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  #326  
Old 05-05-2020, 10:21 PM
Krainz Krainz is offline

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  #327  
Old 05-06-2020, 01:28 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Yes, I've been approached on this a few times. I've unfortunately lost a lot of motivation to look into these in detail. I don't see the point with this franchise anymore. So my analysis is pretty limited.

Observation 1: Blizzard's MAUs are still flat. The trend seems to still be the same.

Observation 2: The reported increase in subscriptions happened around this time in 2018 for the same reason as I suspect it's happening this time: playable pre-order bonuses.
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  #328  
Old 05-06-2020, 10:13 PM
Wreave Wreave is offline

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This is one thread that I've followed for quite a while. One of the last vestiges of my interest in WoW. Like Kyalin, I'm at that "Just don't care anymore." stage.

I thought they had learned their lesson after MoP/WoD. But nope, they actually went and one upped on that debacle.

Blizz narrative team really put a tombstone in it.
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  #329  
Old 05-07-2020, 12:48 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Originally Posted by Wreave View Post
This is one thread that I've followed for quite a while. One of the last vestiges of my interest in WoW. Like Kyalin, I'm at that "Just don't care anymore." stage.

I thought they had learned their lesson after MoP/WoD. But nope, they actually went and one upped on that debacle.

Blizz narrative team really put a tombstone in it.
Given this, I will try to continue to push out content.
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  #330  
Old 05-07-2020, 10:48 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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What was the ultimate verdict, did BFA's bad lore actually hurt them or was it about the same?

I heard some folks say BFA was up and others say that was only due to them tossing in "Classic" numbers.
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  #331  
Old 05-08-2020, 12:48 AM
Wreave Wreave is offline

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Originally Posted by Kyalin V. Raintree View Post
Given this, I will try to continue to push out content.
Ah, I didn't mean that in the sense of "Please keep producing content!". I'll keep an eye out if you do, but please don't do it unless you want to.
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  #332  
Old 05-08-2020, 12:59 AM
Wreave Wreave is offline

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What was the ultimate verdict, did BFA's bad lore actually hurt them or was it about the same?

I heard some folks say BFA was up and others say that was only due to them tossing in "Classic" numbers.
I think it would be difficult to tell w/o the internal data.

As small data point: When I've quit in the past (prior to BfA) and had to give a story reason for quitting, I had to go to "Other" and then fill in why. But for BfA they specifically added a "Quit Because Unhappy with Story" option to the exit survey.

And to be more specific, the problem wasn't with "lore" (which actually sounded pretty interesting from what I saw and from following Bellular). The problem (for me and others) was with the story handing a beat down to the player's preferred race/faction identification. So, more "story" than "lore".

... Seems to be a real epidemic these days of writers destroying IPs by getting too focused on their own narrative kinks.
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  #333  
Old 05-14-2020, 11:47 AM
Insane Guy of Doom Insane Guy of Doom is offline

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There was an interview with Ion Hazzikostas today that had a section on the future of night elves and Forsaken. The major points were:

-Tyrande will have a storyline in Shadowlands, but there won't be any content about night elves as a whole. The aftermath of Teldrassil (outside of how it personally effects Tyrande) is a story they plan to tell, but not in Shadowlands.

-Similarly, the future of the Forsaken and their identity post-Sylvanas is something the plan to explore in future expansions, but not in Shadowlands.

-Night elves and Forsaken will get new homes someday, but again, not in Shadowlands. They are "already thinking of ideas" for where their new homes/cities/whatever will be.

-Cryptically, Ion mentions that time works differently in the Shadowlands and that when we return to Azeroth more time might have passed there than it did for us. Many people have begun to speculate this is hinting at a time jump world revamp for 10.0, possibly with new night elf and forsaken capitals.
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  #334  
Old 05-14-2020, 12:35 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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Originally Posted by Insane Guy of Doom View Post
There was an interview with Ion Hazzikostas today that had a section on the future of night elves and Forsaken. The major points were:

-Tyrande will have a storyline in Shadowlands, but there won't be any content about night elves as a whole. The aftermath of Teldrassil (outside of how it personally effects Tyrande) is a story they plan to tell, but not in Shadowlands.

-Similarly, the future of the Forsaken and their identity post-Sylvanas is something the plan to explore in future expansions, but not in Shadowlands.

-Night elves and Forsaken will get new homes someday, but again, not in Shadowlands. They are "already thinking of ideas" for where their new homes/cities/whatever will be.

-Cryptically, Ion mentions that time works differently in the Shadowlands and that when we return to Azeroth more time might have passed there than it did for us. Many people have begun to speculate this is hinting at a time jump world revamp for 10.0, possibly with new night elf and forsaken capitals.
Yeah, we were discussing this interview over in my discord.

