Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Would Be Nice to Have in Patch 4.1

Old Ironforge: Blizzard, it's time to open this door
The great Fix-It Patch (or maybe the Break-It Patch, depending on your point of view) is now here. That means only one thing: Time to think about the next patch.

4.1 will be a content patch, with new raiding and new 5-man dungeons and. Not a great deal has been said yet about all this but we know to expect a few things:

Firelands Raid - Hoo Boy! Let's go kick Ragnaros' butt. Again. Expect a corehound or eight, and who knows. Probably Baron Geddon too. "That burnt-out patch of grass on the slopes of Mt. Hyjal was merely a setback!"

Abyssmal Maw - a new 5-man instance will appear down at the bottom of the sea. We pretty much kicked the asses of all the principle bad guys we found running around Vash'jir already. But, there is still unidentified Old God influence in the sea. Expect some clues about that.

A Revivified Hyjal - Allegedly, the fighting is done at Hyjal. Expect a daily quest hub that revolves around planting trees, hanging with the Mal(furion Stormrage) and just hope they don't build that one irritating set of quests on the Joust-homage hippogryphs into a daily. This area is bound to involve a new reputation grind as well.

Another Raid - I have no idea what it would be, but the developers have said they aim for more than one raid per tier this expansion, which means we should be looking forward to something else. But, really, there has been no word on this at all. I'm afraid it's either been canceled or the "Azure Sanctum" will open up at Wyrmrest Temple, with another Twilight Dragon making trouble for the Blue Dragonflight... or something like that.

Enhanced Dungeon Maps - the only new feature that has been spoken of is an advanced set of dungeon maps that is to include boss information, loot tables, and um... I think it was going to be 3D, but don't quote me on this. This doesn't seem terribly exciting at first glance, but should actually help in a number of small ways.

But that's it. That's all we know, and it has an unhealthy dose of conjecture thrown in as well. To the best of my memory, the last time any of this was spoken of was Blizzcon 2010, a pretty solid five months ago.

So, what more should there be? In large part, I'm looking for story:

Faction Story Elements - Is Thrall still lurking out in the middle of the maelstrom? What's to be done about Sylvanas who is still acting very Lichy Kingy. Is anybody in the Alliance doing anything even a little interesting? Is the blue dragon flight pulling itself together yet? Will somebody please drop Gary Hellscream on his head? With the Horde in fair chaos and the Alliance doing, um... not much really, they need to move on these points.

The last resting places of Cairne Bloodhoof and Magni Bronzebeard - I'd been giving this more thought and realized that Blizzard really blew it with killing off two of our world leaders in a media forum that was not the main game. Yes, The Shattering is the most popular WoW novel ever, but most players didn't read it and have only a peripheral idea of what happened. It was a despicable cheat to just write those guys out of the game. If Grom Hellscream gets a memorial, then Cairne deserves one twice that size. As a side note: It was noted in the novel that Magni gets petrified in the long-rumored and sorta unseen "Old Ironforge."  That's right, Blizzard: get cracking and unlock that place already.

Major Story Focus - Another thing I realized recently. The main story of Cataclysm is really a bit hazy. The Twilight Hammer and Deathwing, and a bunch of Naga and two of the four elemental lords are all attacking. You get the idea they are coordinated, but honestly, I'm not sure who works for who here. There is also all this evidence of Old God activity, and yet we really have no details about that yet. What is the goal of these guys? Traditionally, Twi Hammers are just nihilists; DW wants a Black Dragonflight ruled world, Old Gods want to get free and ... do chaotic Old God Things.  In a nutshell, our antagonists have a pretty broad swath of motivations, not all of which actually line up together very well. If something has changed these motivations, then fine, but that needs to be revealed.

This lack of focus really only stands out when you hold this story up against Wrath of The Lich King. The main story there was so wonderfully simple: Arthas is a menace, so we're going to go pwn his butt.  The entire expansion built on that very neatly with a couple of side stories to play with as well. I guess Blizzard is trying to push a lot of pieces around all at once right now, but they aren't quite getting up to the story bar they set in the last expansion.


  1. Well, it was only a 5 level advance. So, presumably, the next 5 levels will make the current confusion more clear. We live in hope.

  2. Nar... this is just storytelling. The little stories in the quests are pretty good, but I think the main thrust of what we are about is a little... all over the place. I mean too, DW is big and scary and all, but I wouldn't have identified him as the main threat of this expansion if Blizzard basically hadn't told me he was. Everybody thought it got hokey, but the Lich King was present and taunting us from nearly the start of our adventures in Northrend.