Wishful Thinking: Access to Both Pre- and Post-Cataclysm Quests and Lore

The Cataclysmic changes coming soon to World of Warcraft are undoubtedly going to change the game to the core, right down to the very face of Azeroth. For the most part, I think players welcome the imminent changes. But there’s one giant heap of change, in particular, that still leaves me a bit uncertain.

Quests. And with them, lore.

When Deathwing emerges from the elemental plane Deepholm in the not-too-distant future, he’s going to bring on a ton of destruction. As we know, zones will change. And most of the quests that once made up the landscape will, presumably, become nothing but a memory.

Most of this was confirmed this past weekend when Blizzard lifted its press tour NDA, and we saw  a whole flood of new information surface. Things always are subject to change before the actual release of Cataclysm (or, for that matter, afterward via patch), but it looks like a ton of old quests are going bye-bye for good:

  • Zones that don’t change much in visuals may still change significantly in story (Westfall’s quests will be roughly 95% new)
  • Wrath had about 1,000 new quests. Cataclysm will have more than 3,000
  • Iconic quests, such as those involving Linken, should still remain in the game, relatively untouched (woot)

Why not take that a step further and allow players to have access to ALL old content? Lore already supports the perfect vehicle to allow the switching between the pre- and post-Cataclysmic world — Nozdormu the Timeless and the Bronze Dragonflight.

I’m not suggesting that players should have access to ALL the quests ALL the time, but I suppose I am a believer that content — even when it’s old — is still content. No matter how many times you’ve played through those old quests, escorted a comrade out of harm’s way or collected 10 creature pelts to contribute toward a worthy cause, those quests still have value. What’s the point in doing entirely away with quests that players have been enjoying for years? Plus, it would still give players a way to earn the coveted Loremaster title (since I’m certain a new incarnation of the title will unroll for the expansion).

The problem is, a lot of things will change in the Cataclysm, and the focus of Azeroth will shift from whatever those old quests had you doing to what we can only guess will be newer initiatives with a greater, and more immediate, importance. Having old quests around that no longer make sense with the new issues of the land simply wouldn’t work.

But here’s what would work — phased content to a pre-Cataclysmic world. We already know that phasing is going to be a widely used mechanic for the new expansion. Why not allow an under-phase of the world, as it is now? The key lies within deciding how players can access that phase.

As suggested earlier, I would suggest the Bronze dragonflight. Up until now, the bronze dragonflight has played a role in the Caverns of Time, attempting to send adventurers to prevent the meddlesome Infinite Dragonflight from destroying or altering key events in history.

For this mechanic, the bronze dragonflight could send the toon to another, pre-Cataclysm phase of Azeroth to allow them to prepare the world for the oncoming damage. Gather that last pile of timber needed for a village here, go kill that elite monster terrorizing the countryside there — the adventurer’s small contributions to Azeroth, via questing before the Cataclysm, will make it, perhaps, a small bit less chaotic after-the-fact.

How to emerge back to the current phase? Simply use an item, or perhaps talk to a bronze dragon (they could be stationed, say, at every pre-Cataclysm flight point).

I get the impression that Blizzard is going more for a clean-slate with the new expansion. But a variation of this alternative could keep a lot of lore-nerd players happy, too. Since I don’t see it happening, I’ll see if I can instead work a bit on that Loremaster title, while I still can.


  1. Blizzard aren’t doing cataclysm for the purpose of getting rid of old quests they didn’t like, however they have to make new content in the expansion, and used the opportunity to redo or scrap stuff they didn’t like, so that they are much happier with their game. There is going to be some things people will miss, there is going to be some things people never wanted to see again, but either way there is also going to be lots of new stuff to do. If Blizzard was going to be setting up the new expansion on old world, and only added in a few new zones without much change to the old ones (because there are only so many options for zones to level in they can give without it getting silly), wouldn’t you be even more upset? To me the idea of getting to level up in a whole new way (except for 60-80 of course) is really exciting, rather than upsetting that I will never do it again the old way. Then there is the matter of how much extra game data all that phasing or instancing would take.
    Now I’m not going to be completely negative about the idea, since I will also miss the old world somewhat. Like how I missed my old house (I moved a few years ago), but my new house is much better and it’s great to reminisce. I will love to be able to get someone new into playing and when they get really excited about how they just reached level 15 in Westfall from helping make a pie I can reply ‘Well back in my day it took me 2 whole hours of grinding to get the goretusk livers needed!’ (I never actually grinded for goretusk livers, I just did the quest while wandering about doing other quests, but it is just an example). Lastly because of it’s leaving I’m guessing you are now actually doing several achievement you wouldn’t otherwise have done, maybe leveling one last character, or just riding around to experience it one last time before it goes – the leaving party sure is great and you wouldn’t experience it if it was all still here.
    So when the old world has to leave, and head off into the Sunset, the sad piano music will start whilst a single tear rolls down my cheek, the new-old world will come and comfort me. I think there’s only on thing left to say…