To put it bluntly. I'm pessimistic. Is that new home just going to be a few more tents in Stormwind, or will I like it? I certainly don't feel like I have a reason to expect the latter - and them saying that they're talking about it isn't even a plan for a plan. When will it be here? Well, I can say we know when it will not: two more years. Past that? Two? Ten? Twenty? Two-hundred? I don't see a reason to wait to find out, at least not while I'm paying them, which this is not enough to get me to start doing.

I also won't, on the basis of this, stop advocating for Night Elf fans to stop paying these writers for this content (at least unless they really, truly enjoy it).

I will feel more comfortable about changing that stance when I see evidence that a satisfying variant of this... I can't say "promised" content actually exists in the game - if I haven't just lost interest by then. That's kind of one of the risks that comes along with screwing things over for a decade, and then deciding to maybe possibly resolve a storyline several years after that.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:42 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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What do you want to bet that Shadowlands will have some HORRIBLE revelation about Elune and Nelfs after the timeskip won't worship Elune anymore?
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  #336  
Old 05-16-2020, 11:00 PM
Wreave Wreave is offline

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Frankly that interview sounds like a girl turning you down for the tenth time... "I'm so busy. Maybe I'll see about having some free time in 2-3 months from now." (Translation: Oh EFF NOO!)

And really... you should have quit asking after the third turndown.
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  #337  
Old 05-19-2020, 01:00 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I want you to imagine a story with me.

Here's how it goes - there's a commander of a small special forces squad. This commander has worked with their soldiers for some time and considers them to be personal friends. They also are working with a military attache from another country who is an ally - but relations have usually been a bit arms-length, and there's sometimes been a hint of underlying racial tension. Regardless, the commander knows of this person, knows of their accomplishments, and respects them.

During the story, which concerns their attempt to put down a dangerous militia leader, the commander loses their entire team. It's enough that the commander screams out their soldiers' names as they die, and swears revenge after they have. But then they learn that the attache survived. The attache expresses regret, and states that they should have died instead of the commander's friends. The commander replies with: "We are all equals. No one is more valuable than another."

Presumably while staring blankly at the camera.

----

We don't have to imagine this story - it exists in WoW. That last line is taken verbatim from Shandris Feathermoon to John J. Keeshan after her friends died. The whole story stops in that instance so that Shandris can tell the viewer "diversity is our strength" - and by so doing cheapens the deaths of people that she was supposed to care about.

This is a worrying repetition of a trend that's hit recent writing overall, but it has always been with WoW. I call this problem "Peak California" - which may be defined as an intense, but clumsy attempt to have your story promote left-wing progressive values in a way that (possibly intentionally - in a way so as to say that the context itself does not overcome the value) ignores the context of the situation - and by so doing results in a strange, unrealistic, or even immoral message.

The Night Elves, being a traditionalist, territorial, and nominally xenophobic race are frequent targets of this despite being WoW's only female facing race. Since I concentrate on them anyway - I'm going to continue to do that as I map out this problem.

"If you don't take their drugs, you'll die!"

Let's imagine another story - a world even. The elite in society have found a way to make themselves stronger by making a permanent choice that affects their very physiology. In exchange for this power, however, they have to partake in a highly addicting ritual, and if they don't do that, they'll wither and die. Their new power has profound ecological and social consequences - and because of this - they face intense hatred from the rest of society. Eventually their power nearly leads the world to destruction and plunges it into a dark age. Now, society has to ask deep and painful questions about how to deal with them.

If you guessed that I'm asking you to imagine Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, you're right - and with that in mind, spoilers ahead.

In the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution - only the fortunate 1/125th of the population can get physical augmentations. They have to take an addicting drug called Neuropozyne for the rest of their life or their body will reject their augmentations and kill them. Their augmentations also result in a widening economic gap. People are often told that in order to work, they need to be augmented, but augmentations are hideously expensive and so is Neuropozyne. If you can't afford augmentations, you are left behind. As a result, hatred for the augmented is often the preserve of the underprivileged.

The game presents reasonable figures on this side of the augmentation debate and exposes you to their perspective. William Taggart for example, is a philanthropist, a psychologist, and someone who genuinely believes that augmentation poses a danger to society and should be regulated. The game will even let you take his side at the end if you are persuaded by his arguments. There ARE clear bigots and bad guys on this side of the argument. The narrative doesn't defend them, but they're not the only voice, and it's clear that you can oppose augmentations without that opposition simply being hatred. You also aren't forced to agree with their message - you are yourself augmented. You work for an augmentation firm - and you are free to choose - as I did - to side with that firm at the end of the game as well. The game is mature enough to present the issue to you fully, with all of its complexity and even ugliness, and let you make your own decisions - as fans of this franchise come to expect.

Mankind Divided was different.

After the clumsily-named "Aug incident" - a worldwide disaster where what the world thinks was a glitch causes the entire augmented population to spin into a murderous rage until your protagonist stops it (in the last game) - millions are dead and the world is shocked into hating and fearing augmented people. After we just got done explaining that augmented were super-wealthy, privileged super-people whose hubris like Icarus made them fly too close to the sun, we're now supposed to accept that they are downtrod apartheid-allegories who we must now protect from bigoted LGBT Czech policewomen.

