Topic Winners and Losers of the Cataclysm
Top 10 Winners
10) Garrosh Hellscream
Despite being violently hated by a vast majority of both the Horde and the Alliance, Garrosh Hellscream remains alive and well at the end of the expansion. Despite seeming hell-bent on military confrontations that go through extreme and out the other side, such as blowing up random Alliance ships at the expense of his own air force, the Alliance counter-attack is meager at best. And, while three of the other four Horde leaders have solid, belieable, well-stated reasons for wanting him dead, he remains in charge of that faction as well. Finally, despite plenty of Horde players openly admitting their reluctance or refusal to defend him, his location in central Orgrimmar within stone's throw of the bank and AH makes him the best-defended faction leader in the game.
He can take comfort in the fact that he's now killed slightly less often than he was before. Before Cataclysm, this poor tauren punching bag could be felled by a soft summer breeze. Now, accidentally pulling this elite is almost a rite of passage, and Horde players routinely watch and cheer him on.
8) Illidan Stormrage
For being a central, if not THE central, figure in all of Burning Crusade, Illidan remained a baffling mystery to most players. Those who did not know their lore, but only played the game, knew him only as "You are not prepared". His backstory and history were not explained deeply in the game itself, and he was just some demon to fight. This was doubly true if, in LK or Cata, you plow your way through the 60-70 level range at warp speed. On the other hand, if you did study your lore, you wondered why he was the central figure in BC at all. After all, this is someone violently opposed to both the Burning Legion and the Scourge, both of whom are far more prevalent than Illidan's forces, as well as far more dangerous. He was, for all intents and purposes, trapped within the walls of the Black Temple.
Cataclysm finally has a decent answer to both. Illidan's appearance in the Well of Eternity gives this Warcraft main character the background he deserves, letting both new and veteran players know who this guy really is, and quite frankly, to feel a little bit better about roflstomping him in Black Temple. An achievement/guild achievement exists for wielding his paired blades, giving you yet another reason to go stomp him flat. He also drops the coolest-looking transmog shield in the game, I don't care what anyone else says. There are also rumors floating around at Blizzcon 2010 and 2011 that Illidan will make a further return.
7) Aska Mistrunner
7) The cooking trainer in Thunder Bluff
The release of the extra cooking dailies to additional cities points at something desperately needed in Blizzard's favor: that they are willing to spend time and resources into something as "minor" as cooking and fishing, and create a well-polished product. Thunder Bluff stands out amongst them, as anyone who actually reads the quest text knows, by offering the cooking quests that are the most appetizing. Especially when compared to, say, the Undercity. +2 to cooking skill for picking out top-quality ingredients is perhaps one of the most appropriate quest rewards in the game.
Vol'jin's victories in the Cataclysm expansion are twofold. Firstly, taking back the Echo Isles and making a brand new troll starting zone works out very well (yes I know the retaking itself was done in the LK expansion, shut up, make your own damn list). Secondly, he was without question the biggest figure in patch 4.1 for Horde and Alliance. No matter how you feel about "rehashed content", at least for a short while, it was all about da Vol'jin, mon.
The Bronze Dragonflight remains unique as a neutral faction as being important in every expansion in the game, especially Vanilla (you do remember opening the gates of AQ, don't you?) Nozdormu's individual appearance in the three final dungeons gives him a deeper, richer story personally than any of the other aspects, unless you happen to be on the staff quest. Also, he gets Chromie as an assistant, and that's pretty cool in and of itself.
4) Harrison Jones
In the Burning Crusade, Harrison Jones made his first appearance by wandering through the doors of ZUl'Aman and being one-shotted by the instance's first trash pack, which lived next to Wilfred Fizzlebang as the most embarrassing appearance in any raid. In Cataclysm, this death scene is entirely replaced by an extensive quest chain, spanning an entire zone, in which he is unquestionably more effective. This kind of drastic U-turn easily places him high on the list.
