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  #26  
Old 07-17-2016, 07:30 AM
Kiraser Kiraser is offline

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Originally Posted by Aldrius View Post
Pardo's always seemed like he gave a damn about story, narrative and lore in the interviews I've seen. Like when the Blood Elf-Horde announcement was made, and most of the devs were just like 'ah who gives a shit' he actually kinda tried to explain why it was possible. (Which wasn't really reflected in the game at all anyway, but eh).
He also was the game's director where all the good story stuff in classic WoW is from. (i.e. Human Starting Area, Blackrock Mountain, Missing Diplomat I'm pretty sure was all made on his watch.)
That's what is the most weird and sad thing about this. I, too, remember his old interviews with a real feeling of care and love for the story. But times change. Look at one of his last interviews - some sort of a lecture about videogames for Mit Media Lab. It's from 2014, so I don't remember his exact words and timing. But it has to be in the first 30 minutes.


Maybe this situation as a whole has also something to do with the remaining old crew and the changes in their view of the stories. Let's take Samwise as an example. He isn't a story guy, but his work is one of the keystones of the Warcraft and Starcraft design and other ideas, like the primal zerg concept. He always seemed to be an okayish guy, but I can't really forget the Blizzcon 2011 incident. For me, this issue was never about homophobia or even the cannibal corpse guy, it was always about him being rude and unprofessional. Basically, one of the most renowed developers in Blizzard walked towards the crowd of Blizzard fans (who friggin payed for tickets and spend enough money to get there), bowed to the giant screen and turned in a video of that cannibal corpse guy swearing and talking crap about the Alliance. What's wrong with him? He takes a videogame rivalry of two factions so seriously despite being a game developer of said game? And he thought that it was okay to badmouth players like that and he never apologised.

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Originally Posted by Torch View Post
To me, one of Blizzard's problems (certainly for Warcraft) right now is that, in all seriousness, they seem to be too busy writing what they like and enjoy...
It's a really good point. But I don't think that it's really present in Legion (with the exception of Illidan's story, but there's still chance for an adequate storyiline). But it totally was the case with WoD. I mean, I can't think of anyone who seriolsly asked to return the Old Horde to WoW as major villian faction. Who asked for it? But during the announcment they talked so much about lamenting this old Horde and wanting it to return, that it was kind of obvious that they were the ones who missed this Horde, not the players. And seriously, this Old Horde was a recurring villian as it is: Dark Horde in vanilla, Fel Horde in TBC, Dark Horde again in Cata, True Horde in MoP. Urgh. Everything was so weird about this idea of the new old Horde. Especially, since it didn't look like the old Horde: wholy different design, outlook and feel. From Deathwing-Blackhand to that stupid concept of the Iron Horde's plan to roflstomp all worlds. Which was thankfully scrapped. And their idea to make this faction so unrealistingly OP was one of the reasons of that giant storyline scrapping process in the middle of WoD's alpha. They had to nerf Iron Horde, because it's power level was stupid. But the commercial campaign was already on the run, and this Horde was still represented as some world ending threat - and that was missleading. And while the release version of the Iron Horde doesn't look overpowered, it still didn't safe the situation, because the conflict became one sided and boring. But they hadn't much of a choice. Either have an army of space conquering orcs and give players even more reason to hate this idea, or make them the way they are now with one sided war against them and tonns of scrapped storylines and cut contetnt.

I know, there's more to that alpha scrapping business. But I wanted to talk about this partilcular issue. And Legion looks like the opposite of WoD. It's still a fanservice material, but this time it's all about the stuff fans were asking for (except being a class order leader maybe): scenery porn vrykul fjords, night elf ruins, tauren and their architecture, demon invasions, Emerald Dream and Nightmare, Illidan and demon hunters, returning to the old storylines (Neptulon, Calia Menethil, Nathali Selin, Azshara, Magni etc). It's basically a mash of all the stuff that was widely accepted as cool and epic amongst the playerbase. And what's more important, it looks far more organic and smooth than WoD's premise with time travel (or Garrosh raising old warchiefs with some magic horn).
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  #27  
Old 07-17-2016, 08:59 AM
Krainz Krainz is offline

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Originally Posted by Torch View Post
To me, one of Blizzard's problems (certainly for Warcraft) right now is that, in all seriousness, they seem to be too busy writing what they like and enjoy...

Which in itself, isn't a problem, but the way Blizzard's doing it, it's almost as if they're trying to write a fanfiction, not a serious universe. If what like doesn't fit the original story, then you should be asking "How can I change what I like to fit the story", not "How can I change the story to fit with what I like?"

