Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Winter Assault (2005, PC)

Cover Art

Hello everybody, this is my review of the 2005 expansion to the hit RTS game, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. This was the first expansion to Dawn of War and it was published by THQ and developed by Relic Entertainment, the same companies that worked on the main game. The game introduces a new faction, the Imperial Guard.

It’s your choice!

Plot:

The plot of the game is divided into two and it takes place on the Ice planet Lorn V. When I say it is divided into two it means you can play the same story from two different perspectives, Order and Disorder.

ORDER

In the order campaign the Imperial Guard are sent to Lorn V to find and fix an Imperial Titan. A titan is a machine of immense power that can change the tide of entire campaigns forget about battles. On the way, the Imperial Guard meet fierce resistance from the Orks and Chaos and when all seems doomed and hopeless for the Imperial Guard, suddenly they win or break through. The Imperial Guard become suspicious that someone or something is helping them, and they are right. A small force of Eldar, led by Farseer Taldeer are assisting the Imperial Guard as they need assistance against a new threat, the Necron. The Necron are an ancient race that gave their souls for immortality and are now trapped forever in machines fighting across the galaxy. The Imperial Guard make it to the titan and power it just before the Necron show up. With the might of the titan the Imperial Guard destroy the Necron forces and win back Lorn V.

DISORDER

In the Disorder campaign you are leading a WAAAGH!, an ork war led by the Ork Warboss Gorgutz. The Ork and Chaos forces clash and slaughter each other until the Imperial Guard arrive and force an allegiance between Ork and Chaos. The allegiance is fragile at best and both forces still kill each other. The Chaos Lord Crull, wants the titan for himself so he can corrupt the machine spirit inside it and use it to devastating effect. Crull and Gorgutz defeat the Imperial, Eldar and Necron forces. Gorgutz turns on Crull and slaughters him. After beating all the enemies on Lorn V, Gorgutz and his WAAAGH! look to the next planet to take under his command.

So what did I think?

To be very honest there isn’t a lot of differences from the expansion to the main game, mainly a lot of gameplay changes. The graphics are the same, though that isn’t to say that they aren’t vivid, pretty and great to look at, though a little dated now.

They took on a different composer for the expansion from Jeremy Soule to Inon Zur. Inon Zur is a huge name in the gaming soundtrack industry. The games I would know his compositions from would be: Fallout (3,NV,4). Crysis and Dragon Age: Origins. The soundtrack is fantastic and it is quite militaristic. There is a sense of honour, pride and duty to the Imperial Guard soundtrack which perfectly fits in to their ethos, while the Eldar soundtracks are much more subtle and quiet. With the Ork and Chaos soundtracks comes dread, fear and anticipation of something bad. The songs fit the mood and they add to the character of each army.

The Imperial Guard as an army themselves are quite effective. Their infantry are cheap, but bad at fighting unless you upgrade them, then they become dangerous and in some cases a little overpowered. The magnum opus of the Imperial Guard forces are their armour. The tanks and artillery of the Imperial Guard are absolutely devastatingly powerful and very few armies can match the strength and ferocity of Imperial Guard armour. A fun army to play if you want a bit of danger, because until you get to the armour and building your vehicles, they are quite vulnerable.

The story was good. It was interesting seeing the Eldar and Imperial Guard working together as allies of convenience and I enjoyed the Order campaign. What I did not enjoy was the Disorder campaign. I found the missions to be tedious, boring and just pointless. I felt like there was way too much dragging out of things and increasing the play time for the sake of it instead of giving it a good reason. Overall a good story, but if I was to play it again I would just stick to the Order campaign myself.

Graphics: No difference to the Dawn of War graphics, so I must give it the same score. 7/10

Sound: Another amazing soundtrack from an extremely talented and well known composer. The sounds of battle are as fierce and exciting as Dawn of War: 10/10

Game play: The gameplay is the same, but with an extra faction? Yes please. The campaign let it down a bit though and I thought the Disorder missions were tedious and boring. 8/10

Worth: It is, but only for the extra faction. The story isn’t all that great for me. It has 10 missions split over 2 campaigns and 5 of those missions I didn’t really enjoy. 7/10

Story: It was okay, as I said I didn’t enjoy the Disorder campaign, but that was more about the playability. It was interesting seeing the factions team up and seeing the danger of the Necron forces. So overall it was an okay story. 6/10

Total: 76/100 C+

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

MTG Mondays: Pashalik Mons

The thunderhead that leads in the storm.Pashalik Mons

Pashalik Mons

Good day, fellow planeswalkers. Today we will be talking about the dastardly Goblin warlord, Pashalik Mons and how he unified a horde of Goblins to attack neighboring regions which ended up having dragons getting involved.

Pashalik Mons was a goblin from a region called Rundvelt. The region was a mountainous region that was occupied by thirty villages and goblins. The goblins of Rundvelt were more dangerous than most as these goblins ended up mastering siege warfare, not only that, they even developed a society. To me, there is nothing more dangerous than a goblin who uses its brains. They were dangerous before, but then Pashalik Mons took command.

Not since the days of Pashalik Mons have the Rundvelt goblins been so united or effective.Goblin Warchief

Mons Goblin Raiders

Pashalik and his allies, the Mons Goblin Raiders invaded the neighboring region of Olesia. Olesia seemed to be a region covered in forests but not a lot is known about it. The Olesians did not like these goblins invading their land, not one bit, but they could not drive the goblins back alone. The Olesians went to their allies, the Nalathni Dragons for help. Not much is known about the Nalathni Dragons other then they were small but very intelligent dragons. The combined might of the Nalathni dragons and the warriors of Olesia drove Mons and his goblin raiders back to Rundvelt and back to the mountains.

