Regarding Cataclysm

So, visiting the folks over the holiday, I realized upon arriving that I’d forgotten my external hard drive at home – not really a huge disaster as such, except for the fact that I left a pretty significant chunk of all my 3D stuff on that drive. Oops. So while the intention was to do another Winter’s Veil render as usual.. that won’t be possible until I get back home again. So with that path blocked.. I’ve been meaning to voice my overall thoughts of 4.0 and Cataclysm for some time, but between everything that’s been happening and overall being preoccupied, I’ve not really taken the time to collect my thoughts and write something – especially since I’m not entirely sure what exactly I should say about it. Just saying “yeah, it’s pretty good.” doesn’t exactly give all that much. Still, I had some concerns and fears pending Cataclysm prior to its arrival, so that’s always a start.

Strictly in terms of Night elves, my opinion in large can pretty much be described as “better than I’d feared.” – druids and Sentinels both are given ample opportunity to field their own expertise, both through cooperation and separate work, and it feels like Blizzard took much greater care at portraying racial flavor with them than they have prior. The Night elves are the closest World of Warcraft have ever allowed to their Warcraft 3 depiction, and it’s refreshing to see them ready to strike back in full force. Another thing I found heartening was that Blizzard chose not to lionize and take party with the Highborne – while I feared they might be portrayed as a righteous people wronged, Blizzard pulled very few punches in showing them every bit as arrogant and self-occupied as they were ten thousand years ago, and while it’s generally implied they might be “needed” – it’s very clearly shown just why they aren’t really all that “wanted”.

One thing I found really interesting with the HIghborne, in fact, is that the only ones that seem to be making a huge deal out of their return is.. well.. the Highborne themselves – the rest of the Night elves haven’t really made a big affair out of their return, instead settling for tolerating them as allies but well expecting them to repeat the past at some point. Pretty much “We don’t trust them, but Tyrande says to tolerate them so we tolerate them.”.

There’s a fun aside with the Highborne, though – in Stonetalon mountains there’s a set of ruins full of highborne spirits recounting dialogue from prior to the Sundering. One of the snippets there includes a reference to Malfurion and other druids, which makes perfect sense in terms of the old pre-Knaak canon but actually declares in the least a portion of his War of the Ancients trilogy as non-canon. Now while I suspect this is more of a lip than an actual intention, I actually found it really amusing to see – especially alongside how Teldrassil quests do their absolute best to avoid refering to the absolutely horrendous Stormrage novel in spite of being partially about the outcome of it. Now, I’m not naive enough to think this means Blizzard is finally taking distance from his inane scribbles, but as far as I’m concerned, stepping away from his contributions is a good move.

And while we’re refering to Stonetalon Mountains: the Horde. Oh the Horde. I realize that Blizzard are trying to set the factions up against eachother.. but I haven’t seen the Horde so openly vilified since WarCraft 2 – apart from the obvious plague weapons of the Forsaken and The Bomb in Stonetalon.. there’s corrupting furbolg tribes (trolls), corrupting forests (orcs), enslaving furbolgs (orcs) and generally all devastation and.. well.. outright evil. I was actually shocked to see just how far Blizzard decided to take the conflict, and later zones actually struck me as strangely disproportinate since the fires are fuelled and then.. well.. almost ignored. It goes from murder, corruption, bombing of children and the slaying of several important people to the point where the quests basically declare “we can not have peace ever period” and then suddenly there’s Thousand Needles and not only is Gnomes versus Goblins more like schoolyard rivalry than outright war, but we also have Night elves and Tauren having no problem uniting together against the Grimtotem.

I admit, I’m actually not sure where Blizzard are intending to take all this – for all their trying, it still feels somewhat like they’re trying to play two different angles; on one hand, they really want to play the “We must unite against a common, greater threat” angle to its fullest.. but on the other, they’re so set on declaring Pvpers equal heroes (or in the least lacking the stones to declare them part of the problem, from a narrative standpoint) that both the unite! and war! angles combine into an inconsistent mess where the two sides will alternate between peaceful cooperation, friendly competition and outright war and murder. Of course, I admit that the situation now makes far more sense than it ever did in vanilla, but it’s still something of a confusing mess.

It’s especially odd since Blizzard will happily have questlines railroad players into doing foolish, questionable or even downright evil acts without really having any choice about it (other than not accepting the quest and thus fooling yourself out of content, since there aren’t any alternatives), but doesn’t allow players themselves to make the choice of undertaking morally questionable acts.

Speaking of railroading – Cataclysm is occasionally very heavy-handed with it; there are some cutscenes which are used rather well and feel like they make sense in the context of the events being shown.. and then there are others, where all you can do is stare impotently at the screen shouting “Let me act, damnit!” at a game that just essentially kidnapped your character and replaced them with some weird facsimile that pantomimes out actions that neither you nor your character would’ve taken. It’s not that I have a problem with in-game cutscenes – used well, I think they can have great effect, and there’s one in the Twilight Highlands where your character is asked to take Alexstrasza to safety, and then does so. It’s simple and non-speaking, and works perfectly. By contrast, there’s many other situations where your character is forced down this or that path where it’s obvious it’s a bad idea, but you’re not really given a choice in the matter – especially not when cutscenes come about.