Look at the last four expansions (including Legion). Three of them have had major problems with individual characters hogging the storyline to the point that that the story's blatantly warped to fit the role Blizzard's decided for them. That making that character awesome is far more important than anything else in the story. And the other one (WoD) was a story nobody wanted at all!

Thrall was meant to drop his major role as warchief, save the earth as a superhero, then go back to being warchief again. That's fanfictiony, because it's blatantly to give Thrall more chance to be the hero without questioning why he returns to something the story said he had to give up. Oh, and he randomly gets a love interest. Who decided that having his babies is the most important thing in the world. And nearly got effectively written out afterwards. Because Thrall's babies was all that mattered. Even the aspects say so! Even Metzen basically admitted "I'm telling a story to my kids"!

Varian's possibly the mildest offender, but even then, Blizzard all but said "We'll destroy what makes the Alliance "The Alliance" and you will like it!" Showing off Varian became more important than writing other Alliance characters well, to the point that they permanently destroyed one character (Jaina), and went back on promises to write another character better (Tyrande), who's now pretty much considered a complete joke now. All because Blizzard wanted to show off how cool Varian was. (Hell, just in general, it was clear that Blizzard didn't want to write stories for other alliance races.)

WoD's story made no sense, and was pretty blatantly an ass pull so that Blizzard could have more orcs, a literal orc worship expansion. Everyone with half a brain would've realised that, after Thrall's importance in Cataclysm, Garrosh's in MoP, and the general faction war which, due to Blizzard's orc and human obsession, was very orc driven, we'd had a lot of orc content already. But somehow, after that, Blizzard thought that an expansion designed to give us orcs everywhere was a good idea. Even if it made no sense.

And Legion? We know what's happening with Illidan. We're seeing 13 year old stories retconned so that he can be the good guy. We're seeing a questline where a brilliant but unteachable student being told he's unteachable is being treated like a cosmic tragedy. Blizzard isn't even trying to be consistent. Blizzard isn't even trying to give us a story that, with a little suspension of disbelief, we could accept happening in TBC. The Universe is starting to warp around Illidan now. Blatantly so. In a way that reads like a bad fanfiction.

There's nothing wrong with writing what you like, but if you're in charge of a major fictional universe, you better fucking write it consistently and with respect to the narrative, and not like a fan writing fanfiction about their favourite character/race.
WoD was pushed because of the movie, wasn't it?
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  #28  
Old 07-17-2016, 09:31 AM
GenyaArikado GenyaArikado is offline

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Honestly thats why i believe WoD was made too, but they failed so hard (and perhaps the movie was delayed too, idk) to the point we got in the current situation.
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  #29  
Old 07-17-2016, 12:28 PM
Funk, the Bard Funk, the Bard is offline

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Originally Posted by MisterCrow View Post
This isn't even a "crow's white-knighting for Blizzard" thing. It's really just a stark statement of reality that Blizzard will never fail so titanically that their fans will abandon them.
Of course they won't, if people still buy EA games...
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  #30  
Old 07-18-2016, 07:13 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Originally Posted by Funk, the Bard View Post
Of course they won't, if people still buy EA games...
Disney shut down its game company, Disney Interactive, and outright canceled some popular-with-fans projects because of the popularity of EA's Battlefront.

EA Battlefront gained so much profit and inputted so little cost and effort (and features, as those of us who played Battlefront II know), that Disney decided licensing games to companies like them was the superior model.

If Blizzard can still get high sales without putting cost or effort into story, then they'll likely keep doing that.
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  #31  
Old 07-22-2016, 11:28 PM
necrophotic necrophotic is offline

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In regards to Warcraft (or World of Warcraft) lore, Blizzard doesn't have any story-telling to deteriorate. I don't even understand the story Blizzard is telling because the company's employees would imply something, then deny that they're making that implication.

For example:

Blizzard claims that the highly destructive fel magic is fueled by drawing life from living beings. The implication of this claim is that life has something integral to (or a part of) fel magic: If life doesn't have something integral to (or a part of) fel magic, life wouldn't need to be drawn from living beings to fuel fel magic because it (life) doesn't have something fel magic needs (which is fuel).

And aside from the fact that life would have something a part of fel magic, it seems fel magic itself comes from life: But an insignificant sacrifice is required to fuel fel magic and sacrificial magic was considered the greatest violation of (or from) life. The energies of life, most commonly known as nature magic, are stated to promote growth and renewal in all things, but energies can be so chaotic that they manifest as entropic horrors, pure fel magic given form to lash out at all life (according to Dave Kosak, warlocks convert life into fel).

Despite the fact that fel magic is clearly a chaotic, demonic, destructive, entropic form of life magic that is designed to cause systems to decay or deteriorate into a state less orderly, Blizzard employees would deny fel magic is necromantic magic. They would deny it, even if fel magic can clearly be considered necromantic in more than one sense. But woe for them, I won't hesitate calling them liars.

