20
Nov
08

Exploring Northrend

So Wrath of the Lich King was released a week past and I – like many, I’d expect – have been indulging significantly in the new content. Northrend has been a great experience thus far – the design of the environment.. the attention to detail.. things like Shoveltusk stags fighting when they meet, Worgs attacking Shoveltusks to hunt.. all manner of random worldly actions that happen without your interference. It’s great to see them because it makes the world feel more alive, and obscures the underlaying network of game mechanics where the Scarlet Crusade and the Scourge gladly join together if it means destroying you.

The storytelling aspect has really gone up a notch – you really feel like you’re part of the larger scale of events and bring things into place as they are. You’re not the strongest, mightiest or most powerful warrior ever – but you’re someone who through sheer determination and will keeps prevailing, and through that inspire everyone around you to do the same.

It’s a role very befitting to Nhani Moonfall the character, so I’ve greatly enjoyed the journey so far. Though I foresee a problem coming with how everyone is the very same hero and how that might affect roleplaying – some people will make such claims openly, and I expect a vast majority of those are not the sort that could actually carry something like that. I tend to cling to liquid continuity to what extents resonable so I’m generally flexible with how I can respond, but I can imagine the personal continuity of Nhani Moonfall will be much different from that of most – especially with how her being in Northrend is ultimately due to the wishes of High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind.

My presence in Northrend actually took a very unexpected turn right from the start. Ever since the Ghoul Event and attempting to repell people trying to turn Stormwind into the City of Ghoulia I’ve steadilly been embracing the Priest talent tree Discipline – the heavy focus on shielding, the fun-to-use ability Penance and the mana return via Rapture have all provided a very interesting and different experience.

“The Goddess is my shield!” indeed.

I never actually thought I’d go back to the priest incarnation of Nhani after having left her behind – she felt way too weak, fragile and holy light-ish at the time. It’s changed massively however, and the class feels far more Night elven this time around – seeing the context of recent events it also feels right.

I had this great experience with the attack in the Stormwind Harbor only days prior to the release of Wrath – I hadn’t actually seen the attack there and I was even thinking of avoiding it altogether. That said, on a trip joining my group to Blackwing Lair and seeing the latter half of the encounters there for the first time I got this whisper randomly out of the blue saying that the player-run Military Council of Azeroth had sent message to High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind about the Stormwind Harbor being under attack and requested that if she chose to send reinforcements, they’d be under Nhani’s command.

Having a moment of “oh.. uhm.. okay.” I set my course towards the Harbor and had the very epic experience of arriving right in the middle of one of the attack waves with Frost Wyrms soaring the skies and Abominations stumbling about the streets. Having decided that the Priest class would once more serve me better than a failing roguetank, I found myself alternating between healing the injured – both In character and out of – and unleashing all manner of light and fire upon the undead foes. It came to a point where Nhani decided to help hold the line and defend the place where the wounded were gathered and I went as far as having her levitate as she held her ground, searing things with holy flame. It was amusing to hear observers mention how much force she was unloading and wondering why she was floating in the air.

And then it came down to healing and while Nhani isn’t a medic, she is a Priestess – she could do what medics couldn’t. While I did have concerns about going a little over the top and stepping on toes, it really felt like people gave me a significant amount of license to portray her as a true emissary of the Temple of the Moon, to the point where for a moment there it felt like she might only be second to Tyrande herself.

I couldn’t have gotten any of that with the rogue class. No chance. In spite of what manner of spin I’ve put on it – the rogue class is still about avoiding attention; the difference now being that Nhani’s no longer avoiding it, but accepting it. In Character-wise, the High Priestess has.. suggested.. to her that there’s already enough warriors and that she’s more of use as a symbol of hope, an icon of inspiration and a guide for the warriors there are. This development then has ended up having such tremendeous synergy with the way the Northrend quests and questlines are portrayed that I’m loving the whole experience of it.

As a friend of mine said – she’s never seen me as passionate about a single class in a long time, beating what I had for the rogue during the most intense moments of my tanking stint. I might still return to the rogue in due time, but right now?

I’m playing priest in Wrath, and relishing it.

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