There’s another great contrast in the Twilight Highlands – not so much a cutscene as something you can actually sort of interact with: you fall into a creature that seems the love child of the Overmind and a Sarlacc, and end up in a nightmare vision where you’re asked to take down Deathwing on your own and while you’re given full reign to act.. there’s really nothing you can do, and it conveys a sense of hopelessness well because you can act.. but you can’t accomplish anything regardless of your actions. Compare this to several cutscenes in Uldum where they fail to properly convey any danger, and it really feels like you could take on what you’re faced with if the game would just let you try, rather than forcibly preventing you from taking action.

Actually, speaking of Uldum.. most of my fellow nubs loved it because of all the egyptian feel and Indiana Jones fandom and all that and.. to be honest, I really didn’t. Now, I like the aesthetics present, and ignoring a few cutscenes, I was perfectly with them as far as the quests involving the Tol’vir went, and I could even swing with some of the earlier Harrison Jones quest bits.. but then towards the latter half.. well.. the Deathwing vs The World premise devolves into what I can only describe as Harrison Jones versus Schnottz the Goblin Nazi, and it all turns into a joke zone. That’s not to say that I didn’t find some of the quests interesting or some of the references clever or any of that.. but suddenly it was impossible to even try to see any kind of tension or threat in the whole chain of events because instead of trying to fight Deathwing, you’re busy playing the sidekick in an Indiana Jones parody. Sure, they work the minions of Deathwing in on a corner, but let’s be honest – it’s not about that, it’s about Indiana Jones fighting Nazis, and as fun as that can be from a parody perspective.. it made the whole zone feel really out of place for me. It just felt like it broke the internal consistency of the world and I could no longer believe in the fantasy because it had been supplanted with an entirely different one.

There’s one final thing I want to touch on in this particular post – planning to mention a few words regarding the direct experiences of old priestess Nhani Moonfall, but I’ll save that for later – and that’s the very excellent Badlands quest line known as The Day that Deathwing came. It’s utterly hilarious, and I loved how all three unreliable narrators were so obviously making things up as they went. Of course, the thing that really killed me was the Blood elf; him as well as the.. “fair damsel” in Un’goro. At least the latter one got help in retrieving his purse. I mean crate. All his gowns were in it!


38 Responses to “Regarding Cataclysm”

  1. December 24, 2010 at 17:20

    I completely agree with your assessment on railroading and cutscenes: it’s even more frustrating from a gameplay perspective in that your character is shown cowering or stunned into inaction in situations that you regularly come out on top of in normal gameplay. A dozen pigmies surrounding your caravan (in which you’ve got at least six other allied units)? Another AOE tanking fight without the cutscene, but “Oh no, little midgets who look suspiciously like gnomes, we better let ’em have their way!” once you see the cinematic bars and you lose control.

    I think I’ve got to disagree with the Deathwing nightmare/cutscene thing, though: while you are indeed given freedom to move around, you can’t mount up and Deathwing is still considered an “Invalid target”, so you’re still unable to act as you might wish. Once I exhausted those options, I just /danced with Deathwing and turned up the heavy metal.

    Everything else is spot-on, I think, and I only have one more thing to add: watch out for dungeon bosses in Heroic: they like to add extra gimmicks that aren’t seen in the normal version.

  2. 2 Jacob
    December 24, 2010 at 23:04

    I’ve got nothing to add.

    Only a Merry Christmas

  3. December 25, 2010 at 12:44

    I have to admit there isn’t really a true ‘Deathwing’ army in this expansion. True your fighting cultists and several races allied with Deathwing, but there is no real unified force like you had in Wrath.
    If there was one thing Arthas did right, it was combining several seperate cultures (Crykul, his undead, Legion of the damned enctr) and making them co-operate in one tune.

    The Twilight’s Hammer has in in fighting as seen in Hyjal between their human and ogre members and no real threat is felt. Your fighting people in purple robes, and there is only a limited number of them. in the Pre-Cata quests you saw lots of your citizens fleeing the Capitols and joining up with them, your beating up Old Man Jenkins who sold you cheese and drinks so you could go leveling in a manner of speaking.

    Dont get me wrong, I can see why Deathwing’s army is not as bad ass or as overwhelming as the Lich King’s since Deathwing just wants to see the world burn and does not require a army as numerless as Arthas did.
    Yes Deathwing is bad ass, but his minions aren’t. The only mobs I sort of enjoyed fighting were the Naga and only because they seemed very organised by a darker mind then Deathwing.

