Next up, I had to get Honors switched over. He’s now a Tauren. This is the new face of JUSTICE!
From here on out, this a going to be pretty spoiler filled but I’m a week behind so I doubt that’s going to be a huge problem.
I sent my Timeless Isle gear and my Heirlooms to the banker and set out for the Dark Portal. I loved the scene as storm the portal with Khadgar, Thrall, and Maraad. Watching Maraad I felt a tinge of regret for not going Draenai, and as I watched Thrall I felt a similar twinge for not making my Shaman my main. Then we stepped through and saw the vast Iron Horde army arrayed against us. It was a definite out of the frying pan into the fire sort of moment. Thanks to my Garrosh heirloom, and a bit of Heroic gear the Iron Horde orcs melted before me. I freed Gul’dan, which felt really weird, and shut down the Dark Portal. Now I was stranded and on the run.
I really like the way they did the Tanaan Jungle quests, but it was hard to feel really heroic. Every big moment, it was Khadgar who saved the day by destroying a bridge, busting a dam or teleporting us out of a cave-in. I get that he’s the baddest mage in the whole dang town, but still, for all of him calling me Champion, he handled things pretty well. As we moved through Tanaan, we were introduced to each of the Warlords of the Iron Horde. Some of the names were familiar like Blackhand. It was cool to see who the actual Kilrogg was after spending so much Burning Crusade hiding from his eyes.
There was a lot of Burning Crusade feel to the early Warlords. I recognized the Path of Glory, but not a whole lot else. It was really weird seeing Exarch Maladaar who was a boss in Auchenai Crypts in Burning Crusade. I kept thinking about Kairoz’s musing to Garrosh about not counting the blades of grass. I did want to know how where I was in Draenor related to Outland. Counting blades of grass indeed.
Sidebar! Then I started to wonder if Cairne was still alive in this timeline, but of course, he would be on an alternate Azeroth, and not on Draenor. That alternate Azeroth is mostly likely ruled by the Burning Legion. Grom didn't drink the blood, and didn't take the Dark Portal to that Azeroth. No outside force lead to the original Alliance of Lordereon and there would be no Horde for the Allinace to join forces with at Mt. Hyjal. Given that the combined Horde and Alliance forces barely defeated Archimonde, the Iron Horde's Azeroth had no chance. Archimonde and the Burning Legion rule there.
My favorite quest in Tanaan was commandeering the Iron Horde’s tank and blowing up the Dark Portal.
Overall the story telling was strong and I felt pretty connected to what was going on. I do want to go back and do this quest on my Alliance toons to find out more about Yrel. I think eventually I'll have the Hunter and Shaman as my Alliance toons and Honorshammer plus maybe my Warrior or a boosted Monk or Rogue as my other Horde toon.
We were dropped off at Frostfire Ridge and started working on the quest to open up my Garrison. The developers made sure you weren't going to miss it. One of the first things I had to do was chop down some trees. Here we go, clearcutting a forest. It is like Warsong Gulch all over again, sigh.
I was a little disappointed in that the early Garrison experience is fairly rigid. You have very little way of any choices to make. You are pretty much forced into building the Barracks as your first large building. You literally don’t have any other blueprints at that point.
The first time one of my peons (after I work his lazy butt up) said "Work Complete" I smiled. Many of the Garrison sound effects come straight from Warcraft III. That game was my first introduction to the world that would become Warcraft.
Those minor complaints aside, I did really enjoy the Garrison experience and I’m looking forward to further exploring it in the days to come. I ended my night working through the Bladespire Fortress and hitting level 91. I did miss the ability to fly on several occasions especially given the topography of Frostfire Ridge.
Most of the guild is already looking for groups for Normals, and I’m worried that by the time I’m ready for Normals, everyone will have moved onto heroics. But there’s not a bloody thing I can do about it. As John Fox used to say when he coached the Panthers, “it is what it is.” I’m serious about sticking my ‘casual’ approach to Warlords.