Last edited by necrophotic; 07-23-2016 at 08:27 AM..
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  #32  
Old 07-23-2016, 10:39 PM
MisterCrow MisterCrow is offline

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Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
Disney shut down its game company, Disney Interactive, and outright canceled some popular-with-fans projects because of the popularity of EA's Battlefront.

EA Battlefront gained so much profit and inputted so little cost and effort (and features, as those of us who played Battlefront II know), that Disney decided licensing games to companies like them was the superior model.

If Blizzard can still get high sales without putting cost or effort into story, then they'll likely keep doing that.
It feels weird to say that Blizzard isn't putting cost or effort into story when you see something like Overwatch. Yes, virtually none of that story is in the game itself, but Blizzard is still MAKING it. It's still impacting the design and progress of the game.

Maybe that's beside the point, and what folks are after here is a Game that has a cohesive Story, not a franchise that has a lot of ancillary products that barely offer tastes of a story.

Folks who read A Song of Ice and Fire want George to finish writing the goddamn books, but folks wanting a thing doesn't make George write any faster. Creators are creators, I guess. If Blizzard's more interested in having ANVIL and the cinematics team bear the weight of storytelling instead of taking the effort to actually put it in the game and making it interactive... I don't know if that's deterioration or just iteration.
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  #33  
Old 07-24-2016, 05:08 AM
Drusus Drusus is offline

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Originally Posted by MisterCrow View Post
It feels weird to say that Blizzard isn't putting cost or effort into story when you see something like Overwatch. Yes, virtually none of that story is in the game itself, but Blizzard is still MAKING it. It's still impacting the design and progress of the game.
I think the difference is that we accepted from the start and Blizzard has always been very forthright in stating that the story is mostly background padding and we should (and we did) go into the game treating it and the 'actual story' as two separate things.

With Overwatch they accept the story is this sandbox they want to muck around in (and obviously enjoy doing so) that is more or less just a comic book story and I think everybody accepts those are always absurd, OTT, ridiculous things. With WoW/Warcraft they're still trying to pretend somehow that the story is totally valid and serious and deep, whilst cramming it into an MMO... whilst at the same time obviously either not giving that much of a shit, or fooling themselves into thinking their writing is actually good.

The thing about Overwatch is they obviously enjoy writing the background and story for it. First, it's the comic book story they always wanted to write. Blizzard's writers - mainly Metzen - obviously always wanted to write/draw a comic book, they tried making it fantasy style with WoW and received nothing but hate for it. Overwatch is their chance to actually do it and they've thrown themselves fully into it. With WoW it's like they view the story as this annoying but necessary thing they have to slap on and pretend to give a shit about to stop nerds from complaining there isn't one.
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  #34  
Old 07-25-2016, 09:32 AM
Mertico Mertico is offline

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The comic book feel works well for Overwatch. It does not work for Warcraft.

The reasons should be fairly clear. WoW is meant to feel like a fairly serious world with some lighter elements to it. Death is supposed to have an impact in semi-serious settings, take for example, Shrek. Now Shrek is not a serious setting and does have some fairly powerful magic, however, you worry that Shrek might fail and could be killed and wouldn't be able to come back.

The same cannot be said for Warcraft. If Thrall were to die right now we have no guarantee that he won't be back tomorrow completely unphased and unchanged by the whole experience. The undead counter this by changing via undeath and suffering a consequence (mostly). Illidan has 'died' quite a few times with no real consequences.

There is also the matter of power. We almost never see the common people in Warcraft and how all of these events impact them. So they believe in magic? How do they worship? Do they? What does a farmer think of Orcs and Trolls? We don't know. We're too busy brushing shoulders with people who have the powers of Superman and can't die because their fans demand it. All of Blizzard's main cast of heroes is too powerful to be interesting. Varian wasn't a warrior king. He was a warrior king with the blessings of a wolfgod who went toe to toe with forces that are equally as crazy. It's why DragonBall was more fun than DragonBall Z, chance of defeat and fear of losing.

There is no fear in Warcraft. There is no fear in Starcraft, Kerrigan was simply excused for her genocide. Actions do not have consequences in Blizzard's writings.
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  #35  
Old 07-25-2016, 04:25 PM
Omacron Omacron is offline


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With regard to WoD:

I don't think anyone asked for the old horde in specific, but I remember circa Cataclysm that many people here and on the story forums wanted the main enemy of an expansion to be a mortal army, using regular tactics, mundane weapons and the like. Something bloody you can stab rather than undead or demons or elementals that we had been fighting since TBC. We did get that in WoD. It's just we were fighting a stupid, rehashed, nonsensical enemy.

