Something I've kinda noticed on gamer reviews is that there's seems to be this overwhelming agreement that Pandaria was a failed Xpac. Much like how they said Cataclysm was a failure.
I gave my views of why I got angry at Cataclysm. Mostly not bringing back Squishy. And banging my head against the wall when I see the ending of the Deathwing raid with Alexstrasza saying they were MEANT to give up their powers for this thing and....
And now you know why that image exists.
But aside from Blizzard not realizing the smuggliness of Nel, and he is quite snuggly.
But the Squishy's snuggliness aside, I started looking up reasons why Pandaria failed, and probably the main reason why Cataclysm failed.
Both were all over the fucking place.
There really wasn't any story, at least a story that felt it occurred now. Both stories were stories that seemed to had some meaning in the past and it was all these past characters just finally realizing that they need to get something done.
Hell, again, my issue with Cataclysm is that it was supposed to be about Deathwing bringing about the End of the World and well...we didn't get that until maybe the very last bit.
For a lot of people in Pandaria, it was supposed to be about the Alliance and the Horde going back to war because Garrosh wants to a world conquering douchebag, and he was going to use this newly discovered land to achieve his goals.
Which happened, but then they threw in all the other stuff that didn't seem to fit in.
Like the Thunder King, and the Zandalari. So much, that I forgot that the Zandalari are even a thing in Pandaria until I had to look up stuff for the Thunder King and...well...just remembered ancient troll culture that is Azeroth's equivalent to Atlantis.
And the Sha, a good element to show us why that there is a consequence of bringing your dirty laundry to a new land to air it out, still didn't have much of an impact except for the very beginning.
Which is why I have this story mostly focus on the Sha and a little on Garrosh's movements into Pandaria and the Alliance movements to stop him. Mostly focusing as in...how the Sha begin to manifest in the land and how that affects the people and even Neltharion before they bust out and make a big mess.
Unfortunately, there wasn't any real cohesion. So, I have to work with what I got.
Pandaria itself is an excellent place that is rich with history. The problem with it is that history wasn't fully utilized. And that's the big problem with working with a story like this in a game. You play as a mercenary who does odd jobs for whoever is paying you and well, you don't care much about what the backstory of the item you're getting or who the character you're getting it for, let alone who the person is you're defeating.
Hell, the whole place of Pandaria, the culture behind it, shoved in a corner for a haphazard attempt to bring back the old war, and maybe setting Garrosh up as a major Villain Ball idiot antagonist.
Because he was in the game. Big time.
Which is another reason why my Garrosh is so much smarter. The other reason being he's dealing with a powerful god dragon who commands the entire planet. You do have to step up your game when your enemy can squish you without even being in the neighborhood.
But one thing I have to say about having Neltharion here as the central character, I do get a chance to explore a lot of what could have been. And one of those being Pandaria itself...showing its rich history as well as its culture.
Here is one thing I want to explore with Pandaria and its relationship with Neltharion.
Pandaria is in fact a Paradise that was at last lost when the mists came down. Granted, yeah, it had the Sha and it was a cursed land. But for the most part, aside from dealing with the Sha corruption in the land, Pandaria has never had to deal with the Horde coming to take over the world, the Burning Legion coming back many times, the Lich King, Sargeras.
The most it had ever dealt with when it came to the Burning Legion was seeing the sky burn with green fire and Shaohao then saved the entire land before the demons even made landfall. Sure, it did have the Mantid Swarm. But that was ONE thing and was easily dealt with by a giant wall. And even then, the Mantid only attacked to weed out the weak from the strong, so it wasn't really about conquering Pandaria as it was curbing their own population by sending out their soldiers to go die by the hands of the Shado Pan and Golden Lotus.
Kinda a reverse Starship Troopers vs. the Night's Watch.
And while the rest of the planet dealt with all the destruction caused by the Sundering, which Neltharion actually describes...and yes...everything he says about what happened to Azeroth during the Sundering did happen. What really happened after the Sundering seemed to have been brushed over, even in the book that the Sundering was occurring in. Knaak the Hack's book trilogy.
Things seemed to be kinda okay after the breaking apart of a Pangea-like continent.
Not so in my story. Basically, those who survived were more fortunate than ever, or probably not, depending on your point of view. It's one of those things you kinda wanna ask yourself, is being instantly killed off during a full nuclear exchange better? Or is surviving on a now radioactive, and very cold planet better? Or when the clouds do part, all the ultraviolet light radiation beaming down upon you even better than being instantly killed in the fireball? Are the people vaporized the lucky ones, or is it the people now suffering from radiation sickness better off?
