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Old 11-15-2017, 09:08 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I have reviewed, as set forth in and with accordance to the unedited terms of my review, posted November 10, 2017, the Night Elven content of World of Warcraft Legion.

This report is organized into the following sections, it is explicitly not organized in the chronological order of the content, or the order in which I viewed the content:

- Preliminary Notes on Scope
- Zones
- Dungeons/Raids
- Scenarios
- Content Excluded from this Report
- Opinion
- Sources Considered

Preliminary Notes on Scope

Legacy of the Azsharan Empire

The society of ancient Night Elves, eventually led by Queen Azshara (hereafter the “Azsharan Empire”), was technically terminated when the Well of Eternity was destroyed. Several societies, such as the Quel’dorei (and later Sin’dorei), the Nightborne, the Shen’Drelar, the Naga, and the Kal’dorei playable faction, can claim that empire as their heritage. That Empire and its remnants is also distinct from each of these societies. Accordingly, Azsharan Empire content (example: substantially all of Azsuna) is considered to be outside of the scope of this review. Azsharan Empire content is also construed to include substantially all Nightborne content.

Characters

Several nominally Darnassian characters were functionally neutral in the past due to third faction status and their unwillingness to help the playable faction. My analysis of the apparent neutrality of certain significant characters follows below:

- Malfurion Stormrage

Malfurion’s neutral content is difficult to delineate from his presentation as Darnassian character, mostly due to Tyrande’s inclusion in storylines involving him. His content is considered as Night Elven.

- Illidan Stormrage

Illidan, as leader of the Illidari, is considered to be a neutral character.

- Cenarius

Cenarius, as leader of the Cenarion Circle, is considered to be a neutral character.

Zones

Val’sharah

Scope:

I assume that the Druids and the Temple Priestesses are aligned with the playable faction. Additionally, there are no clear dividing lines between “Cenarion” content and “Darnassian” content, so I will call it all Darnassian.

All content associated with Black Rook Hold is discussed in the dungeon section.

Comments:

The wisp section was passable. I did like getting a bit of clarification on who they are and what they do.

Malfurion’s initial appearance works as well. He sounds confident here, but I am confused about the previously untouched community of druids. If they truly are untouched, and gender restrictions were only recently lifted, then why are there so many female druids, including one of the druidic leaders? This is a minor point, but it feels like the writers just didn’t consider this.

The nature of the story and the focus on the Nightmare is of greater concern to me. They didn’t have to focus on this particular story. The Night Elves have a lot of history with the Burning Legion and the writers could have chosen to confront it in a variety of ways. They instead chose another tale of loss that doesn’t end in a win, but rather, ceasing to lose. The points I take away for this, however, are mitigated by the use of the environment’s visuals to convey the tone of the story, using the lush greens initially, and transitioning into darker, foreboding environments.

After Malfurion does his best Darth Vader impression, he chases Xavius, and Ysera explains that he’s being reckless only after he is out of sight. Why did no one try to stop him? Where did this come from? What in Malfurion’s prior characterization suggests that he is prone to act in this way? Unfortunately, the trap he recklessly flies into was well telegraphed, as was the one that Ysera does.

I like Xavius as a villain. His onscreen presence is great, I like how he looks, I like his confidence, and I like how they’re setting him up as someone who takes his time to bait people into his traps and deceive them into making poor decisions. He’s undermined, though, by how poorly gambits are disguised, and the story is undermined by how readily major characters fall for them.

Speaking of which….

I snickered uncontrollably for a minute and a half, and had to pause the video, when I saw Tyrande suddenly leaping into the story on the back of a Nightsaber shouting “MALFURION! WHERE IS MY HUSBAND!”. Where was she thirty minutes ago? Why is she there alone? Where did she come from?

After Tyrande essentially parachutes into the narrative, she proceeds to, with surgical precision, but using a chisel and a sledgehammer, immediately remind me of “A Little Patience”. There are three separate greetings lifted blatantly and directly from that scenario, and each of them are as grating now as they were then.

On more evergreen complaints I have about the character, the continued use of the “sparkle” dress doesn’t do anything to help her goofy entrance into this plot, but it looks like they’ve improved her voice. There are clear signs that someone asked the voice actress to “do that take again”, with particular emphasis on completing certain words and sentences with a dignified finish.

That goodwill melts away, however, during the sequence when Xavius is trying to bait Tyrande to him, and then confuse her with fake Malfurions. Both Tyrande and Malfurion seem contrived to annoy the player, and the scenario itself leaves me with more questions than answers. Xavius, for one, could have led Tyrande around Val’sharah for as long as he wanted without revealing his plan to her, thus denying her the opportunity to save the Temple of Elune. By letting her know at all, he risks her making that decision, or sending someone like the playable character to warn the Temple or bring powerful allies in. I don’t see why he would risk this. Additionally, Admiral Ackbar with a bullhorn couldn’t telegraph this trap more than Xavius does when Tyrande arrives – and she rushes in anyway, without backup or anyone but the player character.

Tyrande’s decision to leave Malfurion to his fate, and her lament over that decision is a sign of maturity that’s been missing for some time, but it’s undermined by her prior presentation in this zone, and by Malfurion’s actual fate in Darkheart Thicket. I personally think that Xavius should have put a bow (and maybe a note reading something like: “You left this behind, hugs and kisses! – Xavius”) on his mutilated corpse, and sent minions to make sure that it got delivered to Tyrande, leading her up to call up the sentinel army in preparation for a final offensive with the Druids to end him and the Nightmare.

This zone does recover some points with the ending cinematic. The image of the tendrils of the moon recovering Ysera and spreading her essence among the stars – as according to the Night Elven religion, such is the fate of the race’s greatest champions – was a nice way to put a lot of the crazy speculation about Elune to rest without removing much of the mystery about her.

One note on the score: “tone” improves because Tyrande does get the job done, and despite my earlier comments on stories of loss, the clarification of Elune and some of the ideas they had with the environments (both pre and post corruption) are notable. I also appreciated the content they sprinkled in with regard to Demon Hunter characters. They were throwaway lines, but they showed care for the subject of their integration.

Score:

Characters: Kosak-Level
Plot: Depressing
Tone: Passable

Weight: 25%


Suramar

Scope: Val’Sharah Refugees (Eminent Grow-Main), presence of Sentinel Army/Tyrande during Insurrection questline.

Comments:

I’ll start by repeating a criticism I’ve heard about Tyrande from this – that she disrespected the Nightborne and reacted to them with suspicion. This appears to be in reference to a conversation she had with First Arcanist Thalyssra, where Tyrande calmly asks her how she knows that she won’t betray the Kal’dorei (oddly prophetic) and become the next Elisande or the next Azshara. That’s a perfectly reasonable question when you consider that the Kal’dorei have seen this happen before, bore the brunt of it as the lowborn cast that they then were, and remember those experiences firsthand. She then proceeds to make a perfectly reasonable tactical assessment, lines out a perfectly reasonable strategic direction, and perfectly reasonably makes the player character carry it out.

The relatively thin presence of the Sentinel army here, as well as other forces there to join them, does give her reason to also want to bring the Nightborne rebellion into the fight as often as possible. She doesn’t hide her contempt for the Nightborne of course, but I wouldn’t expect her to. Her presence here meets my expectations for the conduct of a Night Elven field commander.

I have to drop a few plot related points for how the bridge scene (Elisande’s retort) was handled. The combined forces opt for an obvious bottleneck, should have no realistic way of getting glaive throwers on the bridge, ignored sea and air power, and made no use of the Night Elves’ traditional natural allies. The other elven forces are just as culpable in this failure, but they are not my focus.

This also is, unfortunately, another continuation of Blizzard’s portrayal of Sentinel army. The sentinel army’s use of anything past archers, huntresses, and glaive throwers, is traditionally disallowed. Just the concept of reintegrating druids with the Sentinel army gives rise to an endless font of tactical and strategic possibilities – and in situations like this, the Night Elves find themselves at a disadvantage for lacking aerial siege units like chimaera, which they of course previously had. I realize this decision was made a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean that I accept it as being reasonable.

