This was news to me when I read it on the official forums that in Cataclysm Deathwing will fly around Azeroth causing destruction. I think that’s a really cool idea. I’m in favor of having events going on in the world that add to the atmosphere and set a mood. That’s why I also love seasonal/holiday events so much; They change things up and introduce temporary change and break up the ease at which these MMO worlds become too familiar and dull.
Sandboxes that allow players to really change the world do not face this problem to such degree. In SWG it was neat to see new houses pop up or new camps of mobs in places as well as watch how the popular areas changed over time. In UO the world changed greatly as well and early on when I played it would be dangerous to go certain routes. Even in non-sandbox games like DAOC, the use of dynamic events (relic raids, keep sieges, etc) made the world feel changing.
WoW has always done a better job of keeping their world fresh than most themeparks MMO’s so I can’t fault them much. I’m glad though that the Zombie event fiasco hasn’t scared them away from the idea of Deathwing wreaking havoc. While it’s not the same as a sandbox or player-driven-dynamic-events, it’s something different, matches the story/theme of what’s going on, and it will add to the experience. More of this stuff would be a welcomed addition.