Thursday, June 29, 2017

Argus, the Legion, and the Void - What's Wrong With This Picture?

According to Chronicle, the Void Lords - beings of unfathomable power and nature - sent the Old Gods with one purpose: find a Titan World-Soul and corrupt it to create a Void Titan that could act as their agent in rendering the entire universe Void.

When Sargeras discovered an ensouled world thoroughly corrupted by its own Old Gods, he didn't hesitate in destroying the planet, preventing this Void Titan from being created. This event, and the Pantheon's reaction to it, eventually led Sargeras to create the Burning Legion, freeing the demons he had spent eons fighting and imprisoning.

Sargeras decided to do to the universe what he had done with the planet - to burn everything away with Fel Fire.

But there are some problems here. First off, the Legion ostensibly is all about preventing the Void from corrupting the universe, but they freely use void magic almost as much as they use Fel magic. Second, the Void Lords want to unmake the universe, being "avatars of non-existence," according to Star Augur Etraeus. Is destroying the universe not doing their work for them? (That's a legitimate question, not a rhetorical one, because I don't know if "ashen embers still faintly glowing green" fits the bill of "existence" that the Void wants to stop having.)

With 7.3 going up on the PTR and some big details emerging, I think we are starting to get more evidence that it's all a bit more complicated.

Spoilers to follow.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

7.3 PTR Going Up

Well, with Tomb of Sargeras now available and even open for LFR (at least the first wing) Blizzard is doing their Mists-era strategy of pushing the next PTR patch.

And this one's a doozy.

While we knew it was time to go there in 7.3, the end of the Tomb of Sargeras raid makes it very clear that Argus is our next stop on the campaign against the Burning Legion.

It's only just going up on the PTR, so there's a very incomplete picture of what we'll be seeing, but the gist seems to be this: Argus will be a new area with world quests, a dungeon, and a raid. It seems it will be a bit like Icecrown in that there's no real safe place to land, as the place is totally saturated with demons. However, it will also be a no-fly zone. To deal with that, we'll apparently get access to a ship called the Vindicaar (maybe a re-named Exodar? Not sure, but it would make sense to rename the Exodar if it's going home.)

The new raid will be called Antorus, the Burning Throne. Given that there appear to be models for Titans (one "Argus Titan," and then Aman'thul and Aggramar) seen on WoWHead, I'm feeling pretty confident that Sargeras is going to be the headliner.

A new dungeon called Seat of the Triumvirate will also come with it.

There will also be some kind of scenario or something in which players will be able to travel to other worlds the Legion is invading and help stop them. Hey, maybe that means Azeroth isn't alone in this (sorry Outland, you don't count as a planet anymore.)

It actually seems as if Argus may be composed of multiple zones, or perhaps function like Vashj'ir with its three individually-mapped sub-zones. Mac'aree seems to be the location of the Seat of the Triumvirate (naturally.)

Of course artifacts are going to get further upgraded some way, though I'm not sure if it'll be like they did in this patch or some other way.

Now, tidbits and spoilers:

Looking at the icons WOWHead picked up, it seems as if there's a set that looks very, very reminiscent of Bloodborne's iconic 18th/19th-century leather armor. I'm a huge fan of Bloodborne (see this blog) and would be ridiculously happy to have my Undead Rogue decked out like he's about to tear Yharnam a new one (also, the tri-corner hats will work well for Pirate-themed Outlaw Rogues. Still good for Subtlety, though!)

I've got to say, I don't do much RP in game, but I do have backstories for my main characters, and this is really serious stuff for my DK. Returning to Argus is something he always wanted to do, but only now, after he's lost everything, including his own true life, and to see it so deeply corrupted by the Fel, it's certainly bittersweet at absolute best.

It also seems that there might actually be...

Hang on. SPOILERS.

The Gates of Hell - LFR Tank Perspective

The Gates of Hell, the first wing of the Tomb of Sargeras raid, takes you down to the left side of the Tomb where you can place the Tidestone of Golganneth. Naturally, this means that you're going to be facing Naga allied with the Legion. I don't remember if we explicitly know that they're working for Azshara (the whole Legion/Naga/Old Gods relationship is mysterious) but after one big demon, you're going to fight a Naga brute followed by a gorgon-style Naga lady.

As this is the first week of LFR, I'll confess that these impressions will be sketchy, as you tend to get heroic raiders who can blow through LFR easily on the first couple weeks.