Eminent Grow-main was mildly interesting, but nothing about it particularly excited me.

Score:

Characters: Passable
Plot: Depressing
Tone: Passable

Weight: 15%


Dungeons/Raids

Darkheart Thicket

Scope:

Malfurion’s banter with his captors. The first boss.

Comments:

The idea of trying to show Malfurion’s confidence not being impacted by his captors is respectable, but his occasional banter injects even more silliness to an already silly situation. If Blizzard wanted to address the conclusion of this line of Malfurion’s captivity with any sense of gravity or urgency, as implied by Xavius’ threat to Tyrande, they may have wanted to take a different route.

Our first boss in the zone, meanwhile, improves the score slightly, with his overall demeanor giving us a fierceness to the druids that we haven’t seen in a while. Regrettably, this breath of fresh air is immediately killed.

Score:

Characters: Depressing
Plot: Depressing
Tone: Depressing

Weight: 2%


Black Rook Hold

Scope:

Maiev and Jarod Shadowsong’s Arc in the pre-dungeon content.

Comments:

The ordering of the content in this review does a bit of a disservice to the reader. It may be best for said reader to read my thoughts on Mardrum: the Shattered Abyss, and the Vault of the Wardens (Demon Hunter Storyline) before continuing in this section (they are under Scenarios). I also feel that this content is best read after Val’sharah and Darkheart Thicket.

I am continually amazed at how well the writers nailed Maiev’s presentation, and here they carefully avoided a curveball that, in Darkheart Thicket, they missed entirely. Maiev is imprisoned here and tortured. They described the damage and her reaction to it in subtle ways that didn’t abuse the idea of just having her tell you and that didn’t undermine that character’s strength. She doesn’t skip a beat after that, and returns to her strong, indomitable presence.

Jarod I am less enthusiastic about, but he is nevertheless presented well. He has a calmness about him and an ability to handle the situation, while still being allowed to express concern or shock when the situation is appropriate, again without undermining the character. The visual of him standing calmly in the middle of the Gilnean village, with his nightsaber calmly sitting next to him underlines this thought.

However, and I had this concern with Val’sharah as well, where is the sentinel army? I realize that they show up later in Suramar, but during the foundational zones they’re missing in action. Instead we get this bizarre situation where factional leaders charge into places alone, why? What’s so important in Feralas, Shandris?

Another oddity arises when Maiev and Jarod repeatedly condemn Stareye’s ghost. They ‘learn’ after this that he’s seeing demons where there are none. Why is this news? Everyone else has been acting like that too, and Jerod himself said in the very beginning that those stationed at Black Rook Hold were acting outside of how they normally would. This is a minor gripe, however, which takes very little away from an otherwise good segment.

Score:

Characters: Redeeming
Plot: Passable
Tone: Redeeming

Weight: 20%


Vault of the Wardens

Scope:

Dreylalin Whisperwind, Cordana Felsong

Comments:

The conversation between Tirathon and Dreylalin is interesting, as it lays out the competing ideologies well, and provides a case for the Wardens that had previously been missing. Tirathon’s voice acting, at the same time, does a great job at portraying the Demon Hunters’ pain without sounding like whining.

Cordana being turned into a villain upset me during Warlords of Draenor, and it’s still annoying to me that what looked like a fresh start was taken away in less than an expansion. But she is at least presented as being threatening here, and I like some of the aspects of her encounter. It’s a decent end, all things considered.

Score:

Characters: Redeeming
Plot: Redeeming
Tone: Redeeming

Weight: 5%


Cathedral of Eternal Night/Tomb of Sargeras/Broken Front (Legionfall)

Scope:

Maiev Shadowsong’s Involvement

Comments:

It didn’t make sense to me to separate these pieces of content out, so I instead am grouping them together here.

Maiev’s presentation at the Broken Shore, at the Cathedral of Eternal Light, and at the Tomb of Sargeras again shows us what a competent, confident Night Elf looks like. I also don’t feel like she wears out her welcome with the anti-Illidan comments. This is a Night Elf who asks you to return with demon blood on your hands, and isn’t quick to just forget her past for the greater good.

But there isn’t much here to say that hasn’t been said already about the character herself, except that the line that Illidan gives to her: “do what you do best and follow me” was pure gold. Other than that, it seems like a missed opportunity that we don’t hear more banter between them, especially given this awkward situation of them having to work together.

I’m taking away points for her inexplicably vanishing at the end of the raid, however, and the fact that she subsequently drops off from the plot without a word. It seems like they just didn’t want someone other than Velen and Khadgar providing a counterpoint to Illidan through the conclusion of his story, which is lazy, and a poor way to handle the conclusion of Maiev’s involvement in Legion.

Score:

Characters: Redeeming
Plot: Depressing
Tone: Passable

Weight: 10%


Scenarios

Val’sharah

Scope:

Substantially all of the content in scenario portions of Val’sharah are discussed in other sections, and therefore is not discussed again here.


Mardum, the Shattered Abyss

Scope:

Given the impact of the Demon Hunters being accepted among the Alliance and Horde as allies, despite that the content concerns a faction separate to Darnassus, I will still consider the events of Mardum to the extent that they inform the backstory of Illidan and the demon hunters. Maiev’s appearance and that of the wardens is also within the scope of this discussion.

Comments:

I went in expecting to not appreciate the reasons given for Illidan being portrayed favorably. I am, however, satisfied with the explanation given, and the higher purpose he was striving for that he failed to inform the rest of us about.

The demon hunter characters themselves are presented passably, but Maiev’s appearance at the end was quite pleasing, as was that of the wardens. Though, I do have questions about how the other wardens got to the Black Temple in the first place. I am also confused about the magic that Maiev used to disarm the player. I don’t remember anything in prior content that suggests that she could do that.

Mardum gets the low weight that it does here because this is mostly neutral content intended to showcase the demon hunter class, with at best an ancillary connection to the Night Elves as a playable faction.

Characters: Redeeming
Plot: Passable
Tone: Passable

Weight: 2%


Vault of the Wardens (Demon Hunter Storyline)

Scope:

As discussed before, the Demon Hunter storyline is relevant to the acceptance of Demon Hunters in Night Elf society. The appearance of Maiev and her wardens is also pertinent.

Comments:

I appreciate that they didn’t glaze over Illidan’s faults. Altrius the Sufferer’s inclusion cleverly addresses player concerns, and partially explains his villainy during the Burning Crusade. What I don’t like about Altrius, however, is that whereas his Burning Crusade presentation portrayed him as being calm and strategic, he loses a lot of his earlier dignity in his voiced dialogue.

The cutscene in the middle of the zone is magnificent, and this comes from a longtime critic of Demon Hunters as a concept. But the scene’s construction, its portrayal of the character, and the audacious notion of vengeful Night Elves invading the legion’s own worlds as vengeance was absolutely fantastic.

Maiev also once again proves to be an absolute treat to see on screen, and the Vault scenario fairly portrays the Night Elves in a losing position. Rather than the experience being depressing, we see competence and heroism in the face of overwhelming opposition. This is a far cry from the feeling of incompetence that usually accompanies such presentation.

Score:

Characters: Redeeming
Plot: Redeeming
Tone: Exceptional

Weight: 5%


Broken Shore

Scope:

Tyrande and Malfurion’s dialogue in the Post-Scenario throne room conversation with Anduin Wrynn (Including the Demon Hunter content). Demon Hunter camp in the Mage District.

Comments:

Tyrande and Malfurion standing silently while Velen and Jaina argue about the best approach to the Horde is irksome. For the Night Elves, the Legion are a hated enemy, but so are the Horde, which makes the Night Elves’ sequestration from fighting the Horde odd, particularly given the lack of explanation. It’s also troubling, however, due to Blizzard’s historical unwillingness to portray the Night Elves as being effective against the Horde. This decision feels like another attempt to avoid remedying that history.