    On the Horde-Alliance war….I like it.
    As a Horde player I saw some dastardly things done by the Alliance which no doubt was a retalitation by Horde transgressions. The one quest line I enjoyed In Swamp of Sorrows was the one where I had to help a female orc scout help her mate pass over as peacefully as possible as a result of an alliance skirmish.

    The Taurajo massacre is another good example of throwing more wood on the fire as you suddenly have Tauren thrown into the conflict, a race of people who didn’t really wished to fight the Alliance up untill that point.

    As much as I miss Thrall, I think Garrosh fits well in this expansion to get the War back into Warcraft. Though personally I hope Thrall gets back with Aggra and rebuild the Horde after this what I like to call ‘Fourth War’.

    • December 25, 2010 at 12:47

      Question, what do you think of the Thrall-Aggra thing Nhani?
      I heard mixed replies going from ‘about damn time thrall got laid’ to ‘she’s a god damn mary sue’.

      • 5 Nhani
        December 25, 2010 at 13:51

        I don’t really know much of Aggra beyond that she’s a Mag’har Shaman. In the pre-Cata events in Outland, there was a Wildhammer who shared her mindset that Thrall would have to dedicate to a single calling to truly embrace it, and the only times I’ve seen her post-Cata, she’s been playing Thrall’s sidekick.

        I haven’t really seen her by herself with her own actions enough to form much of an opinion or judgment on her as a character. If anything, the one impression I have is that she sounds like a very.. constructed character – that is, she sounds like she was built by design from grounds up to be the perfect love interest for Thrall and.. little else. I haven’t seen any kind of identity for her to speak of thus far beyond her being with Thrall and how well she plays the designated girlfriend role.

        • 6 Synchronizor
          December 26, 2010 at 21:46

          Her character is introduced and explored in the novel The Shattering. I agree that she hasn’t had much individual development, but her early interactions with Thrall don’t really hold to the idea that she’s the “perfect love interest”, at least in my opinion.

    • 7 Nhani
      December 25, 2010 at 13:39

      The Taurajo “massacre” is actually rather interesting as you get to speak to (and quest for) the Alliance commander who led that attack on Alliance side.. and not only does he admit to having left a huge gap in his forces so Civilians could make their escape (according to him, most also did) and expresses his discomfort with having had to do that attack at all due to the presence of innocents.. he’s also a huge proponent for restraint and constantly expresses things like the most important thing in war isn’t to win but being able to live with the consequences (and your opponent) after it’s over.

      Of course, then the Horde ambush him from behind and string him up in retaliation, and his replacement exclaims that the only appropriate response would be a “a massacre of biblical proportions”.

      Honestly, the thing that bothers me the most with Alliance versus Horde in Cataclysm is that it’s reaching such a level that I can’t see there being any sort of accountability to it – both sides will get away with all the things done simply because they’re too large for an appropriate response. And it really starts getting ridiculous at times when Blizzard also tries to pull the conflict as a joke or when they even start working together.

      As an example, in Stonetalon you get to witness first hand how the Horde drop a bomb on a settlement of youths and children, leaving only a blackened crater behind. From there you go to seeing them assassinate miners with reckless abandon, and the local dwarven commander of the southern base makes a personal decision to ally with the local Grimtotem against the Horde. (I’m surprised that didn’t immediately come back to bite us in the arse, or wasn’t in any way even referenced, seeing how it seems set up to do just that), then you have the Southern Barrens and that commander being slain and replaced with some quite more bloodthirsty ones.. and then we have Thousand Needles where first we have a friendly competition between Gnomes and Goblins, and then you go from that to Night elven Sentinels and Tauren fighting side by side to vanquish the Grimtotem. Now, Gnomes versus Goblins can be quite funny, and I found it a very hope-inspiring experience to lead the Sisterhood into battle alongside the Tauren, but it also came across as somewhat jarring seeing how Blizzard had just spent the prior 5 zones or intricately describing how the Horde cause more harm and do more damage to their surroundings than the Burning Legion ever managed.

      Of course.. at this point, the Tauren are the only portion of the horde that hasn’t been implicated in outright corrupting their surroundings in one way or another, so I guess that counts for something.

      • 8 Talitha Chumley
        December 25, 2010 at 19:19

        Oh, I don’t know if you have a Horde toon or not, but either way I highly suggest leveling a quest at least through those areas you mentioned to get the Horde’s side of the story. It’s very interesting.

        (In regards to the bomb… the Warchief actually dropped the commander off a cliff for that move. So, you can rest assured that the bomb is over the line, even for the Horde.)

        (In regards to the whole Camp Taurajo mess… that’s why I suggest you level a Horde to at least Southern Barrens and Stonetalon Mountains. After all, there’s two sides to every story – why wouldn’t you want to see the other side? :D)

        • 9 Nhani
          December 25, 2010 at 20:32

          The thing with Garrosh and the Bomb – I know of his reaction, but I don’t buy it – if it had been a rare thing, sold as “atrocious, even for the Horde” then I would’ve been in on the idea that Garrosh takes a stand for doing the right thing, but.. well.. it isn’t. It’s taking it to the next level, of course, but all the way up to that it’s this constant reminder that the Horde doesn’t just conquer, it also befouls and corrupts – I was outright shocked how heavy handed Blizzard had been with pushing that angle.