What?

I'm not the only one who was... confused, by the racism allegory in the second prequel to Deus Ex. Do I love the game? Absolutely. Was this part of it strange? Also, absolutely. My point is not that your game cannot have an allegory to prejudice, or that it should present characters who belong in American History X in a positive light. It's that augmentation is a bad allegory for prejudice.

So is the arcane in Warcraft.

The fact that arcane addiction can be passed to your kids makes the question a bit more complex and therefore interesting than augmentation - but many of the same elements are there. It conveys a supernatural power to you. If you are an elf and you don't feed your addiction, you will wither and die. It has brought dire consequences to the world, including multiple demonic invasions. It has historically been the province of the rich and powerful. In Wrath, we also established (but never picked up) that the use of the arcane causes a strain on the world that if left unchecked, will one day turn it into the Netherstorm.

In Warcraft though, when a Night Elf has a concern with that, none of that matters. Their points are never regarded as reasonable - those concerns are not even allowed to be expressed. Instead, Tyrande looks down her nose at Thalyssra - she and Liadrin have a nice session for the Horde where the Night Elves are chastised for being bigots. The Nightborne join the Horde. The Night Elves are punished for their bigotry rather than being rewarded for their assistance by being invaded and subjected to a genocide which the Nightborne are complicit in.

How's that for a moral?

The Cycle of Hatred

Warcraft 3 contained within in two stories which have been on repeat in WoW since the writers evidently can't figure out what else to do.

The first is Grom's redemption at the end of the Orc campaign. He is taunted first by Cenarius and then by Mannoroth that he (and by extension the Orcs) hasn't changed and is no better than Mannoroth. They're referring quite plainly to the Orcs' bloodlust, and Grom's defeat of Mannoroth is in that sense symbolic. He doesn't just save Orcs from demon blood - he rejects that very mentality.

Then a little man named Dave Kosak came along and drove a spike into that. Garrosh and the Mag'har that he manipulates are clear statements that actually no - they are the same. It was this that the current team I feel tried to rectify - and they would have come close if not for the other story. Saurfang could have confronted Sylvanas in front of Orgrimmar. Sylvanas could have then confronted him with his own contradictions - his own complicity in the war. Like Grom then in the canyon before him, he could have rejected her attempts to call him (and by extension the entire Orcish race) no better than she was - and THAT could have been what turned the Horde against her. That would have been meaningful. That would have redeemed the faction. THAT would have showed real change.

But they didn't do that - and I think that's because of the other story from Warcraft 3.

During Mists of Pandaria - Taran Zhu chastises Lor'themar and Jaina for the cycle of hatred. He states that every reprisal begets a further and more terrible reprisal - and that the solution is for both sides to turn around and walk away.

Jaina's inclusion in this and her arc through Battle for Azeroth is directly tied to the first coining of the "Cycle of Hatred" - which came from Admiral Daelin Proudmoore's racially motivated invasion of Durotar. The cycle of hatred made sense then as a problem to point out - and it came at the right time because while one could understand Daelin's hatred, they still also knew that he was working off of bad information. That this would establish the Alliance as a mistrustful, skeptical entity seeking to contain the Horde, which had legitimately changed - was good worldbuilding as well for setup into a complicated geopolitical situation.

That died at least in Mists of Pandaria - possibly Cataclysm. In Garrosh, the Horde was given a fascist dictator who promoted Orcish racial supremacy to the point where approaching the end, that hatred was turning on other members of the Horde. Worse, much of the Horde, including the majority of the Orcs - were said to be following him. Cycle of Hatred shouldn't apply here - here is a line that no one should cross and Garrosh crossed it. Yet we have, in war crimes, the Celestials - who are framed as being morally correct by virtue of their status as gods - messaging that Tyrande and the Alliance were just as much on trial as Garrosh. The moral authority of the story is telling us that Tyrande, for being the leader of a people who were brutally invaded (remember, the Horde did not take prisoners - civilian corpses litter the ground at Silverwing Outpost, and Horde troops were torturing captive sentinels to death in the Shatterspear War camp), was morally equivalent to Garrosh Hellscream, who froths and rages at the end of the book that he was going to hunt down and kill every last Night Elf on the planet.

Those two are framed as being morally equivalent. That's how the cycle of hatred's moral framing of war - which is always bad and is always motivated by hatred, specifically racial hatred - operates.

This didn't end in BfA. Jaina's prominence in BfA directly calls to Daelin Proudmoore. Saurfang proudly tells the camera that they're going to Azeroth to break the cycle. The Horde's 'redemption' just before this is Saurfang expressing regret for the Horde's actions, and Anduin telling him that the Alliance is bad too because of Arthas. These narrative decisions pretty much preclude the idea of the Horde redeeming itself in a believable way that firmly rejects the idea of militarism, yet the narrative treats it as though they have.