These small but intelligent Dragons and their Olesian allies held back the tide of Pashalik Mons’s hordes of Goblin Raiders. – Nalathni Dragons

Nathalni Dragons and Olesians

There isn’t a lot more information on Pashalik Mons other than that he was a goblin warlord of Dominaria and the he invaded a region and was driven back, but to this day he is still being mentioned and referenced so maybe his story isn’t over yet. I personally hope it isn’t as there is a lot of untapped potential there. Goblins who are masters of siege and have a society? Yes please, give us more information on Mons Goblin Raiders!

A short story this week, nevertheless I hope you enjoyed it and as always, thank you for reading!

MTG Mondays: Llanowar

“After waking to the magic of Llanowar, no dreams can compare.”Vitalize

Llanowar

Hello everybody, I hope you are well and the planes of Magic are bountiful and good to you all. Today we will be talking about Llanowar, The massive forest region of Dominaria. Llanowar is close to two regions I spoke about already being Benalia and the Ironclaw Mountains.

The lush and vast lands of Llanowar spread to over a thousand miles at some parts. There are many beings that call the dense foliage of Llanowar their home but most notable are the Llanowar Elves. The Llanowar elves are fierce defenders of their forest to the point of being seen as almost xenophobic to other races. Apart from the Llanowar elves there are the Redwood Treefolk which are giant tree people (think Treebeard and the Ents) and the Aboroths which are elementals that live within the forest and have been known to attack the elves. The aboroths grow from the soil to eventually become powerful elementals.

Because of the Ice Age long ago, people outside of Llanowar were freezing to death. These people wandered through the Llanowar forest looking for firewood and any other provisions they could come across. The Llanowar elves were not happy with this and defended their homes from the scavengers. Because of this and other factors, Llanowar elves make sure to keep well away from outsiders, though they do some trading with outposts and towns. This isolation and almost xenophobic attitude has become such a strong belief that it can almost be seen as religious. The Llanowar elves believe that keeping away from other people will maintain the connection between the forest and the mysticism of nature.

Llanowar has seven elfhames, or kingdoms, each with its own ruler. Their palaces are objects of awe, wonder, and envy.” – Elfhame Palace

Elfhame Palace

The people of Llanowar live in different tribes or Elfhames, seven of them in fact. They are as follows:

  • Basiphem – The Basiphem elves live in the oldest and strongest trees of Llanowar. They see themselves as the protectors of Llanowar. The Basiphem are muscular and most weather conditions don’t bother them. A lot of Basiphem have never stood on the ground, though a lot of them died during the Phyrexian Invasion. They still blame themselves for failing to protect the forest during the Invasion.
  • Hedressel – Is the home to the druidic orders of Llanowar. No violence is allowed in Hedressel and if and when they catch trespassers, they bring them out beyond Hedressel’s border and execute them there.
  • Kelfae – The Kelfae elfhame are elves that live in waterproof canopies and form bonds with a race of creatures called Kavu. A Kelfae elf is usually given a Kavu at birth and it is usually one that was born on the same day. Another elfhame called Jubilar was utterly annihilated during the Phyrexian Invasion and the Kelfae took in the survivors and called them their own.
  • Loridalh – The Loridalh are shadowy elves that like to stick to aerial highways high in the trees. The Loridalh live in the hollow of the trees and though they have no central leadership, each tree is governed by lawspeakers and elders.
  • Riashil – The Riashil elves are pacifists and have been for many years. They buried their weapons under a tree called the Oak of Oath and practice a peaceful life. In saying that, they are one of the most isolationist elven tribes and they have no contact with the outside world. The officials of the Riashil elves are usually accompanied by their mothers.
  • Ruadach – In contrast to Riashil, the elves of Ruadach are one of the most tolerant elfhames. They openly trade with none elves and not only that, they would even marry other species. Their queen Terena who ruled for six centuries was killed during the Phyrexian Invasion and her half-elf daughter now rules Ruadach.
  • Staprion – The Staprion were the most militaristic of the Llanowar elves and where a lot of the reputation for Llanowar being so dangerous came from. They were completely devastated during the Phyrexian Invasion, to the point where all their leaders were slaughtered. They now rove Llanowar in gangs of fifty to a hundred elves called gusts and they kill any that stand in their way, including fellow Staprions.

To make sure that this way of life is followed, a particular group called the Order of the Steel Leaf was formed. The Order of the Steel Leaf was said to be brought together by a planeswalker named Freyalise, but who exactly was Freyalise? When Freyalise was a child, she was out in the cold wastelands on her own. She finally made it to a kingdom named Storgard and there was speak that she must have been more than human to survive the frozen wastes on her own. Nevertheless she was taken in and eventually became the court mage for King Miko of Storgard.

Starting out as a fire mage, Freyalise realised the power of green mana when she was almost killed by a green mage during a duel. When she ascended to become a planeswalker she chose green as her path. She helped the Fyndhorn and Llanowar elves survive the turmoil that was the ice age and eventually she became worshipped as a goddess by both factions of elves. It was because of Freyalise and a spell that she cast, the ice age ended on Dominaria, but Freyalise left. She eventually returned to Dominaria during the Phyrexian Invasion and fought for Urza. Llanowar fought bravely during the Phyrexian Invasion and rallied around the king of the Skyshroud elves, Eladamri. I will be speaking more on the events of the Phyrexian Invasion in a later blog, but know that the Llanowar elves fought bravely to drive back the forces of Phyrexia from Dominaria.

“This forest means more to the druids than their own kin. The loss of a tree is like the loss of a child.”Llanowar Druid

Llanowar went through a lot of horror and strife and the Rift Era on Dominaria didn’t help. During the Rift Era, tears in time were opening up all over Dominaria and villains from the past or events that occurred in the past were starting to happen again. Freyalise sacrificed herself and that of the Skyshroud elves to close the rift above Keld on Dominaria. The Llanowar elves were one of the first to start to heal during the great mending when the world started to right itself again. Half of the population of Llanowar were only in their adolescence.

