived in the Verdant Plains from the west and report about sighting Ivar and his Oldmoon forces amassing to the south of this area. The two alchemists quickly synthesize a bomb version of their cure, and you jump on a hippogryph to bomb the Oldmoon camp with HEALING. After that is done, you go in with Krennan and Tess, only to find Ivar gone. The cured worgen are now taking your orders, but you find Ivar’s hut marked with the trademark brown-green energy of the Nightmare. He’s been taken.
Chapter VI: The Balance of Man and Beast
You continue into the Sorrow Sward (6), a nearby area where the recently peaceful fey where just disturbed by a sudden surge of Nightmare. Dark, twisted worgen roam the plains along with redcaps and satyrs, and blotches of brown-green Nightmare creep are intermingling with the still healthy grasslands. You begin by assaulting a satyr fortress of Keraxion (located at the flight path in 6) and find Ivar there – kneeling before the Albino himself. Meeting the new Nightmare Lord himself in person for the first time, the friendly NPCs want to prepare their armies to strike. The Albino knows better and swipes everyone away with a dark wave and teleports away with Ivar, leaving Nightmarist Kerax behind. With Tess’s and Lorna’s help, you defeat Kerax and take over the fortress.
The night elven scouts return once again and report Ivar has been spotted at the pass leading down to the Korredon canyon. It seems that those Bloodfang and Oldmoon who remained with him have now truly embraced the Nightmare. Luckily, Semia still has a majority of them with her and claims that with madness taking over Ivar’s mind, his reign is now over and she will be the Den-Mother until Ivar’s heirs come of age. In your first quests here, you help to defend the remaining good creatures here, as well as gather materials for your spellcasters to be used in the coming battle.
After that, you continue straight into the Oldmoon Pass, and prepare for the final battle. Ivar has taken command of the local Nightmare forces and is fortifying himself there. Without a doubt, the Albino wants to take over Korredon and feed on the nightmares of the innocent korreds. As the next quest, you begin a great Battle for Oldmoon Pass, which is a special solo scenario. During the ensuing battle, various forces you gathered in the Verdant Plains come to your aid in various phases of the battle. Semia’s ferals, Celestine’s druids, Ikash’s windroc cavalry, Rilak’s arakkoa troops, Tess’s and Lorna’s Gilnean army, the Trooping Fey and the Bliss fey all aid in various ways, including defeating some powerful Nightmare creatures – among them satyrs, nightwalkers and nightmare dragons. Finally, you converge onto Ivar’s elite guard. After you defeat them, Ivar himself turns into a giant, hulking monster. After a brief fight in this form, a cinematic plays.
Wounded Ivar refuses to retreat, as your troops keep pummeling him. Semia herself emerges from the shadows and attempts to talk sense into him. Ivar is distracted and Tess and Rilak manage to restrain him. Semia talks to him again and he seems to be regaining his mind but isn’t sure if he can forgive himself for what he did. Then, an Echo of the Albino appears and responds he (the Albino) will certainly not forgive him this moment of weakness. The Echo casts an energy tether to Ivar, who begins choking. Your various forces shoot at the Echo, but everything falls through. Ivar falls down, dying, as the Echo dissipates. He finally turns back into a human (for the first time in the game) and apologizes to Semia before finally dying. She howls out to the sky and the cinematic ends.
At the conclusion of the battle, the gathered forces are walking around the battlefield, mending the wounded and identifying the bodies. All the remaining feral worgen bow before Semia. Meanwhile, the night elf scouts arrive again, saying they found a vault of Titanic knowledge in the canyon of Korredon. They will require your help there and hope the knowledge within might help in saving the korreds who are being attacked and converted by the Nightmare. But that is the plot for another zone.
Side Questline: The Kindly Old Lady
Somewhere in the Sorrow Sward, you find a strangely out of place shoe made for a tiny foot. Not for a fey, but more likely for a human child. You then investigate a trail of literal breadcrumbs leading you into the Hag’s Weald (+ on the map). There, you find the source of that missing shoe – a young girl named Margie, or rather her dreamform. (Horde players can go straight to her to begin the questline) She says you have to help her find her missing brother, Johnny. She is even aware she’s dreaming, and has been for days. She knows not waking up for so long is strange and she thinks something strange must have happened to Johnny. You investigate with her, going into a dark, foreboding forest and slay some of the monsters for her.
A trail of clues about the boy’s whereabouts leads you towards a strange hut standing on a chicken’s leg. When you enter, you find Johnny sitting at a table filled with food, and an old lady tending to him. The old lady offers more food to the boy and his sister and wants your help in finding some special herbs for a “very special roast”. You may be suspicious, but you gather the required ingredients in the forest anyway and return to the woman. Then, you are offered to sit at her table and eat with the children. You can refuse already, but it’s actually more beneficial to eat. The various foods she delivers on the table give you Well Fed buffs that can actually stack with each other, but all make you slower (“and more deliciously plump” according to the tooltip). At one point, the children can eat no more and the old lady says she will now prepare her final dish. This is when you can stand up, as the old lady turns into a hag and attacks you.
You fight her with (very) little help from the children throwing leftovers at her. When you bring her down to 1 HP, she doesn’t die but turns back into an old lady and kneels down, begging you for mercy. But then, the children kick her right into her oven and run away. You can then happily (and slowly) return to Veil Kirrik and tell Rilak about what happened, who rewards you with a rare quality item for your trouble.
Other areas in the Verdant Plains
As you probably noticed, some areas are still unaccounted for. That’s because much like in Warlords of Draenor, there are level cap areas scattered around every zone. Most of the unmarked areas are bonus objectives, such as the one between 4 and 5 involving a group of uncorrupted Fomorians being corrupted by an elite one with an Evil Eye installed already. These areas will grant you bonus experience and gold but are not required to progress in the zone.
Some of the other areas are level cap areas, mostly used for reputation factions. #1 is the Great Lodge Fields and houses the first raid of the expansion, the Great Lodge, which will be the subject of a future post. The are around the raid contains level X10 mobs, mostly from the Wild Hunt but also from the Nightmare forces trying to break in from the side. It also houses the Trooping Fey’s main camp, which gives out the dailies in this area. #2 is the White Thornbrush, and mostly contains Nightmare Satyrs and forces aligned with them, such as an occasional arakkrai. A small Dreamwalker camp in the area will give out the associated daily quests. #3 and #4 are still being under consideration and all four of these will be detailed with their respective reputation factions.
The final area, #X, is a mysterious, secluded glade named “Shrine of Aviana”. Around this area, you can find a statue of Aviana, guarded by friendly harpies, neutral white dread raven-like creatures as well as hostile dread ravens. There is no reputation faction associated with this area and its true purpose remains unknown even after launch. Until a future patch, of course! Similar shrines appear in every zone of the expansion.
That’s it for today. I’ll see you in around a week, detailing the first part of the Horde’s first zone in the expansion, the Overgrowth.