Trying to focus on the Cycle of Hatred, and regard the Alliance as being equally culpable in a war that kicked off with the Horde committing and recommitting acts of racially-motivated mass murder targeted at civilians meant that the Horde never got a chance to firmly reject that ideology. Peak California got in the way of that.

A time for choosing

In 1964, Ronald Reagan gave a pro-Barry Goldwater speech entitled "A Time for Choosing" - at the end of which he expressed the importance of standing up to the Soviet Union and rejecting appeasement. As Reagan states: "Where then is the road to peace? Well, it's a simple answer after all. You and I have the courage to say to our enemies there is a price we will not pay. There is a point beyond which they must not advance." It's absolute conservative red meat, and you can find videos of it on YouTube set to transformers music, eagles, American flags, laughing middle class children playing in auburn meadows, and the full might of Freedomland being brought down on some terrorists. It's also the foundation for Reagan's ideal of "Peace through Strength".

California today doesn't like this product of California, and Peak California abhors it. So when Tyrande shows up at the peace treaty signing with the message that she doesn't trust that the Horde has changed and won't sign the treaty, she may as well have been wearing Reagan's cowboy hat. The author-designated exemplar of non-toxic masculinity condescendingly lectures Tyrande that the Horde has changed, and Tyrande is once again framed as a racist bigot who can't let go of the past.

That past being a history of repeated invasions, driven by a combination of greed and racial hatred, where no prisoners were taken, and where attacks designed to extract the maximum number of civilian casualties were staged - culminating in the burning of Teldrassil… and once again, the Horde never gave any indication that it actually had changed. The leadership changed, but there was no firm rejection of the ideology that led to that past, and no guarantee that Tyrande's people could never again be the victims of the ideology that sought to exterminate them.

This is where the moral perversion comes in. The "Cycle of Hatred" isn't rejecting "A time for choosing". It's rejecting "Never Again". Peak California thought it was going after Reagan. In reality, it was going after FDR.

If you're wondering why Night Elf fans are worried that Tyrande will be a raid boss, by the way, this is why: it looks like she's being groomed as the new Daelin Proudmoore. Peak California's twisted morality states that war for even this reason is wrong and racially motivated. Anduin is the writer-designated moral voice of the Alliance - and he's not allowed to be wrong. It's an absolutely monstrous moral lesson that comes out as the result of this - especially if via a Sylvanas redemption, we end up with a moral message that states "genocide is okay in certain circumstances" - but that's what Peak California does.

As I conclude, please don't misunderstand me. This isn't a statement that you can't have politics, left-of-center politics, diversity, representation, or stories that speak up against racism and bigotry in video games. I personally think that you should - but if your pursuit of that is so focused and so blind that it ignores the surrounding context to the point where you are delivering even more monstrous moral "lessons"? You might want to reconsider what you're doing.
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  #338  
Old 05-24-2020, 07:28 PM
Mutterscrawl Mutterscrawl is offline

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I'll have to write up a bigger reply another day, but I agree in general, Blizz has no respect for prior continuity or context. I don't know if it's a problem of too many cooks in the kitchen, changing writers over time or the weakness of the story folks compared to the design folks, but they pay no attention to the morals suggested by their stories

It almost feels intentional honestly


Edit: I'd definitely say I dont see it as uniformly partisan or "California" as you do

Plenty of Blizz stuff over the years reads as right-leaning and there's the occasional confederate flag in some of the old sons of the storm art
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  #339  
Old 05-26-2020, 09:27 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I'll have to write up a bigger reply another day, but I agree in general, Blizz has no respect for prior continuity or context. I don't know if it's a problem of too many cooks in the kitchen, changing writers over time or the weakness of the story folks compared to the design folks, but they pay no attention to the morals suggested by their stories

It almost feels intentional honestly


Edit: I'd definitely say I dont see it as uniformly partisan or "California" as you do

Plenty of Blizz stuff over the years reads as right-leaning and there's the occasional confederate flag in some of the old sons of the storm art
One of the things that I regret about that post is that it's interpreted in its SF copy as being "anti-SJW" - which it's not. I understand that certain bad actors were always going to portray it that way, but I picked "California" and not "Oregon" for a reason. To recognize and write about systemic inequities in our society is not by itself a bad thing. It becomes a problem when you start carrying water for systems of racial supremacy and genocide simply because doing so could be interpreted as "anti-imperialist", which I feel is WoW's core moral issue.
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Old 06-09-2020, 11:36 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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So I recently came across this thread.

https://us.forums.blizzard.com/en/wo...-cities/551123

As of right now, no one really is answering it. The question has to do with resources, and usually when we get to this question, Night Elf fans (and Forsaken fans now) are asked to patiently wait for good content that will never come. "It will cost a raid tier", they say, and in another year, I may have made the argument that regardless of that, Blizzard should value the members of these two rather large fanbases more than a raid that will be relevant for all of three months.