This guy shows up in the first big room and is the gatekeeper boss of the whole raid (on Normal/Heroic/Mythic, he'll still be the first boss.)

Tanking this guy is relatively simple. There's a tank-swap debuff that causes you to deal damage to people nearby, so when you get it, have the other tank taunt and run off to the side.

Periodically, Goroth will summon spikes that come up out of the ground. Don't run your debuff into these, as you'll want them for another ability where he deals big AOE to anyone in line of sight. If you get behind the pillar, it'll absorb the blast.

I think that's it for the LFR version.


This Naga brute is probably a lot more complicated on other difficulties. But for LFR, the main thing tanks should worry about is facing. You want to face him away from the raid until he hits 100 energy, then face him toward it so that his cone attack can be split by everyone.

He puts a bleed on the tank that requires a swap.

Harjatan also summons murloc adds that should be picked up by the free tank (though they seem to be casters, so positioning them is not always possible.) I believe these guys are the ones that leave pools of frost damage on the ground. Harjatan eventually draws these into himself, giving him a frost attack, which seems to temporarily replace his energy-based attack.

Make sure your raid has room to maneuver, and you should be ok.

Mistress Sassz'ine:

This is another fight that is probably very complicated at higher difficulties. First off, tanks need to swap once the current tank is targeted (you don't have to wait for the spell to go off) with the debuff. This causes any physical damage they take to hit the raid. The off-tank can then pick up eels who deal only shadow damage.

You want to dodge tornadoes that come through periodically (on LFR there are gaps between them, so you only need to dodge.)

Sassz'ine summons a couple of creatures from the deep as the phases go on. One creature will try to suck people into its maw, so you want to run "against the wind" as it were when that happens. You'll also see a big swath of the room light up with a blue watery trail. Get out of that before a big whale dives across, damaging everyone in the path. Finally, I believe you want to run any murloc adds into the jellyfish adds (though as a tank I don't think you get fixated by them.)

I'll post more when I do this from a DPS perspective and might have a better idea of the fights.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Fate of Argus

While I vacillate a little between Worgen and Undead, I'd say my consistent favorite playable race in World of Warcraft is probably the Draenei. It's not so much their religious societal organization and more the fact that A: they're blue, which is my favorite color, B: they're kind of space aliens (and feel more like them than Orcs) and I love getting a kind of peanut butter and chocolate mix of sci fi and fantasy, and C: they're a twist on a classic monster trope in the sense that it's not that they look like demons, but rather than demons look like them.

And given that one of my main characters is a Draenei (my Mage is just outside the really core group of major characters I play, but the Death Knight is really "vice main,") I've been really anticipating a return to Argus for a long time.

I had had many theories about what Argus would be like for years. One theory I had was that it would ironically look just as gorgeous and pristine as the Eredar had presumably known it before Sargeras came, and that the Eredar who stayed were more subtly corrupted.

But given how it looks in the patch trailer/cutscene and now in the sky above Azeroth (if the game paid more attention to physics, the tides would be insane,) I'm thinking that the "pristine Argus" scenario is definitely not in effect anymore.

We've only gotten vague hints at the geography of Argus since the Draenei were introduced (or rather, re-introduced and retconned in Burning Crusade.) We do know that there was a great city called Mac'aree that was most likely the capital. There's also references to mountains (though saying a planet has mountains is hardly the most profound description.)

The image we now see is a shattered world, seemingly bleeding fel lava and with a giant gap blasted out of it, but unlike Draenor, Argus appears to be still in a mostly spherical shape.

The image does seem to suggest that Argus is not in great shape to be retaken by the Draenei. That being said, it is not entirely blackened like a lot of the other Legion worlds we've seen. There seem to be remaining patches of blue and purple (which I'd guess were some of the primary natural colors of that world, given that they seem to be everywhere the Draenei make their homes.)

Here's the next question though: Are we really going to have Argus hanging overhead for the rest of WoW's lifetime?

I can imagine a couple scenarios that would see Argus removed from the sky within this expansion.

Illidan brought Argus close to Azeroth with what I can only assume is the intention of removing one of the Legion's main advantages in their war with us. They have been able to strike from afar while we are defending the one world we've got. Additionally, while Argus seems to not be (or no longer be now, at least) in the Twisting Nether, it's possible that Argus is is awash with Fel magic that demons there are truly there - not sending disposable avatars to the material world as they have in the past.

