As my main, Kamalia is the one who “does everything”. She’s the one who plays through all the questlines of new content, even if some of the quests give me, the player, qualms, to see where they go and how the whole story unfolds. If the events of a questline phase the world, Kamalia’s the one who will see the world in its “final” (or at least most current) state. Often, Kamalia is the only one of my characters to see the world “as it really is”.
Only Kamalia sees the revitalized Cradle of the Ancients in Uldum. Only Kamalia sees Domination Point, Lion’s Landing, and the Horde oil field on the Krasarang coast. In other places, only a few of my characters have done the questlines that phase the world. Only a few characters see the rotting corpse of the Ik’thik Colossus blocking the gap it itself created in the Serpent’s Spine and making Stoneplow uninhabitable with its stench. Only a few characters see the Jade Serpent statue in ruins. Only a few characters see the Maw of Isorath dead and still. Only a few characters see Theramore destroyed — even Kamalia doesn’t see that, because I have never done the Theramore’s Fall scenario with her.
For changes that make the world better and more beautiful, like the revitalization of the Cradle of the Ancients, I sometimes wish that playing through the questlines with one character would make the changes visible to all. I particularly wish that for the Cradle of the Ancients, because I don’t want to have to work for the Schnottzes again just to make it happen. For changes that make the world darker and sadder, however, I tend to deliberately leave the questlines undone or unfinished. I haven’t done even the initial opening of the Domination Offensive with any other characters but Kam, because I prefer to see the Krasarang beaches pristine. I have left Jade Forest unfinished with some characters so that I can return to enjoy the 99.99% complete Jade Serpent statue, the orange groves surrounding it, and the lovely variation of one of the main Jade Forest soundtrack themes that (as far as I know) plays only there, and only while the statue is still whole. I agree with the suggestion made and echoed many times in the WoW Insider topic thread that the changes to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms ought to be phased, such that a level 87 character just opening the Gate of the August Celestials sees it pure and beautiful, with the Vale of Eternal Sorrows phase being triggered when the character completes the Dark Heart of Pandaria scenario at level 90.
And I miss the old Brill, and the old Tarren Mill. At least there’s Old Hillsbrad in the Caverns of Time to go visit Tarren Mill and Southshore as they used to be — if only that zone encompassed Hillsbrad Fields, too!
At the same time, however, I liked that the Battlefield:Barrens stuff in Patch 5.3 was not just a special phase for high-level players, but was visible to low-level players in the zone, too. Though the Kor’kron installations in Northern Barrens sadden me, I’m glad that they didn’t just disappear when the Battlefield:Barrens event itself ended. It would have been wierd if the Barrens had suddenly reverted, as if the Kor’kron distruptions had never happened at all — though I would someday like to see those installations deserted and overgrown.
Overall, I like persistent changes. It’s good to see that yes, my character’s actions in this place made a real difference — even if sometimes the difference is negative, and I regret it, and wish that there were more quests to try to make things at least a little bit better again.
This disjointed and occasionally self-contradictory ramble brought to you by WoW Insider’s Community Blog Topic for the week of 20 September 2013: What do you think of persistent changes to Azeroth?
What do you think of having WoW changed by player action or are you happy with phasing and events? What do you think of temporary changes like the Battle of the Barrens vs. permanent changes like the Vale? Do you think we should have more change in our World of Warcraft or do you wish you could go back and play in areas that are now permanently altered? Or do you want it all?