Today I'm not going to do that though, in light of this:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/d...ion20shltr.htm

Now, I'm not saying that we gut Kotick's pay or even reduce it out of the multi-million dollar range. However, in cash awards alone, Mr. Kotick takes 4.2 mm out of the company each year. [1] Which is a pretty hefty sum. Now, let's say that a full time developer has a salary of 100,000. (Check the filing - it's significantly less for a Jr. Developer in Southern California) Now, let's bluntly estimate the costs of taxes, insurance, training, and infrastructure at 40% of that amount - which gets us 140,000 per year, per full time employee (FTE).

4.2 mm/140k per year = 30 FTEs - from which we can expect 60,000 hours per year.

What is that in perspective? One estimate claims that AAA games require 2-3 years to make using teams of 150-250 people - which includes the entire game rather than just environmental and quest design.[2] So - one-million hours on average. If we take the 2.5 year average duration - that gives us 15% of the total allocation for the game just for two cities. But if we reduce that to one year's worth, we still have 6%, which still isn't bad, and ultimately doesn't consider WoW's graphics and systems in comparison to its AAA peers.

That then leaves the obvious question - how is Bobby Kotick going to eat with only 26 million in stock awards a year? Well, let's say that throwing some love to Night Elf and Forsaken fans brings back 250,000 subscribers - or 0.25 MAUs. Doing more back-of-the-envelope math, let's take the $15/mo subscription cost, annualize it ($180/yr), and multiply it out. That gets us $45 mm in revenue. ATVI has a roughly 17% average profit margin after all costs including taxes. [3] That gets us 7,650,000 in profit. We don't need to consider the incremental salaries because we're just taking from one bucket and putting it in another.

… and you know, Mr. Kotick? You can have it all. True, it wouldn't get the investors off of your back about your exorbitant pay, but it would make the game better, probably bring more people back, and set this franchise that much more on the road to recovery. Ignoring that you probably wouldn't need 60,000 hours to create these cities in the first place. Although, maybe you could put the extra time into fixing these races?

So what do you say?

[1] https://www1.salary.com/Robert-A-Kot...ZZARD-INC.html

[2] https://www.gamedev.net/forums/topic...riple-a-games/

[3] https://www.sec.gov/ix?doc=/Archives...12019x10xk.htm
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  #341  
Old 06-19-2020, 09:04 PM
Insane Guy of Doom Insane Guy of Doom is offline

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Something neat datamined from the newest Shadowlands build that may be of interest to the themes of this thread, though not directly night elf adjacent.

The Alliance appears to be getting its own version of the Garrosh/Sylvanas/Faction civil war storyline in Shadowlands.

Good news, Tyrande isn't the implied to be a potential Garrosh/Sylvanas stand it. Bad news is its Matthias Shaw and Genn Greymane and if a war between Anduin and Genn does go down you know which side Tyrande will pick and which will be presented as the good guys.

The gist of it is a set of voice files were discovered that appear to be a conversation between Matthias Shaw and Genn about the aftermath of the pre-expansion event. We only have Shaw's voice lines.

Anduin is gone, but not dead, with no context as to what that means (the most common theory is that he's trapped in the Maw like Jaina and Tyrande), and Turalyon has become the new leader of the Alliance in his place. Shaw doesn't think Turalyon should be the leader and tells Genn he should overthrow Turalyon and take control of the Alliance.

Since we don't have Genn's quotes, we don't know what he thinks of the idea. But whatever Genn says in response to Shaw suggesting he basically stage a coup is something that makes Shaw say “Yes, your Majesty.” It could be him chastising Shaw for suggesting such a thing or it could be him agreeing.

Here are the lines themselves.

“Champion, you are needed in Stormwind on a matter of great urgency… and discretion. Come at once, and come alone.”

“The Ebon Blade has extracted the Lich- The Highlord from the battle in Icecrown. He is recovering in Acherus.”

“King Greymane, you shouldn’t remain out in the open like this. You’re too tempting a target.”

“Still, we need you in the throne room. There are matters of state that must be overseen until the King’s return.”

“I don’t question the High Exarch’s ability to defend the Alliance, but as a king yourself, don’t you think you should sit upon the throne?”

“Yes, your Majesty.”


I'm really happy to see some Alliance drama and inter-faction conflict for a change. We've seen that in faction focused stories its typically the side with the internal drama that gets a story and the other is just sort of there to alternately be victims and moral support to the drama one. And since this has nothing to do with the Horde causing issues it might even be story support without the baggage of another faction war. Maybe then both factions would get involved stories and the Horde wouldn't have to be stuck with another story about tearing itself apart for a change.

However I am worried for what it could potentially mean for night elves since they'd obviously side with Genn should things escalate the way this dialogue suggests it could.

