Blaugust

Settling into a rythm

I figured it was time I sat down and wrote a blog post again about my adventures in the World of Warcraft. I know it’s probably not super interesting to read my babbling about this game a lot but since it is the only game I’m currently really active on it’s also the biggest inspiration for my blog posts. So I will keep on writing about it a lot for the time being.

As of yesterday I completed the War Campaign on the Alliance side. It’s been a hell of a ride with killing a San’Layn blood prince and sabotaging the Zandalari fleet. All in all I enjoyed this questchain a lot more than I thought I would. Especially the involvement of the Void Elves was amazing. Their portals to suck up enemies are hilarious and I used them happily. Because you know, who wouldn’t want to suck entire armies straight into the Void?
I’ve also peaked into the Warfront on my Rogue before the Horde filled their bar up and was quite surprised with how the setting actually is. There were enough people around to do the quests with and to farm rares with and ofcourse you have the World Boss that drops loot. It may not be something that you zone into every day but for a day in the weekend it’s fine content. I’m trying to queue up for Island expeditions here and there aswell, mostly so I can unlock the next tier of research on my ship. Finally I’ve also been chiseling away at all the reputations and am Revered with everything except Champions of Azeroth and the Tortollan seekers.

With a ton of new content unlocking this week I hope to do my four Mythic dungeons, dive into LFR and grind a bit more rep overall on both my characters. On my Rogue specifically I’ve already found a routine where I just make sure to do my Emissary quests every day and do the Champions of Azeroth/Tortollan Seekers ones aswell. On my Paladin I’ve finished the zone story in Zuldazar and am now only one quest away from unlocking the King’s Rest dungeon. I did the Warfront scenario before Blizzard hotfixed it and I’ve been gearing up to tank Mythic and Mythic+ over the weekend.

I’ve also found myself settling into a bit more of routine for my weekdays. Since I’m limited in the amount of time I have to play I make sure that I get my Emi’s done on both my characters. I then also make sure to do the CoA and Tortollan quests on my Rogue. When I’ve done all that and I have time left I either work on my Professions, queue up for a Dungeon/Island Expedition or grind out some extra World Quests for gear or I tackle some leftover quests in my questlog. It’s nice settling into a routine like that, even though it slows me down a bit. I just don’t really  have the time during weekdays to commit to much more so for then I tackle smaller things like Reputation, Fishing and a random dungeon/expedition/battleground. All the small bits still work towards my greater progress goals so even though I get to unwind I am also getting stuff done. Which is nice.

Lastly I want to take the time in this post to finally take a look back at Blaugust. I managed to nab a gold award this year, meaning I’ve posted atleast 25 posts. I’m pretty proud of myself for posting that regularly during the month of August. And even though I didn’t make it to the rainbow badge I proved to myself that I can actually put out more content if I want to. I just need to carry it over to the rest of the year.

The final day of Blaugust

Screenshot around Costa Del Sol

Completely unrelated screenshot but Costa Del Sol is by far my favourite zone in FFXIV so I figured I would feature that at the start of my post. There’s something about that azure blue sea and the beaches that makes me feel like I’m on vacation and that’s a feeling I desperately need right now.

We’ve arrived at the final day of Blaugust. At the start I set a goal to write a post every day. Unfortunately things didn’t really work out as I hoped they would and I end the month just a few posts short of the fabulous Rainbow badge. On one side it irks me. I would have loved to write a post everyday and I had enough material to do so aswell. I was planning to talk about Octopath Traveler and I had so much to say about the Battle for Azeroth launch while also still doing some stuff in FFXIV. However a valuable lesson I’ve learned over the past month is that as an adult you have to make choices. There is just no way I can do everything that I want with the limited time I have. I love to game and I love to talk about gaming but when work gets to be super stressful gaming comes second to trying to stay healthy. There have been many a night where I’ve fallen asleep before or after dinner as I was exhausted. Even as I’m writing this blog post with the semifinal of the EU League of Legends Summer championship in the background I’m battling sleep. I’m just not giving in because I know I’ll wake up around midnight feeling really bad and not being able to fall back asleep. So sometimes I chose to go to bed early and minimize my screen time. Sometimes I’d choose to stay up a little later so I could finish a blog post or something in a game, knowing that I would be a bit of a zombie the next day. It happens and it’s how life is when you have very long work weeks.