As for whether or not WoD was supposed to tie into the Warccraft movie, I don't think it was that simple. What I honestly believe is that Metzen and co. had not thought much about the old orc clans and chiefs since revisiting them briefly in TBC and they did a lot of work with Legendary on Draenor and some of the orc chieftains. I imagine they got really inspired by what they were doing and felt that everyone else had such a deep connection to the orcs that we HAD to love what they made, as it really was an example of them being in a kind of development bubble.
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  #36  
Old 07-25-2016, 07:40 PM
ARM3481 ARM3481 is offline

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One of the Iron Horde's biggest issues as a villain was that while indeed they were a mortal foe, they came across as inherently off-balance and incompetent. Invading Azeroth with an unconquered Draenor at their backs made them look foolish and ill-prepared. Failing to successfully overrun most of the draenei made them look ineffective. Being overshadowed by the Shadow Council armies in Talador made them look second-rate.

WoD was the Iron Horde's first real war, and it showed. From the moment they appeared in the Blasted Lands their campaign felt like an incompetent clusterfuck being run by people who don't know how to run a proper war. Which in retrospect, perhaps isn't all that surprising, given Garrosh's involvement in shaping their goals and strategic priorities. One need only look at their reliance on secret weapons. Building a volcano bomb in Blackrock Spire, weaponizing the Breakers, building a gigantic super-cannon on a battleship, compelling Ner'zhul to call down the Dark Star; it had Garrosh's fingerprints all over it, and consequently failed for the same predictable reasons that his True Horde failed on Azeroth.

They tried to leverage it with the Warlords shorts, but ultimately none of that really paid off. Any singular threat this or that chieftain posed as a chieftain in command of an army (rather than as a raid boss along against a small army of players) was overridden by the fact that the whole Iron Horde was pursuing Garrosh's plan, and Garrosh's plans continued to boil down to "get tons of soldiers needlessly killed while you slap together another insanely big gun to blow everything up."

The key to any threat of invasion working - be it mortal or otherwise - is that the invader has to come across like they have their heads on a swivel and their ducks in a row. They have to show up and appear as if they've done it before and they've won it before because they know what they're doing. The hope of victory needs to lie in proving that our resolve can stand against an enemy that's already good at invading and conquering people.

Which is something that a mortal foe should and perhaps someday may still bring. The Iron Horde was gimped from the start by basically being the continued aggression of an antagonist who already failed hard, and even when they're at the top of their games, less mortal-oriented foes like the Legion, Scourge and Twilight's Hammer have perpetually been undermined by the fact that they delegate so much of their cause to irrational headcases. Sure, the Scourge and Legion had pretty sterling records for a while, but they inevitably lost because the overly exotic thinkers at the top started getting too creative instead of just continuing to do what was working and winning the damned war.

The appeal to a mortal foe that poses a real threat is that they would think like we think, do things for the same reasons we might, and know that the same goes for us. They'd see an enemy with armies that their own armies need to crush into submission, instead of getting crazy ideas like "let's pretend to be losing the war and then one-shot/rez their champions at the very end" or "let's hamstring the momentum of a already wildly successful and still ongoing invasion by shipping half of the army to the far side of the world to drain a World Tree."
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  #37  
Old 07-27-2016, 12:50 AM
MisterCrow MisterCrow is offline

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Originally Posted by ARM3481 View Post

The appeal to a mortal foe that poses a real threat is that they would think like we think, do things for the same reasons we might, and know that the same goes for us. They'd see an enemy with armies that their own armies need to crush into submission, instead of getting crazy ideas like "let's pretend to be losing the war and then one-shot/rez their champions at the very end" or "let's hamstring the momentum of a already wildly successful and still ongoing invasion by shipping half of the army to the far side of the world to drain a World Tree."
I think that gets to a question of what that looks like from a gameplay perspective. There aren't that many occasions in the game where the player really gets put on their back foot by the actions of NPCs; one of the only instances that jumps to mind is the worgen starting experience, which was really tailor-made to show the downfall of Gilneas. More frequently, we'll step into a situation where our side losing happens off-screen, and our avatar comes in as a troubleshooter in order to set things right (see Taylor's failed garrison in Spires of Arak).

So what does smart opposition look like? Is it feasible to have stuff like semi-unique enemy NPC adventurers who appear to have a questing agenda that we simply come across and have to counter? Is it more frequent occasions where the player gets ambushed when they're completing a quest objective because it turns out it was a trap? Or situations where 1) you get a batch of quests from a set of questgivers, 2) you complete those quests, 3) you come back to find out your questgivers all got killed off by enemy NPCs and you've got to complete their mission?
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