          As for playing the Horde.. no. I’ve tried, didn’t work. I try to keep an ear to the ground and hear what those of my fellow nubs who do play Horde have to say about the quest lines, and I do read up on a few where I’m really curious or feel I need to know, but the sad thing is that most of the time.. it actually doesn’t change anything. Which is sad, because I wish it would.

  4. December 26, 2010 at 09:14

    Sorry, when I read ‘the Bomb’ I have to share this link.

    Anyway Aggra’s personalty is more defined in the Shattering novel. She could be compared with Draka if you will and is more willing to tell Thrall off when she think he’s dead wrong, but she also cares about him a lot.

    As for Garrosh…..i’m one of the few Horde who doesn’t like him both OOC and IC.
    When you ride in Twilight highlands with him I shouted all kinds of obscenities at him when he decided to send away our fighter escorts to attack a defenseless Alliance fleet. As if karma herself came in to slap him across the face, Deathwing himself shows up and destroys the entire zeppelin fleet, from which you barely escape.

    Hell I feel bad for the Dragonmaw Clan who seemed to have traded in one villain for another as Warchief.

    Is this the Orc the Horde wants to follow? Someone who sacrifices safety just so he can get a quick jab at the enemy? I’m with you on Garrosh actually having ordered the bomb to be dropped, but wanted to save face by killing off the Horde commander there.
    If you get more respect from Sylvanas herself when you fight alongside the Horde in the Eastern Kingdoms then from Garrosh (I got threatend to be executed twice from Garrosh) back home in Kalimdor…you really need to re-think your Warchief.

    Dont get me wrong, from a story pov Garrosh is perfect for this expansion since the Horde needs a no-nonesense leader to lead them into battle. I dont think Thrall could have managed all of this.

    Alliance wise I DO like it when the Draenei actually fought alongside the Night elves in Stontalon mountains, finally gets them into gear since TBC. Same goes with the Worgen whom I think show up in Ashenvale.
    The Worgen in Darnasus are simply awesome, I do love the friendship between the two people as seen by their Quarter-masters standing side by side and their civilians walking around next to each other.
    I think the Worgen brought me back to the Alliance, as did the Dark Irons whom I wish had a better kin for….

    Question, does anyone know what Jaina is doing atm? I didn’t see her for quite some time now……

    • 11 Nhani
      December 26, 2010 at 10:28

      Wait, he what? I just, what?

      ..honestly, I don’t really get what Blizzard are trying to accomplish with Garrosh, or Varian for that matter – from things they’ve said I got the impression they wanted Garrosh to be much more likeable in Cataclysm (claiming he developed over Wrath without showing any of it) while they claimed they wanted to blame most of the conflict on Varian.

      The problem is.. Garrosh seems to keep doing things like.. well.. what you describe, while Varian Wrynn’s arseness keeps being undermined by him acting like a nice guy! During the Wrathgate events of Wrath as Alliance, you swing by Thrall via Jaina and Thrall is all “We don’t want war with the Alliance.” and I was all “Great, I could totally get behind this guy!” and Varian almost seems to interpret it as “Thrall wants war, you say?”. And then the actual assault on the Undercity and Varian all but charges in the moment he hears Thrall and throws up a monologue how the world would be better without him and at that point I wouldn’t have minded if Thrall had managed to school him.

      But then came the Icecrown Citadel and Saurfang the younger, where after you kill him his father comes in on his own to collect the body of his son, and Muradin goes “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you pass.” and then Varian shows up and is all “Stand down, Muradin!” and not only lets Saurfang get his boy, but even praises his valor and everything!

      I just don’t get it. I thought Varian was the vehicle Blizzard would use to put some aggressiveness in pvp with the Alliance, but they keep showing him as being a nice guy!

      As for the Draenei.. it was nice to see what little there was – I haven’t seen the event with Velen in Swamp of Sorrows yet, but they felt very underused in Cataclysm. Forest Song is probably the one Alliance holding in Kalimdor that has changed by far the least (amusing when you think of the fact that it’s wall to wall with the Warsong Lumber Camp!) and the one Draenei that goes along with the front of the Night elven counter offensive barely seems to notice that he’s suddenly standing a few paces from a Horde base or the front lines rather than in a town under construction.

      But it was nice to see further cooperation. The Worgen seemed a bit more like they were thrown in a whole lot of odd places just because. It’s nice to see them being integrated, but there were quite a few places where I found myself wondering why and how Worgen had managed to establish themselves there so quickly.

      Dark Irons I don’t know that much about yet, though from the sounds of it, they’re almost turning into the Alliance version of the Grimtotem? The Wildhammers are totally hardcore though – they’re hilarious in the Twilight Highlands.

