The coming Cataclysm will affect more than just the world of Azeroth: Organizations, governments and guilds will have to respond to how Deathwing reshapes the world. Deathwing is not the only agent of change in Azeroth–he’s just the next Big Bad we face in the expansion. There are other individuals and groups that can affect change, albeit on a much smaller scale than a Dragon Aspect corrupted by Old Gods. The dramatic changes to the game world provide an excellent backdrop to other, more local changes.
What is the current state of your RP Circle, Guild or group? What stories have they completed? Did they help contain a demon or destroy the Lich King? Did their last major score backfire? What stories fell by the way side? What consequences have followed your groups actions?
For instance, Cataclysm will bring some dramatic changes for the Wildfire Riders. Historically speaking, the Riders were a mercenary guild who cared more about payment than loyalty to anyone government. They also have an tendency to thumb there collective noses at authority figures. In Wrath, this changed. The Riders were caught–and squeezed–by SI:7 and the other gangs of Stormwind. While they have managed to weather that particular storm, they currently have to change or die.
First and foremost, the Riders will have to answer to someone. They have a minder, or a case manger, who is watching their every move. This is the price they pay to avoid having their own hung up on the gallows (or to keep Old Town from having to deal with the Guard). Given these circumstances, the Riders have had to branch out their business: So they’ve started to diversify. While they are still a Merc company, taking any number of jobs, they’ve also started working on political wings and charitable wings. When the merchants gather to talk about trade policy, Tarquin will represent brewers and tavern owners. Orphans and other children of limited means looking for education and apprenticeships will be able to recieve high quality educations thanks to the Jolstraer Taborwynn Memorial Fund. Of course, given what the players know about the upcoming expansion, future challenges will put a huge strain on the Riders reputation and their coffers.
These changes, all stemming from in-game events, are the consequences of their previous stories. Cataclysm is simply the catalyst for these changes. The expansion is an opportunity to give us new direction for stories and events in the post-Arthas world.
Are your stories coming to ahead in Cataclysm? What groundwork has been laid for your guild, your circle and your characters? What changes are you going to address thanks to upcoming expansion?