It's possible that this is a temporary state, and that it will allow us to strike at the leadership of the Legion for once and that if we can defeat the leadership (which at this point has to be Sargeras, right?) Argus might recede once again into the Nether.

I think something far more dramatic and Illidan-y is more likely to happen though.

Illidan has shown that he will go to any lengths to do what he thinks needs to be done. His pulling Argus to Azeroth is the latest, biggest example of that attitude. He does not care about how other people feel or what unintended consequences might result. In D&D terms, Illidan is heavily on the chaotic side of the chaotic/lawful spectrum.

So while Velen and the Draenei, and possibly the Army of the Light, all might seriously want to re-take Argus and rehabilitate the world as best they can, I think Illidan is going to just blow the whole damned thing up.

I think that Argus will be destroyed at the end of this expansion. And while my Death Knight has been doing plenty to piss off the Red Dragons and my Paladin main, I think the DK's going to be utterly furious at my Demon Hunter (or at least his boss) for robbing him of the world to which he has waited twenty-five-thousand years to return. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Argus Approaches

When Kil'jaeden is finally slain (and I think we can say truly slain, as his death seems to occur within the Twisting Nether,) he seems ready to take the raid, Velen, Khadgar, and Illidan with him, crashing his command ship into the broken, corrupted world of Argus. However, Illidan uses the Sargerite Keystone to create a large portal leading right above Azeroth, giving Khadgar a close enough range to transport everyone safely to Azeroth (specifically somewhere in Azsuna.) Kil'jaeden speaks his last words to his "brother" Velen, seemingly apologizing or at least offering some explanation for his literally diabolic behavior over the last twenty five thousand years. Velen touches his forehead in either a gesture of forgiveness or perhaps just kick-starting the process by which Kil'jaeden explodes in a massive ball of fel energy. It's open to interpretation (on one hand, the Light forgives. But on the other hand, the Light also burns demons away into ash.)

However, there's a big twist:

Having safely landed on Azeroth and escaped Kil'jaeden's explosive death, Khadgar and Velen look up to see that Illidan did not just allow the raid to escape. He brought the entire planet of Argus with them.

And this is the real deal. I haven't been able to play for a while, but apparently once someone on your server downs Kil'jaeden, everyone now sees Argus floating overhead. It even appears that this is true regardless of what continent you're on (except obviously Outland and Draenor.)

Argus is really now nearby. It appears that it is near physically, within the Great Dark Beyond. Azeroth and Argus seem to be twin planets now.

Holy. Crap.

Now, according to I think Chronicle (maybe the Illidan novel) even if Argus isn't in the Twisting Nether anymore, the planet is so saturated with Fel magic that all the same rules vis a vis demons being killable still apply.

Illidan has just pulled the home base of the Burning Legion right up to Azeroth. While that does make us that much more vulnerable, it also means the Legion is much more vulnerable to us (and we know we're going there in 7.3.)

I really want to know what the longterm consequences of this will be. Is Argus just going to be there from now on? Or does this suggest that this expansion is far more likely to see Argus utterly destroyed (thus no longer leaving a giant reminder of a past expansion in the skybox when we move on?) And if it is destroyed, what does that mean for the Draenei, whose plot has centered around their goal to eventually return and liberate their homeworld?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Deaths of Chromie Scenario

It is a matter of fact that the Bronze Dragons are the coolest dragons. Their domain is over time, and that means they are dealing with the most potentially dangerous domain of any of the dragonflights. While Nozdormu is the Aspect, still alive at our point in time (or arguably alive, corrupted, and dead simultaneously at all points in time, because time travel is insane,) the one we tend to interact with the most is Chromie, also known as Chronormu (it's unclear whether Chromie is a male dragon, given the name, that just prefers to take the form of a female gnome, or a female dragon who has a masculine name, or maybe we don't have their naming conventions down, or that maybe Bronze Dragons don't get hung up on the whole gender issue.)

The Deaths of Chromie scenario is a new feature with 7.2.5 that players can repeat as often as they like, and appears to be an "evergreen" feature that scales the player to an appropriate level and item level (112 and 1000, respectively.)

Chromie realizes that at some point in her future, she's going to be killed, and so she enlists your aid to travel to that future and try to prevent her death. Shortly into your time-travel excursion, you discover that there are actually eight threats to her, all of which will be lethal. On top of that, the earliest she can get you to before her deaths is fifteen minutes, due to some mysterious interference (calling it now: Infinite Dragonflight.)