Freyalise

There is a dark and twisted secret, forbidden to enter due to the danger that it poses. It is called the Abomination of Llanowar, and it is a mass of nercomantic magic. It was found by a Llanowar scouting party and an elf, through his foolish curiosity touched the mass of evil energy. The mass swallowed the whole party and added them to the mass. A second scout party was sent to find the first, but before they could act, they were set upon and all died bar one elf who managed to escape and tell his people about it. The area was declared forbidden and the Abomination hasn’t been seen since, becoming a myth in Llanowar.

So that is the story of Llanowar, one of the major elven factions of the MTG universe. The culture is very interesting and I find some similarities, especially with their protectiveness of the forest to the Elves of Mirkwood from J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. I like the fact that there are seven subcultures, being the elfhames within this vast forest and the writers didn’t just paint them all with the one brush. They are a ferocious people who have had to put up with more than most, but it stands to them that they are not only alive, but flourishing. The Llanowar story isn’t over yet and I for one am looking forward to seeing how this story continues.

I hope you enjoyed my writing and as always, thanks for reading!

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (2004, PC)

Cover Art

Name: Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (2004)

Developed/Published By: Relic Entertainment/THQ

Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Platforms: Microsoft Windows

Players: Single player, Multi player

Age Rating: PEGI 16

Hello everybody, this is my review of the video game, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. Dawn of War is a Real-Time Strategy game set in the grim dark world of Warhammer 40,000. The game was developed by Relic Entertainment and published by THQ.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, COMMANDER!

Plot:

The plot itself is centered around a planet called, Tartarus. A horde of Orks have invaded the Imperial planet and are slaughtering the Imperial forces on the world. To answer this, the Imperium sent the Blood Ravens chapter of the Space Marines, super soldiers that fight for the Emperor of Mankind. The commanding officers of the Space Marine forces is a man named Captain Gabriel Angelos and his Librarian (Magic-Wielder) Isador. Initially the Space Marines must make planet fall to aid the Imperial Guard forces on Tartarus. A small force lands and destroys the Orks that are at the landing site. The Space Marines have many ferocious battles with the Orks until their scouts tell them that there are also Chaos forces operating on the planet.

The Orks are eventually driven back and defeated but Eldar (Space Elves) are found to be operating on the planet too which makes the plot even more confusing for Captain Angelos. Hidden in the darkness is a Chaos Sorcerer named Sindri who is feeding Isador with information, as he wants him to help the Chaos forces. Of course, Sindri doesn’t tell Isador this as he has him believe that what he is doing is for the good of the Imperium. The Eldar and Imperium fight in some battles until it is found out that the Eldar are here to stop Chaos from getting a key and releasing something…something bad. The Eldar tell you that because of all the battles between them and yourselves, they don’t have the strength to fight Chaos and that you must do it alone.

The Blood Ravens give a hammering to the Chaos forces on Tartarus and the Chaos leader, Lord Bale is eventually killed. Just as everything is going right, betrayal, as Isador turns his back on the Imperium and betrays Captain Angelos. Angelos delivers swift justice to the traitorous librarian, but Sindri gets away with the key. Sindri uses the key to ascend into a daemon prince. Angelos, the Blood Ravens and the final remaining forces of Eldar all come together for a final battle with Sindri and his horde of demons. Angelos defeats Sindri and the key is free, the Eldar tell Angelos not to destroy it as it will bring something much worse but Angelos does not listen and smashes the key. Because of this an even more powerful demon is set free and tells Angelos that the planet is actually an altar to the Chaos god of blood and murder, Khorne, and that every being killed on the planet fueled the demon’s release. The demon tells Angelos that he will allow him to live for setting him free and Angelos walks away telling the demon he will be waiting for him. THE END.

So what did I think?

The game is played like a good ol’ classic RTS. Base building, resource gathering and army building are the order of the day with this game. The base game starts you off with four races and I would say three of those are vastly different with Chaos and the Imperium being basically the same army with some variation. There are a number of game modes within skirmish such as annihilate, which is destroy all enemy buildings, control area, which is controlling the most resource points on the map and assassinate which involves killing the enemy commander.

The game play is fun and it keeps you interested as every army would have their own ways of dealing with situations. The Orks for example would be a horde army and would try and overwhelm you with numbers while the Eldar would be a lot more conservative and use hit and run tactics. The Imperium and Chaos forces would be an all rounder army and have an answer for all situations and while it is good for them to be like that, it creates two problems:

  1. They are overpowered – Having an answer to every situation means you don’t have to really think or use tactics, just send the force that would be required to deal with whatever is happening. I’ll put it to you this way, if the Space Marines lose, that is your fault.
  2. They are boring – Basically the same point. You don’t really have to worry about tactics so it becomes kind of monotonous playing them.

The graphics of the game are nice and still hold up to this day, but they have aged and not too well. I mean don’t get me wrong, in 2004 this game was beautiful and it was everything I was looking for in a Warhammer 40k game, even graphics wise, but 17 years is a long time in the video game world. That being said, if you are buying this game you would know what year it came out so you would have an idea of how it would look, so as I said, the graphics are still pretty nice. Between the different units, cool settings and fierce battle scenes, it really makes the Warhammer 40,000 world come to life in a way we had never seen it before, and I love that.

Next we will talk about sounds and music and the first thing I will have to say is the voice acting is absolutely on point as to what I would think everyone will sound like. You have to remember, bar some audio books and some older games, most of the Warhammer 40k races wouldn’t have been heard, so this would almost be the first time hearing them and all I can say is that it is exactly the way I would imagine it to be. The Orks are humourous yet fierce. The Eldar are refined and emotive. The Chaos voices are full of rage and fear and the Space Marines are noble and determined. The sounds of battle are absolutely perfect also, from the roar of the chainsword to the exploding fire of a Bolter, this scenes of battle are created with these amazing sound effects.

