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Archive for the ‘Necrolords/Maldraxxus’ Category

As I’ve been bopping around in the Shadowlands with Kaelinda and Kaurinka, I’ve discovered that I have specific mounts that I prefer for each zone. In Ardenweald, of course I’m using the Wildseed Cradle. In Bastion, since I’m not anywhere close to being Exalted with The Ascended and being able to get the Gilded Prowler, I’m using the Winged Guardian. In Maldraxxus, I like my Gilded Ravasaur because I think it expresses primal might and apex power while also being pleasing to look at. In Revendreth, Kaelinda prefers her Creeping Carpet, while Kaurinka has chosen the Crimson Direhorn*, and Keliora and Kalaneia will use the Swift Red Hawkstrider. Kaelyla has chosen the Fossilzed Raptor for Maldraxxus and the Smoky Charger for Revendreth.

Have you chosen mounts to fit the ambiance of the Shadowlands zones, or are you just continuing to ride your old standbys?

~*~*~

A question in a recent Blizzard Watch Queue asked if the Queue writer of the day/Queue commenters were spending their Anima on Sanctum upgrades or Covenant Armor upgrades. The Queue writer answered that she’d been spending it on Covenant Armor upgrades, and hadn’t upgraded any of the Sanctum features to stage 2 yet. That sounds like a rather good idea, actually, since with my very slow, meandering playstyle, Covenant Armor upgrades will be the path of least resistance to improving my gear. Of course, that means I have to actually finish my Covenant campaigns and get all of my base Covenant Armor sets…. Kaelinda is still stalled out at the beginning of Chapter 4 of the Venthyr campaign. I finally managed to push Kaurinka through Chapter 2 of the Night Fae campaign, though. By now both of them have their Renown more or less high enough that they could get to Renown 22 and access the final chapter of their Covenant campaigns just by powering through all the other chapters — so perhaps I should prioritize/focus on that for the next couple of weeks.

I’ve noticed — as I’m sure everyone else has by now — that the Calling each day is the same the for all of the Covenants. Everybody gets “Fill the Bar in Ardenweald”, or “Do 3 World Quests in Maldraxxus”, or whatever. I’ve also noticed that Callings tend to “stack” — one day will be “Fill the Bar in Zone A” and the next day will be “Do 3 World Quests in Zone A”, or something similar. I’ll often do Callings in my Covenant zone — Revendreth for Kaelinda and Ardenweald for Kaurinka — immediately, but wait for Callings in other zones to stack before I go do them.

Kaelinda has been having an easier time of finishing the 1000 Anima weekly lately, it seems. She’s got her Anima Conductor channel to the special treasure permanently activated and has been doing the special enemy channel (SMASH BAD BAT!!) for about a week. Kaurinka just permanently activated her special treasure channel; I’m looking forward to activating the special enemy channel, since I’ve read that for Night Fae, it’s encore performances at the theatre.

Now that I’ve run the easymode version of a Torghast wing in which Baine is found for Chapter 2 of the Covenant campaign twice, I’m not worried about getting through it with any of the rest of my characters. I still think I’ll only pursue the full Torghast quest chain from Bolvar with one character, though. Kaelinda does want to rescue Jaina, at least — eventually. I think my difficulty with both Torghast and the Maw is that I find them to be… tedious.

Meanwhile, I’ve also gotten distracted by collecting the armor sets from World Quests not for their potential to improve my item level but rather for their appearances. Just as with the leveling gear, each zone has its own recolor of the World Quest/Dungeon gear. With Kaelinda, I’m trying to get all of them, but with Kaurinka, I’m only going to get the Ardenweald set.

~*~*~

* These are the mounts that Kaurinka uses when she’s not Prowling in Cat Form, that is. She tends to spend most of her ground travel time in Cat Form, unless she’s going a relatively long distance along a road.

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In Bastion, Kaelinda had been dismayed that becoming Kyrian meant taking on a new form, even if that form was beautiful to look upon. The waiting Aspiring Souls, at least, had retained recognizable forms; well, the ones from Azeroth had been recognizable; souls from other worlds had appeared as blurry, generically humanoid shapes.

She recalled that she had observed the same phenomenon during her initial, relatively brief, sojourn in the Maw. When she and Jaina and Thrall had liberated souls from the Tremaculum, souls from Azeroth had appeared in their own shapes, whereas souls from other worlds had been featureless ghosts.

Kaelinda wondered if souls from other worlds saw their fellows from their own worlds as recognizable individuals and Azerothian souls as blurs.

