We're at that time in World of Warcraft where I'm not quite done with the expansion we have - there's still a few things I'd like to do like kill Heroic Garrosh - but at the same time, we've been playing long enough that I'm starting to really, really feel the urge to move on to a new place. At the least, I'd really like to feel finished with Pandaria.
It's not that I didn't or don't like the expansion. Nothing could be further from the truth. In many ways, I still feel like this was the best expansion, in terms of pure storytelling - an incredible amount of story unfolded over the past year and four months, if you get right down to it. The voyage we undertook to a distant shore ended up teaching us almost as much about the world we left behind, ultimately taking us to a confrontation at the very gates of Orgrimmar. Garrosh Hellscream's journey from Warchief to reviled enemy of almost the world entire, even his own faction, was surprising and at times maddening and I played through it on both factions. There were some deeply troubling twists - to this day, I look back on the Dalaran purge on my worgen and shudder at stalking and killing an elf for the crime of wearing the wrong color and trying to take his money with him when he fled, while my tauren felt responsible for it all, having stolen the Divine Bell in the first place.
After all of it - after having marched from the Jade Forest and those first arrivals to here, after having seen the destruction we left in our wake and done what I could to ameliorate it only to see it eventually bring even the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to the brink, after having finally waged war all the way back to that chamber deep beneath Orgrimmar I feel conflicted. I feel like there's more to do - the sha need to be cleaned out of the Vale, for instance, and the final fate of the mogu and mantid would be nice to discover - but at the same time, there's the urge that got me to Pandaria in the first place. The urge to go somewhere new. And that's likely still a way's away at this point.
It's times like this, I actually miss Halion.
Well, not Halion himself. I don't miss the Ruby Sanctum - as a raid it was anticlimactic and boring, in my opinion. I miss what it represented - the new expansion rearing its head and saying "This is what's coming, this is the future you will face" and setting the stage. I liked that Deathwing's presence in Wrath of the Lich King centered around Wyrmrest Temple because, when his final assault on it became the Dragon Soul raid, I felt a sense of completion and closure. This was where I found out about Deathwing's return, and this is where I finally stopped him. As much as I often feel twinges of dissatisfaction with how Deathwing was realized in Cataclysm I did like his final bow - I liked that he was so huge that we actually had an entire fight just on his back, fighting his monstrously warped and corrupted form rather than him.
Of course it's easy for me to say I want a patch that does something on the order of Halion, one that gives us a sense of the menace to come, but what form should it take? I've already argued for a pre-expansion event for Warlords, so I'm not just talking about that - what I'm saying is, there should be content released for Mists of Pandaria that gets us interested and invested in the events of Warlords, that makes us want to go thrashing boldly into the unknown. One of the biggest disappointments of the original Theramore scenario at level 85 was how it muddied the waters - it didn't make anyone feel like going to Pandaria next made sense. When I ran Theramore, I was very confused as to why the next expansion wasn't named The Burning of Orgrimmar - eventually, Mists made itself clear and showed me exactly why we went to Pandaria, but that failure to get me excited initially is still a flaw in the scenario.
So what do we need, in my opinion? I'm glad you asked, rhetorical device.
For starters, we need some element of closure - the quest you get after you defeat Garrosh is a good one, but it's not enough, in my opinion. We could really use a five man dungeon or scenario (or both) showing us dealing with some of the sha remnants still bedeviling the vale - perhaps going to clean out big sha minibosses that are infesting the region and trying to recreate the Sha of Pride, making sure that whole mess doesn't get started again.
The reason I think we need a real, established sense of closure is, we then need something that shakes it up, destroys it in some fashion - perhaps seeing how Garrosh escapes, perhaps simply experiencing Iron Horde invasions, something that points us directly at the new threat and makes stopping it a priority. Maybe Garrosh manages to unlease one of the Mogu secrets he learned while his people were grabbing the Divine Bell for him, and we have to stop a legion of mogu constructs from destroying half of Pandaria while he makes good his escape - increasing our motivation to go after the guy.
Finally, we need to see what happens with the Mantid to some degree. Why? Because I like the mantid, and I want to know, with the Paragons of the Klaxxi all gone and most of the Klaxxi themselves destroyed by Skek'Zeer (who herself is also gone) who's running things in mantid society now? Who is in charge? There's one Klaxxi left unaccounted for, and a clutch of royal eggs - where are they? What's going on over there? This last one is more a wish than a belief on my part. I'd just really like to know.
Ultimately, therefore, I'm arguing for a final patch for Mists of Pandaria that does some or all of the following:
- Updates us on the state of Pandaria following the end of the Siege
- Gives us a reason to be invested in going into Warlords
- Doesn't seem like a diversion
- Gives us some new content to play for the next few months