Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Cataclysm Journal 22!

The dust of mystery has been disturbed...

Enter Uldum

Before making our way onwards to our next venture we first had to set out to take a, very long, journey upon itself, to reach our destination. This started with a treacherous boat-trip, among drunken sailors, across The Great Sea to get from Stormwind to Darnassus. Boats now rock - Something I never noticed! From then on, we had to prepare ourselves for the long flight, across the entire stretch of Kalimdor in fact, all the way down to Tanaris. Though, unlike first assumed, this turned out to be an unexpected 'treat' as such. The time and space between setting off and landing turned out to be a gigantic step through time. Soaring through and above zones that we had previously travelled, explored and quested through, flashbacks came shooting at us left, right and centre! From the desolate destruction of Darkshore, to the lush forests of Ashenvale and the southern reaches of The Barrens. It only seemed like this morning that we were battle-ling our way through each and every marvellous land that we passed along the way to this present moment.

The Caravan (Including 'Lady Humps')
Finally the time, which literally flew, to set foot on the ground, was upon us. We continue our adventure, on the boarders of Tanaris, alongside a band of travellers, in the form of a caravan, who are also making there way into the sands.. of Uldum. This caravan as such included a rather peculiar Camel. A camel named 'Lady Humps'. Need I say any more. So with our group of explorers, of whom all share a similar quest, we set out in search of more information about this so called Super Weapon...

Escape Plan?
Right from the off, we are again presented with a very tasty cinematic upon entering the land. Where we are seen to be ambushed. Ambushed by a pack of abnormal, distorted, Gnome-like grunts. In which we were captured. Though, due to them taking capture of the wrong-Worgen, we of course escape. In one of the most humorous ways going. Just think 'Scooby Doo' style.

This Egyptian themed desert, with it's mythical statues of the gods which just happen to be cats and it's ancient inhabitants, really set it apart from the previous two 'New Zones'. Especially a boss, of whom you first encounter, that reminds me of Aladdin, more specifically the gene in the lantern. As usual thieves and bandits are found to be invading while creating there distinguished chaos. The sheer scale of the landscape, paired with sights of complete tropical beauty among the abysall sands, really create a place of unique quality. Although it can be set in between the mysteries of Ulduar, coupled with the ancient presence of Ahn'Qiraj, there is no doubt you will feel a completely refreshing (with the sand in your teeth) atmosphere. Sat with a continuous stream of cinematics which also formed a nice even flow between areas/quests.

Pictures from Uldum

(Click any to Enlarge)

Now, the fun begins. Alongside the obvious character reference in the zone, that being Indiana Jones, there is definitely a sense of 'discovery' similar to Zul'Drak. That's just with all the tombs, riddled with traps, and exploration alone. While here, I can really say I was taken back by the quality set by nearly every quest I encountered. Mean, who wouldn't give up a chance to transform into a burning ball of fire to then roll down hill causing the (un?)-fortunate death of gnomes (1000 to be precise). All guilty fun of course. Then take control of your own squad of soldiers, with an enormous laser at your disposal, to take out an entire army.

The Tol'Vir
Horrible little gremlins..

Here it comes, the event(s) I had really been looking forward to. That of course happened to be the dungeons! First in our path - The Vortex Pinnacle. With a stereotypical view in mind, you feel you are taken up into the very heavens. Not just because of the fluffy white clouds, Greek structures and so on no doubt. Then one after another, we came to The Lost City of Tol'vir. A lush ancient city of paradise. Even though enemy territory, it remained to prove peaceful and surprisingly tranquil among the havoc. Short and Sweet. But what makes it even better...

9 Days, 3 Hours, 25 minutes and 50 seconds

So, in as usual way as any, we made it our priority to carry on and finish what we started - [Explore Uldum]. In which we went onto temporarily assisting, before defeating, a bunch of Nazi/Hitler impersonating goblin bandits. This turned out to be a very interesting quest line indeed. Also, more mentions of Deathwing himself seem to be cropping up, linking him to a lot of activity and chaos within the area. The questing finale within Uldum ends with a very perky surprise.. [In a Thousand Years You Might Be Worth Something]

Gods of Old
Though, the real mission completion for us happened to be in the third and final dungeon within the zone. Halls of Origination. Similar, as by name, to the Halls of Lightning and Stone. However, still just as diverse in it's own rights. This eventually brought us to, of course, saving the world from complete and utter destruction and finding that Deathwing himself was at the centre of the plan we foiled. All of which included the down-bringing of the 'super weapon' which we had first set out to seek.

