What’s More Terrifying? Trolling or Boredom?Posted: November 17, 2010
Cataclysm is nigh. The world of Azeroth will shatter.
But if the events in-game are to indicate these things, then I might fall asleep while the world’s torn asunder by the “raging elements”.
The whole concept of Cataclysm is that there’s some evil old god lurking somewhere manipulating the Maelstrom, and he’s decided it’s high time Azeroth had a Draenor makeover (shattering the planet into oblivion). He’s riled up the elements, employed powerful lackeys, and awoken Deathwing. It seems like some massive destruction is on its way.
Now let’s turn away from lore and look at the game. Before each expansion, Blizzard puts in some massive event that foreshadows the expansion. Wrath’s very subtle introduction was infested boxes laid around capitals that turned players into taint-spreading zombies and leaders duking it out with well-known champions or GIANT CITY-INVADING FROSTWYRMS.
This time around Blizzard had a 4-phase plan in place. This weekend, the final phase went live on servers and everyone rushed to see what this world-altering event would entail. According to PTR reports if you were in one of the 4 affected capital cities and you heard a chime, you’d go from standing around to defending against elementals spawning out of thin air with citizens running in panic. Sounds awesome! Once-calm and rarely-agitated cities are now invasion targets and in panic mode! Nobody knows what’s going on! People are running with their arms flailing!
…Except, that’s only how our brains envisioned it. In reality, the cities are overpopulated to the point the event ends as quickly as it starts, the elementals pose as much threat as a level 10 Huntard (40 players vs. 1 non-elite, what a challenge!), and unless you’re rooted in current lore this whole thing just seems like a buggy patch where the devs messed up elemental monsters’ spawn locations.
Yes, the post-missions are cool. 2 portals spawn in affected cities that let you take on elite bosses who are working under Cho’gall, and seeing them gives those nostalgia chills. You also get some good cash from offing them.
Yet… what should amount to a world falling apart ended up being a minor annoyance with a quick instanced boss battle tacked on the end. And these events only come once every 3 hours. It’s a “do it once and forget it” kind of event. And that’s a horrible way to usher in the expansion.
Counter that with Wrath’s pre-expansion festivities. There was QQ that rose to the heavens, since everyone (NPC and players alike) could be infected with a zombie plague. It amounted to Blizzard-authorized griefing for about 2 weeks. But in no way were you unaware or unaffected by the events leading up to Wrath. You had to take an active effort to avoid this massive plague. And when you were done messing around with zombie griefing, you could watch leaders battle it out in arenas or see giant frostwyrms swoop in and lay siege to harbors. It might’ve been infuriating, but it was memorable.
This time around, we’re faced with this shell of a pre-expansion event that tosses us a bunch of juicy lore but will otherwise be forgotten in the mists of time. You tackled some sleuth-like quests to uncover the Twilight Hammer, some elementals spawned, groups killed some elite doodz, and… life went on (rather unaffected).
We were expecting a giant boom, but we got a fizzle. It seems we’re forced to wait till December 7th to see anything meaningful. In the meantime, we can either hope there’s a super-secret Phase 5 that past data miners or we can shelve this experience under “Close, But No Dice”.