3) Sylvanas Windrunner
Sylvanas' appearance in the End Time could arguably be called the hardest encounter of the three new dungeons, as she fights with raid boss-style mechanics and frequently, yet justifiably, one-shots the idiots routinely found in LFD. But that's not what I mean. Her appearance on the list relates to her prominent appearance in the Silverpine quest line, in which she completely humiliates an entire Alliance race the second they open their front door, forcing them to live in a tree. With elves. This is immediately followed by the unique moment of all racial leaders in which she proves that death itself isn't enough to stop her anymore. The Banshee Queen's influence is now impossible to ignore, and few other characters in the game get discussions as involved as those about her methods and character.
The "too soon" appearance of Ragnaros in the Molten Core was a big moment for Vanilla players, but it was often stated (including by Blizzard) that a group of level 60's could not kill an Elemental Lord at full strength. Given the home-field advantage, Ragnaros should crush most mortal opponents like the gnats they are to him. And, when he came back in Firelands, this theory was put into practice with pretty convincing results. More than any other end-raid boss in the entire expansion, Ragnaros was a "wall" that stopped raids and guilds in their tracks. The difference between the guilds that went 6/7 versus 7/7, ESPECIALLY in heroic mode, was massive, a huge jump in difficulty that, in many cases, led to frustration and outrage. Whether or not you saw him walking on legs, Ragnaros demanded the respect of all those who faced him.
This one's a no-brainer. How often do you get to save the universe and also get the girl in your very own cutscene?
Top 10 Losers
10) The dwarven race
Not even counting what happened to them politically (see below), the dwarves found themselves in the Cataclysm expansion with arguably the worst set of racial bonuses in the game. Frost resistance proved to be useless pretty quickly in an expansion whose main bosses used fire (Cho'gall/Sinestra, Ragnaros, Deathwing), shadow (Cho'gall again), or nature (Al'Akir mostly did nature damage with cold as a minor feature at best). Adding shamans to the race was a nice touch, but one which barely benefitted from their racial weapon skills, as shamans rarely use two-handed maces and cannot use guns at all. Their racial trait of finding chests, already laughably useless past level 70, was replaced in its entirety with a bonus to Archaology fragments found, a bonus completely overshadowed by the drop rate increase in a following patch. This doesn't even count the fact that Archaeology provides no end-game bonuses and was avoided by many (maybe even most) players like a particularly boring plague.
9) Lor'themar Theron
The leader of the Blood Elf race stands out amongst the Horde racial leaders as the one, the ONLY one, in which not a damn thing happened to him all expansion. Flying in the Blood Elf lands remains impossible, regardless of the reason why, and the quests in these zones remain effectively unchanged. As compared to the storylines unfolding around the other racial leaders, the complete ignoring of Lor'themar, his lands, and his people is a deep personal insult, comparable to being picked last for the kickball team after the kid on crutches.
8) Magatha Grimtotem
One of the game's more sinister villains, Magatha had a lot of potential heading into the expansion. Not only was she pivotal in the storyline of the Horde, indirectly assassinating Cairne Bloodhoof, she was the main figure in the Thousand Needles questline. In this questline, players reluctantly help her against the Twilight Cultists and arm her and her 103 million freaking hit points with a Doomstone, an item of great but unspecified power. She sends the heroes on their way, promising that the next meeting would be their last.
And then...nothing. She vanishes from the story without a trace, as forgotten as Lor'themar Theron. Her vast potential is wasted.
One of the World of Warcraft's most prominent guilds took a major blow to their collective ego when they were caught abusing what was quite obviously an, erm, "unintended consequence" of the new LFR system loot rules. Their most prominent raiders were kicked out of the game for just barely long enough to see some important world firsts drift past them. While there might be controversy on whether what they did was illegal or not, and while opinions on the nature of their punishment vary, there is probably no harsher way to lose a race than to be disqualified and not allowed to run at all.
6) The Dragon Aspects
Appointed by the titans and given unspeakable power and immortality, power even greater than a dragon as old as they were already commanded, the five Dragon Aspects are prominent figures in Warcraft lore. For all useful intents and purposes, the they were Azeroth's "get out of destruction free" card. That card is now played. Alexstrasza, Ysera, and Nozdormu (who is still a winner by the way regardless of his appearance here) are now mortal, and must watch the next major force that threatens the world with all the impotence of Lor'themar Theron. Kalecgos, who was a dragon aspect for about 17 seconds, is probably not all that concerned about it.
