Sunday, August 29, 2010

Loremaster: Why you should waste your time

Loremaster. It seems like a lot of work, and it is. Why would anyone want to do this achievement? For a silly title and tabard? For the achievement points? For "e-peen"? What a waste of time.

This seems to be the attitude of many people I have encountered since I made the decision to spend a large portion of the remaining time before Cataclysm working toward completing this achievement. My boyfriend has been the most vocal and persistent in his opinion of how I have chosen to spend this time. To him questing is silly and time consuming. This is his attitude when he's "benefiting" from the quests by receiving XP and the concept of questing for fun is completely foreign to him. He feels the remaining time would be much better spent gathering gear, leveling alts and generally "preparing" for Cataclysm. For him the LFG tool and Battlegrounds XP has been a godsend because he no longer has to do those "silly quests" to level and obtain gear upgrades.

But then, he also doesn't care for the story. The lore behind the raid. The reason the characters do what they do.

I feel that I am preparing for Cataclysm, in my own way. I feel that I will better appreciate the changes to the zones if I've visited them recently, and if you are like me you haven't seen some of the zones in years. And some of the quests I skipped way back in Classic are truly nothing short of epic. While I completely agree with Blizzards decision to revamp a lot of the old zones and quest chains (and as much as some quests are epic, other lines are truly awful. If I have to locate one more conspicuously absent animal bodypart...) a lot of the old content is still worth doing. An example would be our friend Tirion Fordring.

Anyone who has been to Icecrown Citadel knows Tirion for his speech at the beginning of the raiding instance. "This is our final stand. What happens here will echo through the ages..."This really is his final stand (latest is actually more accurate); he has made others through out Azeroth and the Outlands.

It starts in the corner of Western Plaguelands. I suppose the location may qualify as being in Eastern Plaguelands... Tirion is located in a small corner of the world between Eastern and Western Plaguelands with his Hammer and his Horse. He starts out by asking you to help him clear his homestead and the surrounding area of various plague-beasts as well as provide him with a free lunch.

After you have completed the first three quests Tirion offers, he rewards you by letting you "put your feet up" and listen to his story. And it is a sad one. He tells you of his exile and his decision to live out in the back end of no where (and it really is) to watch over his young son, Taelan, while Tirion himself lives his new life as an exile. Unfortunately he has no way of influencing events and his son turns to the Scarlet Crusade in the absence of his father. Tirion then sends you on a chain of quests to make his son remember his roots and hopefully abandon the Scarlet Crusade and turn back to the Light. I won't ruin it for you, but trust me, this quest chain is a must.

Tirion also makes a brief appearance in the Outland... sort of. He actually is found in Old Hillsbrad, the first Caverns of Time instance. He stands with several others in Southshore in discussing Ashbringer. While this isn't really part of Loremaster, it's still a fun visit for any lore-hounds out there.

In Wrath of the Lich King Tirion returns with a bang... or maybe a flash. Deathknights encounter him "first" (in a lore progression sense) with his support of our new cohorts against Arthas. He even manages to cleans the Corrupted Ashbringer, and item with an epic story arc of its own. He's also the "Supreme Commander of the Argent Crusade" a faction that is new to Wrath; a combination of the Silver Hand and the Argent Dawn.

Finally, and massive spoiler alert here for anyone who would like to see the results of the final battle with the Lich King, Tirion was nearly the Lich King. And when I say nearly I'm talking holding the Lich King's helmet in his hand speaking of him being the only one... though we of course know that Bolivar Foredragon wears the dread crown in the end. Who knew the fellow I helped by clearing out those pesky bats would be so important.

Wait, Bolivar Foredragon? Who is THAT?

And that question, and others like it, is why I am loving Loremaster. (ha, didn't think I'd get back to it did you?) Could I have done Icecrown Citidel without knowing who these characters are , what they've experienced and what they stood for? Sure, and many, many players do. And there's nothing at all wrong with that. But this moment, this interaction between some of the most influential characters in the game is just so much more... meaningful when you know how they got there. And more to the point when you, YOU, helped them get to where they are.

And if you don't know who Bolivar Foredragon is, look him up. Sadly the quest chain that made me love this character was once the attunment for the old Onyxia Raid if you played as Alliance back before they revamped her. You still can help him out in the Wrathgate quest chain however, and if you haven't done this chain yet, do it, you won't regret it.

If you're not interested in the Loremaster achievement but are still interested in participating in some of the more important happenings in the World of Warcraft here are some of my favorite moments:

Tirion - Tirion's quest chain starts with the three quests [56] Blood Tinged Skies, [56] Carrion Grubbage and, [56] Demon Dogs

Saving Sharpbeak - A longish quest chain with a heart wrenching ending! (Less of a lore hotspot and more of mass amounts of cuteadorablness.)

Netherwing Rep - I know this is a rep grind, but I feel this is a must-complete for any lore-hounds out there. When you're finished you not only get access to some cool mounts, but you also get to single handedly ruin some very long term plans...

Wrathgate - Do this. No, don't argue. Just do it.

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