I’ve been running my Paladin through all of the new quests released as part of the Cataclysm expansion pack to the World of Warcraft. All of the quest chains have been vastly improved – they tell stories – they’re fun – there’s a lot more interactive events – and overall it feels like you’re having an actual impact on the world.
But that’s exactly the problem.
In each and every zone, you’re the HERO, without whom calamity would surely ensue. Every (dramatic) sequence is at max volume with you playing the central role. Ok, maybe not every, but too many… But that’s to be expected in a game like WoW which spends a lot of it’s time trying to make you feel as strong as possible. So I’m not suprised. They way they do this – from one zone to the next – breaks the illusion of the world. It’s just not possible for you to be the hero of continent after continent without celebrity. But that’s what seems to happen. So you have to check your suspension of disbelief at the door…
As I played through the really good quest chain for Darkshore (a newbie Night Elf zone), I had a really hard time doing this because they broke time. The Darkshore sequence plays out as if the cataclysm just happened. Literally your first actions are to go rescue people who were hit by tidal waves. Yet – in the area you come to Darkshore from – it’s substantial period of time AFTER the cataclysm and much rebuilding has already been completed. In the next zone you go to – the Horde and Alliance are locked in a perpetual battle, just waiting for you to arrive. The things you do are great – riding on dragons, blowing up catapults, sneaking into enemy bases, laughing out loud at really funny jokes, feeling sorrow.
It just feels to me like a different world structure was called for. Something more along the lines of the Caverns of Times model which already exists in WoW. A place where I could pop back and forth and change the course of historical events. Place many of these portals around the world combined with the phasing technology that’s already in place and the quest chains would feel so much more believable. And I, for one, would find them more fun as a result.