How would you fix the story?

Not really no, there’s too much destruction of old lore and what replaced that old lore is simply not exciting and a degradation of what was.
All this for just a repeat of the lich king trying to scourge Azeroth to prepare for the coming of the burning legion (while both the scourge and the burning legion were just pawns in the jailors plans), now we have the jailor trying to use Azeroths world soul as 5d reality printer ink to change reality to try and prepare for the coming of a greater evil

I just hope it’s not a sign to come or a new way they’re trying to tell the story, where they keep burning more and more lore, promising it’ll be worth it only to come up with some really lackluster ending that does nothing justice
Storywise it feels grim man

The one blessing is that SL happened in a different dimension or plane of existance entirely, so atleast as a RPer it’s easy to ignore simply most of what happened there by just saying ‘my character is not a mawwalker’ and while I’m glad we’re likely returning to Azeroth, I’m also a bit scared of what they’ll do to it if SL is any hint

That’s what was my position as an RPer from the start… but that hasn’t protected RP-servers from the player drain that has wasted communities that are essential for the RP, so… not much of a consolation in practice. “The RP is still good, if you ignore what’s happening in the game world” isn’t much of a selling point, even if it’s true.

I agree that it’s not ideal at all, ideal would be the lore being something RPers want to actively get involved in, not turn a blind eye too and pretend it doesn’t exist
But that’s somewhat the problem, SL retroactively changes so much about WoW that it’s a very hard pill to swallow and when you do swallow it, you find out it tastes bad and doesn’t really offer any health benefits.

If I were to accept SL lore then that would mean me accepting that anything that isn’t a first one came from the cosmic 3d printer or has a direct line of ‘creation’ that leads back to the cosmic 3d printer
That includes all NPC’s we’ve seen in the story and all the characters we’ve played without exception because we’ve yet to see anything on par with or older than the first ones and that’s just one thing that’s been ‘revealed’ in the SL story.
So honestly yeah ignoring the canon lore is a bad sell for any RP scene but if you really start diving into what accepting SL lore means for all other preexisting lore, it’s not like there’s a better sell in my opinion other then ‘ignore it exists’.

As for RP servers seeing brain drains, yeah that’s happened all across the board, the game was already leaking players because of Blizzards insistance on asinine grinds on the gameplay front even after being criticized for it for one and a half expansion straight (and they still put one in at 9.2) and now with the lore being what it is those who stuck around for it are starting to become disillusioned. If you told me that the devs intentionally tried to kill the game with the last two years I honestly wouldn’t have much of a retort even if I knew it wasn’t true (it isn’t because their livelyhood depends on it) simply because of how they handled, well, everything.

This turned into a bit of a rant aimed at blizz halfway through, sorry for that.

I totally agree. That’s why my initial position towards SL was exactly like the one you mentioned: Well, at least it won’t affect my RP and character motivations like BfA did. I was already of the opinion that the lore had become a hindrance to RP, rather than a help, and that the headcanon of most halfway reasonable RPer wouldn’t be any worse than what Blizz was doing.

But well… while I still hold that position, I feel like the practice didn’t live to my hopes. They followed up the outrage against BfA with the apathy most feel towards SL, and that seems to have been a most deadly combination for player motivations, including among RPers. So… yeah, I get where the feeling that they couldn’t do much worse if they were deliberately trying to kill the game is coming from…

My contention was just that I’m not sure that apathy towards the lore is better for RP than outrage towards it anymore. In practice. Though it might always just be the double whammy both addons gave us, while each hit would have been something we could more easily have stomached…

I would start with Arthas’ backstory. Showing for example a flashback cutscene what happened when he arrived in The Maw - e.g. his resistance, his humanity partially back due to Frostmourne’s shattering and so on, until he loses and is turned into the damn soul shard.

it was n 'zoths vision. when we wake up by illidan we will see black empire is established in azeroth again. so we will prison azeroth s soul with xalatath and destroy the planet.

I used to be a massive fan of the lore, getting the books, engaging in the discussions, enjoying the speculation. Spent years being invested in this stuff.

It was almost physically painful watching the Sylvanas cinematic in 9.2 and realising that all that investment means nothing. We fans cared about the story to a greater degree than the developers did; for the developers the plot is merely the connective tissue designed to funnel us from one loot pinata to the next.

I mean they did tell us years ago, didn’t they? Plot would always bow before gameplay they said. Of course they presented that as a binary choice, as if focusing on one comes at the detriment of the other. Truth is, a strong narrative respected by the developers would create a deeper world that would bind the players ever more firmly to the product. Disrespecting the narrative as the last two expansions have has eroded our connection to the franchise.

So how would I fix it?

Frankly, threefold.

Firstly I would have the writers admit they got it wrong.