      As for Jaina.. no idea. She played a large role in Wrath, but with Arthas dead and Thrall gone, I’m guessing she’s largely relegated to defending Theramore. She was in the pre-Cata events in the Stormwind mage quarters, but in Cataclysm itself she so far seems to mostly have a few quest hooks to the altered remnants of the Lost Diplomat quest line.

  5. December 26, 2010 at 11:19

    You didn’t know about Garrosh attacking the alliance fleet?

    Yeeeeeh…..Garrosh is a tactical moron.

  6. 15 venci
    December 26, 2010 at 12:48

    ok ya,if it was an rts garrosh is the kindof guy that would make even his builders attack πŸ˜€ the only unit of his almost beaten enemy,why’le the other guy storm thru his base πŸ˜€

    • December 26, 2010 at 13:35

      Which is very suprising since Garrosh is indeed a smart coammander.
      We’re talking to a guy who fought a guerilla war with the Ogres and demons in Nagrand and is used to fighting with limited forces.
      Since Wrath he became sloppy with his tactics and followed the Warhammer Orc way of fighting ae WAAAGH!!!

  7. 17 Sidenia
    December 26, 2010 at 16:22

    I don’t get how they managed to rebuild/renovate Orgrimmar and Stormwind so quickly after the Shattering, given that it’s mentioned in the novel that there’s a temporary truce because the economies of both the Horde and Alliance have all but collapsed following the events of Wrath (I haven’t read the novel itself yet so correct me if I’m wrong), and how they’ve been able to afford vast new fleets and weaponry as well. You’d think they’d be more grateful, given that it’s down to the efforts of guards and adventurers that the kingdoms are standing at all (The Defias Juggernaut for one could have done a lot worse damage than just the Park going over a cliff).
    The ‘War’ in Warcraft doesn’t just stand for Alliance versus Horde anymore. It hasn’t since Warcraft 3, but Blizzard seem to be pushing the storyline towards an expansion centered around a futile war that’s near-enough useless to both sides because they’d have to destroy everything they’d gain from it before they could gain it.

    • 18 Sidenia
      December 26, 2010 at 16:23

      Also, I need more spacing. Sorry for the confusing text wall.

      • 19 Namisha
        December 27, 2010 at 13:42

        Between the Lich King’s death and the Cataclysm, there were 3 years. Plenty of time to renovate anything and amass alot.

        • 20 Nhani
          December 27, 2010 at 14:33

          I’m actually going to ask this straight out: Source?

          Because I’ve seen all kinds of numbers thrown out about how long time has spanned since Wrath and Cataclysm, from weeks to months to years, and I’ve yet to find a single one that actually has a direct source to back the number up.

          Wowpedia‘s unofficial timeline, for example, claim that it’s only been a year between the start of Wrath and the start of Cataclysm. It doesn’t quote a source either, and I haven’t seen a single official quote or statement that explicitly says how long it’s been – I’d want one seeing the confusion, but I haven’t seen one.

          • 21 Namisha
            December 28, 2010 at 17:40

            That’s the thing; Wowpedia’s and Wowwiki’s unoffical timeline seem to be different from eachother, and frankly speaking, even though Wowwiki has degenerated due to most of the team going to work on Wowpedia, I’m more inclined to believe that version since I hardly believe one year can justify all the changes made to the major cities(It’s just not possible in my opinion.)
            As for straight to the source examples; Let’s take Anduin Wrynn as an example. Everyone will remember him as the “boy king” that started out in WoW and was replaced Varian in the pre-events to wotlk, and eventually underwent a model change in the Cataclysm. I know, this is blizzard we’re talking about but bear with me for a moment;
            He’s 10 years old in the original world of warcraft.
            In the novel “Stormrage”, it is said that he’s not 13 yet.
            In The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, it is said that he’s 13.

            So, going by the rough gist of these ages, there is at least 1 year and most likely more between the end of the Lich King and the actual Cataclysm.

            • 22 Nhani
              December 28, 2010 at 22:03

              The funny thing is, though, that I’m more inclined to believe in WoWpedia’s timeline being highly compressed for the simple reason that Blizzard’s timeline is hopelessly compressed.

              As an example, there’s two incarnations of the rough timeline, based on how much time they put between WarCraft 2 and WarCraft 3 – the Sourcebooks embrace the 15 year lapse, Blizzard tends to claim the 10 year lapse. In my opinion, the former makes more sense, but Blizzard generally tends towards the more compressed option.

              They’ve stuck with one year per expansion prior, no matter how little sense it might makes – I’ve seen anything from three to six years of a lapse stated as fact, and while I think it’d make more sense that way, it’d be atypical of Blizzard to put in that large a lapse, and I’m disinclined to believe Blizzard set it anything over a year after the Start of Wrath until I get an official source stating otherwise.

  8. December 26, 2010 at 16:26

    Ashenvale is about resources Horde wise, and Vash’ir is about gaining a dock so the Horde can strike at Stormwind.

