@TheRedShirtGuy @Loreology @Shadesogrey @AlternativeChat @caerphoto We're keeping Garrosh in Org for 5.4 for quests and achieve.
— Dave Kosak (@DaveKosak) August 16, 2013
Sometimes, you find yourself questioning a decision in game without adequately considering the consequences of your actions. I did this with the above tweet, because part of me assumed that if Garrosh was going to become our enemy in 5.4, having a 'copy' of him sitting in Orgrimmar simultaneously would just seem wrong. That's until I stopped and realised just how significant the Horde's errant leader has become not just in current lore, but all the lore. With the exception of existing racial leaders, there's very few NPC's who could lay claim to having had such an influence on the life and times of Azeroth, and you can't simply remove him from the timeline.
In fact, he's a great example of not only the game's greatest strengths, but probably its biggest weakness.
We're about to throw ourselves headlong into a battle with an Orc who has existed since the days of the Burning Crusade. And he still does, his story unfolding across multiple Expansions simultaneously... he is a perfect example of the basic problem inherent in a game that does not evolve as time goes on. We can see his development captured, the way he has progressed, from the lush fields of Nagrand, to the battlefront in Northrend, and his ascension as Horde Warchief. He is an integral part of countless quests, and numerous flashpoints, and you cannot take him out of those situations without having to spend time and money redeveloping everything around him. Therefore he remains, and becomes a timeline that Horde players will follow as they level. Although this will be far less pronounced for current players, the older Horde player has had Garrosh as a part of their lives since Outland.
|Relaxing in ma crib, homies.|
Now he has evolved into a villain (and presumably one we will dispatch or at least subdue to a shadow of his former self, no I'm not spoiling myself to find out) that long journey will come to an end, or at least a conclusion of sorts. Again, that doesn't mean he can be removed from the static timeline, so he will remain testament to the company that has created him. As is the case with all the faction leaders, and a handful of NPCS, he becomes a constant we cannot remove, because if we do the fundamental meaning of the game will, like it or not, be subverted.... but hang on, hasn't that already happened? Haven't we seen Garrosh aggressively move into places like Ashenvale post-Cataclysm? Why is it possible that this could change but Garrosh remains head of his tribe in Nagrand or in the Citadel in Northrend?
The problem, of course, is that there's not that many people who actually notice.
Most of our player base, let's face it, are here to get to 90 and win stuff. Yes, I know that's merciless over-simplification for the sake of argument, but the fact remains that because of the way our brains are taught, we tend to forget that 'the past' actually still exists in Azeroth. Of course it's still there, and you may occasionally brush past it on your way to 90, but for the vast majority of players it is just that, the past. Imagine it as a continually looping movie of the time period that you played that Expansion at level. You know the opening title sequence, and what happens just before the end credits, but most of what happened in the middle isn't that memorable because... well, that's how it works. You might remember the big fight sequences, or there'll be a part of the film that strikes a chord because you have a personal recollection of a real life event that happened at the same time. In the main however, it's old news. You're in the present and that's all that matters, and that's what the developers pin their hopes on too.
In fact without that, we'd not be here to begin with.
The problem with Garrosh comes from those of us who broke the films down, scene by scene, who learnt all the lines and remember all the easter eggs and pretty much nerded our way through the entire experience. We're the ones who can't cope with having six different versions of the same Horde figure across a timeline even when it doesn't matter if there's one or a hundred, only the current one matters because in essence, we need to live in the present and stop obsessing about the past... but there is a point, even after we've exhausted ourselves into a corner. Consistency. This time around, in the Movie of this Expansion, some fundamental rules have been changed, and that's caused a wee bit of a problem.
|Trouble 't Vale. By 'eck.|
This time around, Blizzard have taken phasing to their hearts with a vengeance, and this means that the world around us HAS altered, and quite significantly as time has gone on. However, those old-time movies of the other three expansions still continue to rumble on regardless, because people have to start somewhere, and while you still need to level from 1-90, there needs to be a place in which to do it. This has meant that more and more people are questioning the static nature of places that before they weren't bothered about, because we've been shown that if the designers want to, yes we can have change. The problem is, those who want change in the old don't grasp the fundamental problem that it is old, and therefore not a priority to those designing the new.
How this problem resolves itself remains to be seen. I severely doubt you'll see the entire timeline revised from the ground upwards, precisely because Garrosh has to exist inside it to allow so much else to survive as well. There are options: you could restrict people to a personal phase and give them a pre-defined path that took them on the equivalent of a one-man scenario from 1-90. You could let everyone start at 80 and bypass all the bad stuff altogether (yeah like that's going to happen.) The compromise, because that it is what it will end up being, is that we get a little bit of change, a lot of stuff stays the same and those of us who bemoan consistency just have to like what we've got.
It may not be perfect, but it will do.