Making the World of Warcraft more trivial, one post at a time…

I've just finished reading the pre-Cataclysm novel, The Shattering. And, on the whole, I enjoyed it. In fact, I'll go into what I thought of it in depth in another post. But first, I want to take a little time to rant, because there's something in it that annoys me beyond all reason. It's not the fault of the book or Christine Golden, its author, in any way. In fact, its roots lie in the previous book, Stormrage.

250px-Stormrage_Cover I bought and read Stormrage. I didn't enjoy it a huge amount, as I'm one of those people who just can't warm to Richard Knaak's writing style. His prose is just too over-worked for my tastes, and his characters feel like plot ciphers rather than real people. YMM, of course, V. But I enjoyed seeing what's happening with the druids, and getting a feel for the druid-y world in Cataclysm. And that's all cool.

The thing that annoyed me, though, was a single event that dominates the last part of the book, and which is referred back to in The Shattering: The War Against The Nightmare. Now, I don't want to go all spoilertastic here, but suffice it to say that this is a major event, whose effects are felt throughout Azeroth during the days it happens. The denizens of the world cannot miss its occurrence: everyone is affected.

Unless, of course, they're a World of Warcraft player character.

For, as far as I can tell, this major lore event, which tidies up many dangling plotlines we've been exploring since vanilla, is not going to be reflected at all in-game. The War Against The Nightmare will only happen in the book. Here's the thing: I don't mind them doing some elements of plot "off-screen". Personal events, like the return of Varian Wyrnn and the handing over of power from Thrall to Garrosh make more sense in books or comics. As long as you can get the basic story somewhere within the game, all is good. The spin-off media became an enhancement to your game experience. But to have an entire event, an invasion of sorts, happen to everyone but the players? That just sucks, in my humble opinion. That's shifting the balance far too far away from the primary medium – the game – to the spin-offs. If the events had been small and personal – Tyrande and others rescuing Malfurion and defeating the Nightmare, fine. I can deal with such events happening where Leafshine is not. But this is explicitly set up as a major world event. Which doesn't happen in the World of Warcraft. Madness.

Now, I could be ranting prematurely. These events may crop up in the weeks prior to The Cataclysm. But it doesn't feel like that's the case, from the hints from the beta of 4.0x. And that's a shoddy way to treat your players.

  • I’m in total agreement with you. As a lore nerd I find it really frustrating that important content like this isn’t visible in the actual game. It just doesn’t make sense. Grrrr….

  • Bruce Baugh

    I have to agree on this one. I saw a brief mention in WoW Insider’s Blizzcon coverage that suggests we’re just not going to see much of that at all, and I’m very disappointed.

  • Totally agree with your sentiment. I don’t know what lore there is surrounding Malfurion’s return (I don’t have a night elf to check it out) but it does seem pretty weird that suddenly he’s back. And on Horde side you’d never even know the Nightmare happened. Since I read the books I’m not really affected, as I get the whole story, but for the non-reading players it must be extremely jarring and confusing.

    I am reminded of the old theme in comics where a single storyline would span multiple series; you would read part 1 in “X-Men”, part 2 in “Amazing X-Men” and part 3 in “The Uncanny X-Men”. I hated it. It always seemed like a cheap ploy to get you to buy more titles. This feels similar, and just lazy.

  • Thank you for summing up my thoughts on this way better than I ever could. Well said and I heartily agree.

  • I haven’t read either book so I have no clue what you’re talking about. However, there is supposed to be a five-year gap reflected in the “now” after Arthas is defeated, and the “now” after Deathwing appears. Does it fit in there anywhere?

  • :: grumble :: How does one subscribe to comments in Typepad?

  • Really? The book suggests that it’s, at most, a matter of months between the defeat of Arthas and the arrival of Deathwing.

  • I don’t believe you can at the moment, I’m afraid.

  • I haven’t read the book but I have heard kind of what you are talking about. I know basically what you said that it’s some sort of BIG event. I was at Blizzcon and there was a guy who asked about it and how it would effect Cata. They said there would be slight hints to it, as in probably a series of quests but nothing very big. My guess is there will be a raid tier that has to do with the Emerald Dream.

    I read the War of Ancients and I liked it for the most part. I think I’d rather see most of the WoW books having to do with the distant past… filling in gaps and things rather than running with the current main storyline. Especially in circumstances where a huge amount of information is put forth like you are talking about then mostly ignored as ever happening.