If you need an answer for that, go look at Threads. That again is a movie that takes all hope for the possibility of humanity surviving it and not only beating it black and blue, but raping every orifice hope has until it's a sad miserable grease spot on the carpet.
Or, basically living Neltharion's life.
Neltharion, he's the Harry Kim of the Aspects. I'M FUCKING SERIOUS!
Why the Night Elves were able to keep their culture, and the real reasoning behind the Aspects helping them...well it was either that or the rest of the Night Elves going extinct due to the ensuing volcanic winter that followed.
Why did the remaining Highborne who betrayed Azshara decided to try and use magic again. Well, it probably was due to the fact that were tsunamis still drowning the coastal cities and following the winter, a huge drought that made growing food, let alone even foraging for it very difficult. And not to mention all the earthquakes and possibly other natural disasters that were still plaguing the land. A giant continent just broke up, there would be aftershocks happening for years after the event. And no doubt many bio-domes were utterly destroyed. Species that were once on Azeroth before the Sundering, probably became extinct afterwards. The climate change drastically.
To give you an idea of what I mean, back when we had our Pangea, because there was little shoreline and many volcanoes were exposed, that helped to well...radically warm up the planet, causing one of the largest mass extinctions in geologic history. The Permian-Triassic Extinction. Life died out because a drought came in and took all the food sources away, the water...and all that.
But when the continent finally broke apart again, those that did survive were able to flourish, and more shoreline accessible cooling the planet down and bringing back the rains.
However, the break-up of said giant continent also left behind some issues that are still around even today. Namely the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which is a large fault system made up of weaken rock and other faults that run from my state to Canada. And this was caused when the breakup of Pangea, namely North America, Britain, and Europe were separating stretched the area like a dried rubber band that can't stretch any further. And the recorded most devastating earthquake that ever hit the continent of North America was caused in 1812 and it was an earthquake so large that its aftershocks stretched all the way to the East Coast, but were blocked from going any further west by the Rockies.
LA Earthquakes may be more frequent, but none of them could even measure up to the force that shook half a continent for nearly a week. LA earthquakes only happen in a small area, and only affect a small area. This earthquake affected nearly two thirds of the country. And it was caused by a supercontinent breaking slowly over millions of years.
Now imagine what a break up of a supercontinent would be like if it happened within a span of a year. I'm sorry, but a lot more damage SHOULD have happened to Azeroth. Which is why Neltharion details what really happened during those years after the breakup.
But Blizzard didn't take in that into account, so someone like me has to.
But Pandaria itself was allowed to keep its ecology, its culture, all because of Emperor Shaohao shrouding the small continent in mists. However, as mentioned in Rise of the Sha, the ecosystem did change a little due to the lack of sunlight caused by the mists. And Neltharion is noting that more sun on Pandaria might cause weather patterns to shift, droughts to happen where they don't normally do, and a lot of rainfall to happen where it usually doesn't.
A southern tundra shifting from spring to summer. Yet he could feel deeper changes in the land, the climate shifting as departing mists exposed the land to the full power of the sun for the first time in ten thousand years. –– p. 185 Rise of the Sha
Yup that's a problem, guys.
So the over all theme in this story comes down to being Paradise that is about to fall. One of the details of this fall is of course when the mists fell and the war came to Pandaria's shores, cultures and ideals that the Pandarens never thought of or knew about, are flooding and mudding up their understanding of reality.
Aka, neither the Horde, nor the Alliance has any concept of the Prime Directive.
And we see this happening in the story. With the Horde and the Alliance dividing up Pandaria, making the Pandaren choose sides. And this is in the game as well, but I took that aspect of it and really emphasize it.
Another big change is being exposed to the sun for the first time in 10 thousand years.
The next change is that the war brings the negative emotions, hatreds that have spun for 30 years and aren't easy to be gotten rid of, even with the warnings of what that could do to Pandaria itself. Meaning, such emotions bring about the Sha.
And the much larger change comes in the form of Neltharion himself. That of Neltharion 2.0. The Pandaren in my story, have a culture built around the near worship and admiration of these immortal beings known as the August Celestials. But they also have much admiration and respect for the Great Beast, aka Neltharion 1.0.