5) The Alliance in General
Unless you paid good money to read one of Knaak's books for some reason, you didn't see the Alliance leaders doing much. Much was made of Stormwind being nearly burned to the ground. The dwarven leader turned into a statue, to be replaced by a council with a dark iron dwarf sitting on it. Tyrande Whisperwind shows up in a couple of instances, where she is immediately called out as a crybaby, unable to say a sentence without the word "moon" in poor voice acting. And the draeni are ignored entirely for yet another expansion, treatment usually reserved for Lor'themar Theron. Alliance players got to watch the Horde leaders engage in relevant content, and especially watch Kal-el, I mean, Go'el, run the majority of the storyline, confident in the knowledge that Garona Half-orcen is back in the game and probably going to backstab their remaining leaders while Theramore burns to the ground.
4) Gelbin Mekkatorque
Singled out amongst the Alliance leaders is the gnome leader, whose big accomplishment in the days leading up to the Cataclysm, is gathering a group of level 80 Alliance kingslayers, marching on the level 24 instance of Gnomergeran, and failing to take it back. Again. This level of gross inability to succeed against such trivial resistance is usually reserved for Lor'themar Theron.
3) Inscription Trainers
The total number of glyphs in the game that require level 81+ is one. All of the other glyphs were obtainable and usable in the Lich King expansion, mostly by the random drop books that don't require a trainer. The only new glyph introduced in Cataclysm was the Glyph of Colossus Smash, which is available by a vendor, not a trainer. The amount of attention paid to Inscription in the Cata expansion was minimal at best, a level of attention usually reserved for Lor'th...ok I'll stop.
2) Baine Bloodhoof
The opening of the Cataclysm expansion was paired with a change in the leadership of the tauren people. Despite verbal confrontations with Vol'jin and Sylvanas, Garrosh was only directly challenged about his mindless warmongering by Cairne, arguably the only Horde leader that would strive for peace with the Alliance. As such, he was written out of the game in a contrived plot hook that, while it let him die with honor, still caused him to die.
Baine rose to power on the platform of "When a World of Warcraft racial leader dies, he is replaced by his son" as Varian Wrynn, Vol'jin, Garrosh Hellscream and to a certain extent Muradin Bronzebeard can all attest to. The level of nepotism is staggering. Tauren have always been tribal, with no semblence of a monarchy. Before Cataclysm, Baine offered one quest once and was nearly unheard of in out-of game lore. Baine is a monument to the belief that being the son of someone important is an interesting character trait. He immediately falls in line behind Garrosh, who let's not forget slaughtered his father. Then, he spares Magatha's life for reasons that defy explaination, since he clearly has no problem killing her family members. His appearance in End Time is unique, in that he's the only boss in the newest three dungeons that not offers optional damage boosts to the players, but kills fewer people than facepulls on the trash leading to him.
Of the four elemental lords, who let's not forget are Ragnaros-level bastions of primal fury and major servants created by the Old Gods themselves, Neptulon was considered the most powerful of them all. He was also the only one considered to be actually not evil, if for no other reason than his feud with Ragnaros, as championed via the Hydraxian Waterlords, as far back as Vanilla. It is no surprise, therefore, that he would make some kind of appearance in Vash'jir, and entirely underwater zone and home to the Abyssal Maw. Players quest through multiple rich, detailed sections of deep sea towards this target, as mentioned prominently in the press releases leading up to the expansion's release.
And then, as players rush to his defense in one of the first dungeons in the expansion, he is grabbed by an octopus and carried away. He is never seen again.
Blizzard took the time to carefuly plan out a response to mass player confusion/outrage at one of the most powerful lore beings being kidnapped by a squid with one hit point left, by carefully explaining that this story was over, and in a related story, cancelled the Abyssal Maw raid as not being cool enough. Here is an actual Blizzard quote on the topic:
"The case for Abyssal Maw pitch was that we could reuse a lot of existing assets (the fights were to take place in a giant shelled demigod like Nespirah), and while we are willing to do that, we thought Abyssal Maw would just pale in comparison to the magnificence of the Firelands. So, we put all of our eggs into that one basket. We’ve decided for now that the Vashj’ir quest line along with the Throne of the Tides dungeon does a pretty good job of finishing the Neptulon story."
The general player response to this was "That is complete bulls@tback".