All in all I’ve found this Blaugust a very positive experience. Hanging with the “crowd” in Discord was fun and even though I didn’t really get to commenting on other people’s blogs I did add a few more to my Feedly to read, which is nice. I want to continue having a regular posting schedule, which basically boils down to more than once or twice a week, because I have so many things to write about still and I’ve noticed that writing on this blog more often just helps me clear my head aswell. Especially the more personal posts, even though they always seem to end up a bit on the rambly side, help me organise my thoughts and deal with things that I normally try to deal with on my own.

So with that this is my final post for Blaugust and I’ve already got an idea of what my first post of September will be. Luckily September starts tomorrow, which means I’ll actually be rested (yay for Saturdays!) and I’ll have time to write. It was a pleasure to participate and I hope you all enjoyed my posts.

Bite sized gaming

Alternative post title: Why MMORPG’s work so well for me.

I’ve already kind of mentioned this on our Blaugust Discord but lately I feel I don’t really have the time or energy to really get stuff done anymore. With 40 hour work weeks (that have been extra stressful for the past 3 weeks or so), social obligations and the inability to function in the mornings I’m really left with very few hours to myself. Even moreso considering I set aside atleast half a day on Sunday to get a plethora of chores done like vacuuming, dusting, doing laundry and cleaning my various collections of games/plushies and other stuff. These things are major dust magnets and I’m allergic so it’s important to me that everything stays as clean as possible.

Due to being severely limited in time to spend on gaming, but also blogging, I’ve been making a lot of choices the past days and weeks of how to spend my time because honestly… I just can’t get it all done anymore. As I write this post for example it’s 20.45 local time. This means that, if I don’t want to be a complete zombie at work tomorrow, I have about two more hours to spend my evening on whatever I want to do because around 22.45 I start winding down for bed. I could in theory go to bed later but I’ve noticed that I really need a good dosis of sleep to not feel like a zombie the entire day afterwards and even more tired when it comes to having time for myself.

So “only” having two hours to myself I’m starting to notice that I prefer logging into an MMO instead of starting up one of the many single player games that I own. I do this because I can get stuff done in WoW and FFXIV in less than 30 minutes and still feel like I’ve made some sort of progress. By the time I’ve spent 30 minutes on a game like Persona 5 or HZD I only barely remember what it was that I was doing and real immersion doesn’t really kick in untill the hour mark or so and I’ll already be halfway through my gaming time then. That 30-60 minutes that I spend in WoW also mean some casual conversations with friends while I game/progress, something I don’t get when I play solo. I guess I could fire up one of my platformers and just settle for completing a few levels and I may do that the coming weeks. However seeing as I’m stuck in the beginning of the story in a lot of my RPGs it’s taking me a while to fully get with the story and get to the “good parts” as people tend to say. I already have the good parts in my MMO’s. I’ve seen the stories and done the quests. I’m in maintenance mode and it’s so satisfying to tick off the boxes there. This means casually leveling up an alt or working on reputations where I can say “I played this character for 20 minutes today and it’s gotten me X amount of progress”. It feels nice, nicer than ticking of one or two quests in a single player RPG that basically don’t really get you anywhere yet.

Then again, maybe it’s a matter of me using my MMO mindset on my single player games and just tackling smaller steps. I know that I’m itching to continue Octopath Traveler for instance but I’m hesistant to fire up my Switch due to being in a “grind” phase with no clear goal set. I also want to finish Mario + Rabbids and Yooka Laylee. Both platform/level oriented games where Mario + Rabbids is a more strategic game and Yooka Laylee is a collect-a-thon. Perhaps it’s time that I just fire up these games and set small goals for myself like I do in WoW. Do a level. Level a character to level 20. Kill the boss of this zone. For now though I’m still preferring to log my MMO’s so I will keep doing just that.

