Friday, April 6, 2018

Battle for Azeroth Plans (Blizzard Media Day)

Disappointing news out of the Blizzard Media day event. The first Allied Races in Battle for Azeroth are not the Zandalari and Kul Tirians, but instead the Mag'har Orcs and Dark Iron Dwarves. This is great news for anybody stoked about rolling those races, but it means my dreams of playing a Zandalari dinosaur Druid will have to wait until at least 8.1, if not longer. 8.1 won't drop until at least November, maybe even December.

It reminds me of the situation around the flail reveal during the Legion Beta. I was on the fence as to what I was going to play. Retribution had the strong appeal of wielding the Ashbringer, but I love to tank. As Beta progress, Wowhead datamined the flail model and when I heard it was to be a Protection Paladin only weapon, I was thrilled and decided to stick with Prot. I got on the Beta servers and the subsequent PTRs for the next year looking for clues as to how the mysterious weapon would be obtained. Of course, in due time, we learned of Mage Tower and I beat my head against it until I mastered overgeared it.

Nightborne / Highmountain Recruitment

I've leveled my Tauren Druid, Tivonicus Thunderwatcher, to 110.

As soon as I did, the Nightborne and Highmountain scenarios unlocked. I'm sure most people have done them, but if you haven't and you don't want spoilers, skip down to the next section.

Still here? Okay.

The Highmountain scenario was the better of the two, and it left me with more questions than answers. Why are the Old gods so interested in Highmountain? Is it just because they want to turn Ebonhorn into the next Deathwing? There seems to be some connection between high mountains and power. The Zandalari claimed the highest peaks of Zandalar mountain. Nordrassil was planted on the high peaks of Mount Hyjal. Several NPCs refer to Highmountain as a holy mountain. Could this association between high places and mystical power be related to Elune? If Elune is represented by Azeroth's moon, the highest places of Azeroth would be the closest to her.

The Highmoutnain scenario was great, and its easy to see the Highmountain joining their brothers from Mulgore in the Horde despite the aid the Alliance Champion gave to them.

The Nightborne scenario was the one I was most interested in. After everything we did for them, I wanted to see why Thalyrssa stabbed the Alliance in the back and joined the Horde. What I got was a little disappointing. This was the shortest of the scenarios, and some of the writing felt forced. Lor'themar starts out aggressive towards Alleria for .. reasons? In both the Highmountain and Nightborne scenarios, the Void / Old gods attack during the meeting, but in the Highmountain one, Baine goes out of his way to not blame the Highmountain for the attack, when Ebonhorn's presence is the exact reason. Meanwhile, Lor'themar immediately blames Alleria, a hero and daughter of Silvermoon, and tries to have her arrested.

There was certainly animosity between Tyrande and Thalyrssa during their meeting, and I wonder if it doesn't hearken back to some rivalry between the Highborne (Thalyrssa) and the Priest of Elune (Tyrande) even prior to the Sundering. As the Highborne mages grew in power and influence, the Temple of Elune and her priestesses would diminish. Tyrnade might not have wanted the Nightborne, who are about as close to Highborne as Azeroth has these days, coming in and again threatening her power.

Legion Goals

Two of my major remaining Legion goals are now completed. Future Dino is 110, and I've unlocked all the Allied Races. I've also knocked out the Mage Tower on my Hunter.

I've got two things left I want to do. I want to get a Mythic +15 on Honor's Hammer, and I want to get the Mage Tower Feral Druid skin.

My Night Elf Druid is better geared than my Tauren one. He's sitting around 915 ilevel. I switched him from Balance to Feral and  I'll try to get the Mage Tower done before it's too late. Wish me luck!

Battle Plans

With Zandalari pushed off, I'll put my time into leveling up my Alliance toon, and then work on my Horde toon later. I still want to be a Dinosaur Druid, but with them coming with the first content patch, I've got time to get my Horde toon leveled after the Alliance one.

Assuming my guild doesn't change its mind and go Horde, I'm still undecided on my Alliance toon.

The other bit of disappointing news out of Media Day put another mark in the Hunter column. Azerite Armor will not change based upon your spec. Despite everything they've done the past two expansions with gear switching stats between specs, the developers now feel having multiple gear sets for different roles is interesting and healthy for the game.

I was all set to main my Hunter and even planned on getting on Alpha to give the new Survival a test run. The major sticking point is my guild has no less than four other players interested in rolling a Hunter in Battle. With the developers stating over and over that teams will want a diverse array of classes, having so many Hunters (I'd be the fifth) won't be good.

Time for plan, what letter am I on now? D? D is for Druid!

My current thinking is I'll be a Druid for Battle of Azeroth. Granted, it might be weird having two max level Druids, but there's less if any emphasis on class story in Battle so I doubt I'll be missing out on as much as if I did this in Legion.

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