The soundtrack for the game is one of my favourite video game soundtracks ever. Every song is an absolute masterpiece and you can tell that they put a lot of effort and love into it to give you these spine chilling experiences at home. The composer for the game is Jeremy Soule who was worked on over 60 video game soundtracks. He composed the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Supreme Commander to name but a few. As a veteran of the industry, it is no wonder why the soundtrack sounds as good as it does.

So, what are my final thoughts? Dawn of War has stood the test of time in the RTS genre and is regarded as one of the best RTS games ever created. It is certainly one of my favourite RTS games and with the three expansions that came out after that only added to how epic the game is, the game never gets boring. Of course there are two sequels to the game, Dawn of War II and III respectively but they are a lot different to the original and I would say personally to just stick to the first one. Fun, fierce and fast, a great game all around and one that I will continue playing as long as computers can run them.

Graphics: Nice, but quite aged. For the time the graphics were stunning but they don’t hold up too well anymore. That being said I still enjoy the graphics. 7/10

Sound: From the amazing soundtrack by Jeremy Soule to the some of the fiercest battle noises in an RTS, the sounds are incredible. Another nice touch is the background noise is mostly sounds of other battles going on across the planet and I for one think that is a nice touch: 10/10

Game play: Excellent RTS, very tactical for the most part and extremely enjoyable. It has definitely earned its place in RTS history. 10/10

Worth: Yes! For many reasons. If you’re a fan of RTS games you will enjoy it. If you’re a fan of Warhammer 40,000 you will enjoy it. If you’re a fan of both…well enough said really. 10/10

Story: The story is okay but it’s a typical Warhammer 40,000 short story. Space Marines fighting Chaos and the same old shenanigans going on. It’s an okay story but one I have dealt with MANY times. 6/10

Total: 86/100 B+

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

Warhammer Lore: Chaos

The star of Chaos

Hello everybody! Last time I wrote about the glorious Emperor of Mankind and a little about his back story, now I must speak of the single greatest threat to the galaxy, something that is older than time itself, Chaos.

Firstly, what is Chaos? Have you ever felt anger and the wanting of bloodshed? That is Chaos, specifically Khorne, the god of blood and murder. Have you ever felt lust for someone? Or wanting more than you have even though you know it could be bad for you? That is Chaos, specifically, Slaanesh, the god of excess and decadence. Have you ever felt sickness or even beaten a cold or flu? That is Chaos, specifically Nurgle, the god of disease and decay. Lastly have you even felt tricksy? That is Chaos, specifically Tzeentch, the god of magic and change.

Chaos is ruled by four gods and each of these gods are as horrid as the next, but in their own separate ways. Khorne and his followers would massacre and rip apart your body just for looking at them the wrong way. Slaanesh would give you everything you desire and more than your body can handle. You would become a horrific shell of a person that is always chasing after something they can never achieve and things will become more excessive as it goes along. Nurgle will rot your body from the inside out and fill you will deadly plagues and diseases, but you will feel none of it. Not only that, you would thank Nurgle for his “gift” and try to spread it to everyone else. And Tzeentch would destroy your mind and make you question everything you ever knew about everything until you become a babbling mess.

The four Chaos gods: Khorne, Tzeentch, Nurgle and Slaanesh respectively

Chaos started out as three major gods, Khorne, Nurgle and Tzeentch but Slaanesh was born at the fall of the great Eldar empire. The Eldar or Aeldari as they’re known nowadays used to have the most powerful star spanning empire that was ever known. They eliminated the notion of need, there was no sickness, no famine, no wars, everything was paradise…but too much paradise can be a bad thing. Because the Aeldari became bored and strived for nothing, they started dabbling in the extreme. From sexual pleasure that went way beyond the norm to torture, killing, experiments and basically anything they wanted to do. This excess in pleasure and pain spread all across the Aeldari empire and there was such a build up of psychic energy that Slaanesh was born out of all this Chaos. When Slaanesh arrived she devoured countless Aeldari souls and destroyed their vast empire overnight. Some escaped and others continued that life and became the Drukhari (Dark Eldar). The Drukhari are masters of torture and vile experimentation. It is said that it is better to die then be captured by the Drukhari as they will mutilate and abuse your body and mind until they are bored of you. Even then, they might just tear your skin off and force you to live anyway. Nothing is too extreme in the eyes of the Drukhari.

The four Chaos gods in their infinite wisdom and mischief ended up turning the Emperor’s most favoured son, Horus Lupercal or Warmaster Horus, against him and corrupted him from the inside out which led to the Horus Heresy and ended the golden age of Mankind. Brother turned against brother and the galaxy burned for all to see. Some of the legions that turned devoted themselves to specific gods. The World Eaters through their barbarity and vicious ways turned to Khorne. The Death Guard, masters of chemical and biological warfare turned to Nurgle. The Emperor’s Children, a legion that has always strived for perfection, no matter the cost pledged themselves to Slaanesh and finally the Thousand Sons, followers of Magnus the Red and users of warp magic turned to Tzeentch. Even though there were five other legions that fell to the darkness of Chaos, they never committed themselves to one Chaos god over another and because of this they became, Chaos Undivided.

Chaos Marines of the four gods.

The ultimate goal of Chaos is to overtake the galaxy and bring all creatures big and small under it’s influence, but if something is this powerful then why hasn’t it done it yet? Well one answer, the Emperor of Mankind. Even though the Emperor is sitting on a Golden Throne from being mortally wounded by Horus Lupercal, he is still battling the forces of Chaos in the warp. Being one of the most powerful psykers in history means he has enough strength to hold most of Chaos at bay, but if his strength fails, then Chaos will overrun the galaxy and it will be quickly destroyed. Let there be no question, Chaos is the ultimate evil in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and in a universe where happiness and hope are in minuscule quantities, that is saying something. There are the most vile, repugnant, horrific beings that mankind can conjure up and they will not stop until all life in all parts of the galaxy feel the embrace of Chaos.

