War of the Thorns: When the story of a game is not in it

As someone who cares deeply about immersion in a game, the War of the Thorns has left me so disappointed. I had another post in the making about the event, but it turned into such a rant, that I cancelled it, because my site is normally a joyful place.

However, since wowhead released an insight into the novella, that will come with the Collector’s Edition, it has ignited my need to address this subject again, and so I will.

You can find the info on wowhead here.

 


 

screenshot from wowhead.com

 

I play Alliance. Night Elf. I see the in game events and stories from this side, and this side alone – except perhaps a few YouTube visits to follow the Horde development. After the burning of Teldrassil, my will to log in and play has suddenly gone from ultra-super-mega hyped for Battle for Azeroth to none existing.

I have given it some days to reflect upon, but it was not until the insight into the novella Elegy, that I realized, what troubles me the most.

See, I knew the burning of Teldrassil was coming. We all knew, right? I was well prepared for that. It was not exactly spoiler-alerted at BlizzCon. And even if I felt upset by it, I could always toggle on an earlier version of the game, right? (Although it is not the same) Yet still, it left me feeling as above.

At first, I thought the reason for me feeling this way, was caused by losing the home of all my Night Elves (I only play that race), it was losing a lot of the levelling zones I played through, since I began in August 2005.

But I now realize, it is the way, it is being told, that really adds to this frustration.

 


 

To my Night Elf in game, the burning of Teldrassil was heart wrenching. Granted.

But the story told in game has so many holes, compared to what we read in the novella, that it is bizarre.

I am not asking for a cinematic in game. I am not entitled to ANYTHING AT ALL. I just play the game, and if I do not like it, I can quit. I get it.

I know, that Blizzard have other people from “above” breathing down their necks, pushing them to release unfinished stuff.

But would it have taken SO much more development power, to at least add a few emotes explaining where Tyrande was, while the burning of Teldrassil took place? Explaining the thoughts that ran through her head? Explain the turmoil she went through, from a distance?

I would even have settled for a simple Kaldorei NPC in Stormwind, that merely had a few things in /say, to let us know, once we arrive in Stormwind. But there is nothing. Nothing at all.

All we see is Tyrande suddenly popping up to save Malfurion, using her bow to threaten Saurfang (while in the novella, that also goes down completely different), and then she uses the Hearthstone Anduin has given her, to get back to Stormwind.

As a player, after desperately trying to save the civilians of Darnassus, having to portal to Stormwind, only to deliver the quest to Anduin (What is the reason for not speaking with Tyrande?) is bizarre, because it is followed of the fact, that…

Malfurion suddenly is back at 100% health (from 1%)

Both he and Tyrande has not gotten a single line of dialogue, when you try to speak with them. They are not even placed in a way, that shows Tyrande trying to mend his wounds. They just stand there.

There is no reaction from the two of them. Nothing shows us their sorrow at all. You could argue, they are leaders, and should have a certain professional pose, but come on. We are heroes, that have aided them so much over the years, you’d think we have gone pass that by now.

This, is what irritates me the most. I have visited them daily since Wednesday, because a part of me believed, it would have to be a bug. But nothing.

 


 

It makes this whole event feel so strange, and it really hinders the immersion, on a disturbing level.

It is times like these, I wish I was better with words in English. But you have to settle for the explanation I try to give, when I compare WoW to a movie.

If I am going to watch a movie, where I have to rely on external sources to get it told, to get even crucial important facts (that changes the whole meaning of the story) – to even understand it, it is not a good movie.

If I watch a movie, where I first get told 5 minutes in “real time”, then the movie skips the next 10 minutes, and I see the next 5 from a different perspective, then it skips important facts of the ongoing events, then it skips back. It is not a good movie.

And if the whole plot of the movie will not make sense until way down the line, and the instructor asks you to just “wait and see”, it is not a good movie.

Not to me. And reading the novella has granted me the clarity I needed, in order to see what is troubling me the most.

This event seems unfinished. You can argue, it is indeed NOT finished. It is only just getting started.

But as I stated above, good story telling does not hinder immersion in the way, we see it in the game right now.


 

I find it such a shame. It could have been so great.

I love reading lore about World of Warcraft. I look forward to the novellas. But some of what is told in them, should have been in the game. Not next week, not in six months. Now.

Again, and I cannot stress this enough; I am not asking for cinematics. I am not even asking for cool in game effects. I am just asking for a consistent story to be told, without the need to minimize my game, and get it told elsewhere.

One simple NPC in Stormwind to catch us up with nothing but a few lines in /Say or /Emote would have been enough.

 

Books, movies, interviews, wowhead, You Tube, Twitter, you name it.

It can all be used to enhance our in-game experience.

But we should not rely on it, for the story to make sense.

 


Thank you for reading through my entire post. I hope it does not come off as a completely rant; I genuinely tried to address this as best and constructive as I could.

 

I know this subject divides us.

What’s your view?

 

Happy week to everyone 🙂