Monday, June 24, 2013

Not These Guys Again

Anybody remember when the Zandalari were the good guys?*

Now, they're reduced to the role the Nazis filled in the Indy Jones movies.

Zandalaris....  I hate these guys!
I reached the end of the "original" Pandaria quest chains, and I find myself...  Disappointed.  It seems that Blizz walked up right to the edge with the Mongols Mogu and decided that it was too risky to have new baddies out there all by themselves.  Therefore, they dug into their collection of past enemies and pulled out the Trolls.


I should have seen this coming; after all, both vanilla and every expac of WoW that has been released has featured Trolls as the baddies in some form or another:  Zul'Gurub and Sunken Temple (Vanilla), Zul'Aman (BC), Drak'Theron and Gundrak (Wrath), the 5-man Zuls (Cata).  While they don't get their own separate instance/raid, they are heavily featured in raids such as Mogushan Vaults and Throne of Thunder.

You can't go more than 100 feet in the Isle of Thunder without smacking into a Troll.  And if it weren't for a Rogue's stealth ability, I'm sure I would have.

I just feel like there was such a great chance to Blizzard to fully commit to the Mogu as the balance to the Sha in Pandaria, and they decided that the Thunder King and company couldn't stand on their own.  What's going to happen in the next expac, anyway?  Should they skip other baddies entirely and title it "Trollmageddon"?


As an aside, I had to wonder about the naming of Lei Shen's home.  Isle of Thunder doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but when I switched it around I realized one reason why it shouldn't be named Thunder Island:

I'm actually disappointed that nobody has created a WoW music video based on Jay Ferguson's 70's tune.  Of course, I don't think that you'll find people "chasin' love" out there on WoW's Thunder Island.


That does bring up another issue I had with the questing in Pandaria.  Blizz deliberately went for the darker feel in their quest writing, making Vashj'ir seem like a walk in the park by comparison.  But even then, they snuck in their traditional pop culture nods and humorous hijinks.  (Hayden Christophen as the Alliance Honor Quartermaster, for instance).  This time, however, I think that the humorous asides actually detract from the rest of the questing.  Like how Toshley's Station (and to a lesser extent Area 52) are jarring enough that you lose your immersion in the game, quests like the ones associated with the Grummies left me grinding my teeth.

At times like this, I wish Blizz would dial back the humor a bit and at least take themselves more seriously.  We already get tons of "kill ten rats" quests as it is, I don't think a spoonful of sugar humor is going to help that medicine go down any easier.


The ending to Dread Wastes, however, is right up there with the ending to Vashj'ir, where you watch what happens and think "Holy shit, we're screwed."**  That said you only get that sort of emotional punch out of an ending once, and if you mess it up you've lost a golden opportunity.  Blizz did a great job on that one.  And on the Jade Forest's ending as well.  For some reason, Townlong Steppes and the combined Krasarang Wilds/Valley of the Four Winds endings didn't have the same sort of punch.  And of course, Kun-lai Summit's ending is in an instance, so it gets an incomplete.

All in all, Blizz did some things right --a bit less quests on rails, although it is still quite noticeable-- which pretty much balance out the issues I had with questing.  I knew I was getting near the end when I kept saying to myself "Just hang in there, Dread Wastes has got to end soon."  The last time I was saying that, I was in The Old Republic and slogging through Belsavis.  And that's a shame, because the overall story behind Dread Wastes was very interesting.

*Or at least semi-good guys.  Hey, scholars are good.

**At least a real raid came out of this, compared to what happened in Vashj.

EtA:  I forgot Zul'Farrak for Vanilla.  That's what I get for hanging around the Eastern Kingdoms lately.


  1. Oh no, now that song is indelibly stuck in my head. I'm probably not going to make it through the day without visiting the Isle with that as background music.

    The end to Dread Wastes was well worth it but a long time coming and this is the first expansion that my alts are hanging back thinking, no, you gotta be kidding me! I can't go through all that again.

    1. Yeah, I finished Dread Wastes and I thought no way in hell am I doing that again on any of my other toons. Even though I like to complain about Belsavis in TOR, I never quite had that reaction; Dread Wastes was one quest hub too long, IMHO.

  2. 3 level 90s.

    Guess I had better go back and finish the quests in Jade Forest and Dread Wastes.

    1. I can easily see skipping Dread Wastes --after all, I dinged 90 on my first and only toon at max level in Kun-lai Summit-- but how'd you miss the big fight at the end of Jade Forest?

      At least on the bright side you only have to do both once.