Mr. Regal Aspect of Earth with so much Genre Savviness that it would make a TV Troper hump his leg. And damn it, if he didn't look awesome and very, very handsome with those crystals of his.
This is who Neltharion is to the Pandaren. This is what they see when they hear the name of Daiyaju.
He's the one who showed them the way. He created their civilization from the very bottom up, instilling teachings about respecting the land, being mindful of its precariousness, teaching their Shaman how to become one with the elements, and hell...giving Shaohao the means to pretty much save Pandaria from the Burning Legion himself.
And all while slowly being corrupted from the inside out by both Deathwing and the Old Gods.
This guy is a miracle worker.
Too bad he gets reduced to this 10 thousand years later...
The thing that makes Squishy so adorably cute because he's so broken and sad...it's the thing that the Pandarens don't really understand.
So, this becomes a Paradise lost story. Neltharion 1.0 created a paradise that could stand on its own and remain a paradise even after the sundering of the world, and then Neltharion 2.0 is the one who breaks that paradise by being there.
Nel, you really are the Harry Kim of the Dragon Aspects. I'm thinking you're now Harry Kim of Azeroth itself.
“But I come here and I find that…I stood up to evil…and was recognized and rewarded?” he asked. “Not standing by and letting injustice flourish…and they praise me for it? I gave the Mogu a show of my power…striking fear into their hearts and instilling courage in the hearts of Pandaren.”
A tear dropped.
“It is a dream come true." –– p. 190 Rise of the Sha
Here is how the creator of that paradise will now destroy it.
Oh, it is coming.
When Neltharion fights the Sha in the Jade Forest, the end result is going to be a lot of destruction. Many of the Pandarens witnessing the fight may not cheer for their savior. Yu'lon is going to have a very changed view of the being she once knew as a friend...now returns as a stranger.
Cho, who's just delighted to meet Daiyaju to the point where I have him even asking for an autograph, is about to have his bubble burst.
All their bubbles are about to burst from after that fight. And the Pandaren are going to wonder if the stories the Celestials tried to promote about Daiyaju, all the songs and legends they had...if they were true or not. How can this destructive monster be the protector of the land. He just destroyed it!
It'll fuel Garrosh's campaign to pretty much get everyone on Azeroth against Neltharion already. Which isn't hard to do, but it comes in devastating waves after this. And of course anyone who associates with Neltharion would also be targeted. So, there's a lot of consequences too.
And when Nel rises from defeating the Sha, seeing the destruction he caused, he's gonna cry. And I do mean bawwing cry. He's gonna rear his head up into the sky and just let it all out.
Because he just destroyed a paradise he created, the last bit of hope of finding people who still like him (due to not knowing who Deathwing is) and he just ruined it.
It wasn't Deathwing who destroyed this paradise, it was Neltharion himself. And he takes the blame...all of it.
This is going to be fun.
Pandaria has a lot of connection with Neltharion, which is why I haven't dropped it to go to Warlords of Draenor. Because well, the way I plan on doing Warlords, Pandaria is necessary.
This is where Garrosh is going to get the resources he needs to begin his plan of bringing back Draenor. And I might add in a little bit of time travel, because we do have Nozdormu...and as we've seen what Nozdormu does, he might very well manipulate things to help Garrosh in getting what he wants.
Like bringing back Grom Hellscream.
Nozdormu could also send in people who could help Garrosh. Such as Kairozdormu. Yeah, and instead of the game where he's trying to gain power because the Bronze Flight is depowered, here he has all the power of time at his disposal.
And I bet some of you are wondering, why would Nozdormu help Garrosh?
Well, he did once, didn't he? Even if Garrosh didn't know it. Nozdormu was the one who prevented Neltharion from really knowing what Garrosh was up to, and also keeping Neltharion from getting to Theramore before it was much too late.
Why is he doing this? Well, Nozdormu is the guy who has the ability to peek at what the ending will look like. He may have found something he doesn't like and is doing what he can to make sure that ending doesn't happen. So time travel may be involved, but it is time travel that is done by Nozdormu, the Time Lord dragon who already has his hand on the reset button. And that if Nozdormu is involved, the reason why nothing's fucked up yet when it comes to time travel, is because he had already foreseen it happen and is making sure that it does happen again.
And he does this for the reason of ensuring Azeroth's survival, plus his own survival. He's also trying to prevent his transformation into Murozond as well as his own death.
So, it's all revolving around that.