Monday, November 17, 2008

The Nexus, Part 1


So, the Nexus. There's backstory here that'll be in part 3 of my "World in WoW" series when I get there. Concisely, I'll just say that the mountainous island of Coldarra is home to Malygos, one of the five dragon Aspects given charge of different parts of the world when the titans were done making it. Malygos and his blue dragonflight are bound to the force of magic (as other dragonflights are bound to life, time, and so on). Millennia back, the leader of the black dragonflight listened a bit too much to the Old Gods (remember the big thing with a sword in its head?), went mad, and set about slaughtering all his rivals. The blue dragonflight suffered many losses, and Malygos himself went mad. He's been out there in the northern distance ever since, up to...well, that's a good question. What is he up to now? Dragons from some of the other dragonflights have been gathering there too, and it's safe to assume that the Lich King is not exerting a constructive influence.

(On the player level I know what he's up to and what the Nexus War is because I read some spoilers and promotional teasers. Tivara doesn't, and I'll save it for when she gets to find out.)

The Nexus is a three-part dungeon. It's got two areas set up for five-person groups, and a raid area at the top for 10 or 25 level-80 characters to challenge Malygos himself. Last night Tivara and I saw part one (also called the Nexus) for the first time, and were both dazzled.

First off, getting there is remarkable. Each faction has its wind masters, who provide flying steeds: most are members of the Horde or Alliance races, and goblins operate some neutral ones. The nexus has something different:

Amber Ledge Windmaster

This is the flight to Coldarra, rising up on the left:

Flying to Coldarra

Among the people interested in Malygos' activities are the Kirin Tor, the most powerful gathering of mages native to Azeroth. (More about this in the World in WoW, eventually, too.) They've got up an anti-magic shield that cloaks them from Malygos, who would certainly otherwise notice them and have some quick snacks.

Kirin Tor Mages and Their Shield

This is a few paces just outside the shield. That's a quadrupedal dragonkin in the foreground, and behind it the arctic version of a race of elemental protectors who roam various forests and wild lands:

The Nexus From Outside Shield

One thing about beings who command magic as part of their very essence is that they end up in the midst of a very deeply mana-infused landscape. Some plants and animals become creatures of part or pure mana, like this arcane serpent:

Ghostly Dragon

The would-be hero makes her way down into the valley and finally arrives at the bottom of the tower:

Entrance to the Nexus

This is as good a time as any to mention the rest of the party. Here are druid Marendyn and orc Gargantax, two of Archon's best tanks. Garg's player has been busy in recent months and not played much, so this was a chance for him to catch up and see new sights too:

Marendyn and Garganax

Here's a better look at Gargantax. His eyes look peculiar because he's an engineer and wearing goggles that enhance his abilities in all kinds of ways. Note Marendyn, in cat form, peeking in. Also, that runic patten in vivid blood between them? Liquid mana drips from the ceiling inside the Nexus, and when it hits, instead of making a simple splash, it makes these mandalas that bloom and fade in a fraction of a second. It's pure luck that I got a shot of one.


This is Amedina, another tauren druid—specializing in restoration talents, rather than feral like Marendyn. Her player is one of my favorite people to trust for healing.


Rounding out the party is blood elf Nyo, a frequent partner in questing for Tivara. I have a daylight picture of her in the 70-71 roundup; here's an action shot of her healing the rest of us, while Scougebane bites hard on something just behind. (And what happens when two healers are in a single party? They also get to do some damage-dealing. I have a picture of that coming up.)

Nyo and Scourgebane in the Nexus

Anyway, we all come in through the instance portal, and this is the room waiting for us:

Front Room of the Nexus

I don't know how well you can tell from this picture and the previous one, but that white sigil is floating in mid-air:

Floating Rune

Coming up in part 2, the rest of the instance and some of its inhabitants.