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World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth review part one – Battle for Lordaeron and the gorgeous Zandalar zones make WOW Expansion a winner

Zanadalari trainers attempt to control an enormous Devilsaur.
Old T’zoko, a giant Devilsaur, strains against his trainers in Zuldazar – Pic Credit: Blizzard/ Activision

Welcome all to part one of our World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth review. Today, we will begin our journey with a look at the Battle for Lordaeron scenario, the Heart of Azeroth quest chain, the Stormwind Extraction scenario, and the glorious Zandalar zones and quest hubs.

After a bit of chaos on launch day, thanks to authentication server issues as millions of excited WOW players tried to log in when the expansion went live, Blizzard quickly resolved the problems, and players were able to log in once again.

Most of us will make leveling our main character to the new level cap of 120 our first priority in the expansion but how you do that is up to you. While most players will follow the main story quests first, some gamers level in PVP and others may level with crafting or gathering.

Ghodzilla welcomes you tour review of Battle for Azeroth.
Your friendly reviewer, Ghodzilla, welcomes you to part one of our Battle for Azeroth review – Pic Credit: Screenshot/ Blizzard/ Activision

This reviewer chose the traditional route of following the main story, beginning with the Heart of Azeroth quest chain. As I am an Orc hunter, my review will be from a Horde point of view. While some of the quest givers and zones will be different for Horde and Alliance, the story itself is basically the same, but it will be from your factions point of view.

As a member of the Horde, the Battle for Azeroth expansion begins with High Overlord Saurfang in Orgimmar, who sends you to participate in the absolutely outstanding The Battle for Lordaeron scenario. This engrossing scenario is a 25-minute-long, 20-person event.

Blizzard really pulled out all the stops on this one, and the results are spectacular. While the combat is not particularly difficult, I would suggest getting this done while the expansion is new, as it will get harder if only a handful of players are involved.

While we have included the end cinematic from the event just below, we will not be including any spoilers from the actual combat. We thoroughly enjoyed the entire event, and you will want to discover all the details for yourself. For the most part, we will endeavor to avoid spoilers in all of our reviews.

After the Battle for Lordaeron, your next stop will be Magni Bronzebeard in Silithus for quests to earn the Heart of Azeroth necklace and one piece of your Azerite Armor set. There are three quests in the chain; A Dying World, The Heart of Azeroth, and Infusing the Heart. In this short chain, you will learn who or what Azeroth is and why Azeroth is slowly dying a terrible, painful death.

Players will receive the item level 280 Heart of Azeroth necklace and one piece of item level 280 Azerite Armor as rewards. You will be able to choose either a helm, shoulders or chest from the three-piece armor set.

To learn about the infusion system for the necklace and the armor, we highly recommend Wowhead’s guides. You will find a guide to the Heart of Azeroth necklace here and a guide to the Azerite Armor here.

Azeite Armor power wheel with a level 2 power.
Azerite Armor Power Wheel showing one of the available powers for level 2 – Pic Credit: Screenshot/ Blizzard/ Activision

After you complete the Heart of Azeroth quests, you will be summoned to Orgrimmar for a secret meeting with Sylvanas Windrunner and Nathanos Blightcaller. Now enraged at the Alliance for the destruction of Lordaeron, the Horde Warchief wants nothing less than the total destruction of the Alliance.

In order to fulfill her goals and achieve vengeance on the Alliance, Sylannas makes use of her considerable skills as a far-seeing strategist. She dispatches you, as her champion, to lead a team to Stormwind to free several valuable prisoners held by the Alliance. The Warchief hope that hopes that by freeing the prisoners, you will convince them to join the Horde, along with their vast armies and powerful navy.

To that end, you will undertake the Stormwind Extraction scenario, another enjoyable, 23-minute-long scenario that involves stealth and combat and adds to the rich lore of World of Warcraft. In this scenario, you will be the only player, but you will have the assistance of several powerful Horde NPCS and two mysterious new allies.

