Southshore used to be Alliance and now it's Horde. Theramore is destroyed. The Barrens is split in two sections by a huge chasm. The Vale of Eternal Blossoms no longer has blossoms, eternal or otherwise. We've seen a lot of changes over the years we've been playing WoW, particularly during Cataclysm. But we as players didn't bring about these changes. They were written into the story and implemented in game.
But players can make changes via phasing. Many places in Wrath of the Lich King and beyond change according to what quests the player has completed. These are permanent alterations made by the player, but its individual for each player. Changing the environment for one player does not change it for all.
We, as players, can make changes to the world via world PvP locations. Halaa, for example, changes faction according to who battles there. But, unless you are on a PvP server, you have to flag PvP to do it and the changes are not even semi-permanent. They just last until the next occupation or battle.But what about player-made, persistent changes? For example, in Anarchy Online, the developers would change the terrain a bit periodically. (I don't know if they still do.) A neutral city would suddenly side with a faction due to an occupation of that faction's military forces. Once, we players decided we didn't like the change and fought the NPC forces for hours, trying to turn the town back to neutral. Funcom (the makers of AO) let us have the city back for another month. It was wonderful. We players effected a change and it stuck.
The only time I've had that kind of fun in Azeroth was during the zombie plague just before Wrath's release. We turned whole towns -- my favorite was the Crossroads -- into undead battlezones. It was a blast. I would want to do something like that again in a heartbeat.
What do you think of having WoW changed by player action or are you happy with phasing and events? What do you think of temporary changes like the Battle of the Barrens vs. permanent changes like the Vale? Do you think we should have more change in our World of Warcraft or do you wish you could go back and play in areas that are now permanently altered? Or do you want it all? (I do.)
Blog about your answer and link to it in the comments below. Or if you don't have a World of Warcraft related blog, post your response directly in the comments. We'll spotlight some of the answers next week.
Filed under: Analysis / Opinion