The need to play solo

I’m a social person. I pride myself on being an extravert and enjoying the energy of other people around me. If I’m at home alone a lot I get depressed and I’m at my happiest when I’m in a big city surrounded by people and the buzz of city life. But sometimes I need some alone time. I’m not always super social. I’m not always looking for company of other people. Sometimes I just want to do my own thing without anyone else getting involved in it.
This is when I put my Battle.net as “show offline” or flee to my Au’Ra alt in FFXIV. Because I don’t want to talk to people. Because I don’t want my friends to “quick join” my dungeon queue. I just want to be left alone and do my own things without anyone interfering. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because I’m so focused on getting something done that I can’t or don’t want to also be my usual entertaining self. Maybe it’s because even as an extravert I need to recharge my batteries a bit with some alone time.

When I was doing my Mage Tower challenges I’d often show up as offline to my friends. The whispers I tend to get were distracting me and I also didn’t really want to engage in any social chatter while trying to get these challenges done. I’ve done the same with finishing off the “Pride of Kul Tiras” questline on my Rogue. I went offline because I didn’t want to break my immersion into the quests and I certainly didn’t feel like ruining my queue times because people wanted to join when they saw me queue up for Waycrest Manor and Tol Dagor. Sometimes I just need to fly solo and that’s okay. I’ll be available another time.

It may sound weird to want to play solo in an MMO. Maybe it is. Maybe I should instead focus on playing some of my single player games when I feel like this where I know I won’t be bothered by anyone. But I like playing WoW and FFXIV and I like being able to do what I want on my own terms. Especially WoW is an excellent solo experience. Ofcourse for some stuff I may have to group up with strangers but I’ve never really had issues with that. Most of the chatter in random dungeons or in this expansion Island Expeditions is virtually non-existant. People don’t really talk and if they do it’s often only a “hello” or “goodbye”. It suits me fine. I can just focus on doing my own thing, which is get through the dungeon without dying while doing decent dps, and still get my goals done for the day. Sometimes I like to queue up with friends an have a ton of banter instead. And maybe sometimes I will choose to play that single player game and not be online for a while. This would also help me slowly plough through the enormous backlog of games that I have built up over the years. With the new WoW expansion settling in, and me probably spending less time on it over the coming few weeks, I may go into solo mode a bit more and play Octopath Traveler or a game on my PS4 again.

For now though I’m putting myself offline anytime I need some breathing space and will enjoy the game solo.

Sunday and chores

It’s a bit of an odd day today. As I realized that I hadn’t post anything since Thursday I figured I’d get back on the Blogging horse. I had set a goal to write a post everyday during Blaugust but unfortunately real life has gotten in the way and I’m okay with that really. I may schedule a few extra posts to see if I can make up for the days that I’ve missed but I’d have to check how many posts I actually have up so far and I’d have to come up with ideas for posts and well… My brain seems to be a bit too tired for that to happen right now.

I’ve been spending most of the morning going back and forth between World of Warcraft and cleaning the bathroom and my bedroom. I usually do my “chores” on Sunday because I like having a clean room when starting a new week on Monday and every now and then I add the bathroom to my routine aswell. I’m guessing as I move out and really have my own space I’ll clean a bit more often but for now I’m happy with my weekly dust and vacuum sessions. It also makes the day not completely about gaming, which is nice. I feel the need to “descreen” a lot these days and cleaning helps do just that. It lets me zone out and relax while also getting important stuff done. It may not be a favourite pastime but atleast the bathroom smells like lavender now, my sheets are fresh and clean and there is no more dirt and dust on my bedroom floor.

I mentioned swapping between gaming and cleaning and as far as gaming goes I’m making some strides on my Rogue to finish up the Alliance side of the expansion story so far. I’m finally doing the “Pride of Kul Tiras” quest chain after finishing up the last two chapters of the Stormsong Valley quest achievement yesterday. I’d expected to be dumped in a scenario of some sort but so far I’m actually in the middle of a gigantic questchain that spans all the new zones and three separate dungeons before leading up to the final dungeon, which is apparently a Mythic only one. With my item level being only 303 I’m still far away from clearing that one but atleast I’m making progress!

