Thursday, December 01, 2011

The End of Cataclysm

The final major content patch in the WoW Cataclysm story line is now live, from what I understand.

WoW has been banished from my hard drive for over six months now, but I still stop in from time to time with some of the major news sites (particularly MMO Champion) to see what is new in the World of Warcraft.  Lately I've been at least a little more tempted to stick a toe back into the WoW whirlpool, but fortunately the declining availability of space on my hard drive keeps this from becoming a possibility for the time being.

So I watched the new videos released today of the cinematics marking the end of Deathwings reign of terror (or, at least, reign of randomly burning people to death while questing), and found myself a little underwhelmed by it. The resolution was fairly cliched- the aspects giving up some of their power and withdrawing to let mortals fight for themselves, baby on the way for a fully matured hero, etc., etc.  This is, as some posters pointed out, the same ending as a lot of other fantasy stories- LotR comes to mind, as does Dragonlance's Age of Mortals kick-off come to mind, but I am sure that there are others as well.

I will freely admit to not being a big WoW lore fan- I played Warcraft I and II but not III, which is apparently where all the important stuff for WoW happened.  I was certainly not that familiar with Deathwing going into Cata.  As a result, he never felt like a particularly interesting BBEG to me.

Part of this was because of unfamiliarity with the lore, but part was because most of his most important activities took place off screen.  Sure, he killed me a couple times questing, but other than that?  He apparently set fire to Orgrimmar and Stormwind, causing them to become larger, better organized, and with more daily quests, which doesn't seem that villainous.

I think that really this was an over-reaction to WotLK.  Story-wise, players complained about Arthas apparently becoming a sixth member of the party too often, but his recurring presence at least established him as the main personality of the expansion.  His presence in the Death Knight starting area, the Wrathgate event, the five mans, the flashback quest chain involving his weird disembodied child-self... these all gave you a great feel for who the villain was and why he needed to be put down, even if you hadn't read the books or played WC III.

That was what Blizz did right from the perspective of a non-lore expert in WotLK; the important lore was right there, in game.  Cata seemed to assume you had heard it before, and would want to kill Deathwing just because he was Deathwing.

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