The Demon Hunters are immediately sent to Stormwind, and that’s bothersome to me because these are Night Elves. The impact of their return to their people could have been explored here. The Death Knight integration on the Alliance side, for example, exposed the player to an enraged populace that undoubtedly included Third War refugees. Additionally we have Anduin reminding the Demon Hunter to stay in line, when the two Night Elven characters would have far more of a reason to do this.

It would have preferred to see Demon Hunter show up either in a Night Elven encampment in the Broken Isles or in Darnassus, where Tyrande and Malfurion are just now learning of the events that took place in the Vault of the Wardens, and this could have been used to highlight the controversy of the Demon Hunters’ return. What we have now makes sense, as Tyrande is aware of Maiev’s decision at this point, but Blizzard’s decision to omit such a scene, especially after handled the Demon Hunters as well as they did up to this point, is hard to excuse as being anything but strict adherence to the “One Hub, One Leader, One Alliance” model – which I assert is one of the biggest problems with Warcraft as a franchise at the moment.

I assign a lot of weight to this section because it neatly defines Blizzard’s approach to the Night Elves’ role within the Alliance in the expansion, their impact (or lack thereof) on Worldbuilding, how the return of the Demon Hunters to Night Elven society was going to be handled, and the tepid refusal to address the Night Elves' relationship with the Horde. It’s a repeat of old, bad decisions inherited from prior expansions.

Score:

Characters: Depressing
Plot: Kosak-Level
Tone: Depressing

Weight: 15%


Black Temple

Scope:

Maiev’s Appearance in the Scenario

Comments:

She’s present, but this is old content and it shows when compared to the Demon Hunter sections. This could have been more meaningful. Instead it was mostly played for laughs.

Characters: Passable
Plot: Depressing
Tone: Passable

Weight: 1%


Content Excluded from this Report

Substantially all of the content pertaining to the following sections is outside the scope of this review and is hence excluded from this report:

Zones

Azsuna
Stormheim*
Highmountain
Thunder Totem

Dungeons

Eye of Azshara
The Arcway
Court of Stars
Return to Karazhan
Maw of Souls
Violet Hold
Halls of Valor
Neltharion’s Lair
Sword of Dawn (Wowhead calls this a dungeon for some reason)
The Seat of the Triumvirate

Raids

Antorus, the Burning Throne
The Nighthold
Trial of Valor

Scenarios

All pet battle scenarios
Azsuna
The Arcway
The Deaths of Chromie
Coldridge Valley
Hall of Communion
Fields of the Eternal Hunt
The Lost Glacier
Highmountain
The Ruby Sanctum
Stormheim
The Maelstrom
Stormstout Brewery
Gloaming Reef
Halls of Valor
The Cove of Nashal
Stratholme
Throne of the Four Winds
Gnomeregan
Twisting Nether
Abyssal Maw
Cave of the Bloodtotem
The Eye of Eternity
Realm of the Mage Hunter
Karazhan
Rescue Koltira
The Maelstrom
Sanctum of Light
Temple of the Jade Serpent
Shadowgore Citadel
Tirisfal Glades
Endless Halls
Ursoc’s Lair
Tol Barad*

* - I have identified a quest or two from this region that would fall under the scope, but its impact has been deemed immaterial, both due to the little amount of content and the content’s middling quality.

Opinion

In summary, as content goes, the Night Elven content in Legion was aggressively average. It started off promisingly with Maiev’s presentation throughout the expansion, and in my mind she saves the rest of the content, but it squanders opportunities to develop the Night Elves, to portray them as effective, to explore issues that their society is presently confronting (especially the Demon Hunters), or to redeem their image after presentations that preceded it. It was additionally bogged down to common Blizzard writing tropes, such as the human centrality of the Alliance, and the reluctance to show Night Elves being effective against the Horde.

After consideration of the content discussed above, below is my calculation for the combined score:




Sources Considered

Overall:

- Wowhead: Level 100-110 Zones: http://www.wowhead.com/level-100-110-zones
o Dungeons: http://www.wowhead.com/level-100-110-zones#dungeons
o Raids: http://www.wowhead.com/level-100-110-zones#raids
o Scenarios: http://www.wowhead.com/level-100-110-zones#scenarios
o Artifact Acquisition: http://www.wowhead.com/level-100-110...actacquisition

Characters
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Maiev_Shadowsong#Legionfall


- Wowhead: Comprehensive Broken Shore Guide: http://www.wowhead.com/comprehensive-broken-shore-guide

Val’Sharah

- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 030 – Val’Sharah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwB8MoUjDX4
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 031 – Val’Sharah https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te0qX2GU8xU

Suramar

- Wowhead: Comprehensive Suramar Guide: http://www.wowhead.com/comprehensive-suramar-guide

- Legion: Suramar Explained: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZvWy0KMFE8

- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part One – Setting Up Shal’Aran and Oculeth’s Workshop https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLrPQfVavp8
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Two – Anora Hollow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aPQYCUu-gs
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Three – Masquerade https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Uk5PXExxaA
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Four – Cloaked in Moonshade, A Seed of Hope! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rb08tFB9gM
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Five – Eminent Grow-Main https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LSfk3cfp3A
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Six – Moon Guard Stronghold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBkBVvezn5o
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Seven – All Small, Random Quests in Suramar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3jQXd-n-JU
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Eight – Tidying Tel’anor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4uG...b2LkI&index=41
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Ten – All Suramar City Side Quests https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEO7...WmAnSN7_fb2LkI
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Eleven – The Waning Crescent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSlJ...WmAnSN7_fb2LkI
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Thirteen – Blood and Wine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUzh...b2LkI&index=46
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Fourteen – Statecraft https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O1S...b2LkI&index=47
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Two – Missing Persons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODgw...WmAnSN7_fb2LkI
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Three – Waxing Crescent https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_uF...WmAnSN7_fb2LkI
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Four – An Elven Problem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFO3...b2LkI&index=51
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Five – Crafting War https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16O-...WmAnSN7_fb2LkI
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Six – March on Suramar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCJ5...b2LkI&index=53
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Seven – Elisande’s Retort https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5ADDQt54qs
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Eight – As Strong As Our Will https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTsyXZ5n1z0

Broken Shore (Legionfall)

- Legion – Breaching the Tomb Quest Guide – Assault on Broken Shore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uno...b2LkI&index=57
- Legion – Breaching the Tomb Quest Guide – Aalgen and Vengeance Point https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2468...b2LkI&index=58
- Legion – Breaching the Tomb Quest Guide – Begin Construction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIwd...WmAnSN7_fb2LkI
- Legion – Heroic Cathedral of Eternal Night w/ Guildies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEwU...WmAnSN7_fb2LkI
- Legion – Power Unbound Achievement/Quest Guide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTyj...b2LkI&index=61
- Legion – Breaching the Tomb Quest Guide – Champions of Legionfall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU1C...WmAnSN7_fb2LkI
- The Story of the Tomb of Sargeras, History, Raid, The Future! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeMDcESQ7GE
- The Story of Shadows of Argus, Patch 7.3 – Full Version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uttOh3QvXzk

Darkheart Thicket

- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 032 – Darkheart Thicket https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM-PZ50D1yo

Black Rook Hold

- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 035 – Black Rook Hold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_AXJXMXKxA

Mardum, the Shattered Abyss

- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 001 – Mardum, the Shattered Abyss https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe9k...MrEg5M4L0nDYD3
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 002 – Mardum, the Shattered Abyss https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZDh...MrEg5M4L0nDYD3
Vault of the Wardens/Broken Shore
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 005 – Vault of the Wardens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyr5Gx6Gpdw

Black Temple

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykKP_g0ya9Q

Diligence on Content Excluded from Report

Azsuna

- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 009 – Azsuna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tQuiMZnJ1E
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 010 – Azsuna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgAFsWSLNrI
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 011 – Azsuna
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k98_pXJ8PfA&t=75s
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 012 – Azsuna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ihs9dN4ye7E&t=222s
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 013 – Eye of Azshara https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPjhSV-wn2E
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 022 – Slavery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aOvC4_NA8s

Emerald Nightmare

- The Story of The Emerald Nightmare https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZGIsnBAZBk
Comments: Despite what I had said earlier regarding Malfurion, Cenarius’s neutrality, the neutrality of the Cenarion Circle, and the absence of a firmly Darnassian presence here makes substantially all of the content in this raid outside of the scope of this review.

