Basically it goes like this: Algalon is an ethereal agent of the Titans, Azeroth's creators. He's detected the death of Loken (when Loken said: 'My death heralds the end of the world', he wasn't kidding) and that Yogg-Saron has tried to escape his bindings. When you engage him, he is about to do a scan to determine whether Azeroth needs 'reorganising' by the Pantheon, his Titanic masters. Said scan takes an hour and you have that long to defeat him. If you fail he sends a signal and the fate of Azeroth is sealed.
Except it isn't. Of course, the boss resets and next week you get another chance to try once more. Azeroth (or at least its servers) are always safe but what if they weren't? Karkaras on the US forums posed that very question which CM Nethaera responded with "The results could be cataclysmic."
Mainly because no one has lasted the full hour, we don't know how this fight will pan out or how it will conclude in terms of lore and storyline. When that timer ticks down to zero and some members of a raid are still alive, what happens exactly? Does the 'end' come immediately or is it an empty threat? Deus ex machina territory perhaps? Will the Titans (the Watchers) that were redeemed earlier by the raid group rush in and plead our case to the Pantheon? Will the signal be sent in a blaze of light and a new timer start ticking heralding the end?
Blizzard is never going to shoot itself in the foot by closing down servers after encounters with the Observer go a little south. But it's an interesting concept. What if it wasn't just any boss fight, but one which had some kind of in-game ramifications? Granted we're not talking mass server switch-offs here, but it feels like there needs to be something. I mean, you're facing Algalon, the minion of the beings who created Azeroth. This is huge. Yet while he is -- as of writing -- undefeated, the encounter feels so small even if it is impossibly hard.
If I ever got my way, this encounter would be massive, on a par with the opening of the AQ Gates. After all each of the servers is a copy of Azeroth so a server-wide event feels logical. So, after going through the Ulduar bosses on hard mode and defeating Yoggy, I figure we have the right to make fun of him. Just a little and from a very long distance. But I digress, the promise of the encounter with Algalon is there throughout the whole instance, but what if you couldn't access Algalon immediately, rather -- like AQ -- the entire server had to team together to fulfill some kind of criteria first.
And the encounter itself? Well, that should be just as huge. I'm not talking a ten man raid, or a twenty-five. Not forty man either but more. I'm talking server-wide. Yes, that's a tall order and problematic in terms of the mechanics (just look at Wintergrasp and all the lag issues in there). But in terms of lore, this is a fight for the survival of not just a group of heroes or a faction, but an entire world. It seems apt to suggest that this is a last desperate fight, why shouldn't its people band together to save themselves? It could be a one-time event. A last ditch, carefully planned event to determine the fate of Azeroth. Besides, the world cannot end before we kick the Lich King's arse in 3.3!
If we lose? Well, Algalon would send the signal and his masters would turn up. Hopefully they could be persuaded to listen to the mortal races and, rather than re-organise the world and start anew, they could fight against the Old Gods. Perhaps this encounter could even herald the promise of an encounter with Sargeras in a later expansion. After rezzing it could lead to a new world event, a timer which counts down to the Titans' arrival; there could be special quests to complete such as seeking the aid of the Dragonflights, the redeemed Watchers freed during the instances like Hodir and Freya and the Naaru. Expanding into 3.2, there could be a tournament to find an ambassador, a lone hero from each faction to stand and represent the entire world or a jaunt into Uldum to see if the Titans left a fail safe switch in the event of global apocalypse.
Perhaps some races -- like the Draenei or the Dwarves -- would decide to funnel their energies into finding a new world, either a parallel one or a new world entirely. Much like Outland, this would be accessed via a portal and herald a new expansion. Maybe at the last minute Azeroth could be saved, but it would give us new lands to explore. However, this is highly unlikely given Blizzard's desire to fill in the gaps in as yet unaccessible zones or introduce new areas steeped in lore like the Maelstrom or Undermine or even the Emerald Dream.
If we win, well the Titans might still hear of the death of their servant and come to investigate. Perhaps they will think it's something to do with the stirrings of Yogg-Saron, Perhaps they will seek our aid in their war against their fallen Brother and the Burning Legion. So many 'perhaps'. Loot-wise, there would be a one-time title for every person who took part. 'Saviour of Azeroth' has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
Short of getting inside the heads of World of Warcraft's developers, we're never going to know what they have planned until they announce it. Yet an encounter like this is so rich with promise that it's hard not to let your mind wander and play the 'what if' game. Now we just have to wait for the first brave band of warriors to down the Observer and see what Blizzard have in store for us