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

Posts from the Books Category

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.

Picture 17-pola

I got a notice this morning that my copy of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
has shipped – which is unfortunate, given that I'm not going to be at the location it'll be delivered to until next week. But I am looking forward to reading it (you can catch a preview of it on the latest BlizzCast) – and I'm looking forward to other people reading it, too.

Why?

Well, it's the lore nerd in me. I get disproportionately annoyed by people who make comments like this:

he was a pally not a shaman


Because the Lich King may look like Arthas Menethil, fallen paladin, but he is actually a composite being, owing as much of its existence to the soul of Ner'zhul, the orc shaman who was contacted by the Burning Legion, and who unwittingly put them on the path to demonic taint and the Horde. Oh, and who blew up Dreanor so he could escape. Nice chappie. And yes, that does mean that the Lich King is a Paladin – Death Knight – Shaman – Warlock multiclasser.

Bit of a twink, if you ask me…

Still, I hope the book will remind more people of the dual nature of the Lich King, as I'm sure it'll be important as we approach the end of this expansion. It's not just the mind of a young paladin we face, but the devious mind of a fallen orc who sold out his people for power, brought down genocide on the Draenei and has been tortured for years by the Burning Legion. 

To be fair to the "he was a pally" chap above, most people in the setting have no way of knowing that the Lich King is more than Arthas. And I doubt very many, if anyone, know the identity of the spirit that was bound to that suit of armour. But I'm sure this fact will be important as the story of the Lich King plays out.