Other

http://www.wowhead.com/zone=9051
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8640/coldridge-valley
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8657/hall-of-communion
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8641/fie...e-eternal-hunt
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8676/the-lost-glacier
https://www.icy-veins.com/forums/top...-highmountain/
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8672/the...nctum#comments
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8596/stormheim
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8549/the-maelstrom
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8531/stormstout-brewery\
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8017/gloaming-reef
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8645/halls-of-valor
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8518/the-eye-of-eternity
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=7658/the-cove-of-nashal
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8660/thr...the-four-winds
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=7534/broken-shore
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8514/gnomeregan
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8538/twisting-nether
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8106/abyssal-maw
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8205/rea...he-mage-hunter
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8250/rescue-koltira
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8046/the-maelstrom
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8347/sanctum-of-light
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8262/tem...e-jade-serpent
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8142/shadowgore-citadel
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8044/tirisfal-glades
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8980/endless-halls
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Akaari_Shadowgore
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Stormheim
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Cenarius
http://www.wowhead.com/the-arcway
http://www.wowhead.com/court-of-stars
http://www.wowhead.com/court-of-star...strategy-guide
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Return_to_Karazhan
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Maw_of_Souls
http://www.wowhead.com/violet-hold
http://www.wowhead.com/the-seat-of-the-triumvirate
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Cathedral_of_Eternal_Night
http://www.wowhead.com/zone=8124/sword-of-dawn
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Neltharion%27s_Lair
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Halls_of_Valor
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Antorus,_the_Burning_Throne
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Nighthold
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Trial_of_Valor
http://www.wowhead.com/news=260624/t...-with-nobbel87
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Lea_Stonepaw
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Dreamgrove
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Quest:When...ome_Nightmares
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Eye_of_Azshara
https://wow.gamepedia.com/Tyranis_Malem
-https://wow.gamepedia.com/Quest:An_Eye_for_a_Scepter

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Old 11-16-2017, 03:12 AM
Krainz Krainz is offline

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Ignoring Azsuna and the shitload of Night Elf that's present in several class orders? (heyo druids and hunters)


Meh.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:12 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krainz View Post
Ignoring Azsuna and the shitload of Night Elf that's present in several class orders? (heyo druids and hunters)


Meh.
Azsuna was left out for reasons explained in the report. I was somewhat disappointed about that, after having sifted through its content, but stories involving Highborne ghosts firmly fall into content pertaining to the legacy of the Azsharan Empire.

As for the Night Elves in the class quests, apart from Malice Shade's involvement in a Demon Hunter quests (she earned the asterisk I put on Stormheim), if you feel that I've missed something important, please feel free to share a link. I will be happy to review it.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:31 AM
Marthen Marthen is offline

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This thread is rather...disturbing. Alas, that's what you get for venturing into the Halls of Lordaeron.
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Old 11-16-2017, 05:43 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marthen View Post
This thread is rather...disturbing. Alas, that's what you get for venturing into the Halls of Lordaeron.
That would be why I put it here of course.

How is life though? I remember seeing that avatar picture around a few times before.
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Old 11-22-2017, 09:56 AM
Krainz Krainz is offline

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NIGHT ELVES AREN'T SAVAGE
LEGION DOESN'T TALK ABOUT THEM
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:56 AM
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Night Elf Icon (War3)

One of the benefits of threads dedicated to specific topics is that it allows those who've not interested in their discussion to easily avoid them.

However, it does not work if you don't put in the minimal effort of not clicking on them.
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Old 11-22-2017, 11:17 AM
Krainz Krainz is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nazja View Post
One of the benefits of threads dedicated to specific topics is that it allows those who've not interested in their discussion to easily avoid them.

However, it does not work if you don't put in the minimal effort of not clicking on them.
When the game gives you lemons, you make a lemonade.
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Old 11-28-2017, 12:13 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Alright folks,

So, as I indicated before, I never intended to make a career out of this and I feel like I've gotten out everything I wanted to say. If you have something mindbendingly important to say to me, I'll check my PMs in a week, but that aside - I'm out.

Thanks for the laughs.
Thanks for the fun.
Thanks for putting up with me!
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  #60  
Old 12-02-2017, 06:52 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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.....

Call me a flake, call my last post nonsense, and please accept my apologies for the double post, but I've been made aware of the recent developments... and their reactions.

It feels like I'm leaving right as the party gets good. So I'm... not going to do that.

You all get to suffer my presence for a bit longer.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:04 PM
Insane Guy of Doom Insane Guy of Doom is offline

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Posting this here since, it ties more into the dicussions going on in this thread than the main one, especially given what kind of reactions it could generate.

Everything in 7.3.5 appears to suggest the four allied races are coming prior to BfA (a recent video showed that all Blizzard needs to do is flip a switch to make them playable on the current PTR build). So nightborne we can assume join the Horde before the burning of Teldrassil.

Given Thalyssra's statement after officially joining, that she's "going to test (her) skills in Ashenvale. For the Horde!" I wonder if the nightborne might be involved/responsible for Teldrassil?
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:17 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insane Guy of Doom View Post
Posting this here since, it ties more into the dicussions going on in this thread than the main one, especially given what kind of reactions it could generate.

Everything in 7.3.5 appears to suggest the four allied races are coming prior to BfA (a recent video showed that all Blizzard needs to do is flip a switch to make them playable on the current PTR build). So nightborne we can assume join the Horde before the burning of Teldrassil.

Given Thalyssra's statement after officially joining, that she's "going to test (her) skills in Ashenvale. For the Horde!" I wonder if the nightborne might be involved/responsible for Teldrassil?
I mean, they could be. At this point it would make about as much sense as everything else. Maybe I need to swap out Saurfang's picture for High Arcanist Thalyssra's for those repurposed quotes of mine?

Kind of does make you lose a lot of sympathy for those people though. I sat through a lot of Suramar content in writing that report - probably a bit too much given the relatively light involvement of actual Night Elves. I liked the story and I felt that they did it well. This seems... forced. But then, that's not exactly saying anything particularly new or profound.
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Old 12-27-2017, 07:58 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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.... and now to annoy you all further, I shall impotently react to a thread that I've been following off and on in the main Story Forums. Suffice to say, I've looked at a few threads coming out of the US and the EU forums, and I haven't seen much that's all that excited about what the Night Elves are going to get next, but this one is in a class of its own, particularly in the 'defense' responses.

Here it is for reference:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20760736802

In no particular order:

Quote:
Night Elves have to stop conforming to Alliance norms if they want to regain their WC3 identity.

Look at the Forsaken - they haven't assimilated into Kalimdor's Horde and they still have their WC3 identity.
The fact that the forsaken were able to retain their identity again underlines that what's happened to the Night Elves was in no way an inevitability.

Quote:
You want Night Elves to be angry? Fine. But don’t pull the woe is me blizzard hates me card that people pull from their behinds everytime someone doesn’t like something.
It's kind of hard in the case of the Night Elves to assume something else. I have a spreadsheet lurking around on this site that disclaims the other possible reasons.

Quote:
On a more character development level, it’s very hard to develop playable races, for over a decade, with depth to be significantly different from humans, when we are humans.
If this is true, then perhaps an MMO was just (or has become) too ambitious for Blizzard. An MMO scratches a very peculiar sort of itch, one that encourages the player to assume and represent an identity. From there, balance becomes important. That player needs to feel like they are powerful and competent - if you just smash them all of the time, is it really a surprise if they get cynical and leave your game?

Blizzard understood this through BC and parts of Wrath and, accordingly, told smaller stories about the larger world. This made the world feel grand, and made the player seem just competent enough. These were also, I would add, the most successful eras of WoW's history.

Quote:
True, but would you rather prioritize a strict balance with forced quotas or good story?
The two are not mutually exclusive, and I don't think anyone can accuse Blizzard's writers of giving us a good story in the first place.