However,  you can repeat those fifteen minutes as often as you like, and in fact, you benefit a lot from knowing what's coming. For instance, there is a boss in each of the dragonshrines that requires a short series of quests to reveal, but in subsequent trips, you can simply go right to the boss and fight it. Each of these bosses drops an item that will unlock a different area: the Battle of Andorhal (circa Cataclysm,) the Culling of Stratholme, the Well of Eternity, and another era I don't remember right now.

These segments appear to be less fast-forward-able, though there do seem to be some benefits to having done them before. In the Culling of Stratholme, you need to get a key to town hall to get to its boss, and to do so you need to complete a series of quests where you buy a bunch of things from vendors. Once you've done those quests once, though, the quest items become available before you get the quests, so you can simply run to each shop and buy everything in one trip and then toss them to the two NPCs that request them right as they do.

Killing things in the scenario will upgrade your reputation with Chromie, and at each level you will be able to give her a new talent (which works a bit like class hall research.) The first two can be switched quickly at the start of each run of the scenario, but later ones require research time. However, you can continue earning reputation of the next level even if there's no talent selected, so it's not as bad as the class hall stuff.

I'm really just scratching the surface here, as there are plenty of items and buffs to get, as well as rewards including bronze-dragon-themed transmog (for successfully preventing all 8 attacks within the time limit,) as well as pets and the Time Lord title for filling one's reputation with Chromie (I must have it!)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Netherlord and Archmage Mount Quests

All right, two more classes!

Warlocks will get an up-to-date Dreadsteed of Xoroth-like mount (like the Paladin mount, this one flies without any visible wings, just glowing hoofprints.) You speak with the guy who collected materials for the original mount quest (that got 86'd in Cataclysm) and he sends you to do a number of things.

There's some auction house stuff - a potion, some metal, and some gems - and a pretty quick collection of Moonkin blood from a place in Val'sharah, and then the thing that will probably be frustrating to you if the stars have not aligned: an item off of the final boss of an invasion scenario.

With that stuff gathered, you get a quick quest to on the Broken Shore requiring the use of your Succubus and then you get to go into one little solo-scenario that has you slaying demonic minions (that go down easier with a Felhound) before taking out an eredar and enslaving its demonic horse, which you then get to claim.

The Mage mount has less set-up, requiring you to gather three pieces of a device Antonidas was working on before he died. These require a little bit of combat but mostly just ample use of teleportation and using Dalaran's central tower portals.

Once you get all three pieces, you go to the Eye of Eternity and have three somewhat challening fights against the elemental energy trapped in each fragment. Once all three are defeated, the three pieces are linked together and you get your cool flying disk.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Slayer, Farseer, and Shadowblade Mount Quests

Getting your class mount, in most cases, is primarily about just finishing the Broken Shore campaign, which is unfortunately gated behind champion missions, world quests, and rare spawns such that you might have to just log off and wait to complete them. The worst, however, is the hidden wyrmtongue cache quest. They did reduce this from having to find 10 to 5, but I really think it should be exactly one. Anyway, rant over.

Demon Hunters pretty quickly get a little scenario-like quest where they head to a remote fragment of Mardum and chase down the broodmother of the felbats on that world. You track it down and fight it while fending off its many offspring, but it mostly pretty simple.

Shamans simply get a summons from Thunderaan where you beat the three djinn bosses from Throne of the Four Winds (wait, if they're air elementals and you killed them in the raid, how the hell are they back? And if they can come back, why can't Al-Akir?) Anyway, these are just three tough but not too tough fights that I was able to do without much trouble. Once all three are defeated (not killed,) you get the mount.

And then Rogues.

Holy. Crap.

Rogues have by far the toughest of the mount quests. I was lucky enough to encounter a couple of other rogues working on it, and teamwork definitely helped.

You receive word that the Legion has planted undead homunculi in all the major capital cities now that the Illidari are able to spot demonic infiltrators. To avoid putting the Uncrowned in a tough position, they send you to the opposite faction's cities so that your attacks can be passed off as standard Horde/Alliance aggression.

This is not phased or anything, so other players can make your life a living hell.

My rogue is Undead, so I went first to the Exodar, where you have to use Distract or Blind to keep the target's incredibly tough (basically he one-shots you) arcane golem from attacking.

