Friday, October 22, 2010

A Few Musings on Cataclysm

I've been watching the blogs the past couple of weeks, and several thoughts have occurred to me about Cataclysm.

A lot of speculation --and the underlying assumption-- is that Deathwing will be the killable end boss in Cataclysm.  End boss?  Likely.  Killable?  I'm not so sure.

In Wrath, we got the chance to destroy one of the Dragon Aspects, Malygos.  He wasn't even the end boss in the expansion, just the end of one of the story chains in Wrath.  From this, we can go in two directions:  either Deathwing is more powerful than Malygos ever was, or Malygos isn't truly dead.  (A third possibility is that Malygos got nerfed by Blizz in a patch release and we caught him on a good day, but you never know.)

If Deathwing is truly more powerful than Malygos --and by extension, the other Dragon Aspects-- then there's very little stopping him from killing Ysera and Alexstrasza.  Also, if he is truly powerful enough to break the world, perhaps the best we can hope for is to beat him back and shut him out of Azeroth once more. 

Now, if Deathwing is equivalent in power to Malygos, and his retreat from the other (pissed off) Dragon Aspects in the Second War implies as much, then the downing of Malygos (even with the Life Binder's aid) might not have been the end of him.  It won't be the first time that someone once thought dead makes a reappearance in a Fantasy environment.  ("What, Sauron is back again?  Just how many lives does this guy have, anyway?")

Another possibility is that Deathwing isn't the true last end boss in Cataclysm, but someone --or something-- else.  Possibilities abound:  another Old God or two, Azshara, Elemental Lords, or maybe even Sargeras.


I keep bringing this up, because I think it's going to be a very important theme for the Horde in Cataclysm:  the Cataclysm itself won't do as much to the Horde as the fight with the Alliance will.

From what I've seen so far, the Horde region that is hit the hardest will be The Barrens.  Sure, Cataclysm splits the region in half, but the greatest impact is on the Alliance's push into Southern Barrens and the hasty construction of barriers at the entrance to Mulgore.  Shenanigans with the Grimtotems will impact the Horde/Alliance war and will change the face of the Horde forever.  Ashenvale is going to change significantly as well, given all of those Horde victories in Warsong Gulch.  And that's not counting the Forsaken turning their attention to the Greymane Wall.


Speaking of Forsaken, whom do they turn their ire to?  Arthas is dead, and the Scourge will be (theoretically) more contained than before.  (Gee, I have no idea why...  The Lich King is dead, isn't he?  At least that's what the official stories say....)  So, who gets the brunt of the Undead's vengeance?  Or, will this lack of a major enemy be a major theme in the Forsaken story?


Although technically they are part of Outland, what about the Draenei and Blood Elf starting areas?  Will there be changes in Eversong and the Ghostlands given the current state of the Scourge lore?  How will the Draenei start off in an "unbroken" world that doesn't acknowledge that they were around for the Cataclysm?


  1. I think the Forsaken lack of a universal motivator (to Kill Arthas!) will be a big part of their storyline come Cataclysm. I think Sylvanas will be hard-pressed to keep her people unified, and though it sounds like Garrosh is going to order her to go to war with Gilneas, I think a lot of Forsaken will chafe at this idea. First, they've got no grudge against the Gilneans, and secondly, being former Lordaeron citizens, they might even be angry at attacking their former neighbors. Of course, they might be just as mad at them for not coming to their aid against the Scourge. Who knows.

    I also think that we'll see a similar deteriorating effect on Sylvanas herself. Much like Maiev Shadowsong's entire life become about getting revenge on Illidan, so too has Sylvanas' afterlife been about getting revenge on Arthas. Now that her goal has been met, I think she'll be at somewhat of a loss without someone to focus her hatred towards, and we'll see it start to materialize in her actions.

  2. Well, if some Worgen go over the Greymane Wall, or the Forsaken find evidence of Worgen there, you can bet money they're going after Gilneas. They've already got the Worgen in their backyard, and until the Worgen supposedly regain a portion of their own independence (ala the Forsaken themselves) everyone will consider them "the enemy".

    I presume the Worgen's path to acceptance in the Alliance is going to be a long one, especially for the Humans in Duskwood and the Night Elves of Darnassus.

    Now Sylvanas... I agree with you completely about her. She'll have a hard time dealing with her curse without the desire for revenge and Varimathras' betrayal. Ironically enough, I could see her taking the lead against any assault on the Naga and Azshara, because it not only gives her something to do but she could see in Azshara the person she herself could have become.

  3. I was watching Blizzcon yesterday, and the devs touched on some similar questions in the Quests and Lore Panel. I am not a Lore buff, so most of what I picked up on/understood was more from a gameplay angle.

    As far as Deathwing being killable, they did touch on 'how do you kill the unkillable'. To me it sounded like they were eluding to the idea of NPC interaction (kinda like the LK fight), so I'm guessing part of the battle will be scripted.

    While they didn't talk about the Draenei/BE starting zones specifically, they did acknowledge that the Outlands no longer makes any sense. From a lore standpoint they have full intentions of going back to Outlands and Northrend to make them relevant again, however they just don't have the resources to rescript all that material. So they know that parts of our world will be broken for a while, but would like to fix it over time. :)

  4. Yeah, Outland is a real problem now that they decided to completely revamp the Old World. Northrend is a bit less of a problem, but given the storyline is the way it is, you have to make everything consistent.

    If you ask me, this entire release has shown that Blizz is shorthanded in Development and QA. Having worked in a software shop for five years, I know the signs to look for. (The biggest sign, of course, is that some basic stuff is broken that they ought to have very basic testcases for. Like the plates and the Lock Cookies/HH pumpkin.)

    I suspect that this release has shown the downside of using too many add-ons for alpha and beta testing.

  5. You know what I'd love to see? We go inside Deathwing's head to battle the manifestations of the Old Gods inside, and in the end we redeem his sanity. It would be way different from any dungeon ever designed.

  6. @Anonymous: I don't know if Blizz knows how to set up something like that. They know how to kill things, but beyond something like Dreamwalker, I don't think they know how to go about doing something like that. It would be awesome, though.