Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Stories from a Shattered World: Badlands

With the final confrontation with Deathwing on the horizon, I thought I should get the story of Badlands out right away. Far from being a land forgotten and rarely visited, Badlands has some key elements in the progression of our storyline in the aftermath of Deathwing's return. The time to grieve is over, and we'll be looking to the future, answering questions such as what is the future of the obsidian dragonflight? It's one of the best questlines to do in Azeroth and its importance is only highlighted by the continuation of its story in the legendary questline for the rogue dagger, come 4.3. I highly recommend reading the quests in this zone and turning on the music for full effect.


Our journey to Badlands begins with a harmless rocket ride all the way from Eastern Plaguelands down the continent to Fuselight-by-the-Sea. I couldn't help but smile at the reference to Carmel, and to top it off, our navigator/engineer is an enterprising goblin whose ride is called the "Uncrashable". Ha, I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Perfectly safe!


Our travels beyond Fuselight-by-the-Sea quickly take us to the mysterious goblin, Rhea who tasks us with the grisly business of killing obsidian dragon whelps and the collection of eggs. It's not entirely clear what's going on here....yet....


I always get a wee bit worried when I hear "mistress of unimaginable power"....I mean, unimaginable power is fine and all but is it the good kind or the bad kind? It's not like I've ever helped the bad guys before unintentionally *cough*. Rhea goes on to reveal Nyxondra...


...and obsidian dragon hidden from visibility by a special shield. Our task is to steal three of her eggs. Now, why in good Azeroth would we want to do that? 

Rhea's word are worth a long hard look here because they're truly telling of our purpose in the Badlands. "We are here for the good of the black dragonflight. We are here to redeem them, not to hurt them." 
My jaw dropped when I first read this. In all our time in the shattered world we've faced fear, grief, anger and revenge at Deathwing and the black dragonflight.....but....redemption? Here, we're truly looking to the future of Azeroth.


The truth finally comes out - Rhea, or rather Rheastrasza, serves Alextrasza the Life-binder and is tasked with the dangerous yet important mission of redeeming the black dragonflight. And redemption here, translates to finding an uncorrupted black dragon egg, to secure the future of the dragonflight. And anything dealing with returning things to an uncorrupted state brings us back to the Titans....

Obtaining a Titan artifact is so no easy task and involves everything from fighting sentinels to solving miniature puzzles and riddles like the one above here. It's hard to miss the gigantic scar that Deathwing left on the land we traverse it on our mission - and no huge event like that is ever complete without tales of how it actually happened.....Hello, Theldurin! Tell me about the Day that Deathwing Came....


That's right! You go punch that gigantic chin thar, Theldurin! Ofcourse, this is not how it is remembered by everyone....

And not to be outdone, Martek shares his own....


*giggle*

Probably some of the best stories I've heard! And for a souvenir, I chose Theldurin's Fist. Meanwhile, our efforts in recovering the Titan relic are fruitful and Rhea's friend, Dr. Hieronymous Blam. Everything seems to be going smoothly and together with Rhea, we go away to store the egg safely, hidden from Deathwing....
No! Rhea!!


And thus we witness Deathwing's evil, and Rhea is no more. *sniff* There is however, one last thing  Dr. Hieronymous Blam wants us to know. Deathwing thought he destroyed the purified egg but in reality it was one of Rhea's own. Unfortunately, I was too teary eyed to screenie it but here it is: 

"You were not the only mortal that Rheastrasza confided in.  I too earned the dragon's trust.

I have already moved the real purified egg on to a safer location, away from the Badlands.  It will continue to grow, out of Deathwing's sight.

The red dragonflight is as benevolent as it is powerful.  It was Rheastrasza's final wish that I give this to you.
"


This questline always leaves me speechless, no matter how many times I do it. There are a couple really strong elements in what I consider to be the quest designer's finest work. Rhea really just blew me away for a lot of reasons. Throughout the entire story, Rhea shows strength while doing something as deplorable as stealing eggs from a mother, and yet she can't help but show empathy towards Nyxondra even though she knows she must do this for the good of the dragonflights. She must've known all along that she would have to sacrifice herself and one of her eggs for the safety of everyone else. And it is that selfless nature that really rises above the pettiness of the Alliance and Horde and their leaders. 

The other driving force here is ofcourse the idea of redemption. And honestly, they've done a fine job in showing us just how hard it is. Rhea's end at Deathwing's hands comes when its least expected to us and feels like a cruel thrust into a harsh reality. I sincerely doubt that many of us would think that the black dragonflight deserved any redemption after that. But such is the nature of tragedy and unfortunately, at the end of the Badland's story, nothing, not even Theldurin's tales, can console me when I think of Rhea's loss.

At the end of this heartwrenching story, we are left with Rhea's Last Egg , a reminder of Rhea and her noble sacrifice.

2 comments:

  1. *hugs* I so loved the new Badlands zone, despite the heart breaking finish to it. It seemed unusually epic with the low level - I mean redeeming an entire dragonflight? Totally awesome! But I'm glad they kept with the black dragonflight theme for the zone.

    I loved the three storytellers so much too! XD Laughed myself silly at each one of them. And Rhea... so cute. *sniff* I will miss her... never ever gonna get rid of her egg... *sniff sniff*

    *dabs at tears* Great post Mely! I love reading your take on these different zones. =)

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  2. Yes, this is such an epic storyline *sniff*. To tell you the truth though, with the depth that the questline here offered on redemption and such, I'm quite surprised that this wasn't part of an 85 zone. It makes much more sense, in my mind, to see it at that level.

    Being currently at Badlands at around level 45-ish, a lot of folks won't see it unless they level an alt through the zone. A key story involving our fight against Deathwing should be seen by everyone and not tucked away in a low level zone.

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