In Maldraxxus, the forms of the inhabitants were horrific — how could any soul be satisfied to spend the eternities in such shapes? — and she saw no blur-shaped waiting souls. She wondered how the few individuals whom she recognized from Azeroth whom she had met in Maldraxxus had maintained their own forms. Would a soul from Baron Vyraz’s world see Baron Vyraz in his own form as she saw Baroness Draka in her own form, and see Baroness Draka in the generic female Chosen warrior form as she saw Baron Vyraz in the generic male Chosen warrior form?

In Ardenweald, ordinary souls — those who were not great nature spirits of their worlds, placed into wildseeds to be regenerated and returned — took on the forms of animals, apparently of their own choosing. Yet the Night Fae claimed to see so many races from so many worlds that they didn’t immediately recognize her race or her world origin. When she helped Choofa restore animal forms to his friends, Kaelinda saw their souls in the same blurry forms that she had observed in Bastion. It seemed, therefore, that when ordinary souls originally arrived in Ardenweald, they appeared in their own forms until they chose their animal shapes. If only she could see a newly-arrived soul from Azeroth! And then, somewhat to her surprise, she did. At Hibernal Hollow, she saw Night Elf souls, seemingly come from the burning of Teldrassil*, still in their own forms.

In Revendreth, Kaelinda saw many suffering souls in the same blurry form that she’d seen elsewhere. Occasionally, however, when confronted, some of them transformed into shapes she recognized — Orcs, Hozen, even Arakkoa — which she’d only seen on Outland or Draenor. Curious.

It seemed to be a general property of the Shadowlands that an individual could only see souls from their own world — or maybe worlds they had visited? — in their own shapes, and all other souls would appear in a shape governed by the particular sub-realm of the Shadowlands to which the Arbiter had assigned them.

~*~*~

From an OOC standpoint, of course this is what the developers are doing. It would be extremely labor-intensive to create hundreds of new character models and dialogue flavor text to explain a little about the dozens of worlds that they are from. It’s still fun, though, to think about an in-character rationalization for the phenomenon, and to ask some of the questions that might arise from trying to figure it out.

~*~*~

* But how did they get there, instead of being funneled into the Maw? Had they been rescued from the Maw somehow… by Tyrande, perhaps?

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I went through Maldraxxus quite slowly with Kaelinda; for various reasons, I averaged about one chapter in a sitting. Kaurinka burned through it in two sessions (maybe because it was the weekend?).

The second playthrough of the zone went a lot more quickly and smoothly than the first because I knew where to find the quest objectives, what I needed to do for some of the less obvious quest objectives, better ways to path through things. This is, of course, how it goes in every expansion. I found myself wondering, should I send someone else through Ardenweald first, so Kaurinka can have a smoother run? I quickly dismissed that thought — the most valuable part of the first playthrough is that the story is completely fresh and new and full of surprises, and I want to be learning the Ardenweald story fresh and new and full of surprises with Kaurinka.

To allow Kaurinka to Rest awhile before she continues her journey onward to Ardenweald, however, I’m going to spend the next few nights bringing Kalaneia, Keliora, and Kaelyla through the Maw to Oribos.

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Maldraxxus was a monstrous landscape that Kaelinda was anxious to escape as soon she could complete her mission from the Overseers to discover the cause of the Maldraxxi invasion of Bastion.

She was unexpectedly… what was the right word? charmed, perhaps? by some of the personalities she met there. Gruff Bonesmith Heirmir. Poor mad Plague Deviser Marileth! (But would he have been quite so likeable before the fall of his House and the breaking of his mind?) Bold Secutor Mevix. Baroness Draka — and those other two high-ranking Azerothian souls. The superb voice acting was what really won me over about all of these characters.

Being in Maldraxxus made Kaelinda feel powerful, and like she came from a World that is Powerful, in a way that she didn’t feel while in Bastion. Indeed, Azeroth is a Powerful World! It was her people (with some help from the peoples of Argus and Draenor, to be sure) who stopped the Burning Legion from destroying their world and defeated Sargeras! It was her people who have turned back multiple Old Gods from claiming their world for the Void! But ah, beware the Sha of Pride! Nonetheless, being Maldraxxi isn’t quite the thing for Kaelinda — but it will definitely be the thing for Kalaneia.

I liked that Maldraxxus wasn’t as linear as Bastion. After the first two chapters, three of the remaining chapters unlocked simultaneously, and I could pursue them in any order I wished. That will make it more interesting to replay.

