A long time ago in another blogging service I did a bunch of posts about some of the crazy stuff I’d like to see in MMOs. One of the nutty ideas was that your actions would actually have an impact on the game world.
I know, I go with the minor tasks don’t I?
Blizzard delivered this in WotLK, though it was more like putting a toe in the water for the most part because their use of ‘Phasing’ was very limited.
I think the largest part of phasing is in Icecrown where you complete the Ebon Blade quest line and capture a portion of the fortifications in Icecrown which becomes a base of operations for the Ebon Blade.
Of about equal impact was changing the Sons of Hodir area if you do the quests in that area to get you to ‘friendly’ reputation with the giants.
They used it in a number of other places as well, but mainly for shifting creatures around and changing the state of an area with a lesser impact. They also phased the major cities for a sequence in Dragonblight.
It sounds like they’re taking it to the next level (spoilers involved): http://www.wow.com/2010/07/06/cataclysm-beta-western-plaguelands/
I have to say, I may just have to reroll for Cata to experience all the changes they made on both the Horde and Alliance sides.
Damn you Blizzard! You make me annoyed with you about the whole RealID thing, but then you make me love you again for delivering this sort of thing!