Next is Darnassus, where the target is throwing a party in the entry area (from inner Teldrassil) and you have to sap her elite priest friend and then use Evasion and Cloak of Shadows while you target her and take her down (there's also a standard elite patroller who can detect through stealth that pats near the target.)

In Ironforge, there's a guy actually in the entryway to the throne room who takes almost no physical damage, so you'll definitely want to go either Assassination or Subtlety (and spec for Gloomblade for the latter) to max your non-physical damage.

Finally, the nastiest one that will never get easier: in Stormwind, you have to kill the guy in the Trade District auction house. So, where every Alliance player is in the city.

With those four killed, you're done, and you can be very, very proud of that mount.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Joys of Nonviolent Encounters in D&D

So for my birthday (well, the night before, but going into the morning of) I had a really great session of D&D with my party. I came away with a smile on my face, and that's always great.

Partially it was because of a good fight - the party encountered a feature of the land in which they find themselves, called a Darkstorm, where undead and demons assail them. I decided to ditch my randomized list and instead pick an appropriately creepy creature from Volo's Guide to Monsters called a Spawn of Kyuss - a zombie-like thing filled with burrowing worms that can infect people (none of the players got hit, but a couple of NPCs they were guarding did - thankfully for them, the Paladin was ready with Lay on Hands to cure diseases.) Everyone got to do something cool during the fight.

The best part, however, was when I had them go into an Outer Plane of my own devising (I muck around a lot with D&D lore, though if I get into serious trouble I'll just make this a subsection of the Nine Hells) called the Oubliette, where they were trying to secure the release of a prisoner who had knowledge of the fortress they had just taken. As I had planned, a Bearded Devil appeared to try to stop them, but thankfully I trusted my instincts (and my battle fatigue after a protracted Darkstorm fight) I decided to play up the lawful, and thus bureaucratic nature of devils.

The Bearded Devil, who I named on the spot Kanameir, talked with the wizard in the party about securing a prisoner release form, which could only be done by proving the demise of the fortress' former commander and convincing him that the wizard was the new commander. The wizard rolled three natural 20s in a row - first to get the fiend to talk to him, second to know it would not be a good idea of ignore the devil's instruction to wait while he did hours worth of paperwork, and third to sign with a fake (ridiculous) name that, with a Deception check crit, he pulled off.

So now this party member not only has a friend in the infernal bureaucracy, but also secured the ability to house up to five prisoners within this horrific dimension. (He's True Neutral, so I don't think he'd have qualms.)

Anyway, as I said before, my quasi-new-years resolution was to allow for more non-combat encounters as the players saw fit, and this early example was a huge success.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Mounts for the Highlord and Deathlord

I've gotten two of the new class mount quests done. Both involve a short quest chain that can only be started after finishing the Broken Shore campaign (the last quest of which simply requires you to kill 100 demons in the zone - very easy if you go to the areas with lots of imps.)

The Paladin quest chain is highly reminiscent of the original Vanilla Charger quests (I never did the Blood Elf one added in BC, but I believe it had similar steps done in a different order.) Like that original chain, you are there to redeem a Death Knight's charger's spirit with the help of blessed barding. You need to pick up a few supplies (leystone and a Stonehide Barding from a leatherworker) and then you'll be able to go into Stratholme to face off against some necromancer who is doing some nefarious things.

The Death Knight chain is chapter two in the "uh... I'm not so sure we're the good guys anymore" series for the class. You get a message from the Lich King, who tells you of a vision he saw of a group of undead marching toward something on a glacier north of Icecrown. Yet when you go to investigate, there's only a tiny iceberg. The Lich King sends you to Wyrmrest to find out records of a fallen dragon in that area, and when the Red flight doesn't really cooperate, you go and take their records by force. You have an entire Ruby Sanctum's worth of red dragons and dragonkin to kill, and if you kill every last one of them (this might take a little patrolling to catch the flying drakes) you'll actually get a Feat of Strength achievement called Unholy Determination. Also, you'll be a pretty terrible person, as these guys' only reason to be hostile is that they don't want you raising one of their kind from the dead.

I'll be doing the Demon Hunter one relatively soon - I just need to get a Broken Shore champion mission completed - but the other classes will probably take a bit more time, as I haven't gotten them as far through the Broken Shore campaign (some haven't even gone there yet.)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Evaluating a Supposed, Poorly Sourced WoW Leak

It's pretty crazy to think that it is now June and this year is nearly halfway through. For WoW fans, assuming a release schedule consistent with history, it also means that we're looking at an expansion announcement in only a couple months.

