Oh, dear WoW, how I’ve ignored you of late. Well here we go with a little Warcraft love. 😀
One of my absolute favorite Warcraft lore sites is Loregy. This guy really knows his stuff, and always has great insights to the underappreciated history of Azeroth. Between him and my fellow players Xero and Kaae, I was inspired to learn more about the characters and background, read books and comics, and actually give a crap about the story behind the game.
I will definitely attest to the fact that the more you know about the story, the better the game experience becomes. You start to recognize places and people like you never had before. I would honestly recommend it to anyone who plays an MMO.
So one source of frustration for anybody who’s been a long-term fan of the Warcraft universe and cares about lore is how much of it gets retconned or ignored completely in the games. “Retcon” is basically when something that was previously established as truth in the world is changed in a way that contradicts it’s former existence. A basic example: Character A was female in a novel but male in the game. That’s the idea of a retcon.
Blizzard is well known for retconning their own lore. It’s one thing if certain aspects of the story would really interfere with the game but the fact of the matter is most times it doesn’t. Some of their changes are bizarre and unwarranted, or just plain lazy. And when it happens often and recklessly, it becomes a source of aggravation for people who take the lore seriously.
Their favorite over-used change is bad guys gone good. No, seriously. For whatever reason, characters that were just plain evil once upon a time are turned around to be fallen heroes. Apparently we’re supposed to feel a little bad about that boss we’re killing every week, twice a week.
He was just mis-understood once. He just went crazy. Etc. Etc.
Take the Draenei, for instance. The old story was that they were originally Eredar that ate worlds and corrupted Sargeras who in turn went apeshit and started ruining everything. Now, in order to make them appeal to Alliance players, the Dreanei were a small faction of uncorrupted Eredar that are all about Jesus. As so lovingly put by good friend Lizzie:
“… not that WoW had the most awesome story to begin with, but ever since the Draheyhey got retconned to be holy rolling space goats lead by evangelical wind chimes, it has gone steeply downhill. Someone needs to stop letting Chris Metzen write lore.”
Well said (though I might not agree in the Metzen issue.) Other famous ret-cons? How the hell did Uther end up in Frostmourne? Varian Wrynn’s entire existence. Marudin Bronzebeard’s “death” (lol amnesia!). Onyxia’s death the first time. And second time. And apparently, 3rd time??
The list goes on.
The big lore failure in Cataclysm, as adeptly written by Cocles over at Loregy, is that Malfurion, great Archdruid of legend basically appears in Hyjal without any sort of proper entrance. The same with Jarod Shadowsong, the one responsible for uniting the races in the War of the Ancients. Even though Stormrage, the novel, effectively concludes the issues with the Emerald Dream, apparently none of that has happened yet. But Mal is still there….what?
As doubtlessly aggravating this is, the only good thing is that we might end up having the Emerald Dream as in-game content after-all. It still bothers me about the book, but at this point, I think everybody just gives up.
Another small bit on Cataclysm lore that saddens me is the fact that Med’an isn’t going to be a part of it as I originally predicted in my Future Heroes of Azeroth post, which is absolutely stupid and disappointing. According to this official thread in which lore questions get answered:
Q: What role, if any, will Med’an play in Cataclysm?
A: Med’an will not be visible in Cataclysm; something else is keeping him occupied.
WTF is so important that it’s keeping him from doing his divine appointed job? He’s the Guardian of Tirisfal for frak’s sake! His existence is prophesied. He’s the damned chosen one. Deathwing is about to destroy the world he’s meant to protect, and it’s not like he’s a kid who doesn’t know better. He’s got to be close to 30 by now and has the ability to use arcane, shamanistic, and Light-infused magic. If Cocles’ predictions on future expansions is correct, we can expect that this is the last time we fight on Azeroth for a long time. Sargeras needs to be beat down, and there’s a good chance we need to go to his house to do so. Med’an has direct ties with Sargie, so one way or another, this kid has -got- to make some sort of appearance in-game.
Sometime between now and the end of WoW, Blizz is releasing another novel: The Shattering. As a prelude to the Cataclysm, it follows Thrall’s story as he struggles between his roles as Warchief and as the world’s most uber shaman. With elementals going haywire, he feels the need to do something about it, but political issues are tugging at him, too.
Likewise, Varian’s psycho orc-obsession and the tensions within the Alliance are causing more rifts at the dawn of the most violent and significant era in Azeroth. Of all the wild accusations I’ve made in my posts about lore, I finally got something right. Anduin is going to start playing a major role that could very well result in him opposing his own father.
Well, Cataclysm. In one way or another, this expansion is shaking everyone up, so I guess we can say it’s doing it right.