I’ve also dipped into FFXIV this weekend to complete the Moonfire Faire event before it would go away today. It was a nice short questchain and rather fun to do. I know a lot of people did the extra jumping puzzle to get on top of the event tower but I passed on that one. I was only interested in getting the new emote and the new outfit on both my characters so I did that and logged back out.
I did make sure to visit my house on my Moogle character since there has been a bug going around that you lose your house way faster these days. It would be such a shame for me to lose my home now that I was finally able to buy a small plot after borrowing money from a friend. I hope to get a bit more time into FFXIV the coming months (preferably until the end of the year) and start decorating my house and level my remaining classes. I’m so close to getting Machinist to 70… I really should hop back into this game again.

Fatigued

Winnie the Pooh in Stormsong Valley!

I like this picture. I like that Blizzard put Winnie the Pooh into their game with all his friends. Its one of the many easter eggs of Battle for Azeroth. But it’s not my topic for today. Rather I’d want to talk about fatigue on multiple fronts. A type of fatigue I’ve been noticing a lot lately and which I want to talk about to get it off my chest.

The past three years I’ve been working for a big Dutch retail company at their headquarters. I started out as a simple Data Entry employee and most of my days were literally entering Data from paper into a system. Along the way my role shifted to less entry work and more organizing work. Yet the 8 hour screen days stayed. Right now I’m in a role where I am a direct link between a part of the commerce department and the data management department. Even though my screentime has been reduced a bit and has been replaced by meetings I still feel like I’m a slave to the machine so I try to take a lot of breaks away from staring at a screen all day.
The funny thing is though that as gamer when I come home from staring at a screen for approximately 8 hours each day I then spend my evening staring at a screen again. And this is causing me some fatigue issues. I just can’t bring myself to spend so much time infront of screens anymore. I’m trying to stay away from any and all screens the moment I get onto the train home untill after dinner. This means my eyes and my brain can rest a bit and I actually do take that time, which is about 1-1.5 hours to lay down and rest. I feel like I need to reset and restore my energy for the rest of the evening like that and if I don’t I notice that I get headaches and sleep worse at night.

This fatigue is also causing me to start to dislike gaming in general. I just can’t seem to bring myself to play anything on certain days, mostly because my brain subconciously steers me away from the screens. There is a screen overload, especially when you factor in smartphones and tablets, and I’m pretty sure as human I’m not supposed to treat my body or my eyes the way I do it now. I’m lucky that I don’t have to wear glasses yet and that I know when to take breaks away from sitting down too long or in a wrong position. I’ve never experienced RSI or any discomfort in my shoulders or neck due to sitting the wrong way. But I do experience fatigue and tiredness when it comes to screens and instead of powering through it I think I need to learn when to step away and do something else. I’m trying to start a workout routine where I just spend time at the gym or at home doing some light workout for about an hour. It’s a nice way to empty the mind and to not put strain on the eyes while also keeping my body used and it’s most definitely better for me than sitting on my butt 24/7.

Does this mean that I’m going to give up gaming completely on some nights? Maybe I will. I’m not really sure about that yet, maybe I’ll restrict myself to only playing for an hour. Maybe by the time I finish my workout I’m so tired that I just want to take a shower and go straight to bed. I’ve done this before where I’d go to the gym and get home around 21.00, take a shower and something to drink and then just head straight to bed. Other nights I’d have a bit more energy and I would game for an hour or so before giving up and closing down shop for the evening. When I did this though I felt less fatigue when it came to staring at screens but also less fatigued when it came to gaming itself. I wonder if I get back to that routine I will have more joy from gaming aswell. I guess we’ll see in the near future. For now though I will probably spend one of two evenings less on a game filled night and more on recharging my batteries and making sure I don’t ruin my body and my eyes too much.

Fate is sometimes kind

I found this a very striking picture to start off my post with today. I was planning to do a post on the FFXIVxMHW crossover event but that will be postponed untill tomorrow.
Some stuff at work has got me thinking about where I am today and how I’ve got there. We are finally finishing off a huge automation project that will probably take a lot of the pressure off our department and get people off edge. It was fun partaking in this project and it’s so nice to finally see the fruits of everyone’s labour. For me personally it gave me an opportunity to learn how to program a robot, even though I can only do simplistic stuff, and to see the enthusiasm of people when they realize what this project means to them. If I hadn’t stuck around at my job this year I would’ve never had this opportunity. It must’ve been fate.

