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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.


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.




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.


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.


Characters: Kosak-Level
Plot: Depressing
Tone: Passable

Weight: 25%


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


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.


Characters: Passable
Plot: Depressing
Tone: Passable

Weight: 15%


Darkheart Thicket


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


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.


Characters: Depressing
Plot: Depressing
Tone: Depressing

Weight: 2%

Black Rook Hold


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


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.


Characters: Redeeming
Plot: Passable
Tone: Redeeming

Weight: 20%

Vault of the Wardens


Dreylalin Whisperwind, Cordana Felsong


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.


Characters: Redeeming
Plot: Redeeming
Tone: Redeeming

Weight: 5%

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


Maiev Shadowsong’s Involvement


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.


Characters: Redeeming
Plot: Depressing
Tone: Passable

Weight: 10%




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


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.


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)


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.


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.


Characters: Redeeming
Plot: Redeeming
Tone: Exceptional

Weight: 5%

Broken Shore


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.


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.


Characters: Depressing
Plot: Kosak-Level
Tone: Depressing

Weight: 15%

Black Temple


Maiev’s Appearance in the Scenario


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:


Thunder Totem


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


Antorus, the Burning Throne
The Nighthold
Trial of Valor


All pet battle scenarios
The Arcway
The Deaths of Chromie
Coldridge Valley
Hall of Communion
Fields of the Eternal Hunt
The Lost Glacier
The Ruby Sanctum
The Maelstrom
Stormstout Brewery
Gloaming Reef
Halls of Valor
The Cove of Nashal
Throne of the Four Winds
Twisting Nether
Abyssal Maw
Cave of the Bloodtotem
The Eye of Eternity
Realm of the Mage Hunter
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.


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


- Wowhead: Level 100-110 Zones:
o Dungeons:
o Raids:
o Scenarios:
o Artifact Acquisition:


- Wowhead: Comprehensive Broken Shore Guide:


- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 030 – Val’Sharah
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 031 – Val’Sharah


- Wowhead: Comprehensive Suramar Guide:

- Legion: Suramar Explained:

- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part One – Setting Up Shal’Aran and Oculeth’s Workshop
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Two – Anora Hollow
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Three – Masquerade
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Four – Cloaked in Moonshade, A Seed of Hope!
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Five – Eminent Grow-Main
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Six – Moon Guard Stronghold
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Seven – All Small, Random Quests in Suramar
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Eight – Tidying Tel’anor
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Ten – All Suramar City Side Quests
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Eleven – The Waning Crescent
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Thirteen – Blood and Wine
- Legion – Suramar Quest Guide – Part Fourteen – Statecraft
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Two – Missing Persons
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Three – Waxing Crescent
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Four – An Elven Problem
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Five – Crafting War
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Six – March on Suramar
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Seven – Elisande’s Retort
- Legion – Insurrection Quest Guide – Part Eight – As Strong As Our Will

Broken Shore (Legionfall)

- Legion – Breaching the Tomb Quest Guide – Assault on Broken Shore
- Legion – Breaching the Tomb Quest Guide – Aalgen and Vengeance Point
- Legion – Breaching the Tomb Quest Guide – Begin Construction
- Legion – Heroic Cathedral of Eternal Night w/ Guildies
- Legion – Power Unbound Achievement/Quest Guide
- Legion – Breaching the Tomb Quest Guide – Champions of Legionfall
- The Story of the Tomb of Sargeras, History, Raid, The Future!
- The Story of Shadows of Argus, Patch 7.3 – Full Version

Darkheart Thicket

- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 032 – Darkheart Thicket

Black Rook Hold

- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 035 – Black Rook Hold

Mardum, the Shattered Abyss

- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 001 – Mardum, the Shattered Abyss
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 002 – Mardum, the Shattered Abyss
Vault of the Wardens/Broken Shore
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 005 – Vault of the Wardens

Black Temple


Diligence on Content Excluded from Report


- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 009 – Azsuna
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 010 – Azsuna
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 011 – Azsuna
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 012 – Azsuna
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 013 – Eye of Azshara
- Let’s Play World of Warcraft: Legion – 022 – Slavery

Emerald Nightmare

- The Story of The Emerald Nightmare
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.


Last edited by Kyalin V. Raintree; 11-15-2017 at 09:18 PM..
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