Will you fall to the darkness? Do you hear the voices of Chaos? Will you slaughter for the blood god and add more skulls to the skull throne? Will you let life rot and embrace the gift of plagues? Will you explore the extremities of pain and pleasure at once and make sure friend and foe alike feel the same? Or will you change, manipulate and exploit until madness is the only thing you can call friend? Oh you think you’re strong enough to fight the call of Chaos. Think again, friend, many have fallen to its gifts and one day you shall fall too. Just remember one very important thing….Chaos is eternal!

I hope you enjoyed my very brief write up on the lore of Chaos. There are many more stories, champions and forces belonged to the doomed factions and I can’t wait to explore them all with you. So I will end it here and say, as always, thank you for reading.

MTG Mondays: Keld

“Did the land make the Keldons? Did the Keldons make the land? Or were they simply meant for each other?” – Flame Jet

Keldon Berserker

Hello everybody, today we will be talking about the savage human warrior nation of Keld. Keld is a nation on Dominaria. It lies in the northwestern part of Aerona, and life there is nothing but harsh and because the land is so harsh and rough, the people are equally as rough. The people of Keld are feared throughout the land.

Origins

The people of Keld are savage and they differ to other humans on Dominaria, not only culturally but in terms of their physical nature. For example their skin varies in colour from grey to light blue, the reason for this is because they live in an icy wasteland that altered the pigments of their skin. They are all over six-foot tall and can reach seven feet tall. They are almost all muscled and have an incredible resistance to cold weather.

The people of Keld came from a region in the northern lands of Dominaria called, Parma. Parma was a cold and desolate wasteland populated by frost giants. A legendary warrior named Kradak took his people and lead a mass exodus down south to escape the bitter cold of Parma. As Kradak and his people continued down south they were dying from the cold and the harsh terrain and weather. His people settled near a volcano called The Mountain and Kradak heard a calling from this volcano. Kradak reached the peak of the volcano and learned to control the forces of magic and to make fire. Kradak used his new abilities to keep his people warm and alive. From this, Keld was created and Kradak was declared its first Doyen or warlord. Kradak explained his experience and teachings from the volcano and from this the Book of Keld was written which became the basis for the Keldon religion.

“The Mountain gave the flame to Kradak to light the furnaces of his people’s hearts. The wanderers became Keldons, and he the first warlord” – Keldon Warcaller

While the Keldon people are known for being savage and warlike, in recent years they have been known to try and change their ways, they have even started becoming farmers and trading with other lands. The leader of the tribe or warhost was the Doyen, but they have split the role into two, with the Doyen looking after the civil matters of the tribe and the warlord would look after matters of war. The overall leader of Keldon is known as the grand warlord.

War has come to Keld

Trumpet Blast. The Keldons go to war.

Keldon was another region that was attacked during the Phyrexian Invasion and it wasn’t spared the atrocities. The Keldon people seen the Phyrexian Invasion as the completion of a prophecy called the Keldon Twilight. The Keldon people made peace with the Skyshroud Elves and together they marched to face Phyrexia. The battle was long and costly to both sides. As the battle went on, the Keldons that were slaughtered rose from the dead through magic from Phyrexia. The undead warriors attacked their former comrades. The Doyenne, Tajamin threw her cudgel into the frozen lake on which the battle was fought and shattered the lake into a thousand pieces driving both armies into the frozen depths. Suddenly the legendary Keldon ship the Golden Argosy rose from the depths and saved thousands of lives. The Phyrexians were driven back and the Golden Argosy brought the Keldons to Urborg, the capital of the Phyrexian Foothold on Domiaria and allowed the Keldon to participate in the final battle against Phyrexia.

Apart from Phyrexia, Keld was also devastated by the time rifts caused during during clashes between planeswalkers and primal forces of the Magic The Gathering universe. The mana for the Keld magic was mostly drained and it also opened rifts that allowed Keld’s greatest enemies to return, The Gathans. Gatha was a student under Urza, but he went off on his own and started doing his own experiments in Keld which turned Keldon warriors into horrid, fiendish warriors dubbed Gathans. When the Phyrexians heard of Gatha, they wanted his knowledge but he threw himself off a cliff and killed himself to prevent the knowledge being taken by the Phyrexians. The Keldon slaughtered the rest of the Gathans. The Gathans returned through the time rifts and massacred the rest of the Keldon people. The few remaining Keldon people rallied behind a hero named Radha. Radha with the help of a Planeswalker named Teferi purged the Gathans out of Keld and rescued what was left of her kingdom.

Radha

The rifts eventually started to heal and Keld was able to start recovering from the horrific events over the last few years. Keld pulled itself together and over three centuries it become more of an industrialised state than just a plundering nomadic tribe. The Skyshroud Elves were accepted to become true people of Keld. There is a problem stirring though, some Keldons have come to believe that Keld has become weak and a shadow of its former self. There is speak of a warlord called Garna possibly looking to take the throne of Keld. Garna is a ruthless warlord and highly xenophobic, this would set Keld back into it’s old ways if Garna took control of Keld. Even though it would set Keld back, Garna is gaining followers and support albeit slowly.

The Keldons are a ferocious people are a nation that you wouldn’t want to make an enemy of. They have been through many hardships but in a way you could say they relish being miserable. The Keld value strength and they get stronger with each disaster that befalls them. I am not saying that they actively look to be attacked or slaughtered, but they do not shy away from it. They went and met the Phyrexian horde in battle, they slaughtered the Gathans. They might get hurt a lot, but through this hurt they learned to hit back twice as hard and when a Keldon hits you, you fall. They are one of the mightiest nations I have read about in MTG history, certainly one of the mightiest human nations. There story still continues to this day and there are still cards made about Keldons, so their story is nowhere near from finished. I can’t wait to learn more about the nation of Keld as the game goes on in the future.