  9. 25 Tyco
    December 26, 2010 at 17:07

    If you dig around Hordeside, some of the atrocities the Horde *has* committed even Garrosh strongly disapproves of, and he’s proving to be not a complete pants-on-head ‘durr’ (at least, not yet). Stonetalon you definitely see this, and if you dig deeper into Twilight Highlands as well.

    There’s also that short story Blizz put out on Garrosh that paints him as somewhat *competent* at his station. Now if only I could find it again…

  10. December 27, 2010 at 15:22

    I’m suprised that no-one has mentioned that the Draenei in the last picture is a reference to Captain Gloval, the Captain of the SDF-1 in Macross (Robotech in the US).

    To be honest, I found the new zones in cata to be a tad disappointing. All the strides the High Elves made in WotLK were for naught, with the exception of a certain unexplained quest objective for the horde in Stonetalon. I would have thought that with the return of the highborne, the high elves would come outta the woodwork too, but now there are more highborne running around! Werent they supposed to be a “near extinct” race according to wowpedia?

    Ah, well. just my little nitpicks…

    I’m also sad to see so many changes to the old world, like the loss of Southshore, Auberdine, Astranaar being under siege… I agree completely with your verdict on the Horde, they’re just (excuse my french) taking a dump on the Alliance this expansion. The forsaken are going down a darker and darker path, and the rest of the horde (Tauren excluded for the most part) are in a frenzy with Garrosh’s leadership. The event in Stonetalon was Garrosh’s doing in my opinion, because of his leadership. “Hellscreem’s eyes are upon you!” “Death to the Alliance!” ANY hot blooded person would be worked into a frenzy/paranoia from that.

    …I also miss Cairne. Baine seems to be doing a good job, but I just miss Cairne. His death seemed so pointless.

    • 28 Nhani
      December 27, 2010 at 18:52

      Someone told me of that reference, actually – it wasn’t one I caught myself. The main thing that I noticed about him – to the surprise of absolutely no one, I’m sure – was how Draenei men can look rather stunning in the uniform.

    • 29 Xel
      December 27, 2010 at 22:48

      Actually, the “rest” of the Horde doesn’t seem to back up Garrosh very well, either. It seems that in this expansion, the Horde seems to be drifting farther apart than ever: the forsaken are up to their own dark schemes again, the tauren have distanced themselves, and Vol’jin makes an official leave of “Garrosh’s Horde” if you run through the new troll starting zone. Even the new goblins get bullied left and right by their orc allies; they live in slums inside and out of Orgrimmar, and are all but drafted as the new engineering and hard labor work force of the Horde’s war machine. We all know Garrosh’s standing on elves too, so I can see a schism between his Horde and the Blood Elves.

      I’m sorry, but where is Saurfang and Eitrig (sp?) in all of this? Surely all this warmongering isn’t what Thrall wanted when he appointed Garrosh as new warchief of the Horde, and certainly he wouldn’t like to see the barriers being placed between the different races that are supposed to be a part of the same faction. Would they not step in?

  11. 30 Meglivorn
    December 28, 2010 at 14:28

    I’m following the comics and your post for a time now, and silently enjoying both. And now thet I finally get myself to comment, I’d like to thank you for the fun, and that your posts sometime makes me enjoying the game more πŸ™‚

    About the war and Garrosh. Really, the Shattering book wasn’t that bad, worth to read. It shows the problems with Garrosh very vell, ven that Thrall knows and regrets the mistake chosing him as the new warchief. On the other hand, there is no other he could pick. garrosh is the victorious leader of the campaign against the Lich King (funny how the book avoid the fact that who or which faction finished the Lich King πŸ˜€ ), and the younger generation of the horde loves him – he is a hero to the people. Saurfang or Cairne were great leaders, but they are exactly the “old” leaders who can’t reach the problematic youngsters. Saurfang even broken by the death of his son, and he is best to leave some lesser post like overseeing the remaining horde forces on northend. Even Cairne had to realize in his duel against Garrosh, that the tauren warriors in Ogrimmar were cheering for the orc, not their own chieftain.
    In the book, Garrosh seems to be a bloodthirsty hothead who really wants to be a good warchief and thinks highly of Thrall, Cairne and the old leaders, who really wants to lead the horde right… but can’t help it that he’s a bloodthirsty hothead – who on top of all used by others for their own agenda, like the Grimtotem or the Twilight cultists.

    Varian is another interesting topic. I really hated him after Wrathgate and at Ulduar where he was exacly like a mirror image of Garrosh. Stupid, deaf and violent. He started to be a king in ICC but that seemed very weak try to clean him up – at least for me.
    Now in the book, it’s clear that Varian is sick in his head. And not as some sarcastic remark about his brain capacity but really. He’s schisophrenic, and two person fights over dominance: Lo’gosh the gladiator who wants to kill all of the horde, and King Wrynn who wants peace for his people and trying to be a good king. And Varian is very much knows this, he even admits that sometimes he’d like to be just Lo’gosh, becouse life is easiear that way, but he can’t becouse of his duties and responsibility. And this is when I started to think that there is still hope for him, and exactly that’s Garrosh is missing. Not that I like varian, and he’s still not king of mine (I always hate to hear calling him that, I play a draenei), but there is hope that he’ll be a good king and leader afterall.

