The docks of Zuldazar are flooded with players and NPCs handing over hard-earned crafting items in the war effort against the Alliance scum.
Word is the enemy has been seen reinforcing Stromgarde Keep in an effort to lay claim to the Arathi Highlands and we’ll be damned if we roll over and let them have it.
Nostalgia comes flooding back and overwhelms me as I fork over thousands of gold without question. Why might you ask? Because ‘The Battle for Stromgarde’ Warfront is now live and it begins with massing supplies for the upcoming battles.
Battle for Azeroth Review
Instantly I’m reminded of my time in Vanilla World of Warcraft where I, along with millions of other players, donated food and bandages as well as weapons and armour to help the effort in opening Ahn’Qiraj. Rumour was the bug armies were massing at the will of an Old God and that we needed to storm the place and shut it down before they could properly martial their forces.
Whilst the progress ticket for Warfronts sits at a frustrating 39%, I sharpen my Axe and donate everything I can to move the progress tracker along until the actual campaign begins.
It’s a mix of excitement and disappointment as I’m barred from participating in the Warfront until it reaches 100% and that some Horde players aren’t particularly interested in it so my ability to enjoy an aspect of the game rests on the shoulders of people I don’t know.
Ideally, this is the part where I would have described the amazing mass battles, the back and forth of the frontline and the ultimate victory of the Horde.
I would be standing atop the ramparts of Stromgarde Keep and as I kick a burning Alliance flag to the ground, I would plant a gleaming Horde banner. “FOR SYLVANAS, FOR THE HORDE” I would cry, then I would get my rewards and enjoy the new quests available to me until the Alliance masses enough resources to launch a counter-attack.
To read Jamie’s thoughts on Warfronts, follow this link.
Instead, I have the first raid of the expansion, Uldir, to sate my bloodlust for the meantime.
If you have been playing Battle for Azeroth you’ll have had plenty of stories and build up to the opening of Uldir. If you play Horde you’ll understand the characters involved and why the blood trolls and their daily blood sacrifices are generally bad news for Azeroth,
The Alliance story doesn’t really cover much of the build-up, only that there’s a large construct in the middle of Nazmir surrounded by jerks and lots of blood pits. Sounds like bad news let’s go kill it.
Uldir is important to Battle for Azeroth because it gives us as players insight as to what our objective is for this expansion outside of the faction war. As I talked about at great length in my beta review, the identity of Battle for Azeroth is tied so closely to the faction war that you could be forgiven for thinking that’s all there is to it.
Where Legion had a clearly identified enemy, Battle for Azeroth was a bit more ambiguous. With a lot of rumours of Old Gods and tentacle-faced baddies, it was hinted at that we would be confronting the Lovecraftian nightmare spawn of the Void Lords but never confirmed.
Face the Ancients
I love this raid. It truly feels ancient. The dungeon design flows well and sells me on the look of a Titan crafted facility from before the concept of time or other life on Azeroth. The fights are unique and challenging, with interesting mechanics beyond the old ‘tank and spank’ method.
Players really need to pay attention or they can cause the raid to fail. I particularly liked the boss Vectis, a nod to a boss from Vanilla WoW when the corrupted blood debuff swept across the servers causing mass deaths.
This boss is described as being constructed from the plague that caused one of the most terrifying periods in Zandalar’s history. For those of you who aren’t old-school WoW players, there was a boss in a raid called Zul’Gurub who afflicted players with a spell disease called corrupted blood, it spread when you ran into another player. Some people worked out that you could then hearth back home as soon as you got the disease and start running into people and spreading it.
As more people contracted the disease, more people spread it and so on. The Banks and Auction Houses of Azeroth became ‘ground zero’ for acts of bioterrorism and cities were littered with the dead.
That’s right, World of Warcraft did The Division way before Ubisoft even dreamt of it. So severe was the outbreak that server’s had to be rebooted and the plague’s coding changed so as to prevent outbreaks every time a guild did a raid.
The evidence and footage were studied by epidemiologists as an example of how the real world might cope with such a pandemic.
Chuck us some G’Huun
Uldir is all about this new big evil called G’Huun (GU-hoon) who is an emerging blood god that the blood trolls worship as a Loa, a god for their blood voodoo.
Yep, lots of blood, everywhere.
Whilst not as powerful as the Old Gods, G’Huun is essentially a giant tick that will gorge himself upon the beings of Azeroth and drain the world dry. The whole raid has this Cthulhu meets Indiana Jones vibe.
Whilst I am yet to fight G’Huun, this significance and impact on Zandalar have not been lost on me. Anyone you meet on this island who isn’t a blood troll dares not speak his name. G’Huun is pure evil and whilst it’s easy to overlook the significance of the final boss in a raid so early during an expansion *cough Xavius cough cough*, it’s important to remember they are a catalyst for larger raids and sign of things to come.
It looks like we are killing gods in this expansion and I’ve got to say I’ve been waiting for some new eldritch action for a while now.
For me so far Uldir is a winner, it’s rather difficult as the damage output of bosses is quite high, but the challenge and design of Uldir are thoroughly enjoyable. The servers have been stable as thousands of players flock to the same zone to do the raid, and so far Battle for Azeroth has been the smoothest expansion launch with the smoothest content updates.
There is just so much to do, with more content being added regularly I think that Battle for Azeroth has me firmly in its grasp. So much so that aside from a bit of Heroes of the Storm, Overwatch and Hearthstone are the only games I’m playing. And only when the servers go down for weekly maintenance or updates.
Battle for Azeroth was reviewed on PC using a digital code provided by Blizzard.
Game Title: World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth
Incredible Raid - 9.2/10
Excitment for Warfronts - 7.5/10
Still feels fresh after all this time - 8.7/10