It isn’t all sweetness and light

I wanted to expand a little bit on the points Johnnie made in his editorial on the MMO Melting Pot today.

I really hope you’ll read the editorial through that link before continuing on with the post. Johnnie was very eloquent in making his points. I think it’s well worth your time.

I won’t reproduce the entire editorial here, but I think this quote is very representational of his overall point;

…everyone agreed: [the sundering] was going to be awesome. Personally, I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. The most tumultuous and (literally and figuratively) world-changing event in Warcraft’s history: I couldn’t wait to experience it.

Unfortunately, I can’t. It’s already happened, and I missed it.

Johnnie puts to words exactly how I’ve been feeling in the pit of my stomach as I experience the new quests on my level 20 human Hunter, and take my mains over hill and expore distant dale to see with eyes wide open firsthand how the world has become transformed.

I love what I’m doing in the game. I enjoy the surprising twists and genuine humor that coexists seamlessly with the poignant sense of change and loss amongst people and places long familiar to me.

What I don’t particularly love is the transition from the old world to the new. 

Rather than being part of the story, I go to sleep on a Monday, and on a Tuesday I find out I pulled a Rip Van Winkle act, and years have passed me by. How… jarring the transformation was, it leaves me feeling emotionally detached from any sense of immediacy. 

With the movies, the pulse-pounding energy of the prelude, I expected more of a sense of urgency towards the aftermath of Deathwing’s release.

Before I even go on, I’d better make sure I mention that I love the game as it is. I’ve got no complaints here about playing the game. The quest style and flow feels much improved. The content is great. The phasing, the humor and interaction with NPCs, it’s all good. I love where we are now. I really feel I can’t stress that enough in this post, because I know from past experience that many folks will read into any hint of displeasure I may express as being a massive whine fest “oh my god QQ just quit the game if you hate it wah”.

It’s not like that. I damn well love everything I’ve seen and done. I even appreciate how selected areas and quests were left mostly unchanged, just streamlined a bit, leaving the sense of the comfortably familiar waiting just around the next corner, as if to say, “You’ve been exploring the strange and unusual, and may feel nervous… come inside, my friend. Welcome home.”

But how the transition merged the passing of time with missing the Sundering event hurts, damnit.

The event we’ve been expecting to change Azeroth was presented in most media as being Deathwing’s breaking free from his elemental realm into ours. Right?

I was expecting that we would not be part of the actual event as the world was transformed, but instead log into the immediate aftermath.

That’s sort of what happened.

What’s messing things up for me is that not only was the Cataclysm event handled off screen, but they also took the opportunity to advance the entire history of the world of Azeroth many years past where we logged out BEFORE breaking it.

We logged back in not just to the immediacy that is Deathwing’s explosive entrance to the world, but also to a world that experienced years of political and expansionistic change while we were, well, asleep.

In my ideal game experience, I would have loved to be some small part of the event itself. To be able to say afterwards that I was there to witness the sundering of the Barrens, for example. Or that I was part of the bucket brigade that tried to douse the flames left behind from Deathwings’ assault on Stormwind.

But I knew that was unrealistic. I knew I was going to log in and it would all be over. The NPCs would experience the cool and scary events, and us bit players would walk in from off stage and react to it with expressions of dismay, amazement and sorrow. 

What I didn’t expect was that the world had also grown several years older while I was, apparently, mining for Saronite.

Perhaps our new characters are supposed to be coming in fresh, and our older, more experienced characters are ALL assumed to have been off in Northrend the entire time without ever having returned to visit during the war, single-mindedly championing the struggle against Arthas in far off distant lands.

Now, I know *I* returned quite frequently to visit, but maybe Blizzard is just deciding for me that I didn’t. It helps them plot the story better that way. 🙂

Now that Arthas is destroyed and the great war is over, here we are, weary soldiers returing to our homes in Azeroth to find that life moved on without us, new fortresses have been built, encroachments on territory have been made, tensions between factions are running high, war between Horde and Alliance is growing ever more likely, Varian Wrynn has turned into such a massive egomaniac that the prick erected a mighty statue in tribute to himself in front of the steps to Stormwind Castle, and, well, we’re finding out what it’s like to have done two tours overseas while life goes on without us.

Right? That’s a pretty powerful, realistic thing to have written into the flow of the game.

But while we were coming home victorious from the wars, someone else came along and bombed the shit our of our country. We didn’t get the chance to get reunited with our friends and loved ones, to be introduced to all the changes and see how things have grown before it all got blown apart.

That’s one heck of a lot of change to absorb all at once.

The single most jarring note for me wasn’t all the structural changes, either. It was feeling exactly how many years had passed me by.

