It may just be on the PTR for now, but it is seriously one of the most sweeping, awesome, coolest moments I can remember in all the years I've been playing this game.
Vol'jin's back in Kalimdor, and he's ticked. But then, being the target of an assassination attempt ordered by the Warchief of the Horde is probably more than enough to make anyone cranky. If there's anything we're learning in patch 5.3, it's that while the Darkspear may be small, they are far from helpless -- and kicking that bees' nest is an action that will ultimately be sorely regretted. Both Horde and Alliance are on the prowl in patch 5.3, but the stories on each side of the faction fence look very, very different in patch 5.3, although the goal at hand is ultimately the same.
Please note: This post discusses patch 5.3 content. If you're avoiding spoilers, turn away now.
Both Horde and Alliance players start the introduction to the Darkspear Rebellion in the same fashion, through an unlikely source -- Lorewalker Cho. Players of either faction will have a note in their mailbox from Cho, asking them to pay him a visit. Upon doing so, players are treated to a full-scale story as an introduction to the Blood in the Snow scenario, and will receive a quest to complete the scenario. This quest must be completed before moving on in the chain.
Once complete, Cho has another story ... this time, of the excavation currently going on in the heart of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Players of both factions will get another quest, this time to complete the Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario. Once completed, Cho will regretfully inform you that he cannot go on and see how the story continues -- but you can. This is the point where the chains diverge a little for Alliance and Horde players, although they will merge once the appropriate chains are complete.
For Horde players, you'll be informed that Vol'jin is alive, well, and not exactly happy about the situation over in Kalimdor. He's decided it's time to launch a rebellion, and he's not alone. Both Thrall and Chen Stormstout have made their way to Sen'jin Village with the troll chieftain. You'll be sent to the village and the situation will be explained to you in full before you have a chat with the Chieftain of the Darkspear Tribe and get the first in a series of quests to gather supplies and prepare.
Four different Kor'kron outposts exist in the Northern Barrens -- one for lumber, one for oil, one for stone, and one for meat. You'll have to gather 15 of each before you can continue. Once you return with the supplies, Sen'jin Village will burst into full on war as Garrosh's Kor'kron forces attack. You'll need to beat back a selection of Kor'kron units as well as work some sabotage. And once that's all over...well that's where the real fun begins.
Vol'jin's had enough of waiting around, and he wants to take Razor Hill. You'll get to mount up and ride with a horde of angry trolls and take Razor Hill by force, freeing captured trolls and defeating Kor'kron elites as you go. Once done, Razor Hill is officially in Darkspear hands ... and that means that Orgrimmar is next. But, as Baine points out to Vol'jin, it's pretty much a suicide mission if he just runs into Orgrimmar with the forces he currently has. He's going to need more allies at his back if he expects to oust Hellscream -- and those allies are going to have to be from the Alliance.
After completing all quests in the chain, players will get a weekly quest to gather a large number of the various supplies scattered at the four camps in Northern Barrens. Completing the quest will net you a Radical Mojo, which you can use to purchase items from the quartermaster, or upgrade any Latent Kor'kron armor you may have purchased or come across.
For the Alliance, the story begins a bit differently. Cho mentions that his dream brew has shown him a mission of two Alliance spies just outside of Orgrimmar. You're sent to meet up with Amber and Sully -- and lest you think it's going to be a long trip, there's a convenient teleport to Ratchet available at your Shrine. Once you meet up with Amber, she'll fill you in on the details -- you're looking for vulnerabilities in the Horde defenses for the Alliance to take advantage of and launch an assault. What the spies didn't expect to see, however, are the large fleets of Kor'kron mulling around Orgrimmar. Garrosh is ramping up his defenses ... but why?
That's up to you to find out. Don't worry, you won't be in too much danger, you're going to use a new piece of technology called Project C4T. It's a very clever machine that lets you run around as a robotic cat via remote control. Being a cat, you're fairly inconspicuous -- but if the Kor'kron get too close, they'll be able to see right through the robotic feline and destroy it. You'll have a red circle indicating just how close you can get -- don't cross that line, and you'll be fine as you hunt down various important documents and make one very important rescue along the way.
Rescue? That's right. Imprisoned in a cage is none other than Zen'tabra, the troll druid trainer who first popped up back during Zalazane's Fall. She sees right through the robotic cat's disguise, but is highly appreciative of the help. And once you return the documents to Amber, the full scope of what has happened has become clear -- Vol'jin is staging an open rebellion against Garrosh. Amber then suggests something so crazy that it just might work: find the troll you freed, and see if you can get to Vol'jin to offer him your help.
Alliance players head to Razor Hill, and arrive just after the Horde side of the events have ended. Like Horde players, they are asked to gather 15 of each type of Kor'kron supply before quests open further. Once that is completed, Alliance players can work on the weekly quests to gather supplies and get Radical Mojo for themselves, as well as purchase items from the Darkspear Rebellion quartermaster.
Why the change of heart?
You may be wondering just why the Alliance is working in tandem with the Horde. You may be wondering why Vol'jin has decided to allow the Alliance to help. Both of these questions are answered over the course of the quests, and they are careful to make one thing very, very clear -- this is an alliance of convenience. The two factions have no real love for each other, but they're willing to work together to knock out the far greater threat at hand.
For both factions, once all quests have been completed, Chen Stormstout offers a different kind of quest as a follow up. Players are sent back to Pandaria to escort an old sage up a mountain, and discover some absolutely startling and groundbreaking information in regards to Pandaria's history -- history that is incredibly relevant given the events of present-day. I won't spoil the quest, you'll see it soon enough when 5.3 hits the live servers ... I'll just say this is a quest chain you likely don't want to skip.
All in all, even though patch 5.3 doesn't have any new raid content, there's plenty to do. And surprisingly, it's ridiculously fun. There's something oddly entertaining about escorting caravans around the Barrens, gathering supplies, and murdering Kor'kron by the truckload. This feels far more like war than patch 5.1, and it's equally satisfying for both factions. Keep in mind at the moment that there don't appear to be any reputation requirements or daily quests -- the only repeatable quest for now is the weekly one to gather supplies. If you've got a chance, pop on the PTR to play through the content -- and if not, you'll see it soon enough when 5.3 goes live.