The fall of Deathwing (and internal consistency)
As a WarCraft II player, the fall of Deathwing is a story point that has been driving me for a dozen years. Betrayal of the best and brightest is a standard literary trope, and one that tends to resonate well with me; add in some incomprehensible cosmic horrors and it’s basically a hardwired switch straight to the centers of my DO WANT story-consuming brain.
And then the actual raid: reused boss models, entire reused environments, just incredibly disappointing atmospherically. But that’s okay! Because that’s not what I’m here for, right? It doesn’t have to be pretty, you know, it’s the story! The end of the story! That’s so incredibly exciting!
So! The Fall of Deathwing. “Finally, some closure!” I thought.
And oh my friends, how very very wrong I was.
If you have not yet been to kill Deathwing, be warned: this contains spoilers. And, as per usual from me, some tremendous NERDRAEG!!11. But y’all should expect that by now.
As with Wrath and the Lich King encounter in ICC, there is a huge cutscene at the end of Dragon Soul. Also like ICC, this shit is completely incomprehensible. But unlike Icecrown, which merely provoked a brow-furrowed “wait, what? why?”, the finale of Dragon Soul made me so actively, ragingly angry I needed to walk away and have a little liedown.
I don’t — I — what.
There are so many things in there that are stupid, wrong, and STUPIDLY WRONG that I have no idea how they managed to put them all in a ninety second video.
1) Every goddamn Aspect is still a mostly-naked motherfucking blood elf. I hate this. You know I hate this. I have gone on record over and over and over about how much I hate this. But hey, at least Nozdormu is half-dressed too! It’s small, but it’s a start. Thanks for that, character design team! But still: look into pants.
2) Why is Aggra even there? I know some people think she is an okay character! Those people are wrong, but that’s fine, they can go ahead and be wrong all they like. But she has no business being here, especially since she wasn’t anywhere else in the entire fucking instance. She just appears there at the end, shoehorned in for no good reason just like every other appearance she has ever made ever. I am trying very hard to stick to standard story bitching here and not get into how offensive her presence and her role make me just because I am totally disinterested into getting into a Grr Feminism comment war, but seriously you guys: this is so bad. It is so bad and so out of touch on so many levels that when I try to formulate eloquent words for how I feel about it my brain goes BZZT SPANG and blood comes shooting out my eyes.
3) Here is a thing that is apparently a surprise to the writing staff, and has been for most of the expansion: the point of Deathwing is not Grr Evil. Neltharion was the wisest of the Aspects; it is not his fault that Unspeakable Horrors From Beyond ate his brain any more than it was Arthas Menethil’s fault that a demon ate his soul. Sure, Arthas could have left Frostmourne behind; Neltharion could have maybe, I don’t know, lived on a mountain rather than under it. Regardless, these acts of evil and destruction were not the conscious choices of evil-doers, but the corruption of potential and greatness, which is imho WAY MORE INTERESTING than a simple GRR SMASH. Leaving that out of the story (as they did in both expansions, with a few very tiny notable exceptions in WOTLK’s case) is selling the world they’ve spent so much time and effort building short, and it makes me sad.
But all of the above pales in relation to this one eensy tiny little detail that I am admittedly remarkably sensitive to, and that is this:
HOW IS THE WORLD ANY DIFFERENT AFTER THE EXECUTION OF NELTHARION THAN IT WAS AFTER THE EXECUTION OF MALYGOS?
This is what makes me so very angry, and I am totally up-front here and owning that a lot of that is because Malygos is my favorite character, but this betrayal of his story is so thoughtless and so useless that alskdfjlklsfd ARO SMASH.
It’s not because the world is left (momentarily) without an Aspect, because Malygos didn’t leave one either and Kalecgos had to fight for it. It’s not because there aren’t other black dragons to take Neltharion’s place, because there are; most of them are in the Blade’s Edge Mountains in Outland and everyone wants to forget about them, but they exist (and also are AWESOME). It’s just sheer, unadulterated, writerly laziness and a cheap way to usher in a new expansion that flows not at all from the original world. Either they forgot or they just don’t care that they’ve been through this whole Kill The Aspect thing already, and that inconsistency frustrates me so much that I find it difficult to enjoy the world anymore. How can I get attached to the story when god knows when they’ll throw out something else I find interesting? It’s why I don’t read comics.
And maybe it’s just me, but I am of the belief that when the gods give you the job of watching over the world and keeping it together, quitting whenever you feel like it is kind of a dick move, Alexstrasza.