When I first entered Redridge Mountains, there where Guard Parker used to stand, alone next to a big rock, there was now a massive tower called Three Corners.

At the top of the tower Guard Parker still stands, but now he’s been promoted to Watch Captain Parker.

At the base of the tower, you meet his wife Darcy, and they’re adorable little girl, Libby.

Wow! Why, Darcy, when I last saw you, you were working in the Inn at Redridge, and you were sweet on Parker… I brought thim the lunch you made!

And here you are now, not only married but with a little girl, as well! Congratulations!

Boy, she looks like she’s nearly eight years old!

It’s amazing how the time flies by, isn’t it? I wish your family all the best…

I only wish I could have had a chance to see any of it happen during the last five years I was playing the game.

47 thoughts on “It isn’t all sweetness and light

  1. Yep. Kinda weird how they have this whole “WORLD” concept and then it’s mostly a bunch of teleports and instances and arenas and BGs and pseudo-instanced WG and Tol Barad and there’s no way to really affect anything. It doesn’t really matter what you do on your server – everything’s the same no matter what.

    I just watched a video of the big worm bossfight in Stonecore – great, he’s up and down and in and out of the ground but there’s jack all to show a giant big bad worm just burrowed down.

    Phasing is great, but it takes players out of the way of world pvp. Teleports are convenient, but …same. Town guards are great, but the re-spawn means that no matter what you do, everything will be the same in an hour.

    Meh. If a few more zones were capturable like Tol Barad I’d be happier – kinda hard to make it an even fight, but I think it could be done with restricting number access and also restricting server/faction transfers to only go to the underdog sides of each server.


  2. I’m pretty disappointed with the transition, as well. I have to be honest, I really was expecting Deathwing to show up in Stormwind at some point, even just for a night — kind of like how Lord Kazzak showed up in Ironforge for us to fight when Burning Crusade came out. The elemental invasion, while cool, didn’t quiiiiite match the picture I had in my head of a big black fiery dragon sitting on Stormwind’s front lawn.

    I was more disappointed when the Shattering patch itself hit. I’d thought that we’d be walking into the immediate aftermath of Deathwing’s appearance — so a Stormwind on fire, panic in the streets, tsunami in Auberdine, etc. Instead we have a new pretty pretty fountain with that statue of Varian, and SW’s mostly rebuilt. I didn’t start really appreciating the politics of the situation until I started levelling a new shammy right after, when I realized that — hey! — there’s a lot more Horde areas than there used to be…and wow, what happened to the Barrens?

    I think the game itself is playing just fine right now, but a little more transitional exposition would have been a big help. This could have been done in a few different ways; a “catch up” cinematic would have been an easy fix (“While you were away here’s what’s happened and here’s where it’s at now…”), a more gradual transformation of the world leading up to Caty would have worked instead of the overnight Shattering — say, elemental invasion, then a “immediate post-Deathwing” patch, THEN a “five years have passed” patch. If they really wanted to go long-term, current players 70+ (so folks presumably out in Northrend) could have even gotten “news from home” postcards in their mail, starting right after Caty was announced last year. While it wouldn’t have jibed with what Azeroth looked like at the time, things like the Horde moving in on Ashenvale wouldn’t have been quite so jarring.


  3. Since this is very much like Johnnie’s post, I’ll post that same response here.

    “Not to put a damper on things, but how could Blizzard really make what you’re asking work from a gameplay perspective? Org has burned to the ground, I get to take part! Wait… where’s the bank? Where’s the auctioneers? Where are my trainers?!?

    How about leveling in the old world? While some of the current quests could work in a world between the old and the new, there are others that would not fit within that transition. Should Blizzard create new leveling content that will only be available for a couple of months?

    I guess it would be nice to have experienced everything. However, it simply is not practical. Blizzard is good, but they’re not miracle workers.”


    • Now, if I’d ever actually, seriously expected Blizzard to do any of that from a drug induced haze of ridiculous expectations, you and other comments along these lines would be very valid to have made. As it is… did this really advance the discussion? Or are you just getting on a high horse to tell me to shut up, but not in so many words?

      If you’re not interested in having a discussion, don’t comment.


  4. It hasn’t been years, according to Blizzard itself. It’s ‘now’. Until now the content hasn’t been able to update, as someone above said – finding Mankrik’s wife, killing blackwhelps in Redridge, the Defias in Westfall. All of this was found and done years ago, and only now is the game updating to say ‘yes, this happened, you guys did it when it was appropriate’.

