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Melaisis In Nothrend - Part One
Posted on Monday, December 22 2008 @ 03:41:56 Eastern

Opening Note: Tales of epic journeys have been told for centuries and when Wrath of the Lich King (the second expansion for World of Warcraft) was announced, many of my fellow journalists took the opportunity to shadow or reprise such huge pieces of literature from (up to) thousands of years ago. Homer's Odyssey? How about John "Is That Your Real Name!?" Funk's 'Northrend Travelogues', a highly under-rated video series over at WarCry. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings? Consider Mike Reilly's surprisingly deep review on Game Revolution (I would have called it A Reilly Awesome Story, or something). Each of these articles have their own positives and negatives and - as when being time pressured to write fully as possible about a game - summarise the whole WotLK experience quite nicely. However, everyone's story as they saunter through the winterly realm of Nothrend - the main setting for the expansion - is going to be different. Review and beta previews may be all well and good at highlighting the general jist of what the entire experience is like, but its always a bit... general. What I aim to do, is bring a personal flair to my writing when I discuss playing the damn thing. To keep a diary of sorts, while attempting for it to be entertaining, similar to what I've done in the past. Why pick Wrath of the Lich King? Well, its a big game and everyone will definitely have different approaches to the tasks that present themselves. Furthermore, can you seriously say you don't know anyone playing WoW at this present time? The audience scope is huge, and perhaps they, too, are a little tired of non-specific reviewers barking vaguely about the expansion 'on the whole'. I hope you enjoy it.


A Quick Escape

I had not intended to visit Northrend originally. Like many of my fellow, rather cynical, players, I believed that the expansion was simply Blizzard's way of squeezing us for money whilst still managing to avoid fixing the old content or filling in the empty areas of Azeroth which have been vacant since 2004. I still do believe that, to some extent.

My adventures actually began a week after Wrath of the Lich King was released. I was riding around Stormwind - the Human capital - one lonely, cold night when I was approached by a stranger. He rode a steed not unlike a Warlock's, wielded a polearm glowing with the light of a thousand suns and his eyes possessed a similar, striking shine. Initially, I held him to be the Devil incarnated, and the exchange between us did nothing to ease my troubled thoughts:

"What are you!?" I found myself asking aloud.
"I'm a deaf knight," the unholy beast proclaimed.
"Oh," I apologised hastily and repeated: "WHAT ARE YOU!?"
"No, no," it corrected. "I'm a death knight. A bringer of evil. A force of darkness. People flee when they hear my name alone: For I am Bran, the Shitecaller!"
I sighed. I had battled many death knights in the past. They were champions of the undead Scourge, but no match for a well-trained warrior such as myself. I had never seen a Night Elven one before, but supposed it made sense considering the Lich King's expanding influence.
"Very well, dismount fiend! We shall duel to the death!" I challenged the monster, who simply shook his head.
"I am not here to fight you, Melaisis. I am here to guide you into the winterly realm of Northrend, so you can join the fight against our mutual enemies!"
I admit, I was taken aback at this and pried further, "how did you know my name, and, why must I go with you!?"
"We're in the same guild," Bran exhaled. "I've been sent to clear our guild's name. It seems the authorities have caught wind of you *****ing about them and trying to go for that two-minute trolley dash under Prestor's petticoat before she mysteriously vanished."

Under any other circumstances I would have immediately rejected any idea of exodus from the beloved city. However, I could not change the fact that I was a soon-to-be wanted man, alongside the point that none of my old friends still remained in Stormwind. It was a choice of remaining on mainland Azeroth as a criminal, or setting sail to become a war hero once again. What else could I do, aside from head out to the docks to catch the next boat north?

As the lighthouse spread its beacon of... er... light across the bay, I bid goodbye to the stone metropolis and looked to the dark horizon, with Bran at my side.


A short time later, the steamboat docked at a small port in the Borean Tundra. Valiance Keep - the Alliance settlement - was to be the first outpost we visited of many. Bran assured me that our stay in the small town was to be a short one, and we queued up to be enlisted in the forces fighting against the Scourge.

We waited and waited. I overheard some of what the guys at the front were saying: Our fellow volunteers were no more than farmers and footmen; mediocre peasants. Bran seemed to be thinking the same as me, and leaned over from across his line to whisper an idea.

After waiting for the guards to turn away, we used to 'creative' methods in order to get to the front.

"Yeah, excuse me."
"Sorry. Move or I'll set my status to 'At War'."
"It ain't my fault you were made without clipping!"

The recruitment officers didn't take too kindly to all of that, of course. All the same, they sent the death knight and I on a fool's errand to help the frontlines out on the beach.

It was there we fought against giant, arachnid-like creatures on the behest of the force commander back at base. Bran showed off some of his scummy undead moves, and I attempted to summon a (rather incompetent) Argent Guardian. Indeed, good times were had by all.

Following the success of our spider-slaying mission, I stumbled across three, military-esque gentlemen buying drinks at the local pub. They offered to buy me a few pints, and who was I to resist the opportunity to bond with a few local comrades?

"Shee you later guysh! Thanksh for the drinksh!" [Actual dialog]

In retrospective, my intoxication did little more than cause me to feel even more depressed that I had been exiled from my favourite city back on the Eastern Kingdoms. When Bran left me alone to gather supplies in the Keep for our great journey ahead, I received a mystical vision of my old friend Archmage Vargoth. He was broadcasting all the way from Outland. I asked for advice from the mysterious magi, but he merely gave me a blank, confused stare. Was he as drunk as I? Perhaps I was just hallucinating.

Bran returned shortly after with sufficient supplies to see me on my way, and sent me off on some random quests.

Such strange tasks included being chased chasing Kraken in the chilly seas under icebergs and stalking around ancient ruins. On both occasions, I was accompanied by some very kind Blood Elves.

At one point, I discovered a burning hunters' camp as I rode across the rocky hills of the Tundra. It turned out to be the temporary home of an organisation known as DEHTA; a bunch of surprisingly murderous druids bent on destroying the forces of Hemet Nesingwary, a legendary hunter. I had no love for Hemet, so did my best to help their hippy ways.

This little discovery and the resulting quests culminated in me springing a few baby elephants from traps, and finally riding against the hunters on the above: A giant, woolly mammoth. It was amusing for a time, but I couldn't help but ponder how my reputation was coming along at home. As if to heed my thoughts, the Archmage Vargoth appeared to me again.

"Trust in Bran," he assured me - slightly soberer than our last encounter. "People still think of you as an incompetent pervert back home, but Bran will show you the way to change their minds."

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