This is Thoradin’s Wall, which runs between the Arathi Highlands and the Hillsbrad Foothills. I came upon the wall while running to Southshore for the quest MacKreel’s Moonshine. The quest is timed, so I didn’t pay any attention to the wall when I came to it, but after finishing up in Southshore I made a point of walking back to have a closer look. Figuring it would make for a nice screen shot, I started backing away, oblivious to my surroundings, trying to frame it just right. Just as I was about to take my screen shot, a mountain giant named Fozruk walked into the frame.
So what was it about this wall that compelled me to come back for a closer look? I mean, it’s just a big wall, right? To me it wasn’t. While running through Arathi Highlands, the wall came into view off in the distance, growing larger as I approached. The wall, heavily damaged, gives the zone a sense of history; something big happened there long ago. Who built it, and why did they deem it necessary? Who destroyed it, and why?
At present, my character is level 31, which means I haven’t seen a whole lot of the world thus far, but I’ve already come across a number of places or things in the game that not only piqued my curiousity much like Thoradin’s Wall, but serve to make the World of Warcraft look “lived in”. Ashenvale, for instance, has various ruins strewn about the zone, dilapidated statues the only things left standing from some long forgotten shrine or monument. Orcs toil away in the Warsong Lumber Camp. On the Eastern Continent, Thandol Span, the mountain pass of Dun Algaz, and the majestic Stonewrought Dam, all help convey a sense of history. I took my curiousity outside of the game and did a Google search for “Thoradin’s Wall” which brought me to this article on WoWWiki. There’s not a whole lot there about the wall, but there is some interesting speculation, and lots of links to other articles. I killed more time than I should probably admit just browsing through different articles, clicking link after link. There is a vast amount of lore contained within WoWWiki which has only fueled my desire to explore WoW even further.
Now, contrast this to EverQuest II. I am fully aware that a lot of this is completely subjective, and people’s opinions will vary. I love EverQuest II, it’s a great game, but when compared to WoW, EQII does not feel like a “world” as oppsed to a bunch of loosely connected zones. I’m not criticizing EQII’s use of zoning, that never really bothered me, rather, EQII’s zones feel like zones. They feel like arbitrary areas created to adventure in with no connection or relation to any other parts, nor do they evoke any sense of historical importance. I don’t consider myself a “lore guy”, that is to say, I don’t need to know who Malkonis D’Morte is in order to kill him, nor do I need to know the grand history of the Commonlands. It would be nice however, if some of the lore behind those things would come through in the game without having to look for it. I’ve read some of the EverQuest lore available at EQ2-Daily, particularly the “Tome of Destiny”, which tells the story of The Shattering, and the many battles that took place during that time. When I wander through EverQuest II though, I don’t see any signs of these battles, or any monuments dedicated to the many lives lost during The Shattering. I never played the first EverQuest, so maybe I’m missing some of the connections between the two games, but EQII’s Norrath doesn’t look or feel like a world that’s been shattered to me.
“The Shattering” chapter of the Tome of Destiny describes the explosion of Luclin, sending “a wave of energy carrying chunks of debris rapidly toward Norrath”. Walking through Antonica or Commonlands, there is no evidence of these chunks of debris anywhere. I think a sprinkling here and there of some huge smoking rock chunks could ramp up the “cool factor” of the EQII zones considerably. The Rending and Shattering events would even make for a sweet intro video for the game, rather than the one that plays currently, that doesn’t really have much to do with the game itself.
EverQuest lore is out there, it’s just very disjointed. There’s some really good stuff in the History and Lore section of the official forums, particularly the stickied threads. Other lore links I came across include the EQ2-Daily one above, EverQuest II Stratics, and The Athenaeum. It would be so much better if all this lore was combined into one wikia-style site like WoWWiki, and better still if it made more of an appearance in the game itself. Norrath has a long and storied history, I just wish it was more evident while playing.