I can slowly feel the stress from work fading and it makes me more focused and happier when I’m at home. I’m also learning when I hit my wall in WoW after a week of expansion madness. I’ve been making small “quest logs” of my own in a notebook with all the stuff I want to do in game (and in real life) for the evening and I try to stick to it. So for today that meant I completed all my open emissary quests on my Rogue and finish off the Daelin’s Fort questchain in Stormsong Valley. On the Horde side of the fence I’ve finished off the Krag’wa questchain in Nazmir and some Herbalism quests to start getting my two star skills. I try to keep my goals small and realistic and I try to not do too much in the way of WoW because I don’t want to burn out like I did in Legion. For now my plan is to do a small bit everyday on my Rogue and Paladin and try to switch it up by either playing a bit of FFXIV, read a bit of my book or watch a show on Netflix. I’m not in the race for world firsts so I’m not in the race to gear up like mad.

Next to my gaming shenanigans I also want to pick up my courses in programming/IT again. I’ve been letting them fall to the wayside due to the stress at work and me just wanting to relax and sleep at home. Now that I have a bit more energy, and time, I want to see what I can learn and add to my skillset. Seeing as I’m 29 and my resumé isn’t that impressive I need all the extra skills I can get these days. So next to building robots with Automation Anywhere I want to be able to show off that I understand databases aswell as basic webdesign. I’m not sure when or how this will come in handy but having a bit of knowledge about how things work will never hurt. And who knows, maybe I’ll end up somewhere great because of it. And then I’ll look back and say “it must’ve been fate”.

Nazmir is okay

So I’ve spent more time on my Paladin than I thought I would today. I’m currently sitting at level 112 and am starting the first leg of the War Campaign from the Horde POV. Even though I stated I wouldn’t want to play Horde as main I enjoy playing my Paladin much more than I do my Rogue. Maybe it’s because I’m less squishy. Maybe it’s because I know I will be going Tank when I hit max level and thus have no real queues to worry about. Seeing as trying to queue for dungeons on my Rogue has been an absolute nightmare and all my friends are over on Horde side, I feel the pull to main Horde after all much more now that the expansion has launched.

As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve started off in Nazmir. I picked this zone because it gave me the creeps when I did the War Campaign stuff on my Rogue and I figured I wanted to get this zone over with first so I would be done with that. I guess I grossly overestimated how creepy this zone actually is. Okay, the Blood Trolls ARE creepy but I’ve also seen some really pretty sceneries so far and I’m really in love with all of the dinosaurs that populate this zone. Plus the swamp vibe isn’t that bad.

Story wise it can’t really compete with Drustvar, which is hands down the best zone this expansion. As far as atmosphere goes it can’t compete with Drustvar either. I’m probably fangirling like mad here but Drustvar was such a joy to quest through that I completely forgot time and didn’t want to take a break untill I saw the story from start to end. I’ve not had that with any of the other zones yet and Nazmir is no exception. I do like encountering the Loas, I made contact with Bwonsamdi and Hi’reek and am now on my way to Torga, the turtle Loa.

I guess I need to be a bit careful though because I don’t want to burn out on my Paladin like I did on my Rogue. I expect to swap between the characters as it suits me but I think I will be spending more time on my Paladin than on my Rogue as I reach 120 on her. Up untill then though I can enjoy the scenery. And the dinosaurs!

Ding! 120 reached

Yesterday morning I reached level 120 on my Rogue. I was about 10 quests into Stormsong Valley when this happened and with it I unlocked a whole lot of new things to do. The biggest one being World Quests which are popping all over my map, on both sides of the world. I was really happy to hit this milestone but I also notice that I’ve burned myself out quite a lot leveling this character up. Even though I hadn’t done a “one day race” like some of my friends did, it has taken me one full day, 3 evenings and one morning to get to this point, I do feel the new content burn quite heavily. Blizzard has managed to pack so much lore into this expansion so far and with my determination to do every quest I can possibly get my hands on things get rather exhaustive quite fast. I’m about halfway done in Stormsong Valley as we speak but I’m not making a lot of progress. I’m taking breaks every time I’ve tackled a sidequest or mainstory line because I just can’t play for much longer than that. I’m trying to break things up by doing Worldquests and leveling up my Engineer but I guess I’ve just spent a bit too much time focused on getting to 120 to really enjoy it now that it’s there.

