More thoughts on WoW’s story

With all the continued discussion of WoW’s story lately I wanted to spend a couple more minutes working through my feelings. I want to try to convey a bit more clearly why I am so unhappy. Spoilers for WoW’s current story, cinematics, etc. ahead.

Say what you want about Blizzard’s choices for WoW lately, but they sure have people talking about the game. Amongst my friends and people I follow on Twitter I’ve seen many different reactions and perspectives. A small few seem to love this story, but most seem unhappy with it for one reason or other. Quite a few of my Horde friends are going through the same kinds of feelings we all experienced when Garrosh was warchief. This isn’t my Horde. Why would the other faction leaders go along with this? These feelings touch on one of my biggest problems with the current story: we’ve been here before.

The Horde has had a blatantly evil leader who went against tradition and honor and needed to be overthrown. As a Horde player it felt crappy then, and it feels crappy to see the same wheels in motion now. I hated practically everything about Garrosh’s story, from the moment Thrall chose him, through Cairne’s death, to the confrontation in SoO, and Thrall’s final kill steal in Nagrand. The only good thing that came of all of it was that Vol’jin ended up in charge. He was a cool lore figure, a pragmatic leader, and of course he barely got to do anything before he died.

Vol’jin’s death at the start of Legion felt almost like an afterthought. It was something to balance Varian’s more noble and cinematic end, and it was a plot point to cause faction strife. The circumstances of his death were designed to give the Alliance cause to suspect betrayal, and to put the most divisive figure possible on the throne. And Sylvanas didn’t even want to be there.

Forgive me for being bitter after seeing the Horde led into ruin, our capitol city sacked, our most promising leader killed in service of faction conflict, and our most interesting (IMO) leader stripped of all complexity and turned boring, rash, and ready to re-live the mistakes of the past.

And here’s the piece that frustrates me about the folks asking for calm, to wait and see, to trust that it will get better. I’ve done that. It got me through Garrosh, with hope that things would change and there was room for more interesting story to grow. It got me through pissed-off Jaina, obnoxious orc bros, and Illidan the chosen one, and it left me here, exactly where I started.

Even if this all turns out to be (insert lore conspiracy theory that fixes this somehow), it doesn’t change that Blizz chose to set things up this way. They chose to tell this story that they’ve already told me before. They chose to stoke faction-based strife that I never cared about much and am actively sick of now. It doesn’t change the fact that since MoP I feel like they keep putting up bigger and bigger warning signs that this game is not for me. All I can do is try to figure out if this is the moment that I finally start heeding them.

8 thoughts on “More thoughts on WoW’s story

  1. Really good article!
    It reminds me of my disgust at the director and writers when Spiderman failed and dropped his girlfriend down the elevator shaft or when Superman kills; Commander Zod. These things are not done and those who are playing with some very long standards and expectations should be run out of the business. It is a betrayal of our trust.

    • I ran across this yesterday,

      AUGUST 2, 2018 BY MARATHAL
      I went looking for a definition of morally grey this morning and ran across this web site

      And reading the article, it sounds all too familiar, especially this part,

      In some cases, the story will end with both sides teaming up against an unambiguously evil third faction, who may even have been behind the war in the first place. When this villain is defeated, the grey sides almost invariably decide to live in peace (in the harsher version, the casualties from fighting that villain may find that there is actually now enough of whatever they fought over for all the survivors. Ultra-harsh version of this has the realization that the resources have been spent on the war).

      And it’s an old standard TV Trope. It’s not new, it’s a stock plot narrative. And it’s been used in WoW for so many years, it’s gotten old.

      • It does feel extremely old. There are just so many more interesting places I feel like WoW’s story could be taking us. I feel so let down.

  2. I’ve explored our feelings in my blog post. It’s actually easy: the Alliance lost the battle for two weeks straight, and that’s bad for morale. I could compare it with destruction of Theramore, a merciless genocide. But while the city state went in a flash, in Teldrassil it was slow and painful. We witnessed a war crime, and we did not like it (which is good).

    The Horde was refused an honorable war through Sylvanas actions, and this was devastating, as honor is why we rolled the Horde toons in the first place. Blizzard foresaw it, and an immediate awesome cinematic was planned long ago that was released today. As with Garrosh, you can’t paint the whole faction black for the actions of its certain leaders.

    Sylvanas has always been the same. Genocides in Gilneas and Hillsbrad (with the same very blight that killed thousands of allies at Wrathgate), stabbing human allies in the back in W3 (killing them in their beds), pursuing her selfish goals through Legion. It’s just there’s no one now to hold and restrain her. And even so, merely the occupation was planned, not the bonfire.

    • This is very well thought out. I guess I am just coming to terms with having to let go of my Sylvanas fandom. It’s hard to articulate. And it is frustrating because there are so many other cool stories Blizz could be telling that aren’t just Red vs. Blue. I’d much rather we be fighting dragons and monsters than each other.

      • It actually surprises me how people praise the butchers and assholes 🙂 Sylvanas, Arthas, Illidan – no other character has got so much fanart rolling. Not Garrosh though – because he doesn’t have the looks! 🙂 Why judge a character by its cover and then be surprised if he occasionally wipes a city – another city in the line of her war crimes, mark you.

        I guess there’s a limit to cosmic evil, I’m glad we’re back to more mundane enemies. We’ve just defeated a god.

  3. Well written, Gracie. “Stay calm and wait and see” sure. But I agree with you No matter how this turns out – Even if Blizzard pulls a “GOTCHA” on us, turning it all upside down. I will still feel this way. That they on purpose made us judge on wrong facts and going through all this crap. It’s so poorly done. As you say, they chose to write it this way.

    So sloppy in game. Tyrande and Malfurion STILL has not a single word to offer in Stormwind. Seriously? You’d think SOME Npc could at least tell who and if any of the refugees we know, made it out alive. Where is my Druid trainer, Bearwalker? I could go on.

    It’s also ridiculous, how little info there is in game. Imagine if you played WoW with just playing it. NO visiting Wowhead and whatever. Shouldn’t the majority of lore and story be inside the game?

    I’m sorry! I’m usually quite positive, more than most, about the game. But this is just…No.

  4. Pingback: War of the Thorns: The Burning of Teldrassil – Alunaria's Avenue

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