Monday, November 8, 2010

The History of the World Part 1

"What a Wonderful World..."
Back in the days when the rivers and seas of Azeroth ran vanilla, all was not well.

There were blustery fire elementals fighting with black dragons over real estate. There were no-good, two-bit trolls trying to bring their death god out to play. The formerly greatest of kingdoms, Lordaeron, lay in shambles, being fought over by rival gangs of undead. And deep in the south, some gnarly old evil tried taking on the world with his ... insects.

Many of the old heroes of the world, Malfurion Stormrage or King Varian Wrynn for example, were "indisposed." Jaina Proudmoore and Thrall were busy nation-building. King Magni Bronzebeard of the dwarves was throwing a conniption fit over how his daughter ran off with some guy, and Sylvanas of the Forsaken was playing with her chemistry set.

Most of the "big" dangers of Azeroth were relatively local in scale. I don't recall that Tyrande Whisperwind ever made any big concern over whatever they were up to in Blackwing Lair. Similarly, you could have probably quizzed Magni Bronzebeard about the A'quir and he would have given you a blank look.

Perhaps as a result of this lack of focus, the evils were put down but not really destroyed. The fact that we have Netharion, Ragnaros, Cho'gall and others returning after the Cataclysm only proves this. "Vanilla WoW was just a setback!!"

In most ways, Vanilla WoW was a brief moment of peace in Azeroth between the Alliance and the Horde. There were various factions fighting each other, but almost no all-out conflict built into the game's key story elements. The Silverwing Sentinels and the Warsong Clan (among others) attacked each other all the time, but neither Tyrande nor Thrall really urged their people to get down there. And, regardless of who wins the BG the most, these battle fields are in stalemate as far as the greater story goes.

But, in most important ways, Vanilla WoW set a stage. It showed a new generation of heroes (us) taking up guardianship of the world, and it introduced most of the bad guys we have been fighting with ever since. All in all, a pretty thorough task!

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