Quote:
Tl;dr, in an MMO, you can’t create a super race and that’s basically is what is required to return Night Elves to WC3 levels. They need to be able to take on armies much larger than theirs.
The Night Elves were not an elven master race in Warcraft 3. They were competent, however, and every other Warcraft 3 faction has only added to its power in WoW, except the Night Elves.

Quote:
Hard thing for Alliance I think is, it’s much easier to write for humans, because we are humans, than something more exotic like Nelves. And on top of that, it’s easier for players to relate and instantly understand if it’s a human organization.
Ease of writing I guess wouldn't be an issue of Activision-Blizzard was paying their taxes or actually investing into their titles as opposed to the continued financial trends of decreasing expense ratios, repeated layoffs, and the increased reliance on microtransaction revenue. SuperBunnyHop's video (pasted earlier in this thread) REALLY makes me unsympathetic to this argument, and having read Blizzard's financials for years, I'm well aware of what their capacity looks like.

Quote:
Night Elves just dont belong to any faction but its own.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate this claim?

True, the Night Elves don't necessarily fit in the Alliance - that's what's interesting about putting them there. Handled well, this would have been an excellent chance to portray conflict and synthesis. Mix the disparate elements together and see what comes out! It certainly worked for the Horde with the Forsaken and the Blood Elves.

The homogenization was never an inevitable result of them being in the Alliance. Again, stop pretending that the writers don't have agency.

Quote:
A lot of these suggestions need to take into account that, especially since Cataclysm/MoP upset a lot of players on both factions, Blizzard has become pretty focused on faction parity. So every time you are advocating for an exhilarating Night Elf victory, you are also effectively advocating for a similar triumph for Horde players to experience.
Yes - and thus far that appears to be the Forsaken fighting back against the Alliance in Lordaeron. The mere fact that they stopped the offensive is demonstration of that.

But to extend from that, I think this has to happen on a racial level too. You can't just make one race your punching bag for all time.

Quote:
And that's a big reason why the Faction War is stupid. Players demand equal actions, keep scores, and blame Blizzard, not the other faction, for loses.
The other faction didn't do squat. They're pixels with clever coding. The Horde playerbase didn't do squat. Their fantasy football team is winning and they might be irreverent about that, but they don't make things happen.

Blizzard is the ONLY party that earns the blame.

Quote:
Have people not being paying attention to the Alliance story at all? Stormwind was razed to the ground just less than two decades ago! The Alliance fights for EACH OTHER. The night elves are in a period of decline, that is the point! Everyone in WoW ends up that way, the humans people keep lamenting steals everything are down to 4 out of 8 kingdoms.(I consider Theramore its own kingdom)
Two matters:

First, the fall of the human kingdoms was a big deal. They were given the weight, respect, and care that they deserved, unlike the burning of Teldrassil that just happens as a kick-the-dog moment. The Undercity got an amazing cinematic trailer, Teldrassil was Theramore 2.0: a throwaway town that was bulldozed to "make the Alliance mad" - only it wasn't a throwaway town - it was the capitol of a playable race, a home to a second - and the hub of the Alliance's presence in Kalimdor.

It should have meant quite a lot. So far however, with nothing presented about lead up or follow up, it looks like it's going to happen and be forgotten about - probably while Khadgar tells us that the war is "petty".

Quote:
We're at the point where no one is ever going to be satisfied.
You do not get to mishandle a thing for over a decade and then claim that "no one can ever be satisfied" when people point out that the thing has been mishandled.

You could put this crap in a bike stick meme.

Finally:

Quote:
I don't know what world you live in, but Alliance players have been LOUDLY complaining about how their story is always about Humans for about a decade now.

Blizzard just doesn't care.
Ultimately we come back around to this, and I'm glad it was put so concisely. Blizzard will never remedy this problem because they have no interest in doing so. What's the solution for Night Elf fans then?

Leave the franchise.
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  #64  
Old 12-27-2017, 09:54 AM
Krainz Krainz is offline

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Question is: are there people who don't want the Night Elves to be savage?

Those people are the ones who should be heard. If their arguments are strong, said issues should be addressed. If their arguments are weak, Blizzard ends up being given more than enough reasoning to make treehuggers #savage. If they don't show up at all, then Blizzard ends up knowing that they are very distanced from their audience.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:51 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krainz View Post
Question is: are there people who don't want the Night Elves to be savage?

Those people are the ones who should be heard. If their arguments are strong, said issues should be addressed. If their arguments are weak, Blizzard ends up being given more than enough reasoning to make treehuggers #savage. If they don't show up at all, then Blizzard ends up knowing that they are very distanced from their audience.
I wish I could point to someone specific, but the groups that popped up in my head really don't fit the bill of what you're asking for.

Most of the time, the problem in my mind is that Night Elf fans often train their fire on pro-Alliance posters or Horde players, who understandably then defend the parts of the story that they like.

I really can't identity any other parties who take up the defense here though, and I don't think that either of those I mentioned are coming at it from the view that what's happening is optimal.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:59 AM
Krainz Krainz is offline

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Attacking the Alliance or Horde storylines is bad because you're just telling Blizzard "I don't like your Warcraft". They couldn't care less.

Making Night Elves savage is easy and effortless. Look at the Zandalari and the Worgen (Legion). The hell, even look at Kur'talos and the Wardens.

The moment Blizzard realizes "oh, there's no anti-savage NEs support" or "oh, the existing support for anti-savage NEs doesn't really make sense" they recognize it as something worthy of being addressed.

Right now Blizzard sees the pro-savage NE fanbase as "well they complain but they are still buying and on top of that they give us free advertising by complaining lmao why would we change that".
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:32 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krainz View Post
Attacking the Alliance or Horde storylines is bad because you're just telling Blizzard "I don't like your Warcraft". They couldn't care less.

Making Night Elves savage is easy and effortless. Look at the Zandalari and the Worgen (Legion). The hell, even look at Kur'talos and the Wardens.

The moment Blizzard realizes "oh, there's no anti-savage NEs support" or "oh, the existing support for anti-savage NEs doesn't really make sense" they recognize it as something worthy of being addressed.

Right now Blizzard sees the pro-savage NE fanbase as "well they complain but they are still buying and on top of that they give us free advertising by complaining lmao why would we change that".
I'm mostly in agreement with your last paragraph. I still don't think that Blizzard will care, but Night Elf fans absolutely should stop buying into a franchise that will never give them what they want.

Could it send a message? Maybe, but I doubt it would actually change anything.
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Old 01-29-2018, 08:39 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I haven't used this thread in some time. Time to fix that.

One of the more evergreen responses that I've gotten to my concerns for future Night Elf lore is that I should wait for future developments. Alpha is Alpha, Beta is Beta. Blizzard could change their minds, and of course: the Night Elves could be redeemed in future content. The greatest manifestation of this thinking of all time, at least in my opinion, came only recently, with optimistic posters claiming that this could be a fresh start for the Night Elves. Surely, this would not end up being as bad as it appears.

Some recent developments have lent some credence to this argument. The Alliance has only 'invaded' Tirisfal so far, meaning that we have satisfied a "zone for zone" trade with the destruction of Teldrassil. The Kalimdor warfront doesn't mention Ashenvale (which is either really good or really bad), and the ship from Stormwind reroutes to Darkshore. Another good sign, at least if you're asking me, is that Tyrande so far appears to be absent from the Fall of Lordaeron scenario, indicating that she's got other things that she's doing (unless those other things include being murdered, which I wouldn't mind that much).

Those are wonderful pros of course, but now here's the con.

The evidence is firmly against the optimist.



I believe my assumptions are fairly clearly laid out, and where I believe they required additional explanation, there is a memo field under comments. The bottom line is this: if you're judging it from my perspective, that of a fairly typical Night Elf fan, the probability that future content in general will be good is at best 30%. It drops to, again at best, 10% if the information that comes out in advance of the release of the content already suggests that it's going to mean bad things for the Night Elves.