    Finally: in an interview (maybe on blizcon, I can’t remember) Metzen said that maybe some of the events and the reason behind them are not clear yet, but they has a grand scheme and all will fell into it’s place. I’d very much like to belive him. And when started to think, how are the old gods tentacles are in everything that happened before and happening now, maybe – and that’s juat a wild guess – even this ovearall agression and warmongering on both sides also an effect of the old ones machinations.

  12. 31 saila AKS Wester
    December 28, 2010 at 16:01

    well take into account that it didn’t just poof happens the fortification of ORg for example was probably under way even in Lich king everything dident happen at ones.
    yet I can see where we got all the war material booth side are in fact low and the player/heroes is not so big compeer to the army booth side is throwing at each other and for an long time the player more or less is an henchmen for there side in any given conflict.
    take westfall its on the edge of civil riot few quest later (I guess one weak) and its now is more or less an civil war there.

    yet Sw some how pumps out an lot of soldiers there is soon no population left there to raft.
    As it have been said and I Will say it again authors donΒ΄t have any scale of reality.

    and that is just but one of many thing that is annoying me.
    Is there any Civil servis manpower left anywhere on any of the side.
    Westfall is in ruin, redridge mountain well not mush better. Duskwood is still low on manpower.
    I cant see where we are getting anything at all manpower, resources or even for that part advance weapons and vehicle. Gnomeregard had an stockpile of spidertank and flyer but that is going to take some time before they can use them.

  13. 32 Skyll K. Chagorantis
    December 30, 2010 at 22:06

    The game is dead.
    It’s a mindless shell of something that once contained some essence.

    I’m honestly at loss here,
    trying to find a more sincere MMO, that treats its lore with care.

    • January 1, 2011 at 16:10

      I couldn’t disagree more. Sure, the end-game content is extremely difficult, but each and every old-world zone has been revamped- and each has its own story that flows from zone to zone.
      Old heroes are coming back, Thrall is where he should be, Danath and other NPC’s chat about Stromgarde, the Wildhammer are back with a vengeance, the dynamics of both the horde and alliance are changing…

      I think its an interesting time to play. I just wish 85 dungeons werent so freaking hard.

  14. 34 LolDrood
    January 2, 2011 at 00:14

    Cata thoughts:
    Thisalee Crow: Best NPC of the expansion, or best NPC ever?

    I rather enoyed how the Nelfs are working out so far in Cata, though I haven’t done any ashenvale or stonetalon quests out of fear of depression.
    (when I get back to my home PC, and not this grrrr laptop, I’ll write out a 9000 word treatsie on Horde activity and its parallels with Axis power aggression and crimes against humanity circa 1940. It’ll be fun.)
    I like how they presented the Sentinals vs Shatterspear beat down, which was something i was very apprehensive about when I first read of it. From how I read it, I was worried that it would be more unprovoked genocide on the nelf part, but it played out well as a tribe of trolls greatly misjudging their position in the war, and loosing for it.
    Oh, uh… spoilers, yo.

    I’m totally with you on the, “do evil or never see the rest of the story” thing, Nhani; that’s what killed the very end of Hyjal for me.
    That and Ysera the Mighty Boobdragon. -_- But that’s a rant for another time.

    Know what’s awesome in Cata? Gnomes are awesome in Cata. Way to go from kooky tinkerers, to the de-facto special operations agents, y’all. πŸ˜€

    Oh hey, anyone know why there are GIANT sections of Teldrassil cut out of the roots, where Ruth village used to be? I’m confused.

    Blayden, I’ve barely touched any new instances. I can barely stand deepsing them: if blizz thinks I’m going to tank or heal these pugs, they’re out of their damn minds.
    Though I can’t 100% disagree with Sykil, ether.

    I totally regret not taking any screen shots of my drood as a Deep Sea Fangelly Drood in Vash. 😦

    Also, LOLOLOL at Garrosh sending his fighter escorts out to attack the Alliance fleet. Man, lern2navy, nub.

    Sorry for scattered posts and spelling errors. I’m on a Mac (bleh) laptop (BLEH!!) so it’s throwing me off.

  15. 35 Morbium
    January 3, 2011 at 13:34

    Blizz is fooling around with the cutscenes like a kid with a new toy, there are a lot of them where I question the need of them. Standing around watching worked well enough in the past, why not continue that, and keep the cutscenes for those unique moments? (like in the worgen starting area)

    Another thing which bothered me is how INEFFICIENT the cult is. They’re more infested with infiltrators than a street dog is infested with lice. The guy that has been slaughtering his way through their ranks halfway down a mountain manages to slip in with just a shoddy cloth disguise and a note.

