Games this Week… Visions of N’Zoth (8.3)

World of Warcraft dropped the Visions of N’Zoth 8.3 patch this week, so naturally, my husband and I dove into the new content as soon as work and life allowed.


I unlocked the new Vulpera Allied Race for the Horde (cute little fox people) and rolled another mage, of course, Fire spec this time. I already have an Arcane Mage and a Frost Mage, so let’s just round that out, why don’t we. I named her Zemiko and she is my sweet pyromantic child who I will love and protect forever. 

The Allied races currently start at level 20, but I am not planning on leveling her (or any of my other new, allied murder-children) until 9.0 drops. They’ll be changing the leveling system for Shadowlands, due out later this year, and I’m looking forward to leveling through the old expansions. Not sure which expansion I’m going to level through with each character, but I missed Cataclysm and Pandaria when they released, so those will be at the top of the list. I’ve gone back and done the content with max level characters, but it just isn’t the same. Anywho…

Horrific Visions

As for Visions of N’Zoth, I’m dying for a Black Empire expansion (Old Gods abound!), and I’m afraid that they’ll lob all of that eldritch horror goodness into this single patch and then never touch it again. That said, Battle for Azeroth has largely been a huge disappointment, but Visions of N’Zoth redeems this expansion a little bit. N’Zoth (supposedly the weakest of the four Old Gods originally on Azeroth) is bending reality to show us possible futures of a fallen Azeroth, with N’Zoth reigning over the titan planet in his many-eyed, many-tentacled, obelisk-aesthetic, Black Empire-returning glory.

I cannot adequately convey just how badly I want this to be an entire expansion-spanning story.

But it’s here now, with 8.3, so I will have to enjoy this tiny sliver of what may never be the expansion of my dreams. *sob*

So far, I’m enjoying the new content they released with the patch. The main questline introduced did not take much time for us to complete, but it was enjoyable and actually felt like a natural progression of the story, compared to 8.2 and the introduction of Nazjatar.

A Brief Recap of the Story So Far...

-- Spoilers for Battle for Azeroth Abound --

Battle for Azeroth has mostly been all over the place with the story, from the Burning of Teldrassil and the Battle of Lordaeron, the so called Fourth War, or the “War of Thorns” between Horde and Alliance that never really feels like a war, with the Warfronts at Darkshore and Stromgarde that sadly never expanded beyond the two, to Oh yeah, remember how Sargeras stabbed the planet at the end of the last expansion? So Azeroth is bleeding out and we need to collect this so-called Azerite into a necklace that ONLY YOU POSSESS, IGNORE THE OTHERS HERE, for… reasons?

And also, because our fleets were destroyed (?) at some point, we need new fleets for… reasons… so let’s go find the Zandalari (Horde) and the Kul Tirans (Alliance) to ask for more ships for… more reasons… And of course, we need to help these INDEPENDENT NATIONS THAT HAVE BEEN PRESUMABLY FINE FOR THE LAST DECADE (and didn’t we fight the Zandalari during Mists of Pandaria? Oh, that was a different faction, led by the royal vizier of Zandalar? Who still has power? Cool cool cool) put their countries back in order so that they’ll join our faction, while fighting a war between the Alliance and the Horde on their land, and collecting this Azerite so our spells and weapons hit harder… And oh, yeah, half of the Horde has lost faith in Sylvanas as Warchief and support Saurfang as Warchief to bring the Horde back to honor, so the faction is splitting in two… and also Sylvanas is working with Lady Ashvane, the totally not suspicious at all privateer who pulls the string in the Kul Tiran Admiralty, to build weapons I guess. No one knows why. No one knows anything about whateverthefuck Sylvanas is supposedly doing, and she might as well be a completely different character, but who’s counting?

And then 8.2 rolls around, and SURPRISE! The only reason we needed a fleet of ships was to sail to… Nazjatar? And draw the Alliance there… for reasons. Okay okay okay. Oh, and we rediscovered Mechagon, the ancient home of the Gnomes, in spitting distance from Kul Tiras all these years. Okay. There’s some kind of civil war going on there. In Nazjatar, Azshara is waiting for us, I guess, and is just letting us dick around in her once-underwater nation, killing shit and absorbing Azerite, and we go attack her in her palace for some reason, and OH GUESS WHAT GUYS? THAT AZERITE YOU’VE BEEN ABSORBING? IT’S THE KEY TO RELEASING AN OLD GOD!! SO COOL RIGHT?!?!?! NO ONE SAW THAT COMING! *eyeroll* And that was Azshara’s plan all along, I guess, to draw us into Nazjatar to release N’Zoth, and there is no groundwork for that anywhere in the previous patch of the expansion, but whatever, right?

Also, remember Saurfang? He’s challenging Sylvanas to a Mak’gora in 8.2.5, and they fight! And then Saurfang is dead and Sylvanas yeets off to the Eastern Kingdoms for… reasons. The Horde is left without a leader. Fun times.


Anyway, that brings us to 8.3.

At least 8.3 continues the story of N’Zoth being released in 8.2, and now he’s mind-fucking Azeroth to drive us all to madness. Pandaria and Uldum are now under his influence, and we need to prevent him from gaining access to the Titan facilities or else he could corrupt the whole planet and open the way to the Void, or other Old Gods, or something, and now there’s tentacles and obelisks and eyes everywhere! Cool! Wrathion is back, and thinks we can use the corrupted essences from these mind-fuck visions to somehow defeat N’Zoth because I guess we can learn something from them about his weakness. I don’t know. It isn’t really clear. The goals of this expansion have all been very hand-wavey. Whatever.

8.3 Gameplay

Mechanically, the Horrific Visions are pretty neat so far, showing a twisted version of the future where Orgrimmar and Stormwind have fallen, and we have to throw ourselves into these visions over and over for… reasons. To grind up our cool new Legendary Cloak, I guess.

Much as I love the aesthetic, the reasoning for anything that we are doing doesn’t make any sense, but that’s where we’re at right now in the quality of the storytelling. It’s obvious that they’re operating from a game-mechanics first mentality, instead of story first and then shaping the game around that, but whatever. I’m trying (and failing) to not be too salty about it.

Barring all of that, 8.3 is fun. It’s a grind, because end-game content is always a grind, but it’s a more fun grind than usual, so I won’t complain too much. I do hope that we get a little more content with a mid-patch or something. I’d love to see them doing the same thing with Uldum and Pandaria again in the zones containing other Titan facilities. I know we are supposed to get three invasions a week, and as of writing this, we still only have two this week, so that means another one is going to pop up somewhere.

Despite feeling like Blizzard no longer gives a shit about good story or the players who fell in love with the lore of Warcraft, I’m holding out hope for Shadowlands.

And I guess, if that ends up sucking as much as this expansion, I’ll just start playing Elder Scrolls Online instead.

Photos and video (c) Blizzard Entertainment