Patch 5.3 Escalation brought four new scenarios with it, two of which are required to progress into the Darkspear Rebellion quests. None of them involves the actual player characters; they’re stories told about others on Azeroth through Lorewalker Cho and his dream brew. This is a very cool way of telling stories about other characters while still allowing all players to see them.
Please note that this post will contain spoilers!
The first scenario, Blood in the Snow, is about the Alliance. The Zandalari have instigated the Frostmane trolls in Dun Morogh to lead an attack on Ironforge. When Varian asks the dwarves to send troops to help him fight off the trolls, the Bronzebeard and Wildhammer both refuse. The two clans are scared to turn their backs on the Dark Iron. Meanwhile Moira Thaurissan, Queen-Regent of the Dark Iron clan, shows that she’s willing to contribute to the Alliance and defend Ironforge by leading her troops into battle alongside Varian Wrynn. (Why does Varian have to lead the effort? Why aren’t the dwarves taking the initiative to defend their own city?)
Mechanically there was nothing special about Blood in the Snow. However, I really enjoyed it. In fact, I think it might have been my favorite scenario. Now, do consider that I only played each scenario once. It’s fairly likely that I won’t play any of them again for a long time. While some of the other scenarios had awesome things happen, it’s not every day that I get to see character progression of Alliance faction leaders. Moira’s a cool character, and it’s exciting to see her step up. I hope they three clans don’t unite any time soon. I’d like to see Moira turn into the more honorable one while the other two bicker.
The Dark Heart of Pandaria puts you in the shoes of goblin engineers excavating the Vale of Eternal Blossoms under orders of Garrosh Hellscream who hopes to find an ancient power. The goblins find a large chest, but when they open it, Norushen, a Titan construct of a Mogu yells, “Containment failure. Active defense matrix enabled.” A goblin is transformed by sha energy into the Echo of Y’Shaarj, and the other goblins defeat him.
Grizzle Gearslip, Malkorok, and Kor’kron enter the room, claiming this is exactly what they wanted to find. Malkorok pays Grizzle Gearslip, but Grizzle Gearslip replies that it wasn’t the full amount. Malkorok says that Grizzle Gearslip is only paid for the workers present, not the ones who died. He grabs him by the neck and proceeds with a racist tirade about the weakness of the lesser races before leaving.
This is another very fascinating scenario. Of course, we get some nice progression about the Old God Y’Shaarj. Not only did we discover this presence, but we find that Garrosh not only knew of it but also wanted it. I think everyone on Azeroth who isn’t part of Garrosh’s ideal Horde thinks harnessing the power of an Old God is a bad idea. Lastly, this scenario seems to act as a tipping point for the goblins. It’s obvious what the orcs think of the goblins as well.
I actually ran through Battle on the High Seas last, but as it was my least favorite scenario of the four, I didn’t want to end this post with it. Horde and Alliance ships meet in the ocean en route to Pandaria and open fire on each other. You’re tasked with boarding the other ships both by swinging over with ropes and by shooting yourself with a cannon. Besides killing enemy sailors, you also place explosives to destroy the ships.
I thought this scenario was rather boring although it did have its moments. Swinging from the ropes and using the cannons was fun, but the instructions weren’t always clear. The third person in my group at one point jumped overboard and swam to the other ship, not realizing we needed to do something on the previous ship before being able to swing to the next. We also got caught on an enemy ship when the explosives went off, killing us. It told us to get off the ship, but we weren’t sure exactly what we were supposed to do.
The biggest problem with the scenario is that it doesn’t progress the story. Yes, yes, I realize the Horde and Alliance are at war. I guess they just wanted some scenario, any scenario, to show that conflict. What we get here is some random sailors dying. Was there anyone important on either side? No. Did we learn anything new (like we do in all three of the other scenarios)? No! I’m sure Blizzard could have reinforced the Horde-Alliance conflict while actually using some characters that mattered.
Lastly we have the Secrets of Ragefire. Citizens in Durotar have been disappearing, and the Gob Squad believes it has something to do with Ragefire Chasm. You’re placed in the roles of the Gob Squad, who previously had adventures in Azshara and the Twilight Highlands, to learn what’s happening. The Gob Squad works to create a bomb to blow open a door. The Dark Shaman Xorenth tries to stop them, but the Gob Squad defeats them. They find a large number of proto-drake eggs as well as Kor’kron supply crates, making them think Garrosh plans an invasion, including orcs mounted on proto-drakes. They also find discarded Pandaria artifacts. These are likely discarded because they’re not the source of power of Y’shaarj for which Garrosh was searching. The Gob Squad creates another bomb to blow open the next door.
Yes, that’s the bomb in the upper-left of that picture. Why yes, that is a pool pony, and no, we don’t know why it’s needed. The bomb detonates early, hurting some members of the Gob Squad. Soon after, Overseer Elaglo enters, claiming “The true horde, the pure horde, cannot be stopped!” While Grit sets up a teleporter, the other goblins defend him and defeat the racist Overseer Elaglo before escaping through the teleporter.
This is another great scenario. It’s a ton of fun to explore an area that Horde players explored for the first time so long ago. In true goblin fashion, the Gob Squad is a bit silly but still manage to kick butt! The scenario shows the pride and arrogance of Garrosh Hellscream’s Horde. I love the line about the true Horde. I also like the usage of Dark Shaman. An expansion ago, I hadn’t heard of the idea of Dark Shaman. I believe the first I heard of them was in Tides of War. With the release of Mists of Pandaria, Ragefire Chasm was updated. Gone was the concept of warlocks; in its place were the Dark Shaman, and the Secrets of Ragefire brings the problem to a head. It’s time we do something about the Old God harnessing, shamanic arts-abusing, “true Horde” led by Garrosh Hellscream! Maybe it’s time for a rebellion, and maybe I’ll be posting about the Darkspear Rebellion next time!