In other news, because I’m so burnt out on my Rogue at the moment I’ve decided to take baby steps into the expansion on my Paladin. It’s the class that I originally wanted to play in this expansion and I notice that I’m having a much easier time on her than I had on my Rogue while leveling up. I decided to start out in Nazmir and the zone so far seems to be okay. I guess going to the Blood Troll capital at night on my Rogue was a bad idea because it seriously gave me the creeps. Now on my Paladin however I’m just enjoying the swamp atmosphere while picking a lot of herbs along the way. Maybe it’s because the pressure to level to 120 is off or maybe I just enjoy Paladin more but I think I’ll spend a bit more time on her than on my Rogue in the coming week.

Also, Bwonsamdi is great!

BfA: Zoning in on Drustvar

Today I want to take the time to talk a bit more indepth about Drustvar. The first zone I’ve completed in Battle for Azeroth. This post will be rather spoiler heavy so if you’ve not yet done the zone or do not want to be spoiled please stop reading after this paragraph. I feel the need to write up this blogpost because Blizzard, in my opinion, has done such an awesome job with the zone stories in Battle for Azeroth so far that I just want to gush about it. So without further ado, I present you: Drustvar.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve gone into Battle for Azeroth mostly blank. I did spend a few hours one night on Beta leveling through like the first ten quests in Stormsong Valley but other than that I was a complete blank slate. I wanted to be surprised and charmed by what Blizzard had developed for this expansion so I wanted to experience everything fresh.
The above screenshot is part of the introductory town of Drustvar. You are sent on your way because there are issues and no one has heard from Lord and Lady Waycrest, they rule Drustvar, in a while. As you arrive in the zone the first village you pass through is abandoned and overrun by wild creatures. There is still a little girl around however who sends you on a wild goose chase finding people and things for her. It’s clear from the second quest or so that she’s probably not the nice little girl you think she is. The questline culminates in her summoning a Wicker creature with a satanic ritual for which she killed her cat (poor Smoochums) and one of the few surviving villagers commenting on how the girl has been dead for a while. Yeah, I guess the tone for this zone has been set nicely.

I see a lot of people comparing Drustvar to Duskwood but then in autumn colours and way bigger. I get the sentiment here but Drustvar is so much more than that. The overarching story becomes quite clear very early on: they are having issues with a powerful Witch Coven that is calling themselves the “Heartsbane” and who are cursing every village in Drustvar, making sure the people in town suffer one way or another.

A big part of the Drustvar experience is helping villages cleanse the local curses and kill the local witch of the coven responsible for it. The story really kicks into gear though when you come across Lucille Waycrest who is about to be hanged as witch. She is the daughter of the Lord and Lady Waycrest and she’s gotten herself in a bit of a pinch by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. A part of the questchain to help her escape involves taking control of your very own Wicker construct and clearing out a more powerful Witch that has been terrorizing the village. Let me tell you, it was awesome. Running into a mine full of mobs and just completely obliterating them with my Wicker body had me cackling. I mean just look at how I looked? It’s an amazing theme and I loved all the Wicker looks in Drustvar.

