From the Jaws of Deathwing

Posted November 29th, 2010 by Kharin


Just when we thought it was safe to go about our normal everyday game play – raids, random dungeons, battlegrounds, exploration of a transformed world, questing, dailies, crafting, chasing achievements – Blizzard has released a new catastrophic event upon us all.  A few days ago a small blue post announced,“One of Azeroth’s oldest adversaries will soon tear through the Elemental Plane to reforge the world in flame, but this foe won’t be conducting his reign of terror from the confines of a castle or lair. Deathwing is a destructive force the likes of which adventurers have yet to see in World of Warcraft, and his appetite for devastation can only be satisfied by the shattering of the world. Following his explosive escape from Deepholm, Deathwing will cast a deadly shadow over the people of Azeroth as he wreaks indiscriminate havoc across the land.”  Over the last few days, sightings and deaths at the fiery breath of Deathwing have indeed been reported.

It seems that murder, chaos and mayhem will be unleashed when we least expect it.  With catastrophic suddenness the maddened, corrupted dragon aspect, Deathwing the Destroyer will continue his destructive revenge – sweeping in with ferocious suddenness and reducing all before him – landscape, buildings, mobs, critters, NPCs and players alike to so much dust and ashes.  The only warning of impending doom will be a blackened sky with a fiery red glow.  Areas will be devastated – though fortunately not irreversibly.  (After all, in the world of Azeroth even the worst death and destruction is rarely permanent – mobs respawn, resources nodes reappear, bosses can be defeated countless times and terrors faced and defeated ages ago can return to terrorise again, problems solved reappear, and our toons die countless times with little to show for such harrowing experiences than the time it takes for a graveyard run or maybe a dose of resurrection sickness and some gold to repair broken armor.)

Naturally, the World of Warcraft is no stranger to such world encompassing catastrophic events.  It is after all a world born out of the chaos of the “old gods”, a world brought to brink of global destruction by repeated drama and disaster.  Invasions by the demonic burning legions and their servants; the arrival of the orc armies through the dark portal; the almost complete shattering of the planet draenor (home to orcs and draeni); repeated attempts of the “old gods” and a couple of corrupted or maddened dragon aspects to bring about chaos, sedition, destruction; and waves of the devastating undead plague have all threatened to overwhelm the inhabitants of Azeroth and to destroy their world beyond reckoning.

The lore of such cataclysmic events draws from myth and legend of our own world.  Many ancient societies (e.g. Greek, Hindu, Chinese, Mayan) claimed that our world was formed from chaos and has been subjected to periodic world-remaking disasters.  While ancient Hebrew sources declared (in contrast to many of their Middle Eastern and Mediterranean neighbors) that a good, powerful, eternal God created time and space (the cosmos as we know it) de novo, they agreed with their neighbors that this world has experienced global disasters as the result of human and angelic rebellion.  These ancient sources all foresee future global catastrophes.

Be that as it may, what the Deathwing event will entail – apart from wholesale regional devastation transcending even the Zombie Plagues – and how long it will be with us is at this point in time difficult to know.  The only clear fact is an achievement (under the Cataclysm explorer category) Stood in the Fire which requires being killed by Deathwings fiery breath (though there are reports of this being glitched).  Being caught up in what is essentially a random and overwhelming event will normally result in death of even the most seasoned hero within seconds.  There is no opportunity to rally a credible defense unlike the Elemental Invasion or the Headless Horseman’s attacks on factional towns in Hallow’s End.  There will be nowhere to hide from the attacks- fleeing to the wilderness areas (as my hunter did during the Zombie Plague) will not save you for Deathwing can reach the most remote crannies of the world.

Certainly, the experience will be out of the ordinary and it would seem from the forums that many players are extremely anxious to experience it.  The fainthearted, those with tight playing schedules or those who lack an overwhelming death wish may wish to head back to safety of Dalaran or even Shattrath until the attacks cease.  On the other hand, it’s is hard to know how long Deathwing will be allowed to roam free, spreading devastation in his wake.  And at the moment at least, his attacks are so random and sporadic that many if not most players are yet to become aware that they have begun and getting the achievement may pure luck. But be warned for a fiery death could descend at a moment’s notice.  Be prepared.


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