Edited by Kathresia on 2/23/12 11:32 AM (PST)
This thread is comparable to Lor'themar Theron, lol i kid, you make some good points however, I wouldn't say the alliance leaders "Did nothing" all expansion, The Gilneas plot is certaintely one to be reckoned with as Darius and Ivar threatened to swallow the Forsaken offensive whole until Sylvannas got clever and took his daughter whom, he refused to infect with the worgen curse which would have prevented her from being ressurected as a forsaken anyway. And there still remains a whole lot of explanation for what Darius is planning, Genn on the otherhand is just mourning his son and giving no F****s about anything.
Note that all the cool parts of the Gilnean story took place before Gilneas joined the Alliance.
25 Blood Elf Paladin
That's not true, the Forsaken got to experience a fantastic Gilnean storyline!
Only to further support your argument, the Priest's Glyph of Shadow was also added in Cataclysm. It is discovered through Minor Inscription Research.
85 Tauren Shaman
Hey, I like Garrosh :B
But yeah, Baine sucks, the Alliance got shafted, and the Villain bat and stupid ball continue to fly around whacking people at random.
Oh, and I'm sick of thrall >:|
I'd say he lost because he's married to Agra and everyone hates him for not reigning in the Forsaken or explaining ashenvale.
21 Undead Warlock
Wow, great points. I guess revamping 1-60 may have taken time away from things like Neptulon and giving the worgen player participation in both events in wolf heart and attempting to retake Gilneas with the 7th leagion. But I guess you couldnt tell the story of cataclysm without revamping all those zones to begin with. however, putting csi, rambo and a-team refrences in the human lvling areas where there was incredible potential to develope some substantial lore with regards to how succesful or unsuccseful varian and his Nobles and marshalls were doing as leaders was a mistake and a waste of time and undermined other more serious developments. I like the idea of a Royal Inspection Bureau (sort of like in curse of the worgen) and Keyshawn, but these elements needed to taken seriously which it seems the devs werent interested in doing.
Hahahahahahahha.... ugh this 17 lvl warlock agrees. one might call me a wolf in forsaken clothing...
Edited by Vegdrasil on 2/24/12 10:20 AM (PST)
You know, not all the plotlines introduced in the new 1-60 content have to be wrapped up at the same time as they're introduced. Introducing story threads for later expansions is a good way to make said expansions feel connected to the world instead of self-contained.
I brought up nearly that exact point a few months ago in a thread about the subplots of Cataclysm, but everybody there just wanted to call it bad story telling. They're wrong. All of the loose ends and unanswered questions will provide filler and end-game material for the next and future expansions. Just so long as I don't have to escort Thrall's baby around the Caverns of Time I'll be happy.
That green thing on the 40% swim speed mount that I'm supposed to be following? Yeah, that's the one.
Edited by Anvilfist on 2/24/12 11:18 AM (PST)
I dont get how Dwarves lost. We reconnected and united with the Wildhammer and Dark Iron (the latter causing strife, but I really do think Moira has good intentions. She would be the most devastated by the death of her father after all). We averted a civil war and led the offense against the war in Twilight Highlands. We also got Fargo Flintlocke, a minor NPC with his own voice dialogue.
Frost Resistance is still a godsend for a warrior like myself who gets pummeled by frost mages. Archaeology may be the least popular secondary profession, but IMO it's still the best profession racial there is (instead of +15 to enchanting, we survey faster and get additional fragments (8-10))
I agree that Gun spec is worthless now, compared to what Worgen received, but the same will happen to Tauren in MoP when the Pandaren get a stun that lasts a whole second longer.
Weapon skill racials have always been pretty worthless in my opinion, and as to the Shaman joining us, without Dwarf Shaman, Dwarves in general would be played by about 3% of the entire playerbase, which should NEVER happen to a race (especially considering Blood Elves sit at a nice 16% the entire playerbase, Humans at 18%)
If any race lost this expansion, its the Blood Elves. The only significant thing they did was form the Reliquary which got ultimately trumped by the Explorer's League, who led by Brann Bronzebeard rediscovered the machinery of Uldum (was the Reliquary even IN Uldum?)
The same NPC that was put in instead of the entire Alliance Twilight Highlands intro?
I wouldn't count that as a win, my friend.