I don't think it was abandoned -- because it was never supposed to be there. Not ever. Every time death knights have found a way to make themselves into primarily spellcasters, especially with a substantial amount of ranged damage, Blizzard has specifically gone out of its way to stop it from happening. Death knights are not primarily spellcasters now, and they were never supposed to be spellcasters. They do deal a lot of spell damage, sure, but so does every melee class/spec besides warriors.
If you want more evidence that death knights aren't intended to be casters, here's a statement from Ghostcrawler on the topic from the beginning of 2010.
Why have the archaeology keystones stopped talking to me when I loot them? I need their counsel on which of my invisible enemies to be most wary of!
That wasn't a baseline feature. It was something that Deadly Boss Mods did if you had it installed. It had a "Make Archaeology More Interesting" option that was turned on by default. The mod authors probably noticed the sheer amount of people that were utterly baffled by the keystone noises and disabled the option by default. Your friends will not be abandoning you anymore. (At least, not because of archaeology.)
When you kill certain vrykul, why do they turn into powder?
The kvaldir in particular do this, but they don't turn into powder. They turn into water. The kvaldir are vengeful spirits of the sea. If you look at their model, you'll notice bits of the sea are worked into their bodies -- they have starfish and barnacles stuck to them, they're covered in seaweed (and in fact, it looks like their hair is seaweed), and their clothing is made up of bits of loose netting from fishing nets. When you kill them, you more or less beat the sentience out of them, and they lose their ability to hold a solid form. Their body melts into a pool of water again, and the bits of the sea that were stuck to them just fall in a pile on the ground.
The legitimately living vrykul don't fall to dust/water. They leave corpses behind like anything else.
You guys keep saying that you might bring Patches of Yesteryear back but I haven't seen it yet. Is it coming back or isn't it?
Yes. Tomorrow. Except it's called WoW Archaeologist now.
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