    There is no years-long timeskip. There has been at least one blue post about this. At most, it’s been a couple of weeks. Deathwing’s clawmarks are still BURNING on Stormwind’s walls. Right before you arrive to Darkshore, it’s wrecked, and you’re out finding survivors of an emergency that literally just happened. Sentinel Hill has had Alliance peasants hammering at the same blocks for six years with no progress – and now we can see what they’ve been doing all that time. It’s not years later.

    It feels like it is. But it isn’t.


    • No edit function! Argh!

      I am a RPer, and knowing the timeline change – how much of one there’s been, etc – has proven absolutely vital to not having entire plotlines fall apart. A lot of other players have had similar. We can’t let how it feels OOC affect that there has been no real sudden change IC aside from the cataclysmic eruption of Massive Dagron.


  5. Blizzard tends to put most of their design efforts into something that will be seen by as many people as possible for as long as possible. It makes sense from a design standpoint. I do have some experience in software design, but not at the Blizzard scale, so I can only imagine the staggering amount of work that would’ve have had to have gone into the game for the Shattering to be able to be “lived through” live…for an event that would last a few days at most on the servers before the game settled into the state we have now. That’s a lot of effort to put into something that is only going to be seen for a really brief time rather than focusing on the questing, the dungeons, and the raids themselves since those are what people are going to be playing over and over and over again for the next few years.

    There is a bit of a disconnect between logging off on Monday in the Old Azeroth and logging in on Tuesday in the new, but as gamers in an MMO, we have to accept those breaks in reality. It’s the same kind of disconnect we have to live with when we tell Mankrik where his wife was. After you leave, he’s still sending people out to find her. It’s the same kind of disconnect pre-Wrath when we log in one day and find a bunch of boats and a huge harbor in Stormwind going to Northrend.

    I would have loved to have seen the Shattering happen live, but I understand why it wasn’t. Maybe over the course of the expansion, we’ll get a Caverns of Time instance where we go back and stop the Infinites from stopping it, and thus get to witness it on a smaller scale? That would be much easier to design and implement for groups of five people to do repeatedly than a 20-minute event that happens once for the entire server.

    Part of me is happy that major events are in the books rather than reenacted in game. Nothing would ruin the death of Cairne (one of my favorite racial leaders) quicker than watching Garrosh kill him…with Trade shouting Chuck Norris jokes and linking Thunderfury and assholes using things like fireworks and that dancing fire to cause as much distraction as possible.


  6. Now that Arthas is destroyed and the great war is over, here we are, weary soldiers returing to our homes in Azeroth to find that life moved on without us, new fortresses have been built, encroachments on territory have been made, tensions between factions are running high, war between Horde and Alliance is growing ever more likely, Varian Wrynn has turned into such a massive egomaniac that the prick erected a mighty statue in tribute to himself in front of the steps to Stormwind Castle, and, well, we’re finding out what it’s like to have done two tours overseas while life goes on without us.

    Right? That’s a pretty powerful, realistic thing to have written into the flow of the game.

    Back when I was in the business of being deployed, my life was filled with holes. I would simply drop out of life for several months. Then pop back to pick up loose ends. I was lucky to have a good spouse who could hold together all the normal pieces of modern life that doesn’t understand these things; bills and other finances, kids, etc. But coming home was always a culture shock no matter how many times one did it (the transition from Sandland makes one really appreciate the color green). Its an experience that few walks of life in the civilian world can really comprehend. You’ve captured the essence of it, BBB. And if we stop to think about it… maybe Blizzard has as well.


    • that’s kind of where I was coming from, that I can really appreciate the power of what they did by assuming our high level characters were away at war during the time that events moved forward without us.

      I think it’s probably the best way they could have handled it, and it works. And our newer characters get to take part in the world the way it is, and forge ahead with new stories, experiencing what our higher level characters caused to come into life. When my Human Hunter visited Redridge and met watch Captain Parker, Darcy and Libby, she was meeting a family that my level 80 druid helped, in a small way, bring closer together years before. It’s really a nice touch to the game.

      My complaint really is simply that I was not prepared, from previous media announcements or discussions, that there was going to be a move forward in time in addition to the cataclysm of Deathwing rising. I tried to remain free of spoilers, and I guess I did that a little too well. I expected all I needed to know about the world within the game, and my place in it, from the game itself, and not from internet website announcements.

      It’s not big deal, I knew at the time I wrote the post that we’d all get over it VERY soon indeed, but at the time I did think it was valid to talk about.

      Little did I know this old post was going to experience a form of necromancy!


  7. I was (maybe I still am) a little pissed.

    In Oz we logged off Tuesday night, then when I got home, sorted out all those little things that have to be sorted and logged in “it just was”.

    In a weird way I’m glad you feel my pain, because I thought I had missed out on the event… you know, have to be there at the moment the servers restart.

