I might have mentioned before that my oldest son is completely dragon-mad, and so when a questline in Azsura took me over to help the Blue Dragonflight, I had to call him over to “help” me.
I showed him the big dragon and said that he (she?) was dying — and my son became incredibly, deeply concerned. Why is she dying, dad? Can we help her? Let’s help her! And so we were off on a long series of quests to help the dragon.
And if you thought that the big dragon’s health problems caused concern, it ratcheted up the emotions when these mana-eating elves were shown to taking down baby dragons. I thought my son might cry, he was that upset. But things got better as we saved some of the babies and were able to slowly reverse the problem afflicting the chief dragon. It was an emotional rollercoaster that I think had to be lived and seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old boy who sincerely loved dragons.
It wasn’t just a good storyline, it actually was a great one. I wasn’t as concerned about the dragons, but Blizzard’s writers really surprised me with the introduction of Runas here. At first you think he’s this bad guy who’s been killing the dragons and you have to put an end to him. But he surrenders after a fight and tells you that he’s willing to help — that he’s fighting his mana addiction so that he can remain in control of his senses.
And over the course of a few quests, you see the tug-o-war of addiction and a desperate desire to do good, to be good in this creature. I really kept expecting him to pull a Gollum and betray me at some point, which made the ending much more poignant when he helped to the very last moment when the mana addiction took over… and he gave this sad goodbye before losing control of his senses. Seeing the transformation of his model from a scrawny, wasted soul to this horrible ghoul-thing was really affecting. No happy ending here.