Journey into the Firelands

Now that patch 4.2 is finally here, it’s time to check out what we can do from the get-go and scout the various questlines that are available (which can be quite confusing). I will update this post depending on additional information I can find as the dailies in Firelands progress.

Dragonwrath

The starting questline for the Epic staff is to be found in Stormwind or Orgrimmar, near the Mage trainers. This emissary of the Bronze Dragonflight will send you on a legendary meeting at the Caverns of Time. That assumes you have killed the required normal raid bosses (Cho’gall, Nefarion, Al’aqir) to prove your legendary worthiness. I am not sure whether it’s an end/or deal here. When you’ve killed all three you certainly have access to the quest. Otherwise, you will have to wait for your raidgroup to enter the Firelands raid and kill one of the Molten Giants to receive the drop that starts the quest.

This mob happens to be the first thing you see when you zone in, right at the stairs. This is good. What is also good is that the Eternal Embers required for the quest definitely drop from the bosses – when I checked the map, the bosses had the quest log marker on it.

Edit: It also seems that the bosses could drop 1-2 of these, possibly an additional one in Heroic modes.

Journey to save Thrall

Another questline that you can start begins at the Earthen Ring ambassador of choice at the portals in Stormwind and Orgrimmar. You are sent to witness the ritual of the Earthen Ring and Cenarion Circle to heal the world tree. Things, of course, do not go as planned and a certain fallen Druid makes his entry to show off his manga-villain makeover as a follower of fire and brimstone. Booyah. This leads to a world-spanning journey as you free Thrall from the…thrall…of the Elemental forces that are tearing him apart.

Note: be very careful with the targeting, or skip this questline until a week or so, when most of the other people completed it. All the people on PvP means you have to click by hand, making it very hard to target something and kill it – and if you don’t the quest won’t advance. Very annoying. I got PvP-enabled at some point by accident as I had a tab-target-brainfart, but only two people tried to attack me. And since two of my Mindflays killed each of them, I think they didn’t know what they were doing.

Note to self: Shadowpriest PvP guide, get on with it.

The war effort in Hyjal

The last and main questline to follow sends you to Hyjal to assist the Druids in their assault on the forces of Ragnaros. This leads to the dailies in the firelands and the tokens needed to buy all the shiny new gear. This does require you to finish most of the Hyjal starting quest where you’ve saved all the ancients. If you didn’t, the quest starts at the Hero’s Call/Warchief’s Command board and will require you to finish the four major questlines involving Goldrinn, Aessina, Aviana and Tortolla before continuing on.

It’s a good thing you get clear directions, and from a story point of view it makes sense to have completed the quests that save the Ancients before you can actually assist them in the fight in Hyjal. Still, it’s a shame that this means Alts (who likely skipped half of Hyjal) will need to be run through these quests anyway just to get here. While good for the money purse and reputation on your alt, it can be tedious to do for the third and fourth time.

The introduction quest and the first dailies give you 12 Marks of the World Tree – you will need 20 to advance to the next stage of the dailies. This means 2-3 days before Stage 2 becomes available.

Edit: Now that people were complaining that their 3rd and 4th alts couldn’t join in time, it now takes only 1 day to reach stage 2. I am not sure what this adds to the game, but I can see people who were clueless missing a few days.

Firelands raid

From  a cursory inspection (I was in there for five minutes or so) the raid looks awesome. It’s one of those wide-open raid zone like the Halion encounter zone, with the central area leading up to Ragnaros’ fortress. It’s very well defined, the theme is great and the trash and bosses look very much like a “whole”. Of course, any raid that has “fire” as its theme is not going to be missing its target.

Conclusion

It took me about half an hour to run through the basic content – until more dailies and events unlock it’s going to be a bit meager and definitely not a running start. The questline involving Thrall will be worth it, if only because of the 365 cloak that’s dangled in front of you at the end of it all. If you didn’t have a hard-mode cloak, this is definitely an upgrade with its Haste and Crit.

I am curious as to how the raid encounters will play out – I may have more to report on that once our raid goes there tomorrow.

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