Watching The Stars

One of the first things you learn in Astronomy is that you are not looking at stars.

Nope, when you look at the sky and see the infinite number of stars up there, you are actually seeing the light from them that was emitted millions of years before.  This makes them a kind of time machine.

When Hubble took the famous “UDF” field shot, those galaxies that you see there are most likely mostly burned out by now – or at least a hell of a lot darker than we are seeing now.  It’s the natural course of things.  The stars only have a finite supply of fuel, and considering it takes millions of years for that light to reach earth, at least some of those points must have burned up by now.

I have been working on my loremaster title for the past few weeks.  Of course, my toon is well past all of the content in eastern kingdoms, and outlands.  The burning legion is no longer a threat – neutralized by top guilds all over the world, many times over.  Naxxramas has been moved from the plaguelands.  Stratholme and Scholomance long since been conquered, cleaned out of any useful loot, leaving the rotting carcasses behind (can you imagine the smell?).

And yet the quests are there.  Outside of Scholomance stands the storyteller who will ask you to go in there no less than eleventy-billion times to kill something different each time (come on dude, why didn’t you ask me to kill him when I was in there the FIRST time???).  The defias defiantly stand in control of The Deadmines, Stockade Riots have not stopped for nearly 5 years.

Many people have complained recently about lore problems, and things being ret-conned in.  Basically, they boil the argument down to “I have already killed xxx, or that the timeline just won’t make sense to a new character when the world is sundered (sunder comes after the burning crusade, and Arthas is killed, but I still have to go level up through those lands??).  I think this is a case of people just taking the game a little bit too seriously, but I can understand them to a degree.  They are playing a game to be immersed in a story, and when that storyline is changed, or broken, it puts them back into reality.

The base problem of this is the mechanic that also makes the game so compelling – a persistent universe.  The world is always “on” and always catering to players.  That means that the world has to present the storyline to players who have not yet completed them, yet players who have return to northshire valley to find that the mine is still infested by kobolds are going to be a little pissed.

As I slosh through the swamp of sorrows to discover (what I already know is there) Sunken Temple, I cant help but feel that I am looking at virtual stars in the game.  Stars that I need to explore before they are lost to the void, snuffed out in the big cataclysm to come. Their quests are a bit like the light that takes so long to get here.  They represent something that was, a long time ago.   So that when the little noobs of tomorrow come asking what the world was like before it was melted into oblivion, I can say that I killed 50 boars for 5 livers in westfall, helped Trias find the missing diplomat, cleared Sunken Temple with a group of the appropriate level (three and a half hours later….).

And to those who are complaining that the lore won’t work for Burning Crusade and Lich King when Cataclysm launches, I say to them, look to the stars.

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