    Still, it was the perfect opportunity for a longer Deathwing/Shattering cut scene… Show the coming of Deathwing, show the rebuilding, so us stranded in Icecrown and unaware/unable to do anything.

    Have an Icecrown/Shattered Sun Staging rebuilding effort leading up to Cataclysm launch.

    Have a phased introduction to the new beginning.

    Instead I log on, on a completely different continent that I logged off on, wondering just what the hell happened. With no introduction, I felt compelled to continue on with what I was doing before logging off the night before… but bugger me if things hadn’t changed, I just didn’t know what, or where.

    There may be a book that tells the story of the game world, but at this point in time I don’t feel that there is a game that explains what happened in the game while I slept.

    I’ll get over it… life has been busy, so I haven’t had the chance in a week to explore the “new world”. That chance may never come as Cataclysm will soon be upon us, and exploring the beginning will probably be relegated to the end.


  8. For all the “would that have been so hard?”…. yeah, it would have been. Seriously.

    One person above pointed out the way to consider this… we’ve been playing in a static world for 6 years now. Nothing aged, nothing changed. All the sudden, Azeroth has caught up to what it should have been doing all these years… such as the waitress marrying Guard Parker and getting knocked up.

    So it’s not us “catching up” after a coma… it’s Azeroth that’s been in the coma and has caught up to US, to all the stuff we’ve been doing all these years, over and over.

    I remember progging for a text MUD, an RPG. I was a goddess in-character, and came up across the brick wall of having to reconcile exactly how to RP specific child NPCs that never grow up. Then I started thinking about aging the kids, and realized all the ties that link to each child – code, quests, interactions… it was daunting. And that was a SMALL game, nowhere near WoW by orders of magnitude. It was also, as I mentioned, text… no need for a new visual model fully animated for each stage, just some description strings. Still…. it’s a huge job. So yeah. Would it have been so hard? I have to say it would be.

    However, also as mentioned by someone above… the two new races DO experience the Shattering. So if you’re really jonesing to be part of it, make sure to roll a goblin or a worgen.

    Another point – at the Blizzcon art panel, I got in line to ask a question, that ended up getting asked by the 4th guy in line (well ahead of me)… are Orgrimmar and SW going to be the new “Lakeshire Bridge”, the never-ending repair project? The panel indicated it was very likely that the cities would be rebuilt visibly over time (or, possibly, suffer other damage).

    It may be that they won’t let WoW slip into that coma again.


  9. I actually only really realized this myself when my boyfriend asked me “so where’s the shattering then?” peering over my shoulder when I relogged to check on all the changes. and i was like “ummm…well, it already happened.” and he was arching an eyebrow at me, saying how that was kinda lousy because surely, if there was such an apocalyptic thing happening in the game we should at least get to see parts of that??

    and i’m not sure i can let them off so easily – i agree they’ve done a great job on the new zones etc. (i’ve spent my past 3 blogposts on exploring fun after all), but at least an ingame cinematic à la what we got after defeating Arthas? just ‘something’ to ease our character over into post-shattering? would that have been so hard?



  10. I just expected so much more from the event.

    The stormwind and ironforge invasions were pretty pointless and not many on my server participated. Also, the ironforge one was bugged out most of the time.

    I just wanted to feel like I mattered. I loved the shattered sun offensive. Everything we did seemed to matter and it was fun logging in each day to see if our server met the next milestone. I suspect that a lot more people participated because there were rewards as well as a new raid awaiting.

    The shattering happened and nothing I did had an effect on it. My character wasn’t even there, leaving all the npcs to fend for themselves. Would have been too hard for blizzard to change one zone per day and let people do things in the zone that involved it?


  11. BBB, I feel with you! I get this “Hey, guys, I’m home from killing Arthas, errr…. where the HECK is my home, it was right here in Org”, reasoning that my toon was away for quite a while. However, the change in leaders is something that we should have heard of. Perhaps I was messing too much on my alt(s), but I do feel a little “left out”.

    I love the new zones, can’t wait to level through them with my wife. So far I’ve only done a little exploring on my main – man what a change, and how cool it’s going to be. But really, some kind of a note? Perhaps through the mail? “Hi, I’m your new leader?” “Thunderbluff under moo management?”

    I kinda expected the revamping of the zones to be part of the pre-event – let’s say one zone on each continent per day or something like that? Even if it were just a town crier going “Camp Taurajo is lost, but we won Southshore” or something.