I hope you enjoyed my writing and as always, thank you for reading.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019, Xbox One)

The cover art

Name: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (2019)

Developed/Published By: Respawn Entertainment/EA

Genre: Third-Person Action/Adventure

Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia

Players: Single player

Age Rating: PEGI 16

Hello everybody, today we will be talking about the video game: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, or Fallen Order for short. The game was released in 2019 and it was developed by Respawn Entertainment, known for the Titanfall series and Apex Legends and published by EA games. The game deals with a lost Jedi Padawan in a world after the infamous Order 66, in which the clone troopers of the armies of the Republic turned on their former Jedi allies and slaughtered almost all of them. The empire is in full control and the Padawan, Cal Kestis must stay hidden.

You have been warned, young Skywalker.

Plot:

Cal Kestis is a mechanic who works on the planet Bracca. It has been five years since Order 66 and all he is trying to do it survive. Cal and his friend Prauf are working on a salvage when a failsafe cable snaps and Prauf almost falls to his death. Cal uses the force, the mystical powers of a Jedi to save him, but he is seen by an Imperial droid doing so. Because of this, two Sith inquisitors, members of an order that hunt down Jedi for the empire, come to Bracca to find this Jedi. In the chaos, Prauf is killed and Cal is rescued by a former Jedi named Cere Junda and Greez Dritus, the captain of the ship known as Stinger Mantis. Cal finds a droid called BD-1 who has a message in its memory banks from Jedi Master Eno Cordova. In it, Cordova explains that there is a Jedi Holocron that contains the locations of all force sensitive children in the galaxy and it could be used rebuild the Jedi order. Cordova explains that the Holocron is safely hidden within a vault.

While travelling for clues to open the vault on Bogano, Cal meets some famous Star Wars faces including Saw Guerrera who is currently battling the empire on the Wookiee world of Kashyyyk. While on the planet, Zeffo, searching for more clues, Cal is ambushed by one of the Sith Inquisitors by the name of the Second Sister. It is revealed that the Second Sister’s real name is Trilla Suduri and she was once a Jedi Padawan under Cere Junda. Trilla was captured by the empire after Cere gave up her location while being tortured by the empire. Cal is captured and forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena before being rescued by Cere and Greez. Cal returns to Kashyyyk and climbs the Origin Tree to find more clues to the Holocron which he does but he also gets ambushed by the other Sith Inquisitor called the Ninth Sister, which Cal beats. Cal must now travel to Dathomir.

Cal makes it to Dathomir but there is a problem, the Nightsisters, a witch cult on Dathomir that does not want him on their planet. The last remaining Nightsister, Sister Merrin, uses her powers to raise the dead to attack Cal. The reason Merrin is so angry is because her people were slaughtered during the clone wars and she blames the Jedi. Cal has a flashback to how he survived Order 66 and how his master saved him. His lightsaber crystal is destroyed. On Dathomir, Cal meets another Jedi, Taron Malicos. Malicos crashed onto Dathomir after Order 66 and has been stranded there since. He wanted to use the time to learn the Nightsisters magical powers but ended up losing his mind and turning to the dark side. Cal escapes from Malicos and makes his way to Ilum to forge a new lightsaber. He makes his way back to Dathomir and defeats Malicos with some help from Merrin. Merrin joins with the crew of the Stinger Mantis.

Cal finally has what he needs to open the vault and travels to Bogano where Cal finds the Holocron. Trilla steals it from him and escapes. Cere becomes a Jedi again and helps Cal get to Nur to settle this once and for all. On the planet Nur, Cal battles Trilla, defeats her and takes the Holocron back. That’s when things go from oh so bad to oh so worse. Darth Vader…Big V…comes and kills Trilla and he then turns to take on Cal, but Cal runs, barely escaping with his life. They escape off the planet and end up destroying the Holocron because they decide that the children should be able to make their own choices in life. THE END.

So what did I think of it?

We’ll start off with gameplay. I loved it, no that’s not strong enough, I adored it. The lightsaber combat was unbelievably satisfying. The game made you feel like a Jedi and all I was doing was pressing buttons on a controller. I loved every lightsaber swing, every force push and every blaster deflection. The game was fast and action packed and ever so smooth. The level up system in it was taken straight from Dark Souls and the like, except instead of sitting at a campfire you sit at Jedi meditation circles and pick some skills from a skill tree.

The amount of different enemies makes for some nice tactical battles. It is not just about swinging your lightsaber and hoping for the best, you must also use your athleticism and force powers to win the day. The enemies go from regular empire storm troopers to purge troopers, which are trained to battle Jedi all the way up to AT-ST walkers and dark Jedi. Every battle will change up how you play and it makes the game even more satisfying. You need to know when to swing, when to block, when to dodge and when to use those force powers, because even one mess up could hurt you…a lot.

I will talk about the graphics and sounds next. The graphics are beautiful but I expect nothing less from a Star Wars game and a AAA game at that. That’s not to say the graphics aren’t amazing, they are astounding and the team put a lot of work into them. The different settings are incredible and they are so Star Wars. It makes you feel like you’re stepping into the Star Wars universe and discovering it for yourself, in your own way, with your own paths to discover, in your own time. There were a lot of times I just stopped and took in the breathtaking sights that were on offer.

The soundtrack is incredible and very heartfelt at times. In saying that it loses none of the epic feeling that Star Wars music usually gives me. It is powerful and hits you like a speeding train at times and at other times it is tender and emotional and it caresses over you, but draws you into the emotional well it creates. The game was composed by Stephen Barton (COD 4 MW, Titanfall) and Gordy Haab (SW:TOR, SW: Battlefront II). The motion capture technology is totally there to start turning games into almost lifelike graphics. The fact that the characters are the spitting images of the actors is absolutely astounding and ushers in a new era for video game actors where they really have to act now and not just move around the place and do the movements.

