WARNING: SPOILERS FOR PATCH 4.3 STORYLINE LIE WITHIN
Patch 4.3 is officially upon us patrons of World of Warcraft and with it vast amounts of new things to do! These are exciting times for WoW players as they take part in myriad activities ranging from resuscitating old gear via transmogrification, playing around at the Darkmoon Faire, working towards new tier pieces, or even battling against the demented Deathwing himself! Despite the fact that the contents of this patch were privy to all with an internet connection and a modicum of internet-based navigational skill there isn't too much left to surprise players even after they get their hands on the much vaunted “last patch before the Pandaria expansion”. Except for the spoilerific Deathwing cut-scenes that is!
SPOILER WARNING: IF YOU PLAN ON DEFEATING THE EARTH-WARDER ON YOUR OWN TURN AWAY NOW LEST YOU RUIN THE MAJESTY OF YOUR KILL WITH SULLIED VIDEO CONTENT! LAST CHANCE!
WoW fans are nothing if not relentless in their quest for information and entertainment, and the cut-scenes present during the Deathwing fight have already found their way into the ether of the internet. As anticipated as this data mining is it has brought about a rather startling revelation for those lore-minded players out there; the Dragon Aspects lose their power after the titanic confrontation with Deathwing!
For many of you this might not mean much, and I'll admit not a short time ago it would have been rather meaningless to me as well. However I've spent the majority of my WoW playtime in the last couple of months leveling alts, exploring Azeroth, immersing myself in the world's lore, and even reading some World of Warcraft literature. Being the bookworm and fantasy diehard that I am I naturally gathered all the mythos had to offer as quickly as possible and I must say there is an impressive amount of story to be had...even if it is a bit rough around the edges. One of those rough edges is (in my humble opinion) the utter reliance on the Old Gods to get anything interesting going. It seems like almost everything that happens is either influenced by or directly commanded by the Old Gods! It all rounds off to the fact that these uncannily evil primordial beasts are sealed away beneath the planet's crust and continually seek to destroy all life that inhabits it!
Being a major fan of fantasy I'm no stranger to the ultimate evil trope, and in this regard I can accept the occurrence. However with the Dragon Aspects losing their Titan-given powers and becoming mere mortal dragons once more the story-telling landscape of World of Warcraft has been blown wide-open!
Everything has changed from a literary standpoint. Blizzard is free to explore much more meaningful and interesting plot points in the future. Perhaps the actions of the Old Gods and the Titans will forever remain a focal point of the series but at the very least new avenues of intrigue may be explored (concerning the “big bad” that is).
As I'm sure you're all aware Mists of Pandaria will focus around the conflict of the Pandarens. New Pandaren toons will be neutral until level ten, and Blizzard undoubtedly will take advantage of this and weave a truly engaging tale based on the fact that the major powerhouses are now gone and the mortals must fare for themselves. Beyond the typical and expected conflict between the Horde and Alliance the scene is ripe for legitimate political intrigue to occur. If something mildly akin to A Song of Fire and Ice or Malazan Book of the Fallen can be tapped here it would be truly amazing!
At least for us quest log readers out there.
But what about for those of you who care not for the lore and more about the immediate satisfaction of fighting the big bads? Well I’m sure an influx of new ideas story-wise would certainly encourage a more diverse cast for the enemies next time around, at least in theory. As everyone knows demons and dragons are all well and good but they’ve been around forever and walk the fine line between cliché’ and absolute awesomeness, a line that Blizzard can do much better than as the Draenei and Tauren prove (at least from a conceptual standpoint). Wouldn’t the prospect of fighting a “big bad” that wasn’t some dragon, god, or demonic monstrosity be rather exciting? The past three expansions have laid waste to the colossal figures of Illidan, Arthas, and now Deathwing. The voyage to Pandaria holds promises of much deeper, more interesting villains. Villains that won’t have to contend with the godlike Dragon Aspects anymore, just some pissed off mortals.
One can hope.
In the meantime have fun with the Raid Finder and the games at Darkmoon Faire, and be sure to resurrect any old fashions you might yearn to see in the limelight once again, for that new patch smell only lasts so long and we have a while until Pandaria drops.