Dissatisfaction and 5.3

This is… Well, a post. Whenever I make posts discussing real things in-game, words get harder.

There has been a lot of talk (and I have missed the boat most definitely) about Alliance anger/angst/sorrow/irritation with 5.3, in which the main storyline has the Alliance’s numerically superior and more organised army playing second-fiddle to Vol’jin. Although the line in question where Vol’jin threatened the Alliance has been altered, I’m probably not the only person who thinks that the problem still remains.

And why does it remain? Because this isn’t our story. This rebellion is Vol’jin’s story. An Alliance siege on Orgrimmar would be great, but should really be separate. Even if Vol’jin is rebelling, he is fighting for the Horde (or his idea of it). Allying with Varian just seems out of place, but this isn’t really what I want to talk about, because it’s been discussed before.

In my opinion, the problem with 5.3 (and this is retroactive to 5.2) is that it’s still heavily Pandaria-dependant. To try and remain spoiler-free, what Garrosh is doing on Pandaria in 5.3 is directly setting up 5.4 – when we’ve been told before by Blizzard that 5.0 was the extent of content revolving around Pandaria. Yet we’ve just had an entire patch with Jaina and Lor’themar quabbling (and my own issue where Vereesa and Elsia had the exact same lines) on Pandaria, while we’ve fought the Thunder King and retaken the Isle of Thunder, helped the Shado-pan, and this follows another Pandaria-centric patch where we fought over Krasarang and got flown to and from quest destinations by NPC’s that summed up what happened yesterday.

This is meant to be an expansion about Pandaria, yes, but where is the war we’re fighting on it? I’ve not seen too much. 5.3 was heralded as the remedy, a return to the war on the old fronts we are accustomed to.

Except it isn’t. Considering that this is a world war (I use this term highly loosely) we’re not seeing that much.

A single naval battle. A troll incursion into Dwarven lands. And another trip into Ragefire Chasm that doesn’t fully explain things.

Compared to what we got in 5.1, this so far seems like a lot less content than we have been receiving with the faster patches. This is not to say that this is the only content we’re getting, but in my opinion (and feel free to see for yourself) there are less quests, a less interesting resource system, and less appealing scenarios.

Alliance dissatisfaction has manifested because there is less Alliance content than before – but the Horde has less too. Very little is accomplished this patch. It’s all just building up to the big finale of 5.4 (which I think really should not be coming this soon). But it’s very little build-up.

This patch was meant to bring the war back to the mainland. Why not do so?

I’m not sure if I’ll go into detail on the ideas I’ve had, but for some short summaries:

Ashenvale: The very definition of the war. Why not have some biological weaponry involvement from Felwood? I’m surprised that direction hasn’t been considered. Maybe have the Cenarion Circle get involved now that Ragnaros is dead and more of the forest is destroyed each day. It would be interesting to see whether Cenarius supports the new night elf governance. Garrosh never specifically prohibited the recreation of the Stonetalon bomb, either – and he’s probably desperate enough to use it.

Southern Azeroth: I’m surprised that battle has been kept to the Swamp of Sorrows. I would have expected battles for control of the Dark Portal, Grom’gol led attacks on Westfall and Duskwood, and going further north, why are the Blackrock orcs not making their presence known? Surely Blackrock Mountain would be a great place for a Horde base to lead attacks on Stormwind. Why have we not seen Zandalari involvement in the Sunken Temple? They seem to have changed their views on a lot of other things.

Stormwind Kingdom: Why is Westfall the only place we’ve seen major dissatisfaction? Vereesa’s death should have either been a rallying point for Stormwind or a rallying point for all those who have grievances with the continuing corruption in the House of Nobles. Varian has been focused on war with the Horde since he returned, and the problems Stormwind’s territories have are not going away – if anything, they are getting worse. Westfall is full of refugees, Redridge is isolated and struggling to hold off bolder Blackrock and gnoll incursions, Duskwood continues to suffer.. Why is there not open rebellion against the Alliance? These people have not been harmed by Thrall, Garrosh or Sylvanas, but by Varian and his complacence.

Khaz Modan: We are seeing something here, sort of. In that Moira is playing second-fiddle to Varian like Tyrande played second-fiddle to him in 5.1. The dwarves already repelled the frost trolls in 4.0 – why are they turning up now? More importantly, why have the gnomes continued to do nothing after retaking a single room in Gnomeregan? For 7 patches? Furthermore, we have not seen anything in Uldaman since classic – the Badlands chain revealed that there’s a lot of it unexplored, and there’s definitely some secrets there. Why are the dwarves not securing their territory against the Dragonmaw? What are the Dragonmaw doing?

Lordaeron: Surely Sylvanas is out of corpses by now. Why is she not pushing forward – or why is she not being pushed back? Surely the Alliance could reinforce their positions here now. Why have neither the Crusade nor the Circle taken issue with the extensive use of plague? What side are the disparate troll tribes here on in the Zandalari-Darkspear conflict? Who won the battle for Gilneas? Have the Scourge been wiped out?

Quel’thalas: Do I even need to say anything? There is SO MUCH that could be put here. Ongoing conflict over maintenance of Quel’thalas, the healing of the Ghostlands, the Blood Knight-Farstrider conflict, the role of the Light and the role of magic, the lack of political reform and continuing suppression, the aftermath of the Dalaran Crisis, the conflicted loyalty of all the blood elves between Alliance and Horde – especially in light of the Varian-Lor’themar negotiations.

Tauren territory: Where are the Grimtotem? Why has Magatha not shown up anywhere? How do the tauren feel about Theramore in relation to Taurajo? With Garrosh becoming pressured, is there more pressure for supplies from Mulgore? How is Baine dealing with Cairne’s death? Is he, like Lor’themar, considering negotiating with the Alliance?

Southern Kalimdor: Surely Maiev is in Feralas somewhere. The Highborne wrap-up was rather unfulfilling. Why have the Speedbarge owners maintained their neutrality despite the massive naval warfare? More importantly, how have they done so? How is Gadgetzan (and Steamwheedle) faring in a war where the Horde have racked up massive war debts they don’t intend to pay back? What are the centaur tribes doing in all of this?

Various troll tribes: Where are all the other tribes? We’ve seen the big four, but there are well over twenty across Azeroth. Where do they stand? What of the Horde-aligned ones in Darkshore, Desolace et al, who have suffered at Alliance hands? What of the ones that suffered at the hands of the main four tribes? Are they desperate enough?

More importantly, are the Darkspear desperate enough? What I really wanted to see in 5.2 was a leaderless Darkspear tribe, one where Vanira and Zen’tabra had to face the realisation that the Horde was turning against them and Vol’jin was potentially gone forever. Would they have considered the Zandalari’s offer then?

What about the Earthen Ring? Are they becoming more favourable to the Alliance, given the sudden acceptance of Blackrock Dark Shaman into the Horde’s ranks?

There is so much in this game that is unanswered exactly for the purpose of future story for Blizzard. It seems unfathomable that in a patch dedicated to such stories, so few of them are being carried further.

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