Vol’dun is a northwestern desert location of Zandalar. It is a dead land – well, considering it’s a desert, it’s no surprise. Once a verdant jungle and a jewel of troll empire, it is now considered as a place to go and die by trolls, an exile to Vol’dun most likely means death to them.
By briefing, you are informed that an unwelcoming general Jakra’zet (who advised the king to throw you down from the capital pyramid on your arrival) is plotting something in the reclusive sands. You are out to investigate.
Mild spoiler alert: the overview can’t be done without mentioning certain characters and areas, but major plot points and twists won’t be given away.
The most notable and the coolest thing in Vol’dun is that it is an open area. They were scarce in Legion, and our eye certainly needs a rest from time to time – from forests, slopes, turns and such. Zones like Tanaris, Valley of Four Winds, Silithus – they may not be welcoming sometimes. But certainly an option to see your destination through half a zone is bribing.
Yet again, the zone is pretty straightforward in questing. Upon your very arrival you are blasted from your mount, and then devote the whole quest achievement to finding your companions and investigating the general’s plot.
There are certain side questlines – you help the vulpera locals in their activities, or help goblins to mine some azerite, or befriend a village of tortollans, but they are not on the way, and you have to go discover them specifically. Also, there are none auxiliary fill-the bar quests – considering how many there were in Drustvar, in every hub, it is surprising. This all made me a bit less than level 113 upon completing the main questing. Compare to Drustvar’s 114.
Like in Drustvar, the main questline leads you right to the dungeon entrance with a final quest there – a nice tradition from Legion. The queue appeared to be surprisingly short – 2 minutes for a dps, so I also walked through a dungeon in the morning. The mechanics on normal are… normal, that is, solved on spot without extra preparation. The end boss is somewhat rare – it’s a boss for healers! We had no troubles clearing it through, no deaths, no aggro rips from the tank.
Of course we’re fighting local flora and fauna in the desert, but the main course is vicious snake people sethraki. I’m awed by how Blizzard elegantly made humanoids out of serpents – granted that real cobras have no limbs, they look surprisingly natural with their arms and legs, while keeping the vicious, agile and swift vibe of initiate snakes. There’s little to none troll presence here, only ruins of the past.
The other people you meet and work with are vulpera. Your goals match to an extent, as you both want to fight sethraki (evil sethraki, there are two factions), but otherwise they are pursuing their own goals.
You would first think the fox vulperas are like goblins, because they are a trader race, and share the model skeleton. But basically… they’re Jawas from Tatooine in Star Wars. They don’t buy or produce, they are a scavenging race. Much like Jawas, they are looking for scraps and occasional treasures, they put everything they find on sale. Much like Jawas, they have no cities and live in caravans and cave hideouts. Yet, unlike Jawas or Goblins, they are generally quite good-natured and quite valorous if driven to the edge. They know their profit, but they don’t put it in front of everything.
While I was complaining about Drustvar’s lack of awesome characters, Vol’dun has plenty. You grow to like your Zandalari companions from the capital which are brave and determined in your common investigation. Once you befriend a sethraki (the same that Alliance befriends during Vol’dun outpost questing), he’s your sage-type guide to the history of the lands, but also a skilled and powerful conjurer.
And vulpera are surely not your plush toys. They are very independent, they are willing to pay you to do some job and not afraid to speak of it (not your normal ‘oh waily-waily, good stranger, help us out of mercy’). But you can’t kill kawaii of course. When you are saving vulpera kids… Let’s just say I cried my eyes out because cute.
- And just wait till you play it – or watch it on Youtube if you haven’t got a Horde toon – search for the ‘Dolly and Dot’ song. It’s no lore or spoiler, it’s just a piece of conversation that you hear on your caravan way between questlines, but oh my god this is a zone highlight. A must to see and hear (and to join Dolly and Dot Cult immediately after).
I was skeptical of the popular idea to make vulpera an allied race, but now that I played through the zone, I must say they’re definitely worth it. This stern, survivalist and kawaii race would make an awesome addition to the Horde.
Upon doing exploration achievement, I’ve discovered a tortollan fishing village, an Ashvane expedition, and an Alliance camp – the latter is situated right where Micromantica founded it. So your bases are officially in the lore of both factions, no phasing here.
The zone is great in many ways, and frankly I can’t find any drawbacks there. The strongest points are:
- Great and immersing desert ambience both for eye and ear
- A detective, adventurous questline which ends with a cryout to the epic To be continued…
- An awesome insight into unique desert cultures of past and present
- Whatever you thought of vulpera, you’ll change your mind upon getting acquainted with them, and you can’t help to like them
- Excellent villains of sethraki (even if not all of them are villains)
- Many side questlines out of the way – they don’t distract and exhaust you on your main journey, but they are a great addition if you want to explore and add up to lore (and XP).
- Simply great: 10/10
P.S. Small trivia: there is a hostile sethraki NPC named Fangcaller Sraka. “Sraka” is quite a rude synonym for “ass” in Russian (literally: the thing that poops), so I had some fun killing her :) At least the name fits, she’s a real “sraka”. In localization, she’s “Sarka” of course.
Battle for Azeroth Zone Reviews: