Last night, my mage character in World of Warcraft completed a milestone. She became a Veteran of the Wrath Gate, which means that she completed a series of quests in Dragonblight leading up to a rather emotional cutscene where erm… Important Things Happen. I really don’t want to spoil it for those who have not done it yet, but since this is the second time I was doing the quest (I have already leveled up a Death Knight to 80), it reinforced a vague feeling I had the first time around and I think it needs to be said.
Wrath Gate Cutscene
This particular event is a rather important part of the whole WotLK story arc. The cinematic is well executed and it is just another one of the innovations introduced in the expansion that really enhance the overall player experience. So maybe it’s just the fact that I’m a Lord of the Rings geek among other things, but I felt like shouting Pippen-like, “The eagles are coming!” at the exact point where Bolvar Fordragon raises his head to the sky. Substitute Gwaihir the Eagle Lord for Alexstrasza the Dragon Queen – the effect was just as dramatic even if it wasn’t original.Which brings me to my point – you don’t have to be original to be good. Blizzard never claimed to be original. It’s the uninformed fanbois who scream “WoW Clone!” at every other MMO that has been released since 2005 and has even dared to have a similar-looking user interface, accusations that eventually degenerate into a WoW-copied-some-other-game flame war. Despite the fact that WotLK is as original as MMOs go, I really think that anyone will be hard pressed to find something in it that has never been done in any game before. But the fact that the developers have taken all the things we like in all these other games – MMOs and single-player games alike – and put them together in one neat package makes the difference.