    And dear Garrosh, excellent idea to rebuild Org. Nice to give everyone their section. But really, did you *have* to set up shop in the first house you see when entering Org? I mean, you *do* know about the alliance wanting your head for a nice little riding mount and all that. Also, how many entrances would you like for Org to have? It’s a wonder there’s room left for a wall!!!
    At least Gamon has been to the gym and leveled some – if he pulls himself away from the bar, he might help you during the next invasion…

    In the meantime – I’m all giddy about the new world, totally lost in “New Orgrimmar”, and it’s all sooo much… for me it makes up for the sudden change and unexplained things.



  12. I too was hoping for more of an Argent Tournament feel to the reconstruction. Nothing drastic, heck, not even anything requiring quests – but a simple rebuilding of Org/SW, a refabricating of Brill, the building of the various fortifications for the Worgen invasion… heck, make it fast paced for the two week period between the shattering and Cata launching… something that doesn’t absolutely rip the verisimilitude and chuck into the gaping crack in the barrens.

    I even asked in trade before the event how I’m supposed to reconcile the changes (having seen them on the PTR) – the most common answer was: it’s a game, get over it.


    I like your explanation BBB, if only Blizzard had had the wherewithall to state something akin to it in game.


  13. “What’s messing things up for me is that not only was the Cataclysm event handled off screen, but they also took the opportunity to advance the entire history of the world of Azeroth many years past where we logged out BEFORE breaking it.”

    This. I’ve been spending my time playing a new belf warrior (now if only I could get one of those enormous tower shields and a double-sided sword…) through what I’ll call the Forsaken Sequence, because it felt like the most appropriate way to take on the new content. With the exception of maybe some higher water levels, it doesn’t feel like the Cataclysm has struck that part of the world at all – it’s mostly just a progression of the events of the Forsaken’s effort to further establish their hold on Lordaeron and the diminishing of the Scourge. Taking it on with an 80 just didn’t feel appropriate for the kind of story telling happening – it’s a new tale for new heroes.

    I have been enjoying the hell out of it, though – immersive, compelling, and well, well paced – I have forgone my heirloom chest and shoulders because I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I can’t wait to play through every applicable zone now with each faction.

    Of course there is the wonder on my pvp realm of level 80s from the other faction also questing and griefing my new warrior and the quest givers (why aren’t there dishonorable kills again?), and that’s a great time to bring my 80 into the fray – Kingslayer Brujita the Retribution Paladin is currently parked in the Hinterlands, defending the meek against the depravity of Alliance douchebags. Beware, level 80 Alliance scum, or some paladin might drop a Divine Storm on you and your quest givers, too!


  14. You know what would have been cool?

    If new characters lived in the “old” world. The Barrens are in one piece, Auberdine still stands, etc. etc. Then they go to Outland. Then they go to Northrend. Then they return…and then the changes take place. Holy cow, what has been *happening* while we were away, etc etc.

    It would be a *major* headache–think how much of a pain in a butt it is when phasing keeps you from questing with your friends in Icecrown, and multiply that by, oh, eighty. And it would require Blizzard to essentially patch and maintain *two* games at once. But it would be cool.


  15. I completely agree with you on this one. I logged out in the inn in Stormwind, and the next day when I logged on, I walked out expecting to see Stormwind burning. Nope, no fires, in fact everything looked shiny, and there is a new auction house. Okay, let’s see from the outside, I thought. I rode down to the main gate, and some guys are dragging a statue out of the moat. Huh? Not what I would expect to be happening hours after half the world was shattered. Then like you I realised it- I’ve been in a coma for 6 months, maybe more! wtf? I’d missed the whole thing. Big disappointment, Blizzard. BIG disappointment.


  16. One thing I would’ve liked to see them do, even if it was a development thing for one moment, is have Deathwing spawn everywhere at the last 10 minutes and burninate all of Azeroth before it was dead.


  17. I feel the same way, BBB. I felt lost and confused after logging in. Didn’t DW just destroy everything? How could they have rebuilt things so fast? Is this powerful magic? When Dalaran was moved, we knew why… but all these changes are mindboggling.

    I also agree with what others have posted. It would have been nice to have the DW montage and then a 1-2 min recap like they do for new toons detailing the reason (lore) for all the changes taken place over the last 6-8 years. Not spoiling the actual visual presentations, but giving us some background to what we’ve missed.

    Great post. I love your “away at war” scenario… I think I’ll keep that in mind when exploring.


  18. I, for one, am going to take advantage of holiday pricing to purchase The Shattering. I am certain I will feel more engaged with the events once I am done with the book.


  19. What can I say … even in real time it is a long time since I first made that lunch delivery … I’ve not kept in touch with the pair … many things can happen … Personally I’d love to have been on a pinnacle in Thousand Needles as the waters rushed in.