I was surprised — and very pleased — to discover a follow-up to the ending of the Bastion storyline; I’m not sure why that surprised me, but it did. Probably because it has been a long, long time since zone storylines were intertwined in such a way. Maybe because this particular questline seemed to be an even more thorough integration of leveling storylines between two zones than I can remember happening ever before (though of course there is much I have forgotten about the storylines of past expansions). I’d been planning to have Keliora do all of Bastion before turning on Threads of Fate; now I think I’ll take her through the first two chapters of Maldraxxus, then that specific chapter, too.

By the time I got to the fourth or fifth chapter, I was wondering what the connection between Maldraxxus and Ardenweald was going to be… (more…)

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Draka is my favorite character in Warlords. Sorry, Yrel, I play Horde much, much more than Alliance — so as cool as Yrel’s story is, I spent a lot more time with Draka. After watching the new Afterlives: Maldraxxus short, I like Draka even more.

After watching that story, I find myself re-considering the Necrolords as a possible Covenant for my Human Mage. When Shadowlands was first announced and I started thinking about which characters I’d want to assign to which Covenant, I thought I’d do four Mages and tentatively assigned my yet-to-be-created Kul Tiran Mage to Necrolords because Blood Elf would be Venthyr because “duh, Kael’thas” and Void Elf would be Night Fae because blue & purple aesthetics and Human would be Kyrian because Stormwind-like aesthetics. Then the Covenant set previews came out and all my Mages said “nope nope nope” to the Maldraxxus aesthetics, and my Warlock stepped in and said “Hey that fits my style and also I can do Necrolords because I know strong and fight. I did what it took to survive after the Sunwell fell, learning how to draw on fel sources to supply my need for mana, and I’m not ashamed of it.” I still had my Human Mage tentatively assigned to Kyrian, but then my Blood Elf Priest happened. So then I thought my Human Mage might choose Night Fae or Venthyr instead, but oh no, not Necrolords. The ethos of fighting to survive and protect that Draka conveys in the Afterlives short, however, would also appeal to Kinevra, who is a survivor of Theramore and has helped the Kaldorei in their efforts to reclaim Darkshore. And due to their Afterlives short, the Kyrians would seem less appealing to Kinevra because she is not the type who would be relieved to let go of their traumatic memory of the destruction of Theramore, but would rather say “I am my scars” about it.

I wonder how the remaining Aferlives shorts will change my perspectives on the Night Fae and the Venthyr…?

~*~*~

Meanwhile, it is the beginning of the semester, which is often a time when I experience insomnia fueled by a combination of anxiety and going into creative overdrive to try to distract myself from the anxiety. I had a bout of insomnia a few nights ago because I was thinking about my Characters roster — which, after the addition of Keliora, is now 48 alts and therefore almost completely full — and cataloging how their appearances will change with the new customizations coming in Shadowlands — oh yes, I will be one of those who will spend all of the first and possibly the second nights of the pre-patch at the Barbershop just updating my characters’ appearances — and I began thinking that it might be time to dismiss some of my minor alts and convert their appearances into Alter-Egos of major alts.
* Do I really need two female Tauren Hunters? Kawneiha could easily be an Alter-Ego appearance for Ketura and still represent Kamalia (and Ketura)’s mother.
* Do I really need two female Tauren Monks? Kaobeka’s name is an anagram tribute to Akabeko of Red Cow Rise (whom I still dearly miss, after all these years), but she could continue being that as an Alter-Ego appearance of Katewatha — and I haven’t used Kaobeka’s skills as a Professions mule for some years now.
* Do I really need two female Tauren Death Knights? It’s been quite awhile now since I decided that the “Underpowered Death Knight” playstyle experiment had run its course. And if I used the “Kaumaleia” appearance as an Alter-Ego for Kregga, I could still file her clothes as “Things the Underpowered Death Knight Wears” rather than beginning to mix them in with Kregga’s outfits…
* Do I really need two female Tauren Shamans? Even if I’ve race-changed one of them to be Highmountain Tauren? Maybe I don’t really need Highmountain Tauren alts for all their available armor classes. Maybe just Kasheena the Druid will do for having a Highmountain Tauren on my roster. As much as I thought I wanted that Heritage Armor, I’ve certainly been struggling to find interest in spending playtime on leveling her…
But it’s hard to let go of alts I’ve had on my roster for a long time, and so thinking about dismissing these alts — even if I kept their appearances as new Alter-Egos of other characters — was stressful and kept me awake.

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