Last edited by Insane Guy of Doom; 06-19-2020 at 09:16 PM..
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  #342  
Old 06-20-2020, 01:38 AM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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Unless Genn does a complete 180, I don’t think he’d agree with Shaw. And if he did, I don’t think it would turn into a civil war upon Anduin’s return.

Both Shaw and Genn are far too loyal to Anduin to turn on him. I’d even say that Genn considers Anduin his son.
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Old 06-21-2020, 01:02 PM
Reinhardt Reinhardt is offline

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It's be line from Shaw and Greymane probably tells him no.
I don't think we are getting a civil war.
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Old 06-25-2020, 03:49 PM
Insane Guy of Doom Insane Guy of Doom is offline

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Calia is the new Forsaken leader. She tries to reason with Tyrande and Tyrande nearly starts a fight between the Alliance and Horde. Strangely Valeera (who has been nothing but loyal to Varian and now Anduin) sides with the Horde against the Alliance before Bolvar stops the faction leaders from coming to blows.



For some reason the picture won't embed so here's a link to my tweet with said picture.

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Old 06-26-2020, 06:15 AM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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While it's not definite proof, it is certainly looking that way. It would be funny if Tyrande were I've again responsible for driving a racial leader into the arms of the Horde. (At least last one Tyrande's words were justified. Calia really didn't deserve that.)

Valeera's reaction is likely a mistake, given that BFA has done a good job of showing that she is firmly aligned with Anduin/Stormwind.
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Old 06-26-2020, 11:14 AM
Insane Guy of Doom Insane Guy of Doom is offline

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Another strange Calia thing I noticed. She's friendly to Horde players but neutral to Alliance players, the same as Mekkatorque, who's friendly to Alliance players but neutral to Horde players.

Now I can't even get links to embed properly. What's wrong with SoL's posting? Is it a problem on my end? So you'll just have to look up the image comparison on my twitter.
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Old 07-03-2020, 02:09 PM
Ruinshin Ruinshin is offline

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I mean. Mekkatorque really shouldn't be hostile to the Horde at this point right?

King of the Mechagnomes means gobbos
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Old 07-04-2020, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
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King of the Mechagnomes means gobbos
Eh?
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Old 08-12-2020, 05:12 PM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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I'm working on a larger project that I expect will come out in a month or so, but in the meantime, I thought I would react in general to some of the recent spoilers and developments.

1. I believe I've made my position about what I want to see in Night Elf content very clear. The Night Elves were sold to me in Warcraft 3 as being unique, independent, and militarily competent. We've seen all three erode in World of Warcraft - most of it due to factional content. Most recently, BFA put the last notion to lie with the War of the Thorns, and Darkshore did extremely little to make up for this. A victory in Darkshore doesn't mean much when a) Ashenvale still appears to have been salami-sliced away in the same fashion that Azshara was, and b) we had to learn that it was a victory in the first place from a developer interview and a cut cinematic.

2. I believe I've made clear that hits on the big bads do not solve the above issue. There's no tension there - we know the big bad is going to go down anyway, and therefore hits against them just don't mean that much. To paraphrase a recent comment about some recent spoilers - it seems now that Tyrande can become effective because the target isn't a playable faction. This is the problem if you ask me - that Night Elves appear to be brutalized in the faction war and have their sense of competence sequestered off to the "world" threats. I do not care about the "world" threats - I care about the faction rivalry.

3. I believe I've made my position about what content I think would solve this problem very clear also. I don't think a storyteller has earned the right to be believed in a visual and interactive medium unless they are willing to show me what they're saying - either in books, interviews, quest text, NPC statements, etc. I have an entire post on why text alone just doesn't work, and that's why I am firm in my statement that if they are to make me believe that the Night Elves are competent - then they must unequivocally show me that. I do not accept mere text. I do not evaluate stories purely on the basis of what is considered "canon". It's an element, but it's one of the weaker elements out there in terms of storytelling.

This admits a simple pair of goalposts - an up and down, onscreen victory for the Night Elves in Ashenvale that restores the sense that they are actually militarily competent, and doesn't frame the prospect of rolling one as "here you go, you can now play a crying victim". So, do the recent Shadowlands spoilers and developments do that?

Customizations.

The "Teldrassil" scar aside, which I regard as deliberate salt in the wound, I file these in the "nice to have" bucket - but as far as I am concerned, these are shiny keys. Do they resolve the concerns that I have in the manner that I described that they should? No, and they do not make the attempt.

Ardenweald and the Reclamation of the Night Elf souls.

For starters, I don't think Horde players should be able to do this quest. From what I've seen, they don't want to in the first place, but will be forced to in order to see what's going on with Vol'jin, and second, I don't want to see Tyrande working with them at this point. As for Tyrande tearing a path through the Maw - see points 1 and 2, above. It's nice that we're saving the Night Elf souls, but this does very little to solve my issues with things as they stand.

