Sometimes I'm too dense to notice that things are happening around me that are happening around me. Such is the case with this post. There was a bit more interest in this post than I have seen in the past, but didn't think much of it until I looked at the trackback logs and saw that Mr. Bartle had linked to it as an example of one of the few voices of agreement (it's the final bullet point) in his post (I am treading a fine line here, on the one side is petty self-congratulation, and on the other is citation. I am shooting for the latter).
There are a couple of reactions here.
First of course is a mild Dwarfish squee sound (kinda like I imagine was uttered by Saruman the first time Sauron said howdy). I keep forgetting these trackback thingys help one note quickly who's saying what about one's own posts. Well, you can never have too much Dwarfish Squee (tm), can you?
Second, the amount of bile and vitriol hurled at the man is astounding. Gabe is right. As usual. It makes me sad.
As Shalkis and others pointed out, this quest does not block you from getting to the Nexus. You can always ask Big Red for a ride and you'll get it. So I was in error on that detail. I don't think it makes a big difference in the central premise here, but it does at least remove the potential resentment at blocking off a whole quest hub, although the resentment at blocking off the end of a major questline remains.
I remain unconvinced.
At issue - always - has been the fact that you are being asked to do immoral things to advance the story line. Turning a blind eye to it is, quite simply, the mortar that holds together the bricks of the road to Hell. You can make any argument to justify it that you want, but I don't buy it for a second. Saying that you can sidestep the issue and make it somebody else's problem does not remove that there is this elephant sitting in your living room.
As I said, replace "torture" with "rape" and see how many people jump to defend it. Other than Warlocks, everyone else in the game seems to identify themselves as the Good Guys. The Good Guys don't do that kind of crap, nor do they tolerate it in their allies.
Not without consequences.
As with the Scourge Invasion event, there is a subset of our population that revels in this sort of thing, and does so because they know they won't suffer any real consequence.
Blizz could have helped out by making it impact faction in both cases. For the invasion, you lose faction with all Alliance when you are "scourged". Sure, it will happen, but you would work real hard to avoid it, wouldn't you? You wouldn't go try to get infected just for jollies.
With the torture (and the killing mommie and kidnapping babies, etc.) quest, maybe have it impact Argent Dawn faction or something. Just make it have consequences.
As I said before, I'd never tolerate players in my AD&D campaigns getting away with that sort of crap. They'd pay for it.
All I'm asking for ... is justice (... and yes, true Justice would have far harsher and widespread consequences than just these two small bits. But I think that it would make the game far more interesting in the long run).