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Reza Lackey Posted:
Columns All Things Warcraft 0

Upon logging in after the patch installation, I was immediately tasked with finding Lorewalker Cho at the Seat of Knowledge in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. And just like that the dramatic narrative of this expansion cycle continues to escalate.

The Pandaren Campaign Continues

After speaking with Lorewalker Cho, I was asked to participate in two of the four new scenarios, Blood in the Snow and Dark Heart of Pandaria. These two scenarios show us the latest happenings with the Alliance and Horde, respectively. Regardless of which faction you play however, you are still able to participate in both scenarios by way of Cho’s Dream Brew in the Seat of Knowledge.

The Seat of Knowledge

The Blood in the Snow scenario has players investigating an unnatural storm in the region of Don Morogh alongside King Varian and the Dark Iron Dwarves. A Zandalari leader was seen moving through the area attempting to gain the support of the local Frostmane trolls. Players must find the source of the storm and stop it so the troll threat can be neutralized. Horde players will be transformed into members of the Alliance when participating in this scenario.

King Varian Wrynn

The second scenario, Dark Heart of Pandaria, puts players in the midst of a new Horde excavation site in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Their search for a mysterious artifact leads to a few hiccups for the digging goblins and so you must provide assistance at the site. Players will fight their way through the dig and ultimately find themselves in the vault containing the sought after artifact. Similar to The Blood in the Snow scenario, Alliance players will be transformed to resemble the Horde.

The new Horde excavation site in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms

Meanwhile on Kalimdor

After completing the two scenarios, Cho sends you to Durotar where Horde players will meet up with Vol’Jin and the Alliance will rendezvous with an agent of SI:7 who is gathering intel on Garrosh and Orgrimmar’s defenses.

Playing as the Horde, you meet up with Vol’Jin and Thrall in Sen’Jin village where soon after you must hold off an attack from Garrosh’s Kor’Kron forces. During this attack, I noticed a few great callbacks to WarCraft 3 but I won’t spoil them hear (that’s a hint not a typo). After the assault, the Darkspear move out to recapture Razor Hill to the north from the Kor’Kron soldiers.

Vol'Jin and Thrall in Sen'Jin Village

Alliance players will be sent on a mission to gather intel on Garrosh’s operations in the area and this is where they learn of the Darkspear Rebellion. Next you will be asked to meet with Vol’Jin on behalf of the Alliance to seek his aid in the preparations for the assault on Orgrimmar.

After these series of events for both factions, Battlefield: Barrens begins. This is where players can work on a weekly quest of collecting wood, oil, meat and stone from Garrosh’s army. These resources can be collected by fighting the Kor’Kron or by defending caravans as they are attacked by Garrosh’s forces. Not only can these supplies be used to fulfill a weekly quest but they can also be used as currency for various items from the Darkspear Rebellion Quartermaster. One of the rewards for completing the weekly quest is the Bad Mojo item which will allow you to turn one latent Kor’Kron armor into something useful for your class but with random properties. So far I have made one item which had an ilvl of 489 with class appropriate stats.

Chen Stormstout has a quest that becomes available once players have completed the quest chain up to the Battlefield: Barrens event. This quest will send you back to Pandaria where significant elements of the Mists storyline are revealed. If you have followed the Mists story this far, you don’t want to miss this.

After playing through this quest chain with both factions, I’m really loving the care and attention that went into crafting the story for Mists as it has been a rewarding experience beyond simply getting new gear. Although interestingly, with each new patch I am getting a stronger sense that Blizzard is keeping something very close to their chest in terms of major plot developments.

The Board is Set

Patch 5.3 Escalation sets all the pieces in place for the upcoming assault on Garrosh. Both factions are aware of one another and both have their focus shifting north towards the walls of Orgrimmar. Vol’Jin and the Alliance seem to have an understanding of the events that will soon transpire. What role Thrall and King Varian will play is yet to be seen but one thing's for sure, it’s all coming together. As Lorewalker Cho would say: “The story is still being written...”

What are your thoughts on the patch? Where do you believe the story will go from here? Let us know what you think in the comments.

This week’s throwback item: Conqueror's Worldbreaker Spaulders

Follow me on twitter @rezalackey

Reza Lackey / Reza is a giant nerd who loves video games, board games, film and way too many other things. Works in the film industry, on some startups and thinks science is cool. Also launches rockets.

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Reza Lackey