Death of Nathanos

In summary - Nathanos bites it and Tyrande gets the killing blow. To me this makes his survival in Darkshore that much more pointless, but there also seems to be this narrative running around that this fixes Darkshore or otherwise makes up for BFA. It doesn't. While there are a fair number of Horde players who still have attachment to him as a character, he and Sylvanas left the Horde. Making Horde players upset isn't my goal - restoring the idea that Night Elf competence doesn't vanish every time Blizzard wants to send some Orcs north is. Once again, this development does nothing to solve those issues. Hence it doesn't mean much to me.

----------

In summary then, I am seeing what appear to be some shots on goal - but Blizzard seems to be avoiding what I feel would actually solve the larger issues facing the Night Elves and their position in the franchise. Given the present rhetoric and framing around Anduin and Tyrande - I don't expect that they really have the appetite to solve those issues, and have resorted to the equivalent of waving shiny keys at me. This may bring some people back, possibly - but it's not enough to make me feel good about buying the game again.

We'll see what the prepatch brings. Perhaps there will be something in there that satisfies points 1, 2, and 3.
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Old 09-08-2020, 07:25 AM
Kyalin V. Raintree Kyalin V. Raintree is offline

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The (in-narrative) Case Against Night Elf Involvement in the Alliance

The only reason a political state, be it a kingdom, a realm, or a nation - which for brevity's sake we will call a "nation" - exists before any other purpose is to protect its people. It protects its people from themselves which society agrees to, and it protects people from other people with its military. Borders and sovereignty are an extension of this concept, and so is an alliance. An alliance may form when a collection of nations have common geopolitical and/or ideological goals, but its first job, before any other purpose, is to protect the people belonging to its member nations. This comes before resource acquisition, it comes before territorial acquisition, it comes before trade deals. If an alliance cannot do this one thing - it is not effective. If it simply refuses to, then it may not be called an alliance.

On Entanglement

One of the risks of joining an alliance is that the problems of other nations become your problems. For example - despite that Night Elven territories were under direct attack at the time, the Kaldorei nevertheless sent Arch Druid Renferal to assist the Stormpike Clan. This conflict - one among several that the Night Elves contributed their assistance to - has no relation with the Night Elves' geopolitical interests and but for their participation in the alliance, these forces would have been back home. Taking this concept further, being a part of an alliance gives you enemies that you may not otherwise have had, and those enemies may see striking at you as a way of getting at their existing enemies. We may refer to this concept broadly as entanglement.

Entanglement itself isn't necessarily a concern, but it can be. The War of the Thorns, for example, happened because Sylvanas convinced the Horde that it needed to strike hard against the Alliance, and the Night Elves were the closest representatives of it. Initially, she and Saurfang calculated that they would need to outnumber the Kaldorei twelve to one, and that in order to pull off their plan, Tyrande Whisperwind would need to be absent (bringing the needs down to eight to one), and so would the bulk of the Night Elven army.

Any chess player could see the problem with leaving the vulnerable parts of their formation open to chase action taking place on the other end of the board, especially while their opponent controlled the center. An opponent having control of the center can easily pivot their attacks, while a player working on the wings cannot. The feint then was predictable, but portals do break this assumption somewhat, and Elegy provides a strong case for it. The Night Elven evacuation appeared to be extremely successful with refugees cramming into every available space in Stormwind and spilling out of the city halfway to Goldshire. Anduin's uninformed point-of-view comment aside, there's no reason to assume that the burning, while tragic, was a mass extinction event. It was however, the result of a choice. From the very beginning, the Alliance leadership took a risk averse choice to immediately evacuate through the portals, but they could have sent an equal number of soldiers in the opposite direction, including Tyrande Whisperwind, whose presence alone would have thrown apart the Horde's planning. (Sylvanas points this fact out specifically in "A Good War") The Horde's attack was nearly cut off three separate times, even with the skeletal force that the Kaldorei had left to work with. The Alliance would not need to have contributed much to give the additional needed time for the Kaldorei army to land and turn the tide of battle. However, the Alliance chose to give up the territory of one of its allies almost immediately, with no such assistance being provided. The Burning of Teldrassil was the result of this choice.

After the burning, because the Horde took a direct line through the territory rather than conquering and establishing bases as they went, fighting continues throughout Darkshore and Ashenvale. You can see it taking place throughout Darkshore after the burning, and the mission tables describe actions happening from Darkshore through Azshara. The Kaldorei were still fighting for their territory, and there was a mostly un-landed Kaldorei fleet ready to go. We know that Stormwind had an army with ships and equipment as well that could have been sent to assist - and we know this because that army, and a large portion of the Kaldorei army, were sent via a long overseas voyage to Lordaeron instead to secure a longstanding Stormwind geopolitical objective. This dynamic would continue through Arathi, Kul Tiras, and Zandalar until Tyrande acted outside of the alliance's interests. Only then were the Kaldorei able to start taking back their home territories.