  20. We DID experience all those years of growth and change unrelated to the sundering- they were in our quests, the slow impact of decisions, the way the lore has changed and adapted fluidly over the last six years. It’s just that they took the opportunity to bring the physical geography of the world up to date. And frankly, I’m glad they finally did. I could argue that it would have been nice to see the transition, but in all seriousness, I don’t know what goes into building this specific game or how decisions are prioritized at Blizzard, so I’m not going to pass judgement on what I don’t understand.

    I do think they avoided things that were unpopular in previous world events- like the material gathering of AQ. And frankly while many people found Wrath’s opening event with the zombies to be spectacular (myself included), an equal number were extremely put out by the same event.

    I guess I’m in the minority here- I’m not disappointed. I always had the feeling the sundering itself was a brutal, fast, terrifying event, and that’s exactly how it feels in-game right now, in the aftermath. Flying my max-level druid out to Darkshore was like a punch in the gut. I was running around really trying to -save- those people, not just tick the objectives off for the quest. Much like the really good parts of Wrath’s content, honestly. And I guess I’m better able to cope with the reality of the slower updates just now “showing” in-game.


    • “We DID experience all those years of growth and change unrelated to the sundering- they were in our quests, the slow impact of decisions, the way the lore has changed and adapted fluidly over the last six years.”

      This – the technology just didn’t exist to allow us to see it visually. And the revamped old world in many ways isn’t meant for our 80s, I think – it is now the world that reflects the actions that our 80s took when crossing it the first time, with a little extra Shatterin’ for flavor. What *is* intended for them is the content that will be released on the 7th – their role is to roll up their sleeves, heft their Bryntroll, the Bone Arbiters to their shoulders, and march into Hyjal to see who’s getting all uppity now. 🙂


  21. It’s like the Obsidian Sanctum was when it was introduced; there was something to do, but the reasons for it and the rest of the story all took place outside of the game. While it may be more convenient for them to develop, they really need to be honest if the intention is for you to pay extra to get the story out-of-game from other media. (Aside from the Shattering novel, which was pretty nifty, the introduction and adventures of Varian through the comics also springs to mind)

    But like you said; once you get your head around being Rip van Winkle, the new azeroth is pretty awesome.


  22. Like everyone else, I completely agree. I read that editorial this morning and it really hit home. The thing is, when I rolled a new troll…it IS all new to him and it all makes perfect sense and it’s awesome. But, when I ran to Darkshore on my main, I was phased from talking to the npc’s and still don’t know what the troll party was all about there. It’s a catch 22. I don’t want to have to go back and do a quest line for every single zone to get every single character I have phased properly, but I love the way phasing works on a new character coming into the zone. it’s the whole having my cake and eating it it too thing. They’ve done so much to improve this game literally overnight, that I feel guilty about wanting more, but I can’t help it. I think Blizzard realized this entire point on some level and kind of addressed it with the books (which I haven’t read) and the elemental invasion, which just didn’t deliver (aside from the fact that I got to fight side by side with Cairne Bloodhoof before he died) with so much coming on it’s heels that we already knew about. I would have been happier with Deathwing blowing through every zone and one shotting everyone so hard that they couldn’t log back in until the patch had gone live, but I think the time jump would still hit me the way it has. I’m incredibly happy with what they have done with the game, it’s better by far than just giving me a new continent and some stuff for my max level characters to do. I’m invigorated to roll new characters and do things slowly. I even read two quest texts on my troll. But, I’m also appreciative of the chance to voice the things I don’t love here. It’s like when I got the Millenium Falcon for Christamas the year after Empire was released. It was badass, but I only had Han Solo in his Hoth battle gear, not in the black vest and it diminished it just a teensy tiny bit.


  23. It would have been nice if they introduced phasing, make the new world, maybe with next to no npcs or mobs, so you basically can do nothing but the few quests to get out of the phasing, but you can look around, maybe see people fleeing in terror that you cannot interact with. That should have been doable I think.
    I was worried I missed something, I tried to re-sub on monday but had some problems, ended up subbing on tuesday night, it was wednesday night before I could log in. And I thought “oh no i missed everything” but apparently I didn’t.


  24. While I can see the technical issues preventing a more “engaging” event, I am finding this a weak argument. I mean 1-60 has been the same for the last 6 years. the world of cataclysm will remain as it is for quiet some time. Imagine if it was the end of the world for the next couple of years? That would not be good either.
    I find this argument like asking for a new car, and when some one gives you a nice shiny new roadster you complain that its not the colour you wanted.
    After adventuring through Beta, I find myself having a fantastic time that I almost cannot remember having since I first picked up the game 4 years ago. The pace is excellent, the story fun, and the environments gorgeous.
    This expansion has been such a giant leap forward in term of quality of play in so many aspects of the game. I mean with so much good added to the game, why go looking for and focusing on the small bits of bad. Dozens of blogs, forums posts about the lack of portals in Dalaran. Anger at the fact you have to run some where. God, what was leveling in the old world like, if not an obscene amount of running?
    Could the change from 4.0.3 to 4.0.3a be more spectacular? yeah, sure. There is room for improvement in anything. But why let that get in the way of the fun you could be having?