One of the really big questions is how exactly, story-wise, they're going to follow up Legion. Given that Kil'jaeden is probably going to die at the end of only the second raid tier, it's hard to imagine us fighting anyone but Sargeras as the expansion's final boss. Even if we don't kill Sargeras, the fact that we will have defeated him marks the sort of logical extreme of our power.

Still, for a long time, level has not really been an indication of lore-wise power - I'm pretty sure they don't mean for us to take literally that some bear in Stormheim is truly harder to kill than the Lich King.

The other day a friend told me he had seen a rumor about the next expansion - a supposed leak. Now, I think it's wise to take any leaks with a grain of salt, but there have been several leaks in the past that proved accurate. I remember seeing some poorly-translated leak of Legion that suggested Demon Hunters and Warchief Sylvanas. The latter I thought disqualified the leak, as it seemed absurd that they would replace Vol'jin so quickly, yet here we are.

So just in case this does prove correct, let's put it out there so we can feel cool about ourselves. We'll break it down element-by-element.


The "leak" suggests that the next expansion would be a nautical/Naga-themed expansion, presumably with Queen Azshara as its final boss or at least an important antagonist. Azshara has seemed like an obvious expansion-carrying bad guy for ages, and every time there's a new expansion announced, people tend to assume that it'll be hers. While it has never been the case, the reasoning is still sound.

Allies on the Sea:

In this rumor, it appears that both Kul Tiras and Kezan would play a role. Again, I think these are pretty reasonable for the setting. Kezan we've been to, but its volcanic activity forced the playable goblins to leave. Still, assuming that things have cooled down there since the end of the Cataclysm, it might be an opportunity to finally see Undermine. And Kul Tiras, being the most navally-oriented of the human kingdoms, is an obvious Alliance location for a sea-based expansion.

New Race: Naga:

Supposedly playable Naga are something Blizzard's wanted to do for a long time. The Naga would be a new neutral race, like the Pandaren. Clearly, there are some anatomical issues to work out with Naga. While simply hiding pants and boots would probably work out (you often don't see shoes on Tauren, Trolls, Draenei, and Worgen) there's also the question of mounts and, if there were to be Naga Rogues or Monks, figuring out how kicking moves would work. One really interesting opportunity here, though, is that Naga would be a perfectly appropriate third race for Demon Hunters, as the Naga have been part of the Illidari longer than even the Blood Elves, and Demon Hunters just got a Naga class champion.

New Class: Tinker:

Ok, here's where I get a lot more skeptical. So far, we've gotten a new class every other expansion, so getting one right after we got Demon Hunters is a little far-fetched. The other question is how any new class is going to work with the class systems introduced in Legion. Obviously any hero classes that come about can just skip Legion content, but if we get a new start-at-1 class, what are they going to do in the Broken Isles? Do they get their own artifact weapons and class hall? To be fair, that's going to be an issue regardless of when they come out with a new class. I'm always excited to see more player options, and a gadget-based class could be a ton of fun. But this aspect of the rumor also seems very player-wishlist-y. Not to say that Blizzard isn't concerned with players' wishes.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Tomb of Annihilation and Xanathar's Guide to Everything Announced for D&D

Wizards of the Coast has announced new D&D products coming this year during their "Stream of Annihilation" that they've been hyping for a good while now.

Two books are coming out this year.

The first is Tomb of Annihilation, an adventure that takes players to an area called Chult (not part of the until-now standard 5e setting of the Sword Coast, though it is still in Faerûn) where the demilich from the infamous Tomb of Horrors is performing all sorts of nasty deeds, eating away at resurrection magic to fuel his undead. The adventure is going to be filled with dinosaurs, zombies, and zombie dinosaurs, and presumably the eponymous tomb, which we can expect to be a real death-trap.

The other book actually excites me a lot more, which is Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Just as Volo's Guide to Monsters was theoretically written from the perspective of a character in the Forgotten Realms, Xanathar is a beholder crime lord in Waterdeep. This book will be an expansion of rules, worked out in the Unearthed Arcana articles but now pinned down in official forms.

I've gotten way more use out of Volo's than any of the adventure books I've bought, and so I think Xanathar's will be a definite purchase. This includes new and expanded rules systems, but also new subclasses for every class (possibly with the exception of the Wizard, but they've got to have the most already, right?)

Anyway, I'll be following these releases.