I will also point out that without exception, each of the items marked as "looked bad, was bad" was not redeemed or made up for in future content. I include Cataclysm's Ashenvale in this because the "reconquest" happened offscreen.

(I left Vanilla content out due to the inability to form predictions in advance of it, and that it was well before the changing of the guard with regard to developers. Vanilla was fine, but I don't see a reasonable argument of it as being a predictor of future content.)

(As another side note, I think that a good goal for positive to negative content lies between 60% to 75%. All races should have flaws, but not to this extent)

You are welcome to dispute my weights of course, there are subjective elements to this, and while I feel confident that I can defend every number on that spreadsheet, I leave the floor open. However, I also don't think that most of the adjustments that even my most adamant of detractors can seriously propose will materially affect these numbers. So I am confident in my conclusion:

There is a 7.5% chance, going by prior data, that the Burning of Teldrassil will result in positive developments for the Night Elves. It is not reasonable to assert that this event will result in some renaissance for the Night Elves. The data says otherwise.
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Old 02-14-2018, 10:47 PM
Wreave Wreave is offline

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First of all, kudos on the plan followed by delivery. Very thorough. Here are my criticisms:
  • You haven't played through the content. While reading and watching playthroughs is informative, its clearly not as definitive in developing a reaction as actually playing through. I understand the reasons for not doing that, but it does weaken the credibility of your evaluation.
  • Your overall evaluation is a weighted average of your reactions to individual components. I think that methodology is nicely done. But it obviously depends on the evaluation of the individual components, which I largely feel are much too low.
  • Also you discard substantial chunks of the content as being "Azsharran Empire" content and thus not relevant. I strongly disagree. Azsuna and entirety of Suramar (and the related dungeons and raid) are very relevant to NE story. Likewise Illidan, the Illidari and the involvement of both of the long term story are also strongly relevant to the NE storyline. (All of this is also relevant to the High/Blood elves, but that does not remove the relevance to the Keldorei.) Granted this is a matter of opinion, and people will vary.

For individual evaluations, I'll pick Val'sharah as an example:
  • Consistency objections (e.g. female druids). Good point, but its consistency fail, not a pejorative characterization.
  • Malfurion's presentation. You would have to count, zone, dungeon, raid presentation to get whole picture. I think overall its good. He's shown as more emotionally involved than he was before. Enough so that he loses it when Cenarius vaporizes. But his recklessness there explains why he's more cautious in the raid, where he mostly holds back instead of being involved (except in fight with Dark Cenarius). Perhaps Blizzard was trying to avoid having a (sort of) faction leader leading the raid (and dungeon).
  • Tyrande's appearance. Seems fine. I would expect her to be busy with some other crisis or general management, but rushed over as soon as she learned that Malfurion was in substantial danger.
  • Sparkle dress: Given what my warlock tends to wear, I don't think I can complain about this.
  • Xavius baiting Tyrande with faux-Malfurion's. I think this makes perfect sense (nightmare is out to torment people after all). And it's a taunt meant to distract her from the temple. Plot and character wise, it shows her passion and headstrong nature, but it also shows that she has the wisdom to recognize the trap, rein her own nature in, make a difficult choice and do her duty. And it sets up her explanation of her relationship on her way back to the temple. The writers first show her passion for Malfurion, and then put into words to explain it further. That's good writing.
  • Temple showdown and cutscene are outstanding. Aside from the emotional side, we actually see Elune in action.
  • Moreover, while Elune is still deeply mysterious (the moon? or something behind the moon), her presentation is clearly not that of a Naaru. (Hence answering NE fan's long fear that she was just another Naaru, not something unique and special.)
  • Gilneans presence in the zone. Mostly a nod to the Gilneans, a nice side story. But... it's also a reminder of the special relationship between Gilnean's and NE (even though in the zone, it's just a coincidence).
  • Black Rook Castle: Is a great representation of NE as something other than tree huggers, in contrast to both Darnassus style and the Silvermoon style. It gives more depth to the NE character. It also serves as a backdrop and backstory for Illidan, Maiev and Jarrod. Again, more depth, more facets to the NE story.
  • Maive and Jarrod: Good presentation and substantial improvements to Maiev.
  • Illidari: Weak. They're supposed to be pretty badass, but they end up looking like redshirts here.
  • Druid Class Hall is also in Val'sharah, and the connection to the dreamways. These are huge NE story elements. So cool to see them. Plus all of the druid quests.
  • Thaon Moonclaw: Particularly notable for being pissed about the decision to put the Satyrs to sleep instead of executing them. And then he ends up paying the price for the pacifistic inclinations of others.
  • We even see owl beasts (tied to Elune) and furlbog (tied to druidism). These are NE associated races.

Score:
Characters: A (Good new characters. Substantial improvements to existing leading characters.)
Plot: A
Tone: Hard to put on a grade scale. I'd say: Makes me feel good about the NE's. The threat of the nigthmare is defeated, but area take a lot of damage and substantial individuals fall.

Overall I would rate the zone as A or A+ by Blizz's usual standards. The only thing that would downrate it is the Suramar storyline, which is so good that it sets the bar higher.
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:45 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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@ Wreave

I do appreciate you taking the time to look it over. Now, let me reply to a few things.

w.r.t. Val'sharah, and I'll start with this:

Quote:
Overall I would rate the zone as A or A+ by Blizz's usual standards.
I read your post last night before I went to bed. This line stuck out to me. I was about to launch into a comment about how A+s should only be reserved for titles that are truly exceptional, and that this should tell you that you're being far too lenient on a story that in no way holds a candle to titles like the original Deus Ex, or the original StarCraft. I still think that, but I reread it this morning and noticed this:

by Blizz's usual standards

This isn't good enough for me. I am not going to hold a company to its own set of standards, especially when the quality of its writing has, at least from what I've seen in comment threads, declined in recent years. I brought up the comparison between StarCraft and StarCraft II in another post. I believe we also see it between the earlier iterations of WoW and the Cata and beyond era.

Now to overall criticisms:

Quote:
You haven't played through the content. While reading and watching playthroughs is informative, its clearly not as definitive in developing a reaction as actually playing through. I understand the reasons for not doing that, but it does weaken the credibility of your evaluation.
I won't necessarily contest this, especially in an interactive medium, but I don't think you've said much until you can tell me where the ludonarrative provides an element that I'm missing, especially with a title like WoW, which I don't remember as being that big on ludonarrative in the first place. Once you've described that element, I think we can have a conversation about it, but this comment by itself adds nothing.

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Your overall evaluation is a weighted average of your reactions to individual components. I think that methodology is nicely done. But it obviously depends on the evaluation of the individual components, which I largely feel are much too low.
As we discussed earlier, I think that handing out As and A+s requires an exceptional performance, and there were some. Conversely, I had a ranking for "Irredeemable", which I treated with equal weight. I didn't hand out any of the latter ranking, but I did feel that one section deserved its opposite. Other than that, looking back I actually feel that I was incredibly lenient, and that sections of probably neutral content unfairly bumped up the score.

Bringing me to this:

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Also you discard substantial chunks of the content as being "Azsharran Empire" content and thus not relevant. I strongly disagree. Azsuna and entirety of Suramar (and the related dungeons and raid) are very relevant to NE story. Likewise Illidan, the Illidari and the involvement of both of the long term story are also strongly relevant to the NE storyline. (All of this is also relevant to the High/Blood elves, but that does not remove the relevance to the Keldorei.) Granted this is a matter of opinion, and people will vary.
As I discussed before, the Kaldorei begin and the Azsharan Empire ends during the War of the Ancients. They are distinct cultures, with their closest predecessor being the Nightborne. It also matters to me whether developments will translate to the playable race and faction - which is, admittedly (without apologies) my sole point of focus when it comes to my criticism of WoW.

This content gives us no information that is of continuing relevance to the Night Elves as a playable faction. I throw most Druidic content out for the same reasons. I'd go further and say that it's a negative that Blizzard seems tepid about giving that playable faction meaningful development, or, in reference to the other thread: an experience that conveys a feeling of competence, autonomy, and relatedness in regards to the faction that Blizzard is asking people to play and represent.