So, taking a lot on board with this zone and the events that unfolded. Overall, an unmissable land of wonder. Did I mention cinematics?! Having Feignheart pick up a new skill [Camouflage] - he is now a true hunter of the shadows. Also taking a liking to the new [Explosive Trap] animation. However, what next in The adventures of Feignheart. The taste of an endless journey which lies ahead, dawns as overwhelming. Who knows where the scent for the quest will take us...

Well readers, we got there. But why stop here?! The journey has really just begun. For myself, you and Feignheart himself. Expect more than ever from the whole of Shattered Beginnings than we could have imagined! Hold Tight, who knows what may just lie ahead!

As always, thank you all for reading!

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- Jamin

Your wish?!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Cataclysm Journal 21!

Down into the Depths..

..Though far below the water this time..

In our pursuit for adventure, we find ourselves being directed through a portal to see Thrall at the Maelstrom. Little did we know that we would end up being lead down into the very heart of the chaos! To the Realm of Earth we go, Deepholm. Along the way we also hear the first actual mention of The Destroyer.. Deathwing. As the land we were venturing into, was once his very own domain.

Deathwings Demise..
Upon passing through The Maelstrom you are given a proper introduction to the zone, which is the heart of Cataclysm. This includes another excellent display of top quality voice acting. Though before we go any further, I feel some background knowledge and insight into the zone is necessary to help ease everyone into the situation at hand and create/enhance the atmosphere which is Deepholm.

Deepholm, once the eternal prison of the terrifying Deathwing threatens to collide and destroy Azeroth and all that exists in it, if the rift (The Maelstrom), of which he created upon his escape, between the two realms isn't closed. You are here to restore order within the up-rise.

Filled with endless swarms of elementals and creatures never seen, this underground barren landscape holds many hidden wonders. An atmosphere of eternity surrounds the zone.

The Twisted Nether comes to mind, with the collection of floating rocks and mysterious objects.

A plane very far from home.

On a whole scale, imagine the layout of the Un'goro crater. All of which surrounds a central structure. Within this realm, the structure happens to be The Temple of Earth, which highly resembles Wrymrest Temple back in Dragonblight, and stands out to be the most important settlement within this elemental waste ground.

The Temple of Earth.

Onwards, and into our first dungeon beyond level 80! The dungeon Feignheart and I ventured into was known as, The Stone Core. However. No matter how visually amazing the instance turned out to be (Of which it was) this was minor compared to the actual experience of running (Or tripping at times) it through. Up until now, dungeons have been fun, yes. Though having a ton more in-game mechanics, even on trash, to battle against with all round tougher mobs and a fast pace, made my first Cataclysm Dungeon in the new zone a complete delight! I enjoyed my time so much that I went for another go, landing myself - [Pendant of the Lightless Grotto] !

Slowing it down for a moment. With all the experience I was taking on board, I managed to gain another ability for the spellbook. This happened to be a new aspect called - [Aspect of the Fox]. This skill allows me to cast [Steady Shot] and [Cobra Shot] while on the move! Though if that wasn't enough, it also grants you additional focus whenever you receive a melee attack.

Earthen Vs Trogg
Now, a rather interesting conflict in this zone lies between the Earthen Defenders and the Stone Troggs. I feel they deserve a mention, because along the way they made room for a bundle of really unique quests/chains. Also, throughout the journey so far, I would really like to say how great the implementation of more cut-scenes and cinematics are. Not just great, but just brilliant. You feel so much more involved with the story than ever before. So, I hope to see more of the same as I progress further!

So, we have now gone [Deep Into Deepholm] leaving behind the sealed rift. Though, pause for a moment.. What about Deathwing?! Anyway, adventure calls. Level 84. Time to pick up our next trail which is sending us to Tanaris, and onto the sands of Uldum. Something about some super weapon...

Until next time, when the adventure continues...

Thanks for reading!

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- Jamin

(Stone Mother)
Jabba the hut, from Star Wars?