Princess Talanji and Jaina Proudmoore glare at each other across the bloody battlefield.
Zandalari Princess Talanji and the bitter enemy of the Horde, Jaina Proudmoore, glare at each other across yet another bloody battlefield – Pic Credit: Blizzard/ Activision

Without going into details and spoiling the fun of another well-conceived, enjoyable scenario, we must reveal that the prisoners you free are Zandalari Princess Talanji and Zanchuli Council member Zul. Again, the combat is not very challenging, but the scenario introduces some of the important new faces in the Battle for Azeroth expansion and also features some of the more powerful magic users in World of Warcraft.

The climactic scenes of the Stormwind Extraction are quite spectacular, and the scenario serves to introduce the Zandalari empire as a world zone and quest hub. By successfully freeing Princess Talanji, you will be introduced to her father, God King Rastakhan, who will give you a chance to prove yourself and earn his trust.

Zandalar is an absolute triumph of creativity and artistic design. It is easily one of the most spectacular looking zones in World of Warcraft, with lush jungles, forests slowly sinking into the sea, inhospitable and barren deserts, and golden cities teeming with towering pyramids, troll warriors, and fearsome trained beasts.

It is here in the Zandalari capital that our journey to 120 really begins when God King Rastakhan names your character Speaker of the Horde and allows you to establish a Horde embassy in his capital city.

Your time in Zandalar breaks down into three main storylines with The Dark Heart of Nazmir, Secrets in the Sands, and The Throne of Zuldazar quest chains. Each quest chain has a different environment and different enemies, but the goal is the same throughout. You must restore order and stability to Zandalar and win the trust of the King and his skeptical advisers.

Nazmir was once a deep forest, but the area is now sinking into the sea, and the Blood Trolls have returned to worshiping their parasitic Blood God, G’huun. King Rastakhan wants you to crush their rebellion and bring peace to Nazmir.

Blood Moon over Zandalar.
Blood Moon over Zandalar in Battle for Azeroth – Pic Credit: Blizzard/ Activision

Voldun is Zandalar’s desert zone, which is inhabited by banished Zandalari criminals and extremists, the fox-like Vulpera, and the snake-like Sethrak. It is here in Voldun that the rebellious general, Jakra’zet, has established a secret base to overthrow God King Rastakhan and take control of the empire. You, as the Speaker of the Horde, have been tasked with bringing this power-mad general’s schemes to an end.

The third and final zone in Zandalar is the capital of the empire, Zuldazar. Here, you must earn the trust of the king’s council by successfully completing quests for them. You will also visit the Zuldazar port and stop several uprisings. While you explore the city, with its majestic pyramids and busy port, you will slowly begin to perceive the growing threat to the king, which will be exposed in a shocking incident of treachery.

Map of Zandalar, home of the Zandalari empire.
Map of Zandalar, with its many areas and capital city. Pic Credit: Blizzard/ Activision

My journey to level 120 began in earnest in Zandalar. While my goal is, of course, to reach the level cap and the endgame, there is so much to explore and observe in the zone. To properly explore Zandalar, with all of its glorious scenery and varied environments, and complete all the quests, my leveling progress will be slow and steady, as I will pause often to explore every nook and cranny and take screenshots.

To that end, I will be dividing our review of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth in five parts, with this as part one. In the coming days, we will journey together through the other Horde zones, the Island Expeditions, War Mode PVP, professions and crafting, the new races, dungeons, raids, and eventually, the endgame.

We welcome you to join us again for more of our World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth reviews and other gaming coverage. We will also be covering the Destiny 2 Forsaken expansion, which begins on September 4, 2018, with hands-on reviews and articles.

Until next time, this is Ghodzilla, over and out.

FOR THE HORDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

World's largest omelet in the Zandalar Port.
Someone should contact Guinness and tell them we found the world’s largest omelet, made for the always hungry Horde. Pic Credit: Screenshot/ Blizzard/ Activision

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