Onto specific replies on Val'sharah... and I hope to go more quickly through these.

Points I agree on:
- Maiev, Jarod, and Black Rook Hold: I evaluated this content separately in a section weighted at 20% of the review. No other element of the review contributed more points to the overall score than this piece did. But this was a completely different story from the main Val'sharah questline.
- Keeping Elune's mystery did save elements of Val'sharah's score. My review does speak favorably of it.

Significant Disagreements

- Tyrande: She saves at least one score from slipping into "Irredeemable" territory with her decisions towards the end of the zone, but on the whole, her screen presence is annoying and goofy for reasons I enumerated further in the review. It frankly doesn't matter to me that this happened because of the Nightmare. The writers conjured up the Nightmare and in that manner, chose to portray her like this, which again undermines her seriousness and sense of gravity as a faction leader.

A faction leader should inspire and motivate players of their faction. They should be an example to look up to, and a defining statement of what the race represents. When her initial appearance causes me to uncontrollably snicker instead for a minute and a half because of how goofy it was, I can think of few better examples of a faction leader failing in their role.

These comments translate onto Malfurion's presentation in different ways, but they do nonetheless.

- Showdown at the end of the zone:

You can call it visually stunning, and emotionally stirring in that it's sad to see Ysera go, but I said right out of the gate that I would punish downer endings. I'm sick of them, and sick of them being the best that Night Elf players can hope for. I understand that Blizzard has conditioned us to expect that Night Elf victories are defined as "we could have lost more", but I will never accept that double standard as being reasonable. If a Horde player should be able to proudly shout "Lok'tar Ogar!", then I should be able to proudly shout "Tor ilisar'thera'nal!".

Neutral Content Roundup:
- Druid Class Hall Quests: As discussed before, druidic content is neutral content.
- Owlbeasts/Furbolg: Again, these are elements that are either denied from or are antagonistic to the playable race.
- Malfurion's raid appearance: I viewed the zone, dungeon, and the raid presence. The latter of the three I judged to be neutral, but I don't remember seeing substantial changes in his character there to Val'sharah.

Misc:
- Your point on consistency: Consistency errors still count. That one was minor, but it counts.
- Sparkle dress: Your warlock is one thing, what they put a faction leader, someone that people are supposed to look up to for inspiration and motivation, is quite another.
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Old 02-15-2018, 10:42 AM
Wreave Wreave is offline

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Most of the major weight points are subjective, so there's not that much to argue about on them. We can give some specifics about why we like them (which we've done), but after that it's pretty much "agree to disagree" territiory.
  • What to include as NE relevant material. In the end, the question is what matters to you. Subjective.
  • Whether a particular zone/story experience is good or not: subjective.

"By Blizzard's Usual Standards": This could easily be a whole long thread in itself, but I'll try to keep it short.
  • McDonalds does not have the best food in the world. It is however, quite successful. If a new item goes onto their menu, then it should be judged in contrast to the rest of the menu, and not to the standards of higher cuisine. This is clearly true from a business sense, and its true from the perspective of a regular customer who likes eating there.
  • Granted if you're not a regular customer, then you'll use a different standard. That's fine. But again as business trying to first maintain their existing base, their "usual standard" is the first standard.

Evaluating Blizzes Usual Standards:
  • Low: Pop culture parodies. Lots in Cata (e..g the Indianna Jones thing in Uldum). Thankfully this sort of thing has been largely or entirely dropped.
  • Low: Gross faction favoritism: It's why I left in MoP and why I didn't play WoD until they rolled it into standard. Blizz reversed course on this drastically in Legion. Really looks like a major behind the scenes shakeup to me.
  • Low: Lack of concern with lore consistency. Legion has in contrast (and together with Chronicles) made a massive effort to fit things back together. Yes, they've retconned, but it looks like smart retcons, rather than "Oh we didn't even both to think about it." retcons.
  • Normal: Appealing to different tastes: Definitely part of their sucess is to appeal to different tastes. Forsaken stories have a very different appeal than Draenei stories. Satisfying both is hard to do, and it's probably impossible to make one side very happy without making the other side unhappy. (I'll note incidentally, that one of the advances of Legion is to temper the Alliance, to pull them back from a near parody of do-gooders.)
  • Normal: Melodrama
  • Normal: Quest to end-game, then gear grind through dungeons and raids. Blizz has steadily improved end-game questing over the last several expansions. Legion has clearly incorporated ideas from other games and improved the depth and story of the post-leveling game world.

Reviewing that, I would say that almost all of Legion is A by their usual standards. They've gotten rid of the worst aspects (parodies and faction favoritism), while generally raising the bar.

Suramar is substantially above their usual standards. But business wise, I don't think that it should be setting the new standard for Blizzard. WoW needs to serve a smorgasboard of tastes. Personally, I'm glad to see such stories (its actually what caused me to buy Legion), but other Blizz players have different tastes than mine, and Blizzard needs to maintain its diverse player base.


Anyway, that's getting off topic. On topic, our disagreements on NE story at this point are subjective, so I'm afraid that there's not much more to add.

Businesswise, if I were Blizzard doing the evalution, the main thing I would look for is whether there's been substantial negative feedback from players on the NE content in the game. And from my (erratic, sporadic) skimming of the story forums, I haven't seen much.

Edit: Re Ludonarrative:
Its a general point that things are going to feel different when you're the one taking the action rather than just watching a video. A couple of minor examples:
  • I was doubting that I would make much use of a velf based on what I saw before hand. But once I started making one, I found her more interesting than I thought I would.
  • When escorting Prince Farondis, part of the surprise is that he's not a usual escort. Mobs attack on the path, he says "Help!", you start going over going over to beat them down... and a pillar of fire drops out of the sky and they all drop dead before you have a chance to hit them. At which point, my character blinks, looks back over her shoulder at Farondis, who is now telling me to "hurry up and not wander off" as he continues on his past. Not your usual escort mission. It's a small thing, but pretty cool... and its a feeling you're probably not going to get from watching a Lets Play.

Now I'm not trying to convince you to play again. WoW is just too time consuming.

Last edited by Wreave; 02-15-2018 at 01:11 PM..
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:44 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Quote:
Now I'm not trying to convince you to play again. WoW is just too time consuming.
I wouldn't mind it if the game was actually concerned with keeping my business. Part of what keeps me here is that hope that maybe a spoiler will come out confirming that the Night Elves don't get completely crushed (again).

Quote:
Businesswise, if I were Blizzard doing the evalution, the main thing I would look for is whether there's been substantial negative feedback from players on the NE content in the game. And from my (erratic, sporadic) skimming of the story forums, I haven't seen much.
I don't think it gets brought up much anymore because everyone already knows that things are bad and have gotten to accepting it. Raise the topic though and you'll get general agreement. The most recent example I can think of is the sister post to the "Night Elves and the Player Experience" post - which is up on the official Story forums now. The response to it was almost lockstep agreement, but a sense of resignation, not outrage. It's normal. It's become accepted.

Here is the post, by the way:
https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/...1646737?page=1

As for the rest, I think the only thing you and I agree with wholeheartedly on is that Blizzard, because they're writing an MMO, they need to serve a lot of different tastes. I believe they're capable of doing so, but where I think you and I disagree, and quite strongly, is in the belief that they have done that.... not just with Night Elves but with most races.... but ESPECIALLY with Night Elves.
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Old 04-08-2018, 01:17 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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No doubt I'll earn 76 iterations of Krainz's coffee-swilling computer guy meme for posting this... but I had this discussion in a discord... and this is kind of a free range for my cringy opinions in the first place. So, let's talk about Warcraft, Judas Priest, and Night Elves.

I've been a fan of the Warcraft Franchise since Warcraft 3, and that fandom has changed me in a lot of ways, and forms a great part of the person I am today. One example: I freaking love Judas Priest, which Warcraft introduced me to, and which my experience with Warcraft added meaning to.