The story had some excellent moments. The story about Cere almost turning to the dark side and cutting herself off from the force is what I am looking for in a Star Wars story. The game takes itself serious and don’t get me wrong, it has it’s light hearted moments, but it allows itself to be taken seriously. The story of Cal Kestis and how he survived Order 66 was very enjoyable. The crew need each other and it felt almost like Joss Whedon’s Firefly (RIP) to me at times. It seems that Star Wars is leaning more and more on the stories of ragtag crew members, forced together who through shared experiences and tragedies, become a family. The Mandalorian had that feel, same as Star Wars Rebels and I for one am not complaining. The game feels more grounded and the characters feel relatable, they feel more human.

So my final thoughts. I think it was a wonderful Star Wars game and a fantastic action/adventure game with a lot of blood, sweat and tears poured into it. I could feel the love from the people who created the game and how invested they were in making this game an experience for the player. So I thank them for allowing me to feel what it is like to be a Jedi, even with a few taps of a button. A good story, great music, beautiful settings and epic action. This is a Star Wars game that will stand the test of time.

Graphics: Beautiful and unquestionably Star Wars locations. The character models were something to be applauded and the action looked intense and fierce. 10/10

Sound: Amazing Star Wars soundtrack that really tied the game together, a soundtrack that is in my playlist now: 9/10

Game play: Varied gameplay, decent exploration. I would have liked a little more to do. The game was quite short, but what you did get was very good. 8/10

Worth: Yes! Great for Star Wars fans. If you’re not a Star Wars fan you will still like the Action/Adventure element. 9/10

Story: Good Star Wars story, it had some issues and I felt that the ending just made the whole story a waste of time, but everything in the middle was fantastic. 8/10

Total: 88/100 B+

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!

Graphic Novel Review: Aquaman Vol. 1: The Drowning

The cover the Aquaman Vol.1: The Drowning

Hello everybody, this is my first review of a graphic novel and the one I am reviewing today is DC’s Aquaman Volume 1: The Drowning. The Drowning was released in 2017 and it is from DC’s Rebirth series which was a 2016 re-launch of a lot of DC Superhero stories. The story was written by Dan Abnett. Mr. Abnett is primarily known to me from various Warhammer 40,000 novels that he wrote throughout the years, so my ears and eyes perked up when I seen that he wrote this. So let us get into this review.

YAAAARRRRGGGHHH! THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD! TRAVEL AT YER OWN PERIL!

Plot:

Aquaman (Arthur Curry) has been a Superhero for quite a while now. He is a member of the Justice League along with the likes of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, so he should be revered by the people of Earth, but there is a problem. Aquaman is the king of the underwater kingdom known as Atlantis, the ancient mythical kingdom from eons ago that apparently sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The Atlanteans and the surface dwellers of Earth do not get on at all and it has even come to fights between the two people.

Aquaman wants to change this so he proposes to build an Atlantean embassy on the surface to try and ease relations between the two people. Black Manta, one of Aquaman’s oldest super villains and rivals has a different plan though and destroys the embassy by blowing it up. Aquaman beats Black Manta and he gets arrested. Meanwhile an Atlantean terrorist cell called the Deluge attack a US military naval vessel and kill all onboard. Aquaman is under arrest for charges of attacking the US. Aquaman comes quietly because he wants to settle it.

Meanwhile, an organisation called N.E.M.O (Nautical Enforcement of Macrocosmic Order) lead by a man named The Fisher King, breaks Black Manta out of custody. Their mission? To control the world by controlling the oceans and seas. Aquaman is told by the Americans that the Deluge, who were thought to be destroyed, were behind the Naval attack. Upon hearing this, Aquaman aided by his wife and queen of Atlantis, Mera, escapes from prison to deal with this problem. While trying to escape the military attempt to stop them, when that doesn’t work, Superman is called in to stop him. Aquaman and Superman get into a fight, until they both calm down. Superman gives Aquaman one chance and one chance only to go back to Atlantis and fix this problem. Black Manta ends up killing the Fisher King and takes over N.E.M.O himself. THE END.

What did I think of it?

So let’s talk about the story first of all. I thought overall the story was okay, but it feels very same old to me. Anytime I hear of Aquaman its only about him trying to build relations with the surface dwellers. The story is about as played out as Batman’s origin story, I would have liked to see more of the politics of Atlantis and how everyday life is under the sea. Maybe give us something that we can relate to with the Atlanteans. Another small note I would like to make is that during the story there were a few occasions where Aquaman was ridiculed for not being the most important or popular Justice League member. I liked this because it broke the fourth wall a little bit and showed how at the time, in pop culture Aquaman is treated a little bit like a joke and that no one really takes him seriously as a superhero. I thought it was a humourous reference. Black Manta was okay as a villain, I took him seriously up to the point where he had an opportunity to kill Aquaman with his trident him and he didn’t take it because then he would “have nothing left”. I don’t like villains where their only purpose in life is to beat the hero, it’s very one dimensional and boring.

In saying that the story is quite mature as it deals with the racial issues between the two people Atlanteans and surface dwellers. It shows how they want to segregate so much that they are willing to commit acts of terrorism to stay away from each other. Also they fact that even though Aquaman is a member of the Justice League and has probably fought to save the earth more times than I have had dinners (that is a lot of times believe me, the weighing scale doesn’t lie) that the surface dwellers still have a deep seated mistrust and weariness to Aquaman and were willing to turn their back on him at the drop of a hat. It even gets so heated that one of Aquaman’s most trusted friend and ally, Superman, shows up to deal with him.