    When the patch has come, and the game’s installed
    and Elune’s is the only light we’ll see.
    No, I won’t be low geared
    Oh, I won’t be low geared, just so long as you level with me.
    So Pixie, Pixie, level with me.
    Oh, level with me. Oh, level… level with me… level with me.
    If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall,
    Or Stormwind should crumble to the sea,
    I won’t die, I won’t die! No, I won’t even feign death, just as long as you level with me.
    And Pixie, Pixie, level with me.
    Oh, level with me. Oh, level… level with me… level with me.

    -Old Azeroth, (2004-2010), Goodnight sweet prince.

    Wait, what just happened?

  2. I think so… It helps that Pixie fits so well as a replacement to ‘darling’. Stand by Me is also a great song that just seemed to fit the feeling of the moment, and I had to turn it into a slight WoW parody in the process!
    I think you should could force iTZKooPA to sing it on the next podcast as -air quotes- ‘just deserts’ (shh, I know they’re spelt different, but they sound the same!) for what he’s been calling you!

  3. Well, the way I see it is that I was there before the sundering, and have gotten to lvl cap, so will have the chance to play through all the new content with a new toon, and have a ‘mostly’ different experience after Cata hits. Double the fun.

  4. People Obsses too much over old content and think it’s the god send of all the game. Well guess what? I went back and did all those quests, and i’ll tell you what.


    Did you Really enjoy .2 percent drop rates, going 50 miles across the content, then 50 miles Again, just to get some exp and a green u can’t use? And then when you read the quest, you find out the chicks daugther is still asleep and you helped with Nothing? I sure as hell didn’t.

    Only living on the base of nostalgia in a game, will force you te be Blinded by the New and Better experiance you are getting. Just because it was there first, doesn’t mean it was best. It just means we had memories of it, and belive me when I say when you REALLY think about it, it wasn’t that great.

    I Say, Goodbye and Good riddance to wondering why the hell a wolf is missing vital organs.

  5. @Nextgener

    You are still going to have to kill 18 wolves to get 6 eyes, promise. Thats not what Cataclysm is changing. While it is fixing some of the minor errors and bugs like that, many quests will remain widely the same.

    And besides, nostalgia is one sided, and no one argues that. Some people miss how much it sucked.

  6. The seranade was cool though personally, I believe that 99 Red Balloons is a much better song for the Cataclysm. Lorewise, I think that changing the majority of the quests works simply because the world itself is changing.

    That being said, call my glasses rose colored and call me overly nostalgic if you want, but while it was buggy, annoying and I spent massive amounts of time on the road or in the air, the old quests were still fun and unique. I can still remember a sense of accomplishment in Burning Steppes where the dragons and dragonkin were still elite and I killed on on my hunter and I was outleveled by the dragon by about 2 levels. It’s THAT kind of thing I’ll miss but I’m sure Cataclysm will bring it’s own style with it and fun with it too.

  7. since Cata will be very phase heavy i dont see why they couldnt use your idea Pixie. they have been using them in that way since BC so why not continue into Cata. yes the old quests were sometimes annoying and took forever. but thats what made them great at the same time. You need one wolf eye and had to kill 20 of them just to get it. it worked out in 2 ways. 1 you got a good amount of exp just for killing them. and 2 your time in that zone was extened. meaning you had more time enjoying the area(or hating). I dont think they should get rid of all the old quest, maybe change them up some. buit im going to miss collecting all those stupid defias bandanas and killing all those murlocks. hopefully they wil do something about that. a player can dream right.lol

  8. Its to much work for them. I would imagine all the old files (or at least most of them) will be scrapped. Thats a lot of data to keep.

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