I finally reached Level 110! My druid, Kadrell, is now Archdruid officially, with the title beautifully displayed above my name! Played through four zones to level up and a fifth I’m still questing in for reputation and an ever-expanding storyline in what is perhaps one of the most complex areas ever put in the World of Warcraft.
I’d love to say that every zone has a wonderful story and that every quest chain is wonderful, but after going through them all—though still discovering random quest chains around the maps every time I’m collecting herbs—I now have my definite list of best stories…that I have played.
Yeah, that’s the tiny caveat. I don’t play other classes so I don’t know what the stories are like for everyone else. I don’t know if the class hall campaigns are awesome or poor, and if their Artifact weapons have some badass stuff I won’t know about that either.
If you’ve played any of the other classes, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to know about the other questlines. And if I do play the rest of them, I’ll probably update this post.
Best Artifact (Druid): Claws of Ursoc
I’m a Balance Druid, a Boomkin, and while I dig the Scythe of Elune’s story and mini-dungeon in Karazhan, it’s not the strongest story for the class. The best, as I mentioned in a past article, are the Restoration and Guardian weapons, G’hanir and the Claws of Ursoc.
Out of those two contenders, I have to give the Claws the winning position for better story. Both stories are epic in scope, but Claws of Ursoc has many more links to present storylines, particularly the Emerald Nightmare raid. And beyond the current storylines, the Claws of Ursoc’s plot has so many references to The War of the Ancients that it hooked me instantly.
I’m a big Lore buff, and I love the Warcraft universe and this weapon made me think back to some of the best stories I’ve ever read, cementing its place at the top of my list.
Best Levelling Zone: Stormheim
I loved Azsuna, particularly the sad Blue Dragonflight story, but beyond “the feels,” it’s not particularly strong, as there is no big payoff. The Court of Farondiss, one of the new factions and the main reputation of the zone, lacks a lot of strength and it’s very hard to connect to those characters and their storylines.
Val’Sharah is Druid-central, and it has some great storylines, including a couple of deaths that hit me in my WoW-loving heart, but since raiding isn’t open, it still feels incomplete. The zone sets up the story and does so very well, but it’s still incomplete.
Highmountain is fun and all, and has a pretty badass reveal and some amazing implications for the world in general, but the main storyline lacks punch.
That just leaves us with Stormheim, a zone so epic I felt like I was playing in a Manowar music video. It has Vikings and tests of valor to reach Valhalla. You fight, blast and spy your way through the zone, bringing peace to old ghosts, enduring countless trials and even confronting the Queen of the Underworld herself.
And it all culminates in the Halls of Valor dungeon, where the Manowar feeling ramped up to eleven. When you hit that glowing bridge that takes you to the final boss, I always hear the lyrics for “Sleipnir” in my head:
Carry we, who die in battle, over land and sea, across the Rainbow Bridge to Valhalla! Odin’s waiting for me!
Best Overall Zone: Suramar
Why is Suramar so good? It’s because of the complexity in the characterisation of the NPCs and the zone itself, something that is missing from all the others. It’s not a straightforward “they are evil, we are good” scenario. The Nightborne elves aren’t just demon-following nutcases. They’re a people trapped under a ruler that will banish them if they do anything that falls even slightly out of line.
The Nightwell isn’t like the Sunwell, it’s not a drug, but basic sustenance. The Nightborne can’t live without it and so everyone you meet outside the city walls, every Nightborne enemy you fight in Suramar is just a poor wretch kicked out of the city whose hunger drove him to madness and cannibalism, and someone you know will inevitably perish, but they’ll do so in body only, because their minds and souls died long before.
There is a desperation and sadness in the zone’s faction that I have never seen in Warcraft before, and you don’t need them to tell you, you can see it in every action and in how you need to give them mana for sustenance every once in a while as a repeatable quest. You can see them shaking and their grip on their sanity slipping until you help them out.
It’s brilliant stuff. And when you go into the city, its bright lights hide deep shadows and dozens of people on the verge of starvation, soon to become no better than the exiles, another Nightfallen, clawing for a little bit of the Nightwell’s mana, distributed as wine and other drinks among the populace, but rationed to ensure obedience.
But Suramar city is not just a zone with enemies. It’s a living city, there are merchants and citizens walking about, taking care of their business. You need to mask yourself among them, because there are loyalists blindly following their ruler and the demons. But they make you wonder: are they evil and corrupt, or are they simply afraid of what would happen if they refused to fall in line?
As I said, Suramar is complex. And those of you playing through the zone know that I’m merely scratching the surface on what there is to find in this map.
Legion’s storytelling, overall, is superior to Warlords of Draenor’s, perhaps the best World of Warcraft has ever had, and as I continue to play and follow storylines, I’ll keep talking about the best of them. Though I feel next time I should talk about some of the worst, which thankfully aren’t many.
As I said before, I only play druid, so I don’t know about the other classes, so please tell me about them and most importantly, how do you feel about them, do you think they’re as good as the Claws of Ursoc story?
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