When I run my D&D games, one of my favorite habits is littering the campaign with countless plot hooks, foreshadowing bits, and clues. Most of these don't come into play until much, much later - sometimes over a year passes before something I worked into the game comes to fruition. It takes some planning on my part, and a LOT of forethought. But from a storytelling perspective, dramatic events are much more effective when woven from already-existing story threads than if they're just dropped on the party out of the blue.
This weekend was a rare opportunity for Blizzard to lay the groundwork for some great upcoming storylines, with Harvest Festival, Pirate's Day, and Brewfest all overlapping on consecutive days. Much to my disappointment, however, they capitalized on...NONE OF THEM.
Kind of a non-event, Horde players travel to Ashenvale to pay tribute to Grom Hellscream. Grom HELLSCREAM, as in the father of GARROSH HELLSCREAM, who's only the orc who will become the new Warchief in Cataclysm, remake Orgrimmar & the Horde hierarchy to his liking, and cause immense uproar & dissent throughout the entire faction. Garrosh is WOEFULLY lacking in character development (despite the fact that Cataclysm is just around the corner), but we know that he idolizes & greatly respects his father's actions and deeds. And yet on the single time of the year that we pay homage to Grom's legacy, strength and achievements? Garrosh is nowhere to be seen.
I would have put Garrosh IN Ashenvale, by his father's memorial, maybe speaking sincerely and respectfully to Grom, or perhaps players could talk to Garrosh and find out what's underneath his brash exterior. Or hell, even just put him outside Orgrimmar as the quest giver! This would be the one time Garrosh would display a "soft" side and let us get to understand him a bit. What a waste!
Who else in WoW is better suited to spreading rumors of flickering shadows looming in the deep ocean waters, of strange sightings on the night seas, of horrible aquatic monstrosities suddenly haunting the waves? Maybe increased naga sightings? Whispers that the Maelstrom is churning even more violently lately? Mysterious relics from Vashj'ir? The possibilities are endless!
And surely these fantastical stories told by drunken pirates are just tavern tales...right?
Pirate's Day could have been a great opportunity to foreshadow the huge ocean/underwater focus that Cataclysm will bring, but instead it was just show up - get achievement - get the hell outta there.
It wouldn't take much - an ominous death quote by Coren, or maybe even changing what the Dark Iron dwarves say after you successfully repel their attack on Brewfest (or fail to prevent it, for that matter).
Or maybe this year Coren could have dropped some kind of strange token/symbol that started a breadcrumb quest to take it to your faction leader, who could then theorize about its significance relating to any of the above factions. (Similar to how Putress' "brain delivery" quest functioned, pre-Scourge invasion event.)
In any case, it would have been nice to see some story development with Coren, considering that defeating him now takes literally seconds and is an unemotional, loot-pinata affair.