As I’m finalising my gear planning for 4.3, I noticed a link to this article here, entitled Who is Deathwing?. It’s a nice summary, but it’s possibly my one really large gripe about Cataclysm: we shouldn’t have to be TOLD who Deathwing is.
In Wrath, Arthas’ story was woven into the plot almost the whole way. Almost every zone had a major quest chain where he featured. Particularly the alliance Dragonblight beach scene and the Icecrown quest series lead by the enigmatic Matthias Lehner. By the time the Icecrown Citadel instances and raids were released, you knew who this Lich King was. He wasn’t a simple character, but he was the enemy. You felt woven in his story.
In Cataclysm, maybe I rushed through the quests a little too much – but I didn’t feel connected to Deathwing’s story. I’m trying to tell myself that this was deliberate – that Blizzard were building a sense of mystery around Deathwing. But it just comes across as haphazard.
His destruction was everywhere. But where did he come from? Where is he now? Why does he feel to me just like a big, arbitrary dragon that just appeared and we’re supposed to hate?
I thought the random flybys were great. For the first few weeks I was desperately hoping to catch a glimpse of him in the sky. He was huge! But I didn’t see him fly over while questing to 85.
When we were in Deepholm, we were led through parts of his escape from the realm, but I couldn’t build up a sequence of events. Hell, I didn’t even realise he was supposed have been living locked IN the Stonecore. Azil rants about having been granted powers by Deathwing… but so does every boss in Cata. Where was the stench of Deathwing’s presence in that place? This was the ideal place for the player to have felt his menace, but I didn’t even know it was his prison/refuge until I read about it outside the game.
The only real time in the 80-85 questline that we interact with Deathwing is in Twilight Highlands, culminating the battle between the red dragons and his minions the black dragons. The first major encounter with him is basically the last quest you do.
Deathwing says: Lifebinder! do you presume that I am at your beck and call? I have a world to unmake.
As a player I’m thinking “Why? Why do you want to unmake the world?”
We never see Neltharion. He doesn’t do what he’s renowned for and turn up as a Prestor somewhere causing trouble like Katrana did. This would have been a great opportunity to weave him in somewhere.
It all seemed so artificial and flat to me. “Lets put a big dragon in and have him randomly fly around burning stuff.” Deathwing in-game isn’t a character! He’s a caricature. He doesn’t feel godlike or terrifying. He feels ridiculous.
Lets ride up a canyon with a babe in the sidecar and punch him in the face.
Dragon Soul will expand on his story, on the creation of the Demon soul and the War of the Aspects – I know. It’s just such a shame that for the rest of Cataclysm we’ve had a cartoon nemesis.