Friday, May 6, 2011

Storm Peaks: Level 78 - Monday, May 2, 2011

The largest zone in Wrath of the Lich King, the Storm Peaks does a nice job of setting up several storylines that will lead you into Level 80 dungeons and raids, and provides you with a few characters to become familiar with.  It's also a very cool looking zone.  
For most players, your first stop will be in the neutral goblin town of K3, located in the southwestern part of the zone.  
The goblin inhabitants are on an expedition to strip mine the valuable Titan relics that are located within the mountains, but are having trouble with the local inhabitants, including snobolds and magnataurs, giant bull monstrosities.  
You gather supplies for the goblins, put down some land mines between the town and the enemy forces, and even go into their base cave and blow it up.  Eventually, you receive a quest to rescue one of the town's goblins from a nearby mine.  
Once inside, you are unable to find the missing goblin, but you do come across a friendly woman in vrykul form named Lok'lila who informs you that she has been imprisoned by the mine's inhabitants, a race of female frost vrykuls known as the Hyldnir, and needs your help to escape.  In exchange, she can take you to the missing goblin.  
You perform a series of quests that help you gain the trust of the Hyldnir, and are able to obtain the key and set Lok'lila free.  She meets you on the other end of the mine, in the Hyldnir village, and is able to disguise both of you.  
She then informs you that the missing goblin has been pressed into the Hyldsmeet, a deadly competition where the winner is awarded the honor of becoming the wife of Thorim, a titan watcher known as the Lord of Thunder.  (This all gets pretty Norse, so just go with it.)  The goblin is weak, and will not survive the completion, but Lok'lila suggests that you take its place.  Some of the tasks in the Hyldsmeet include hand-to-hand combat, mounted combat on polar bears in the Pit of the Fang....
and the final event, the Drakkensryd, an aerial battle where you jump from your own drake to one of your enemy's, defeating them, and repeating until you are declared the winner.  This final event takes place around the Temple of Storms, located high on a mountain peak, where Thorim himself is observing, albeit distractedly.  

After you are declared the winner, you remove your disguise and introduce yourself to Thorim.  He's in a mood because years ago his wife was murdered by his treacherous brother, Loken, who pinned the whole thing on the ice giant clan known as the Sons of Hodir, who live in the nearby ice valley of Dun Niffelem.  
This isn't the first that the player has heard of Loken.  Back in the Grizzly Hills, he was the mastermind behind the iron dwarf forces who were creating massive iron golems.  Enraged after the death of his wife, Thorim waged war on the Sons of Hodir, and withdrew to the mountaintop to mope.  However, he is stirred by your presence and vows to avenge his wife and mend fences with the ice giants.  He begins by sending you to help the ice giants in their ongoing battle with the evil iron giants, and once you are successful, has you bring his broken armor to the king of the ice giants for repair.  
He also has you help him reclaim his flying drake mount.  
The king of the Sons of Hodir accepts Thorim's apology, and presents to him his old weapon, a giant mace that the Stormlord flung away in anger.  Emboldened by the support of his old allies, and with his mount and weapon restored, Thorim flies off to confront Loken near his fortress of Ulduar.  
Everything is going well until Loken reveals a hidden power, and Thorim is rendered helpless.   He hints at his power being bolstered by a 'new master' and has Thorim and his drake taken prisoner to his stronghold of Ulduar.  Then Loken reveals that he was the woman in the mine, and orchestrated this entire plan to lure Thorim away from his seat of power in the Temple of Storms so that he could be taken captive.  Yes, you have once again blindly followed quests that led to the suffering of others.  
The Dwarven town of Frosthold gives you a chance to actually do something useful for people for a change.  You make a good impression on the frost dwarves that live there, and their king, Yorg Stormheart by clearing out some hostile harpies nearby and feeding the friendly eagles that circle overhead, for example.  Eventually, Yorg decides to make you an honorary frost dwarf, and sends you off on an initiation.  En route on a flying gryphon, your escort fills you in on how Yorg came to be king of the frost dwarves.  
Then he drops you on a cliff ledge and has you battle a giant iron dwarf.  
When you succeed, you return to Yorg, and having proven your worth, he aids you in a long quest chain to find an ancient Titan artifact.  During your task, you meet up with Brann Bronzebeard, the adventurous brother of the King of Ironforge, Magni.  You are successful in helping him recover the artifact, and he accompanies you to Frosthold to thank Yorg personally for the help.  When he meets the king, he is astonished to find that it is his long-lost brother, Muradin.  It turns out that Muradin was with Arthas on his expedition to Northrend, and was with him in the cave when he found the cursed blade, Frostmourne, which completed his descent into madness.  Muradin was thought dead in the explosion that occured when Arthas took the blade, but he was merely struck with amnesia, and was left wandering the Storm Peaks, where the frost dwarves found him.  Soon, Magni arrives from Ironforge, and the brothers are reunited.  
 However, the reunion doesn't last long.  Yorg/Muradin is determined to settle the score with Arthas, and sets off on his quest to get his revenge on the Lich King.  

Finally, in the northern part of the Storm Peaks is the giant Titan city of Ulduar.  This structure houses two 5-person dungeons, the Halls of Stone, where you accompany Brann Bronzebeard on a journey for more information about the origin of the dwarves and the background of the Titans, and the Halls of Lightning, where you are able to deliver justice to Loken for all of his crimes.  

Finally, Ulduar awaits, a Level 80 raid for those brave enough to take it on...

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