The art mostly done by Brad Walker whose other works have included Batman and the Green Lantern is beautifully vibrant and full of colour. The art seems to come to life, especially during the action scenes and the emotions are easily conveyed through the artwork. It was a joy to turn the graphic novel page by page to see more of the amazing art, colours and illustrations on hand.

I feel that the graphic novel had a lot of talent behind it and that Dan Abnett penned a pretty good tale. While I have some issues with the story, most of it is pretty engaging and well thought out. As I have previously said, the artwork is also something to compliment as it was clearly done by some very skilled artists. So, does it capture me? Yes it does and I would like to continue reading and see where this story eventually goes.

I hope you enjoyed my review, and as always, thanks for reading.

Star Wars Lore: The Armorer (Canon)

The Armorer

SPOILERS AHEAD THERE ARE, JEDI MASTER!

The Armorer is a Mandalorian blacksmith that appears in the TV show ‘The Mandalorian’. The Armorer doesn’t have another name, or at least it is never mentioned throughout the show, but nevertheless she is an important and integral part of the show. Through her skills as a blacksmith, she makes weapons and armour for the other Mandalorians, who are hiding underground on the planet Nevarro.

The Mandalorians see her as an integral part of their culture as she works with a special kind of material called Beskar. Beskar is also known as Mandalorian Iron and it was used to make the iconic Mandalorian armour, but after Order 66, ordered by the Sith Emperor Darth Sidious in which the clone troopers of the army of the Grand Republic turned on the Jedi and changed the republic into the empire, the Mandalorians were also slaughtered and the Beskar was claimed as spoils by the empire.

Beskar used to be easy to come across and it was a common material on Mandalore, but because the empire took most of it and claimed it as their own, it has been increasingly difficult and dangerous for Mandalorians to find beskar. The Armorer created all the Beskar armour for Din Djarin, the main character from the TV show. Because Djarin earned the beskar needed to make a full suit of armour, the other Mandalorians in hiding became annoyed that he was working with the empire, even after they slaughtered most of their kind. A fight nearly ensued between Djarin and another Mandalorian until the Armorer stopped it and explained that because of the ‘Way of the Mandalore’ a bounty hunter is allowed to choose his own path and life, the only thing that needs to be observed is that a Mandalorian is strictly forbidden to remove their helmet to any living creature, which Djarin has never done. The Armorer restored order within the tribe and the fighting stopped.

After Djarin double crossed the empire and kept the child for himself he needed refuge from the empire forces that were sent to kill him and retrieve the child. Djarin returned to the underground base of the Mandalorians to find a stack of Mandalorian helmets, armour, weapons and other paraphernalia. The Armorer explained that the other Mandalorians were killed but she will stay until all of the Mandalorian gear and remaining Beskar is secure. Djarin leaves with his crew. Later some storm troopers come to arrest or kill the Armorer, but she very skillfully kills the whole squad with her forge tools.

Not much is known about what happened to the Armorer after the events of Nevarro. There is no doubt that she is a highly skilled and respected member of the Mandalorian race and that she fought to earn her place amongst her people. I personally think the Armorer is one of the more level headed Mandalorians and she is an integral part to the old ways of Mandalore and she makes sure to enforce this. As I mentioned, she is highly respected and seen as a leader, I would love to see her backstory, The character was interesting and hopefully we will get to know a lot more about her and how she came to be and where her journey will take us. Hopefully sometime in the future they will show us more of this character.

I hope you enjoyed my writing and as always, thanks for reading!

MTG Mondays: Ironclaw Mountains

“Generations of genetic weeding have given rise to the deviously cowardly Ironclaw clan”Ironclaw Orcs

Ironclaw Orcs

Hello everybody, today we will be talking about the Ironclaw mountains, a mountain range that is or should I say was in Domiaria. The mountain range was home to many different races including orcs, goblins and dwarven clans that ended up being scattered throughout the mountain range.

Today we will be focusing on the Ironclaw orcs and their interesting history. The Ironclaw orcs are special for one reason and one reason only, they have a curse placed upon their tribe. Yes, the Ironclaw curse as it is known have made the Ironclaw tribe one of the best known orc tribes in Dominaria. The Ironclaw curse states that the Ironclaw tribes are not able to attack any force stronger than themselves. Because of this it has had a two pronged effect.

The first effect is that the Ironclaw orcs are perceived to be quite cowardly and run from almost every battle that they are in. In turn they are known as the most cowardly orc tribe that has existed on Dominaria. The second effect it had on them is the fact that because they can’t fight a stronger force, they must rely on tactics and wits to win battles. The Ironclaw orcs would retreat most of the time, study their enemies, pick out weak points and use that to their advantage. Through this, they have won many battles and established themselves as one of the strongest orc tribes in Magic the Gathering history. I will just reiterate that because it is so ridiculously contradictory: The Ironclaw orcs are the most cowardly, yet strongest orc tribe in all of Dominaria.

Later on in the lore of the Ironclaw mountains the Ironclaw mountain range is levelled by the armies of Benalia and the merfolk of Dominaria. The reason for this is because both armies had an all out war with the Ironclaw orc tribes. The mountains were renamed the Ironclaw hills and it eventually became a trading port that was inhabited by a wide variety of races including dwarves, goblins and kobolds.

“They warn the army of danger as they squawk past in swift retreat.” – Ironclaw Buzzardiers

Ironclaw Buzzardiers

So that was the history of the Ironclaw mountains and the inhabitants that lived upon it. An interesting tale about a tactical but cowardly tribe of orcs that had a terrible curse placed on them. They went from being known as one of the strongest tribes of orcs to being almost wiped out by the combined forces of the Benalish armies and the armies of the merfolk tribes. A good tale, but short. Maybe we will see more about the Ironclaw in the future.

I hope you enjoyed reading this story and as always, thanks for reading!