Posting on the story forums introduced me to Judas Priest. A long time ago, I was trying to "diagnose" the Horde player (bad, I know), and I used Judas Priest's "Breaking the Law" as a metaphor for my point. This introduced me to the British Steel album, which I hastily downloaded and put on repeat. I listen to music at work after all (one of the neat advantages of working in an office with a door), so I get a lot of time to silently digest it.


I listened to it, I enjoyed it. I classified them as rock/punk. YouTube suggested "You've Got Another Thing Coming" from the Screaming for Vengeance album. This in turn introduced me to "Electric Eye", from the same album, and this is where the magic started to begin, especially given how I could connect with the song. I tied my Warden character, Kyalin's, engineering profession into her character. That character very much promoted the idea of technological advancement, and made small devices that would be of help in performing her duties. (Example: She frequently pulled the cop tactic of shining a bright flashlight into people's eyes). She also focused on more domestic issues and was very spy-happy. If you had documents in the bank? She found a way to get copies. "I'm made of metal, my circuits gleam. I am perpetual, I keep the country clean." Not a perfect fit, but I loved it. It became her "theme" for all of those "what's your character's theme song!?" discussions. (I think the album cover is my lost account's profile picture, actually. I love the techno-fighter jet eagle. It fit in a way with my PVP style)


Then YouTube suggested "The Sentinel". (Defenders of the Faith)

"Sworn to avenge. Condemn to hell! Tempt not the blade, all fear the Seeeeeentinel!" I almost wanted to start a campaign to try and convince Blizzard to turn around the Night Elves with Rob Halford headlining it. But instead the "Screaming for Vengeance" and "Defenders of the Faith" albums became the soundtracks for my PVP escapades. Very fitting, and if I had appreciated the Painkiller album more back then, it would have fit in too.


Yesterday I finally got around to listening to the new Firepower album. It's not their best work, but it is good. It's quintessential Priest and it makes up for some of their dodgier recent outings. I was mildly enjoying it, going through tax returns at the office yesterday when this song, which is below, came on.


Suffice to say... I listened to it over and over again. I am probably rating it much more beautifully than I would if not for the general headspace I'm in with this franchise. Granted, this reaches back to whether the Night Elves are booted from Kalimdor. If they're not, then I think there's hope left. If they are, then yes, the race is dead, and they're dead because of a stupid parity move and a desire to homogenize the factions because that's easier for the writers to do, completing the mistake of having them join the Alliance, or at least the mistake of how they were portrayed once they were in it. That makes this a very painful, but weirdly cathartic song for me. "Never the heroes. We were made to fight. Never the Heroes. We were just sacrificed" indeed.

(The next song on the track, funnily enough, was "Necromancer".)

So, if my time here ends with the confirmation that yes, my time here was my process of a long, painful goodbye (Yes it is painful. I don't see the point in pretending that this doesn't hurt just to fit in with the "internet tough guy" community. This does affect me on an emotional level. I am okay with being up front about that.) to a franchise that meant a lot to me, then it will probably end with me getting the exact ingredients for a Death and Co. Margarita, (2 oz. Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila, 3/4 oz. Cointreau, 1 oz. lime juice - yes from a lime, not concentrate, 1/4 oz. agave nectar with a lime wedge garnish - you're welcome), making said margarita, burning my long-defunct physical copies of the original World of Warcraft as I sip it (cause, you know, got to have something symbolic to burn), and blasting this song as I work out how to finally move on.

I will be seeing Judas Priest live after tax season though. So I can look forward to that, and admit that if not for this franchise, I probably wouldn't have grown to appreciate the Metal Gods.
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Old 04-08-2018, 03:56 PM
Royalpimp Royalpimp is offline

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The 'Electric Eye' song is a nice one to mold your character over, especially a warden with an engineering proficiency. And, man, I never thought of night elves when listening to 'The Sentinel', but that's kind of interesting, it's always been one of my favorite songs from them. I'd say 'Some head are gonna roll' is better from that album, but it's a really solid album all in all, second only to 'Painkiller' imo. What do you think about that one btw? And did you give the Tim Owens years a go?

That new song you linked is nice too, but I'm not a big fan of how old Halford's voice sounds in it in some parts. I mean it's only natural, dude's over 60 I think, and I loved his work with his solo band Halford despite that, but it's a bit tiresome after a while. Then again, I sort of like how he's started relying less on his screams since getting older, and the screams he does do tend to sound rougher than in his younger days.

EDIT: Wait, you're leaving for good? Last part after rereading kind of seems that way. I'd be sorry to see you go, even if I never engaged with you in any discussion, as far as I can remember. Always nice to see a less popular opinion around here, especially since you've always been so civil about it. Personally, I find a lot of the people you engage here to be obnoxious and I'm not quite sure how you have the patience. In any case, take care.
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Old 04-08-2018, 04:52 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Originally Posted by Royalpimp View Post
The 'Electric Eye' song is a nice one to mold your character over, especially a warden with an engineering proficiency. And, man, I never thought of night elves when listening to 'The Sentinel', but that's kind of interesting, it's always been one of my favorite songs from them. I'd say 'Some head are gonna roll' is better from that album, but it's a really solid album all in all, second only to 'Painkiller' imo. What do you think about that one btw? And did you give the Tim Owens years a go?

That new song you linked is nice too, but I'm not a big fan of how old Halford's voice sounds in it in some parts. I mean it's only natural, dude's over 60 I think, and I loved his work with his solo band Halford despite that, but it's a bit tiresome after a while. Then again, I sort of like how he's started relying less on his screams since getting older, and the screams he does do tend to sound rougher than in his younger days.
As I said, I didn't come to appreciate Painkiller until much later, which probably has something to do with my difficulty in getting it off of Amazon MP3. (It's not available, you can order the CD though, which I did) I can find no other word to describe Painkiller other than "Perfect". There just isn't a song on the album that I hate. "One Shot at Glory" can get a little corny, and "Metal Meltdown" feels like its all over the place, but they're still songs that I enjoy. I'm only sad I didn't come across it sooner, and I can only imagine how an album that included "Nightcrawler" and "Leather Rebel" while I was playing a rogue would have been to listen to during PVP.

I did listen to Jugulator, and that kind of turned me off to Ripper Owens. The difference is noticeable, and it's not just the vocals. The overall direction just doesn't feel right. What I like about Judas Priest's fare is that most of their work has a sense of motion to it, if that makes sense. I could probably demonstrate it by cutting up "Delivering the Goods" from Killing Machine/Hell Bent for Leather


It's not a perfect division, but the non-chorus part, especially when we get to the instrumental, molds to what in general I like. 1:52 to 3:10 is a particularly good example of this. But the chorus parts slow down and break into this slow, prodding feeling, almost like that car you were driving just got stuck in the mud. I'm probably misdiagnosing this, but Jugulator seems to want to go for a sort of industrial sound, and so it slows down and slogs quite a bit. When it's not, they're abusing the drums, instead of doing something closer to the strategic use we'd see of them in sequences like the opening to Electric Eye (the three beats that separate the intro following The Helion and the sequence that sets the rhythm to the song). The drum abuse is the sort of thing that will just get me lost in the song because it feels like they're just throwing noise at me.

Jugulator itself is a kind of poster child for those issues (or at least what I see as issues), so I'll post it up.


1:48 kicks off an example of both of those issues. But, overall, it may have a good Halford scream impression, but it doesn't feel like Priest. It feels like they were trying to do what a lot of other bands were doing, and it really drags it down in my opinion. For the record, those kinds of sequences initially turned me off to Painkiller because of how Painkiller begins. It's grown on me, certainly, but initially I didn't like the first track.

... and that I guess ties in to the point about him relying less on screaming (not really, the more I look at this. Rob Halford does not alone make Judas Priest, and while Owens did some things that made him sound more like Rob Zombie than Judas Priest, one has to ask what the rest of the band was thinking as well). Screaming doesn't make Rob Halford a great vocalist, Rob Halford makes Rob Halford a great vocalist, even as I admit that you couldn't complete certain of his songs ("The Sentinel" and "Dreamer Deceiver" come to mind) without his trademark screaming.
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