WoW – Sometimes, Things Just Go Wrong

Whilst WoW in general is less highly-regarded these days than it was at its height, it’s safe to say that there have always been things to love and things to hate about it. Today, several bloggers are picking up on its down points – and whilst none of them is arguing that WoW is entirely awful, they’ve all got some interesting things to say:

  • Rades waxes lyrical in a rare annoyance post, discussing how dissatisfied he is with Aggra’s completely emotionless face“I sure can’t wait until the final Mists cinematic where we see Thrall deliver a sad speech about Garrosh’s downfall and what it means to the Horde and etc., while Aggra is standing at his side, gazing out at the crowd with her dead, soulless gaze. “
  • Matthew Rossi at WoW Insider takes on a question that has been bouncing around since Mists – did flying mounts ruin Azeroth?“If immersion is a design goal, then soaring over the clouds definitely can be seen as ruining that immersion.”
  • The Grumpy Elf takes on the big question, asking “Was Cataclysm that bad?” – and comes up with a surprising, controversial answer“The number one problem with cataclysm was not a problem with design at all, it was a problem with over estimating the ability of the average player to work in a group setting while partnered with random people.”
  • And finally, Doone at T.R. Redskies has been trying the Pandaria beta, and is tired of being treated like a child“Ever since the crossover from accessibility to triviality, those currently making the game have long forgotten what it is to be approachable and to be trivial to the point of pointlessness. The game is increasingly patronizing.”

What do you think? Is Pandaria patronising? Did flying mounts diminish the world?

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How to see Thrall’s marriage

Patch 4.2 brought with it a long questchain requiring you to rescue the former Horde warchief Thrall from the clutches of Majordomo Staghelm. At the end of that questline, Thrall declares his love for his mate Aggra, and officially dedicates his life to her in a commitment ceremony – effectively marrying her.

It’s an important moment in WoW lore, and you can witness it for yourself by completing the questchain Call of the World Shaman. The quest begins in Mount Hyjal (see our quick guide if you’re not sure How to get to Mount Hyjal). Once you’ve picked up the initial quest (from the Earthspeaker, next to the portals in Orgrimmar or Stormwind), you’ll need to find Thrall, just south of the World Tree. If you’re having trouble picking up this questchain, you might need to speak to Aggra first of all – you can find her in Mount Hyjal.

Call of the World Shaman leads on to Elemental Bonds, which ends in Thrall’s marriage to Aggra. It’s easy to follow the questchain – just talk to Aggra after each stage to see what needs to be done next. You’ll need to free Thrall from each of the four elements in turn. You’ll need to attack the mobs that are surrounding him. Only when a certain number of mobs have been killed will the next stage of the questchain be triggered. The mobs that surround Thrall are non-aggressive, so they won’t attack until you attack them.

For each element, you’ll have a new meter on your user interface. When the bar reaches 100, Thrall will be freed from that element’s control and you’ll be able to move on to the next element. Killing one of the smaller mobs will increase the bar by 5 points. Killing one of the larger mobs will increase the bar by 15 points. If you die, the bar will reset, so be careful! If you can find somebody else to do this quest with you, it’ll go a lot faster (and will be a lot less tedious).

The confirmation of Thrall and Aggra’s relationship officially ends any speculation as to Thrall’s relationship with the Alliance mage Jaina Proudmore. Much as fans may have wished to see that relationship pan out, Thrall and Aggra are now married (or the Orcish shaman equivalent). Judging by Aggra’s determination to save her mate during the Elemental Bonds questline, it’s pretty serious.

Have you completed the questline to witness Thrall’s marriage? What did you think?

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An introduction to Mount Hyjal

Mount Hyjal is probably the first Cataclysm zone you’ll encounter once your character hits level 80. Hyjal, on the continent of Kalimdor, is – as its name suggests – a mountain. The zone is higher than any other zone on the continent, so if you’re flying in from elsewhere you’ll need to travel almost as much vertical distance as horizontal! Check our quick guide if you want to know How to get to Mount Hyjal.

Mount Hyjal was not accessible until the release of Cataclysm, although the zone has played an important part in Warcraft lore. During the Third War, the power of Nordrassil the World Tree was harnessed in order to repel the Burning Legion. As a result, Nordrassil was badly damaged and Hyjal was devastated.

Now the region is once again under threat, this time from that grumpy old fire lord Ragnaros and his minions. A desperate defense has been mounted under the leadership of Malfurion Stormrage. Playing through the Mount Hyjal zone questline will involve the player in this battle, and will eventually result in an assault upon the elemental stronghold of Ragnaros himself.

Mount Hyjal is also the site of Thrall’s rather impromptu marriage to Aggra – an event which can be witnessed in-game by completion of the correct questchain – as well as the gateway to the Firelands raid (at Sulfuron Spire in the south of the zone) and the associated daily quests (at the Sanctuary of Marlorne in the west of the zone).

There are some great quests in Hyjal. If you’re old enough to remember the videogame Joust, you’re going to have a great time playing through Blizzard’s three-dimensional homage. Alternatively, you might enjoy rescuing stranded bear cubs from trees (by climbing the tree, grabbing the cub, and throwing it down onto a trampoline, naturally) or saving baby turtles from a fire (by drop-kicking them into the Ashen Lake).

Mount Hyjal is a great zone to quest in. Most quests in this zone will earn your reputation with the Guardians of Hyjal faction. Hyjal is also a great place to mine Obsidium or gather the Cinderbloom herb.

What did you think of Mount Hyjal? Let us know in the comments.

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Who on Azeroth is Aggra?

If you’ve played through the Goblin starting questline on Kezan and the Lost Isles or if you’ve rescued Thrall from the afflictions of Majordomo Staghelm, but haven’t read any of the Warcraft novelizations, you might be wondering who on Azeroth this new ‘Aggra’ character is.

The short answer is that Aggra is now Thrall’s wife, and that’s official so you’d better get used to it.

Aggra is an orc of the Mag’har, and a powerful shaman in her own right. She got to know Thrall during the events immediately following Wrath of the Lich King and before Cataclysm – events detailed in the World of Warcraft novelization The Shattering.

Thrall traveled to Nagrand to commune with the elements there, during which time he met Aggra. While the two of them initially antagonized each other, they soon became – in true buddy cop fashion – the best of friends. The friendship blossomed into love, and any fanboy hope of seeing Thrall and Jaina Proudmore play Hide the Stoneskin Totem died an undignified death.

Aggra plays a significant role in the events of the goblin starting questline on the Lost Isles. She leads the band of shipwrecked orcs who, with the aid of the goblins, rescue Thrall from imprisonment at the hands of Alliance S:17 agents. She later makes a reappearance during the questline The Call of the World Shaman, during which she follows Thrall around complaining that he talks too much, while ordering the player to do all the hard work. If you do manage to complete that questline, you’ll be rewarded with an i-level 365 cloak, and you’ll be punished by being made to endure Thrall and Aggra’s vomit-inducing commitment ceremony. Depending on your opinion, of course, this may be the best thing about that questline. If you really want to see it, check our guide, How to get to Mount Hyjal.

It was Aggra who convinced Thrall that he needed to choose between his duties as a Warchief and his duties as a Shaman. Thrall, who was perhaps following the advice of a part of his body other than his brain, chose the later option – leaving Garosh Hellscream to lead the Horde to glory under his famous election slogan “Vote Hellscream – because 99% ineptitude just ain’t good enough.”

What do you think of Aggra? Do you approve of her partnership with Thrall, or were you as confused about her sudden appearance as the rest of us?

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