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8-29-2011 @ 4:40PM
A-bloody-men, brother! I'm no 'Wrathbaby,' I came in just before the Burning Crusade (was just barely too low level to participate in the rather-weak opening-of-the-Dark-Portal demon invasions, but I do remember seeing piles of bones at the front of Ironforge from Doom Lord Kazzak(or was it his replacement?) randomly anihilating folks) but I have to say the epitome of Zone Design has so-far (IMNSHO) been reached with Northrend. A few compelling stories and questlines per zone that flow pretty naturally from one area to another. Zul'freezingmybuttoff and Storm Peaks were kind of diversions to me, but well told stories none-the-less. The Cata zones are just TOO self-contained. 1 or 2 stories, usually wrapped up, and then "Thank you brave adventurer, your work is done here. What, you want something else to do? Oh. Uh. Go talk to so-and-so, I've heard they've got a problem even though there's no real reason for me to know this."The fact that they're scattered all over the world doesn't help either. (Gogogadget Run-On-Sentence!) It kind of disrupts what little immersion there is when I go from the peaks of Hyjal (or the depths of the ocean) to Stormwind (tradechatfunnytimez!) to Deepholme to Stormwind (moretradehijinkslulz) to Theramore, fly to Gadgetgazan, join a caravan, save a lost-race of titan creations and then be demoted to sidekick as Harrison Jones saves the world (or vice versa), fly back to STORMWIND where you FINALLY get a questline that gives you a half-gorram-good reason for your next move to the middle of no-where, things get exciting with an assault of the forces of Twilight, you take out one of the higher ups of the Twilight Clan/Cult/Gentleman's Club, and then... nothing. A quick acknowldgement that you fought a freaking Gronn that had no reason for being on Azeroth (Seriously! How the crap did he get through the dark portal?!) without any mention of the REST of the Twilight Badness that's left to be taken care of. No breadcrumb leading to a raid, not even a quest "wrapping up" what happened in the highlands and implying that maybe just maybe you may want to help assault the various raids where naughtiness is happening. You're just left in a limbo of daily quests related to prior plots that were mostly resolved or jumping into raids you have no REAL reason to hit beyond that's where teh purpulz are, d00d.That "Hero's Call Board" is crap, too. It's a lazy way for starting chains, and while I can appreciate that sometimes you lose the trail of quests, creating or re-utilizing an NPC (remember the town criers?) for the new stuff... Gah.I'm feeling crotchety today, I guess. Whatever. I guess my point is, while it's lovely they're shortening the grind to 80, it's not all love and lollipops afterwards. I love the refresing the low zones got with Cata. Heck, I don't think they let Deathwing blow up ENOUGH. But the 80+ stuff got stale real quick. The next expansion needs to come fast, I hope it is next spring as the rumors imply. And I hope they learn from Cata and step BACK a little in their philosophy, to a more BC/Wrath style quest approach. Cata tried too hard to have each zone have an EPIC QUESTLINE with an EPIC CONCLUSION. That just resulted, I think, in stories are too CLOSED, too limited. What you do in a zone doesn't matter beyond that zone. Let big stories flow from zone to zone. Seeing Fordring defiantly casting off his disguise in the Howling Fjiord and then seeing him again in Icecrown, discovering the destruction wreaked by the Blue Dragonflight in Coldara and then their wasteful assault on the in temple in Dragonblight while the Accord attempted to deal with the simultanious threat by the scourge from the opposite direction (I mean, come on, even the BLACK dragonflight wasn't screwing around for once), leading to freaking WRATHGATE... THAT was the way to tell the stories. Great connected arcs. Folks who don't care about lore still won't care, but those of us that still like a story will be much happier with you, and will stay for more....huh. I'm feeling text-y today. Sorry folks.
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