    They’re worse than the scourge, at least Deathwing’s showing to be enough of a threat.

    Blizz railroading the players in the quests? Perhaps, but to me we’re basically impersonating an insane mercenary that does anything that’s asked of him as long as there’s payment coming. Consider the millions the PC killed and caused the death of, it’s safe to say he simply doesnt care about good or evil and just sticks to the good side because they’re offering better payment and future plans.

    Heck, the PC is insane enough to award himself with xp and gold just because he apparently really hated eels.

    Seriously, why did I only give myself the presumably looted gold after killing a few eels?

    I’m hoping to get the shattering some time in the future and read it, since it seems to provide a great amount of clarification to the current events.

    • 36 Furiursa of the Claw
      January 13, 2011 at 18:20

      The Shattering does NOT answer nearly as many questions as I, or any of my friends who have read it, would like it to.

      Say what you will about Knaak, at least he tells a complete story (even if it’s full of fluff and purple prose). The problem with the Shattering is that there’s HUGE gaps in what happens between points in the book and what you’re stuck with in game. The whole story with Anduin is… okayyyy…. but the resolution? It’s singly the worst bit of writing I have EVER, read from the WoW universe. I have occasionally headdesked with some of Knaak’s writing, but I have never sat openmouthed going ‘holy fuck did I just step into bizarro world?’ as I did with how the Council of Three Hammers is formed. And I should mention that the Council ISN’T formed in the book, it happens during that nebulous time between patch 4.0 and 4.03 apparently.

      I swear, it’s like Golden (who’s an otherwise okay writer, a bit flat for my tastes, but whatever) ran out of energy and just decided to end the book when she lets Thrall and Aggra set sail for the Maelstrom (oh yeah btw, apparently the Goblin starting zone takes place RIGHT after the ending of the book, but somehow SI:7 is able to track down Thrall and intercept him, for no reason I can fathom as an Alliance player. I’ve actually been TRYING to figure out how the hell that happened, since it makes ZERO sense for Varian to try and kidnap Thrall (it’s not HIS style, it’s not Lo’Gosh’s style either) and there’s some vague allusions to the Twilight Cult infiltrating SI:7, but I’ve found little else to verify it… So I’m operating under the assumption that Deathwing and/or his minions infiltrated SI:7 to try and kidnap Thrall to blame it on the Alliance and put the Alliance and Horde on direct conflict with each other, much as they did with the assault on the Druids in the Shattering…

      Which is another great big WTF moment in the book. It’s effectively the ONLY time in the entire book you get the feeling something ELSE is going on behind the scenes. Deathwing, the Twilight Cult, and pretty much EVERYONE else involved with the shattering itself? Surprisingly absent.

      Read the book, but expect to scratch your head a few times going “huh???” EVEN IF you’ve been playing Cata for a bit.

      Oh and no matter how much you may hate Knaak, Hyjal has very diminished impact on you if you haven’t read the War of the Ancients… Just sayin…

  16. 37 Shadda
    January 14, 2011 at 15:12

    Sometimes I just felt like the story line was… over done. Northrend had several NPCs give a nod to your prior accomplishments: if you levelled through Valiance Keep, you learned that the commander there has heard of you and is waiting for you to arrive. It was small scale and felt very cool. Compare that to Hyjal where your reputation seems to have earned the respect of every powerful individual in the zone but cultists remain unaware of your identity. There were many amazing things about that zone but as someone who shamelessly RPs on a non-RP server I felt like Blizzard was making my character out to be more famous/elite than I picture her. I was also somewhat disappointed that there was no alternate quest text with Alexstraza. She’s the only powerful individual that your character could arguably have “met,” and I would have accepted a “Good to see you,” as realistic coming from her, but she doesn’t recognize you in Twilight Highlands.
    I did enjoy Uldum, but agree that the zone had little to no continuity with the rest of the expansion. It was just a nice change after having “you’re awesome” shoved down my throat for the previous two zones.

  17. 38 Thunderbraid
    January 15, 2011 at 13:30

    Being a dwarf roleplayer I’ve been watching the Council of Three Hammers situation closely. As I see it, the Dark Irons that joined Moira chose HER over power, as those that did not join Moira joined the Twilight’s Hammer. Now. The very fact that the Dark Irons chose loyalty to their Empress, who is a Bronzebeard, over going to the Twilights Hammer speaks volumes, they are not going to turn out to be another Grimtotem.

    Yes. Moira is neurotic, but she’s been threatened with death by Varian in her OWN home city, she is definitely NOT evil, and then she wants to protect her child, and that’s the crux of the matter, I do not think she will betray or make another move for sole rulership of Ironforge because she will not take that risk for her son.

    I want to see her get back at Varian somehow, to be honest. He really needs to be bit in the arse for pretty much invading Ironforge.

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