For the Kaldorei, there are three points of entanglement. First - they were a target in the first place because they were in the Alliance. Second - they were defeated because their army was called away and much of their help was kept away to serve the geopolitical interests of that Alliance. Third, they did not immediately strike back with the assistance of that Alliance because they were called away to secure another nation's ambitions of territorial expansion. The War of the Thorns is only the latest example of this dynamic - it happened throughout the last war as well. But the scale of the damage this time around also highlights the scale of the problem: The Kaldorei lost their entire nation because they had joined and were in-good faith participating in an organization with the manifest goal of protecting their nation.

Divide and Rule

Divide and Rule is a tactic that a global power may use to control a region by actively managing regional conflicts. By not letting either side get too powerful, the strategy prevents either power from becoming a rival to the global power. It puts the region 'on pause' and allows the global power to do things that neither regional power would otherwise allow. One strategy for managing such a situation would be to take the side of one of the regional powers, but work to prevent your nominal ally from decisively resolving the conflict. Additionally, that strategy may include actions that bear the pretense of assistance, but are dual-purpose in that they give you advantages and future ways to control the region.

During the last war with the Horde (the one involving Garrosh), the Alliance could have supported the Kaldorei directly in Ashenvale. There were already, by this point, plenty of prior conflicts to draw on where the various races of the Alliance fought on common fronts, complimenting their strengths and checking their weaknesses. This could have been realized in terrain favorable to the Alliance, not just known to their forces but itself able to directly play to their advantages. The Kaldorei fully controlled the routes in from the coast. The Alliance instead chose to attempt a land grab in the Horde's backyard - where they lacked such advantages. This is an unreasonable risk until you consider the construction of the Theramore Highway, its intended destination, and the fact that the Kaldorei did not control Theramore as a port.

Had Theramore not been destroyed and the highway completed, this would have been a logistical artery cutting the Horde in half and providing a direct path for armies and warmachines to arrive in the heart of Ashenvale. After the conflict had ended, therefore, it would have proven to be an existential threat for both regional powers. It would have prevented the Horde from organizing, and because the Kaldorei do not control the originating port or most of that highway, it would be the threatened invasion route if the Kaldorei were ever to fall out with the rest of the Alliance.

This implication is not proof of the Alliance trying to subjugate the Kaldorei, but given also that Stormwind in particular has elected twice now to preserve the Horde as a political entity, despite there being no evidence of anything more than a subtle ebbing of the ideologies that led it to conflict in the first place, (Whose proponents in both instances blame the Horde's actions and failures on the strategic, tactical and/or moral failings of their then-leader rather then recognizing that said events are the products of their ideology - which is itself an indication that the ideology isn't going anywhere) there is certainly enough here to suspect that Stormwind is trying to maintain a divide-and-rule arrangement in Kalimdor.

(I will pause for a moment to note that a common defense for not dismantling the Horde as a political entity is that it would be too costly for the remaining nations of the Alliance. In the wake of Teldrassil especially, this argument from convenience is not a defense of the Alliance, but a further indication that it's not willing to make the commitments that it must to be credibly called an alliance. The Night Elves' entanglement has been so extensive and pervasive that it lost them their country and an appreciable share of their civilian population. To argue that the Kaldorei must pay this price to be an ally, but other nations should not is indicative of either an extractive relationship, or a negligent one.)

In closing

There are two major counterarguments that I can see to the above claims, which I shall address in turn. A) The situations I just described could be incompetence, not malice, and B) the Kaldorei would have been destroyed by the Horde acting in unison if they did not act with the Alliance in unison.

Regarding A, that's possible, but if it is the case then that simply establishes that the Alliance as an institution is bad at its job and isn't worth the time. It's not an argument for joining or remaining in it. Again, the first job of an Alliance, before new territorial acquisitions, resources, or trade deals, is to protect the sovereign territory of its members, and the Alliance with respect to the Kaldorei has failed in that job and has impaired the ability of the Kaldorei to do that job on their own.

Regarding B, those points have been answered already. The Kaldorei in previous and present conflicts were repeatedly asked to provide assistance in other conflicts in which they had no stake, which wouldn't simply go away because they weren't in the Alliance. The nations of the Horde and the Alliance would continue to be forced to commit to these conflicts, while the Kaldorei would retain their assets back home. Secondly, the exact prophecy that B warned of did take place BECAUSE they were in the Alliance, which responded in its usual way of not sending material assistance, and instead extracting Kaldorei military assets afterward in order to secure territorial expansion in Lordaeron.

In closing then, for the Kaldorei, the Alliance is not an Alliance. It is accidentally or intentionally an extractive arrangement for Stormwind's benefit. Kaldorei inclusion in the Alliance has been a disaster, and its continued membership would only add to the damage that's been done already.
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