      • What I think a lot of people haven’t picked up on (and it is completely understandable why they feel this way because of the way Blizzard has chosen to show progression in the world) is that storywise these changes have been happening for the last 6 years. In 2004 you first met Guard Parker and took him his lunch. In 2010 he’s married. He’s had 6 years of life in that time which you have never been shown because Blizzard chose not to. When you meet Mankrik in the Barrens, he tells you that 6 years ago his wife was killed. There used to be a quest in the Barrens which you ran into at 8 or so where you killed crocolisks to find the necklace belonging to a son of a mother who was grieving. When you run into that quest at 8 now, she tells you that 6 years ago today her son was killed.

        You have to divide Shattering events into two camps. Those which have been happening for 6 years (rebuilding the Lakeshire bridge, the Alliance pushing up from Northwatch Keep in the Barrens) and those which happened recently (the Barrens being cut in half.) Blizzard just chose to present them to us at the same time. For any that think this suspension of disbelief is too far, bear in mind that lorewise Stonard is the biggest Orc city outside of Orgrimmar, but the game surely doesn’t show us that.


  25. I expected something more along the lines of what they did with the Argent Tournament grounds, at least for Org and SW. A period of rebuilding with daily quests to gather materials I feel so out of place now, at least on my level 80 toons. And I’m waiting to level one of the new races, so I haven’t started w/ the new & improved ™ quest lines yet.


  26. It seems they chose to splice the two points in time with a cinematic montage and that’s fine but it would have felt more tangible to me if my characters saw the mini-film on their first login post patch the way your brand new toons get the racial film. I mean, I saw the previews and the trailers and all that on the web and on TV but if my characters each went through it in game.. well, I’d have liked that. What about you guys? Fair compromise between our emotional needs and practical realities of game design?

    The game is beautiful and the way the whole world has enriched in color actually makes the troll bears look more at home to me. Of course, I loved them anyway…

    BBB, did you notice that as soon as you get to level 6 mobs, outside the 1-5 starter zone, the game now teaches players not to stand in fire even while soloing? Level 6 scorpions will but poison under you and the marines drop grenades like the vikings in UK. That’s gonna have amazing implications for any brand new players. Speaking of new players, the redesign of the capital cities is the best thing that could have happened for them. With even 6 year vets logging in and saying “hey, where’s the ” they’ll have perfect cover from noob griefers.

    The Ann Coulter pet makes me wonder what real life events the arrogance of Varion Wryn might be paralleling to you? 😛


  27. I didn’t realize there was so much time between… Looking at Stormwind the first time, my first thought was ‘Whoa, they must have had Bob Vila on half a ton of meth for WEEKS to get this done…


  28. I was hoping to have a bit more lore trickled out to us, so info about why and how there are new towns/ports, it would be nice if an npc could interact with you to tell you the history of what happened say in Swamp of Sorrows, while we were “away”. I also wish there was a better cinematic, I too logged in expecting.. well something. I am having fun though, exploring with my main characters and starting fresh with a new hunter.


  29. To be honest, I was expecting phasing, etc. from the get go. Not that the new quests aren’t good, but they’re not on par with the new DK experience. And it was a bit jarring to come into SW and see the new auction house when the day before it wasn’t there. It doesn’t make sense from a story point of view that we just skipped ahead so far. I think a far better title for the expansion would have been “Aftermath of the Cataclysm”.


  30. If Blizz REALLY wantd too…..they could have made class specific quest involving the shattering…….when you logged in after the vent….if you CHOSE to…you could do a “culling of stratholme” type of quest……..where you play yourself/watch cinematics of the events as they unfolded over the years…….the majority of the quest would be identical to all classes except a few points where ie: as a preist…you help the wounded heal…….as a warrior you fight off a few waves of elementals………as a rogue you sabotage the twilight guys……….as a hunter you and the pet fight of new beasties…..and as a druid you mend and fight on the front lines……just as an example! then…for those of us into the lore and want to feel a part of Azeroth we could do that…..those that dont….could do it later….or never….all it would get you is a title to go along….maybe something like “the Witness” ……..or somethin like that. i logged in and was amazed at how fast stuff was built……I thought we were logging into the aftermath also……….oh well. Thanks for writing such fun posts BBBear!


