Following on from yesterday’s celebration of Suramar, I’ve been spending a lot of time searching the zone for hidden caves and portal beacons. Once you establish a new haven for the Nightfallen, you’ll made aware of a series of ley lines that connect Meredil to other important Ancient Mana sources, which will help feed your new centre. Then there’s a set of nine portal points, which effectively negate the need for a flying mount and allow you to travel to every quest hub in the zone. Except there’s no idea or indicator in game where any of these places exist. The plan, presumably, is that as you quest each area having been sent there by breadcrumbs, the access becomes apparent and if you need to return to anywhere for a World Quest? This ‘system’ makes it easier. I’ll also be honest here: this is the most fun I’ve had looking for anything in twelve years.
Searching for hidden entrances may now be my new most favourite thing ever.
What makes this even more satisfying is the care and attention to detail that has gone into ‘hiding’ this stuff, because the system of tunnels and caves is so beautifully realised. It also fits exactly into a narrative of a civilisation effectively cut off from reality to survive, and it is immensely satisfying that reclaiming these does not involve the same repetition of quest objectives to do so. I think that makes me happiest of all: yes, you need Ancient mana to activate these things, but sometimes you’ll need to fight off mobs and other times there’ll need to be a puzzle solved… If this is a dry run for questing objectives in the future, I’d like to say I think it is a resounding success. I’m utterly in love with the idea of having to not just complete a rep grind or a storyline, but have as many subsidiary tasks to complete as conceivably possible.
However, as some have mentioned in yesterday’s comments, Meredil’s evolution as a quest hub is far more satisfying than any of the preceding efforts. The slow evolution with a ‘cut scene’ as your mana tree grows is inspired, and discovering huddled refugees this morning in the surrounding tunnels did, I will admit, reduce me to tears. Without breaking down the metaphors around drug dependency and addiction that are being thrown about in the name of ‘subjugation’ I’m finding the development of this whole expansion very emotionally engaging, more so than at any point since Cataclysm. If I had my way there’s be Dwarven priests here, treating the serious addictions. There’d be a Forsaken alchemist or two trying to find a way to wean these people off their addictions permanently. More importantly, there would be places for the Highbourne to learn about what they’ve missed whilst in self-exile: the Explorer’s League could give lectures. There ought to be representatives from the Class Halls to, seeing if anyone wishes to join the Unseen Path.
I’d like to see the Highbourne given the chance to act as the first truly neutral race going forward.
I’ve found all the Leylines today, and activated all nine Portals. Next week I will push forward my exploration and reputation gain. Revered is close, and once I get there? I suspect things get very interesting indeed. Most importantly of all, all this has been done without Guides, keeping well away from third party sites.
If you want to make things a surprise, the choice is very much in your own hands.