Mmm, delicious shared topic close to my own personal heart this week, from Oathblade at Altaholic: With Cataclysm Blizzard is plunging again into releasing their story through different channels be it books, comics, whatever. But this time they are keeping information exclusive to the new areas and not including it in the game.
Is this unreasonable? How do you think this will affect the roleplaying community in Warcraft? After all they are specifically since they’re built upon the foundation of the lore.
Y HELO THAR PET PEEVE, HOW R U TODAY
This is going to be another multi-beer post. I recommend Lindemans Framboise, particularly paired with some nice rich chocolate. Lambics help assuage the rage.
Once upon a time long long ago, any information that wasn’t included in any quest text itself was dropped into books, which were then scattered around the world. At some point midway through Burning Crusade this practice just … stopped. This is, likely not coincidentally, when scuttlebutt has it that there was a huge dev team overhaul and many of the standards and practices were aligned to the new model.
See, here’s the thing: it used to be that you didn’t have to have played the original RTS Warcrafts to know what was going on in WoW, because you could spend twenty minutes in front of a bookshelf and scroll through Summary 101 (of course now you don’t have to have played the original games because god knows the devs haven’t either, but that’s a rant I’ve already covered so I will be good and not froth about it THIS TIME). And this was awesome. The people who wanted the information, like say for example me, could spend time painstakingly searching out every little magnifying glass-popping pixel in the ScarMo Library, and people who didn’t care didn’t have to bother with a million years of cut scenes that got in the way of their furious internet dragon slaying.
Now, there were still tie-ins everywhere — the War of the Ancients books and so forth — but there’s an important point to make there: this was additional background information. It was prequel stuff, far backstory — those books served to flesh out the information we were already given in the tiny books in game. WoW players had the basic gist of everything’s history available to them right there, and if they really really wanted to know what Azshara’s kitten’s name was they could go whip out the book and read up on it. This is totally fine, and an excellent business model of which I completely approve.
And then all that changed.
The lore-misplacement was at its first really, really egregious during the Sunwell patch. I just ran the raid again for a guild cheese and yes, my memory was correct: there is absolutely nothing whatsoever in the game telling you wtf that little whiny blond girl is doing hanging over the corrupted Sunwell and why the incredibly whiny dragon is bitching about how we have to save her. You don’t even get her name until after you defeat Kil’jaeden and she explodes into weepy martyrhood. Who is she? Why is she there? Are we just rescuing her because she’s blond? Why does the rescue not take? Why does she explode into weepy martyrhood?
Well, my friends, if you want to know wtf that shit is all about, you have to read a laughably terrible manga series! Not just one manga, mind you, but MANY. Also: seriously, I am saying this out of love for you, do not read this. Trust me. It is terrible. It is so very, very terrible.
Well, okay, maybe this can be explained away because the Sunwell launch was a little rushed, right there at the tail end of the expansion, and they just didn’t have the bandwidth to add extra books and quests and shit when everyone was busy working on Wrath. Maybe! This is feasible!
But then Wrath. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
Why is Malygos awake and evil when he is actually totally right about everything but the genocide thing? Another terrible manga series. Who the shit is Sartharion, and what the crap are twilight dragons? A terrible novel! There’s also background manga for Thassarian and Koltira and Pick A Character Any Character. In addition, we now have the new Firelands fun of Fandral Staghelm as an actual villain, rather than just an emotionally stunted douchebag, and a green dragon randomly engulfed in flame. Why? No idea. We know from the AQ questline that Staghelm is a dick because he never recovered from the loss of his son, but there’s a pretty big jump from “I Am Kind Of A Raving Douchecanoe” to “I Am Now The Right Hand Of A Hugely Recognizable Villain.”
This is frustrating for RPers and lore junkies, but ultimately not entirely harmful since it’s just background information. You can go on about your day not knowing wtf is going on and wtf Person X is and wtf they’re doing. This in no way harms any story any individual player is trying to tell, unless of course the story they’re trying to tell is about an omniscient and omnipresent being who is never at a loss for facts or knowledge (omg who would want to tell that story holy crap boooooooooriiiiiiiing).
But then comes shit like Rise of the Lich King and The Shattering, which not only contain background information not available anywhere else in WoW but information that directly contradicts information that IS available in WoW, which means that right now trying to complete anything in a fanonly capacity — be it RP or fanfic or whatever — is fucking impossible. If it’s a WoW story, then you should use WoW cosmology … … … but those are WoW books, and they aren’t using the WoW cosmology, so no one knows which cosmology should go into your character background, and just alskdjf;alkgj;qelkrhglkjdfgbhnlwkhg GRARRRRGHGGHG ARO SMASH
I hate retroactive continuity. It makes me completely insane. And when I say “insane” I am talking gibbering, snarling, white-hot mouth-frothingly head-spinningly insane. Not bothering to keep track of your previous worldbuilding is lazy writing, and supporting it is one of those things that I am just not emotionally capable of doing. I don’t want to read your fucking comic, because I don’t LIKE comics. I want to play your game. Everything that I need to understand your game world should be contained within that specific game world, and if it’s NOT, then, quite frankly and simply, I make epic angrysad face at you, like so: >:(
If they’d just start putting the little books back in, it would get better. Or at least slightly more acceptable.
There is, however, never any excuse for the bloofification of Azeroth. Nozdormu, I am looking at you.