  31. Agree with you, Big Bear.
    I guess there were technical issues preventing it, but in principle, I also would have liked to “be there” when it happened.
    Imagine this: Blizzard could have said something like… “Deathwing is coming through anytime soon, folks, really soon… better stay online if we were you. ”
    Then we get those orange, server-wide messages (the elemental plane has melted…) annoncing his imminent arrival, and near-constant earthquakes…
    And at midnight, a collossal “ALL WILL BURN UNDER MY WINGS” and the video begins playing, followed by a server shutdown.


  32. i know how you feel BBB. I expected at least a good cinematic that showed deathwing break through, eff up stormwind, break the barrens, and show why org and other zones changed so drastically. but no. blizz showed us this simple quick cinematic giving us the overview. guess I’ll have to finish up the Shattering :/


  33. I’ve given much thought over the last few years about making truly living, dynamic virtual worlds. I’ve also seen the realities of game development, albeit on non MMO projects. I’m not totally convinced it’s impossible, but when doing as much as Blizzard does for the sheer amount of content generation, it’s really no surprise that they would have to do it in chunks of time like this.

    It’s undeniably a bit jarring, I’m just not sure how else they realistically could have done it. They could have made the bucket brigade, but the resources making that work would only be in the game for what, a week? Unless it’s phased, and you play through pieces of the Shattering’s history as you go. That might be a good way to handle it, too, but again, that’s stuff you’d play through once per character. Given their reticence to make the relatively smaller class-based questlines, I can see where they might not want to bother with a lot of phased stories.

    …that’s not to say that I like it, but I can understand it. Sort of. It’s not like they are running the business out of a garage these days. But that’s another rant. 😛


    • Exactly. I don’t see any other way they could have done it, but it does make me feel sad to have had that much time pass.

      But now that I’ve said it and gotten my single, lone gripe out of the way, I can do a string of gushing fanboy posts with a clear conscience.


      • Interesting points… But I think they are going as you said with the notion that the PCs were off in Northrend. The problem in general for them is they have players who have been playing 6 years, and players who won’t start till next week, and needs the content to work for all of them.

        They could have done massive phasing to move people through the Cataclysm… But the logistical problems there would be a nightmare. They’d have to have designed it to work at all levels, and they would have been lambasted for forcing people to go through a whole lot of content railroad style, with all the problems of phasing where everyone in your Guild is on different phases of different zones.

        They could have done incremental static shifts, but that would be a lot of art and a lot of work on content that would be around for weeks at best, and that probably was not deemed to be an acceptable use of resources.

        As is they have the not insignificant problem of the timeline of the expansions. Up until now at least you could say that it was chronologically linear going from Vanilla, to BC, to Wrath. But now “Vanilla” is the present, and a new character steps into the “past” when they experience BC and Wrath content.


    • I can agree with your point that there’s just so damn much content that iterating it in through events would have been clumsy, but y’know? I think I would have at LEAST wanted a scripted Mak’gora event between the Cairne and Garrosh, like how they had one during the transition between BC and Wrath between Thrall and Garrosh.

      I mean, it’s irritating that one night I went to sleep, and the following day the old cow was gone, and Baine was in his place without so much a how-do-you-do. No farewell event or nothing.


      • I very much agree.

        I don’t RP, but after six years (or howevewr long it’s been) of playing with Taurens, it’s really wrong-feeling to just have my personal leader being… gone. Apparently if one begins a new Tauren one is told we’re in a spot of upheaval, because Cairne is dead, but even then we’re not told how or why.

        It makes me sad.


    • The difference between phasing and class quests from a development effort is that the former is potentially open to everyone that reaches the appropriate level, while the latter is never going to be relevant for more than a small portion of the player base.

      Given that Blizz didn’t have their phasing tech six years ago, they obviously couldn’t apply it to the old world. What I’m hopeful of is that, now that they do have the phasing tech, we may see it employed a bit more so that the story evolves as the expansion progresses. We’ve already seen this a bit with changes to Northrend as the content patches rolled out.

      At launch, Wrathgate was already in place, we had the progressive construction of the Argent Tournament, the phasing of Icecrown itself, then the minor modification to Dalaran to add the fountain following the Realm First LK kill (at least, I’m assuming that’s when that thing spawned).

      Minor touches, sure, but signs that Blizz are definitely working towards being able to evolve their world rather than just dropping changes on players in new content patches. I’m hoping we’ll see new developments in the SW and IF throne rooms and the Darnassus temple (and equivalent locations for the Horde) over the course of Cataclysm, so folks that are paying attention will be able to follow a bit more of what is going on in-game.


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