A turning point
It occurred to me the other day that we are now at a turning point within the game. A new episode of the story is soon to begin. You may think, no look, TBC and WotLK were new episodes, weren’t they? No, they were extra chapters in an amazingly long story.
If you have the patience to sit and read quest text, which is worth doing, you find yourself interacting with a highly detailed story that explains all your actions and spans across the entire world. It’s one of the major things that appeal to me about this game. As of today, if I were to create a level one Human, my adventure would be thusly. I would start off in the Elwynn forest starting zone, near Northshire Abbey. I would talk to a man who tells me of the need for new recruits to aide in the military. I would wander round, collecting food and fur for the citizens, and defeating some defias. I’d carry on in this fashion throughout Azeroth, aiding the War effort against the Horde. If he raids then, he discovers and slays dragons and opens the gates to the ancient evils below azeroth. And slays them too. Then we introduce the TBC storyline, and my Human passes through the Dark Portal. Suddenly the main threat is the Burning Legion, Magtheridon and the Fel corruption, Kael’thas and his crazy blood elves, and Illidan and his Deathsworn army. Assuming a gleeful triumph over them (as the WotLK handbook describes the events of TBC, ‘The adventurers of Outlands left Illidan’s head on a pike outside the Black Temple as a terrible reminder of what took place there.’) my Human would then move on to Northrend, hearing the call of the Alliance army once more and boating over to the frosty continent where Arthas’s undead plague the land and the underworld is becoming twisted and infected to the will of an quasi-demonic entity untold millions of years old. And he goes and defeats the Lich King, and sees the final cutscene, with Bolvar sealed in the frozen throne and the threat of the Undead, the entirity of the evil undead that have been fought since Duskwood in my Human’s timeline, is now gone.
And that’s the story thus far, for anyone who’s been studying their quests.
Now consider, the moment Cataclysm comes out, things are going to be broken. Most people think ‘ah yes, the world will be broken.’ Nope, that’s not where I’m coming from, although the world will be extremely shattered. You see, they’re redoing Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, and some islands inbetween. They’re not redoing Outlands or Northrend. What they have at the moment, as described above, is a linear story, from nub to great hero. By redoing the old world, and making it so that from day one of a new character, no matter what the race, they’re getting involved in things from the Cataclysm story line (ie, and this is a big ie, AFTER the Death of Arthas, Illidan, and the withdrawal of all evil undead forces throughout the world), they’re making Outlands and Northrend defunct to visit. It means that, to make chronological sense, Outlands and Northrend would have to be deserted if you visited them. No boats, no friendly NPCs, just piles and piles of dead demons or undead, and in some cases a revitalised land. The people that were there were there to do a job and fight a war, and in both continents cases, those wars were won. In the case of the Legion, it was merely a setback, but their grip over Outland is (speaking once more from a purely lore standpoint) relinquished. But Blizzard aren’t doing that.
I’m under the impression that there will be zones in Azeroth to level through that mean you never have to set foot in at least Outland. That’s still very much yet-to-be-discovered stuff, that we know naught about. I hope they make it like that. If we think about it sensibly, Deathwing has busted up the world. Anyone from the most heroic Draenei to the weakest Troll can be doing something to help, in their own way, whether it’s shifting wreckage, gathering rebuilding materials, saving injured beings or stemming the flows of Lava.
And that brings me to my point, as I said above – a new character starts with all that older stuff out of the way. In a few months, everything that any Warcraft player has already played will become a closed book, and take its place in the lore timeline. Our characters, no matter if their a level 1 bank alt sitting in the safety of Ironforge or a level 80 Kingslayer, will have all lived through the rough 5 years (ingame) of war and triumphs, and they can never again be revisited. This is truly the end of Episode one. However, Episode two promises much, and it gives me great pleasure to have enjoyed as much as I have of the original story so I can now move on and experience firstly the 80-85 questing, and then rolling an alt to see how the world I new has been changed forever.