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Westfall (26/7/10)

First of all, sorry for the hold up. The Cataclysm test server has been going down more than BP’s oil leak capping team. There have also been a couple of hefty patches to the beta client Anyone who has been involved in an MMO beta test in the past will know it’s about par for the course, but hopefully that will pass muster as an excuse for the radio silence from this diary.

Secondly, I know we promised a high level zone or instance for this entry, for which I have no excuse other than to say next up: Vashj’ir. Today, however, I thought I’d put Cory Stockton’s remarks to us about Westfall being “95 percent changed” to the test.

You’ll recall that Westfall flows on naturally from Elwynn forest for new human characters. In the past, it has focused on uncovering a plot by the Defias Brotherhood to “dethrone” Anduin Wrynn, son of the once-missing King. After the Cataclysm (before, really) the Defias make little sense and so Westfall has undergone both aesthetic and contextual changes.

Westfall is inundated with those that have been displaced and made homeless by both the recent wars and Deathwing’s rampage. Groups of dislocated refugees and small bands of children pick the bodies left in your wake of any remaining valuables.

As you enter the zone from Elywnn forest, you discover that the first cluster quest-giving farmers and their horse, Old Blanchy, have been murdered. In the expansion, you’ll start your Westfall experience investigating their deaths in a humorous CSI: Miami parody.

Along with the gruff Lieutenant Haratio Laine you must work the clues and discover who has murdered these farmers (and their horse). Haratio will have you beating up or paying off the homeless, taking a hard line with some murlocs and getting in touch with the street-savvy people of the area.

It is soon discovered that this isolated murder is just one very small act in a nefarious scheme encompassing every part of Westfall.

As you work the case and gather information you’ll get a look at what has been happening around the area. Twisters touch down and tear up the landscape, throwing you into the air like a common cow. Elsewhere, an inexplicable source of explosive energy is ripping the farmland apart.

As you follow the murder mystery’s shadowy twists and turns you’ll find yourself returning to Sentinel Hill in the hope that someone there will have information on what appears to be a growing conspiracy.

Sentinel Hill is no longer the knoll and solitary tower it once was. Masons are now putting the finishing touches on a large wall that encircles the entire encampment and, though it only took the near-destruction of Azeroth, the hole in the inn’s roof is finally fixed.

Without giving too much away all the events triggered by this case and most of the work you will do in Westfall drive you towards a culmination in what will be the new Deadmines dungeon experience.

The Deadmines are unavailable for testing at present, and in June Stockton revealed to Gameplanet that it won’t be ready until patch 4.1, which naturally leads me to ask: What will be there at launch? The traditional Deadmines featuring Defias Chief Edwin Van Cleef, I assume. Whether Blizzard will temporarily give Van Cleef some kind of short context within the new Westfall storyline while the new Deadmines is finished will have to be seen at launch.

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If there’s anything you’d like to hear about, just let us know in the comments and we’ll bring back whatever information we can, testing conditions pending, obviously!

Click through the pages below to find earlier entries in Gameplanet's Cataclysm beta Diary.

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