Anyway, after you’ve cleared Lucille’s name and rescued the villagers of the village that wanted to hang her you set out on a journey towards Waycrest manor with Lucille and Marshall, who is the commander of the Waycrest troops. Lucille knows a large part of what has been happening in Drustvar and seeks to revive an ancient Order that used to fight the Drust as the Kul Tirans were settling down in Drustvar. I guess this also leads to big plotpoint number two. The Drust are forest creatures that look kind of like the Wicker creatures you see everywhere in the zone. When the early Kul Tirans settled there was a war between them and the Drust that the Kul Tirans won. Their final victory was a Waycrest stabbing Gorak Tul, the leader of the Drust, to death and claiming Drustvar for the Kul Tirans. It also becomes clear that not all the Drust were against Kul Tiran settling in their homeland and they have remained on friendly foot with the humans untill this day. They call themselves the “Thornspeakers” and are the amazing Wicker themed Druids that the Kul Tiran humans can become.
As you advance into the zone it becomes clear that Gorak Tul may not be as dead as everyone thought he was and that he is probably the mastermind behind the relatively recent forming of the Heartsbane coven that terrorizes the land. As you rebuild the Order of Embers and work your way through the zone you are treated to a beautiful landscape with many sidequests. The atmosphere in Drustvar is amazing to say the least. The background music is superb and it’s really worth doing every single questline you can get your hands on. Next to the Witches and Wicker creatures you get to fight Yetis, wild beasts, Stone Guardian constructs and even a small patch of mutated mushrooms. You help a Goblin retake a town from pirates. You help create alchemical fire that will make all the Wicker constructs burn. You stop a Wicker construct army from being built and marching through the zone. On the way there are a ton of rare creatures to kill and special treasure chests to find. I personally enjoyed the Runebound Chests because they forced you to look around you to crack the code that keeps them locked. You learn about the history of Drustvar and Kul Tiran as a whole and you get to know a lot of interesting characters. One of my favourites is the falcon master that you pick up somewhere in the middle to become an Inquisitor in the Order of Embers. I like the whole “old England” look and feel that’s tied to the entirety of Kul Tiras but Drustvar just portrays it the best with it’s woods and villages.

The Drustvar zone story culminates in Corlain and Waycrest Manor. As you arrive there it seems like the coven has taken over the town and the manor and it’s up to you to clean out the mess and figure out who is behind all of this. And more important, what has happend to Lord and Lady Waycrest?
This is also where the story kind of splits in two. As you make your way through Corlain it’s revealed that the Waycrest Manor went on lockdown and nobody really understands why. It also becomse clear, from diaries that you find in Corlain, that the girls of the town have been sneaking out during the nights and supposedly went to Waycrest Manor. After that the disappearings started.
The other part of the story takes you to a chapel where you encounter the ghost of Lucille’s dead fiancée. As he shares with you his memories of what happened during their wedding it becomes clear who the culprit of this zone really is. The whole wedding scene was a nice nod to the “Red Wedding” in Game of Thrones, proven by the dead “Red Hand Assassin” in my above screenshot. As you help the ghost find peace you make a final push into Waycrest Manor where it is revealed what you’ve already known: Lady Waycrest is the head of the Witches’ Coven. She is responsible for all the Witches that have been making life hell for the people of Drustvar. She has killed and revived her husband to serve her as a grotesque individual for eternity and she is the one responsible for murdering Lucille’s fiancée at their wedding day. As a final act of cruelty she turns Marshall against you and you then have to kill him while her and her husband flee into the Manor.

Officially this is where the zone ends. You’ve figured out who is behind the Coven and you’ve waged a war to get to there. Lucille takes over as new ruler of Drustvar and sends you back to Boralus to declare Drustvar’s allegiance once more. However she also gives you a quest to chase her parents into the Manor (which is a dungeon) to deal with them once and for all. The dungeon itself is a bit confusing but no less fun, I can see this one being quite a challenge on Mythic+. You kill her parents in the end and then Gorak Tul pops out as final bad guy, bragging about how he was able to influence the Lady Waycrest to do his bidding and be his way back into the world of the living. As you beat him he retreats in what he calls “the Blighted Lands” and issues a final threat.

All in all the zone was an epic experience for me. The story buildup was amazing, especially with all the added cutscenes Blizzard seems to be doing this expansion. I’m guessing they stole that idea from FFXIV’s book. Some of the quests were downright hilarious, like the one where I had to prick peole with a Silver needle to figure out if they were Witches. Or the one where I pick onions to deter them, because obviously onions are nasty and smelly and no one wants to come near those. Now that I’ve finished the zone and won’t be back untill endgame I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume the WorldQuests in Drustvar will revolve around clearing out what remains of the Coven and helping villagers rebuild. I wouldn’t mind doing those quests at all because it will take me back to a zone I fell in love with. I really hope Blizzard can keep up this level of storytelling throughout the entire expansion, but that’s something only time will tell.

Bonus screenshot: I keep finding pairs of boots in weird places…