Secondly, I would commit to telling the story entirely within the game and not relying on books or comics to fill in gaps. There is a place for those products in fleshing out side characters or the world, but if it contributes to the main narrative then it should be displayed in game.

Thirdly, and this is by far the least likely, they should take the hit and retcon Shadowlands as a dream, a confection created by N’Zoth to distract us. Shadowlands has proven why exploring the afterlife in fantasy can be an extraordinarily bad idea and the Jailer is a complete belly flop of a villain.

Oh, and fourthly. Just have some basic competence in telling a narrative. The Shadowlands plotline relied on everyone being galactically stupid as well as obscuring motivations to the point that characters were unrelatable and unbelievable.

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The moment Danuser and other writers will admit that they screwed up, it would be the moment when no game company will ever hire them as writers.

Sadly since Blizz is incredibly greedy and overincompitent in writing, they are unable to write a story that will be told in game only.

They won’t do this and there are many reasons for that.

  1. This only will devalue the last two years of their so called effort.

  2. This will be a clear statement that Shadowlands has failed as a narrative designed story.

  3. After that Steve Danuser will have to be expelled from the game industry and should be forbidden to write a story for anything bigger than an off site fan fiction blog.

  4. This will devalue the time of players who played SL. And here you should hear me out. SL is garbage, not just for story reasons. It is a failure, the biggest narrative fart that has been created in recent years. But even with these level of issues, players has invested their money and time into this expansion,

  5. Last but not least, so called Blizzard’s pride won’t allow them to admit such a mistake.

Blizz will have to make a fel tons of cinematics to show us every step of Jailer’s plan, how he influenced other cosmic forces and how he manipulated all events. Then they will have to show us a very elaborated and well screened backstory of the Jailer. After that they will have to tie all loose ends like Elune, Night Elves, Nathanos, Arthas and much more.

Yeah, of course. I said about Arthas, because that is the character that I actually care about. Couldn’t care less about Jailer in his current form. They should at least use one, two expansions, building his backstory without him actually being directly involved, then move on with him. More than “wow, Sylvanas now knows dark kamehameha from the mysterious, unrevealed guy”.
And well, I’m somewhat tired of this cosmic stories that make less sense with each.
Jailer is barely even involved in the campaign.

He has something like 37 lines or so in the whole fricking game, I heard, with a few whoppers like “Interesting.” “Pitiful mortals.” and “your mortal minds cannot fathom, do they even lift, bro?” among them. And they aren’t just trying to sell him as a powerful magical weightlifter who spent his prison term getting unreasonably buff, they are trying to sell him as a cunning manipulator. I mean… the writers certainly mucked up, but there was a looot wrong with the production if no one gave them space to put a few more lines in.

Maybe they should stop making everyone speak in slow motion…

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Us forums are even more depressing. Because the outcry is louder

Yeah, just this.
After playing just the story campaign, my impression was that Denathrius is the main villain, and Jailer is just a guy that I cross paths with once per a few hours.
The worst written villain so far.

I don’t really understand why he isn’t. I mean… “Yes, dreadlords have been manipulating everything since WCIII, haven’t you been paying attention?” makes sense. We always knew they were up to something, and why wouldn’t there be a daddy dreadlord out there that coordinated them? And of course he’d have his own agenda. And lookie here, he is a swarmy charismatic guy, who fits the profile.

So… the Jailer seems 100% superfluous in his own story. He would make a tolerable Lieutnant for Denathrius with the job of building the army where the rest of the pantheon wasn’t looking, but never a good big boss.


Oh I don’t doubt we’re alone here, I glanced at the twitter profiles of some of the writing staff and seeing the fact that neckbeards with an actual background in TTRPG have been replaced by normiecore writers with little self awareness? It’s obvious they are never going to listen to the fans. Snark or no these people are too narcissistic, privileged and self absorbed to take a step back to say to themselves, “Maybe I’m the problem not the players?”

That actually adds a way I’d be happy for them to go forward. If the jailer’s crap was actually all Denathirus. At least that would make sense, with canon dreadlords in azeroth. His whole plan didn’t involve us showing up, when he was defeated and locked in the sword, he lost control of the plan and the jailer just went rogue. I mean the dreadlords entire thing is deception.

When has anybody who spends time on twitter admitted they are wrong?
I’d much rather listen to people selling boosts and twitch streamers. At least they play the game with the community.

I see we’re on the same boat with out feelings. Sure, I believe he COULD BE, but he most likely isn’t and well, it’s the Jailer anyway. At least he is the main villain we face in this xpac, right?
So, Denathrius would make a better villain with Jailer being his sidekick, not the other way around. Unless they, which leads us to the beginning, would write the Jailer as an actually interesting character and villain, because having the entire realm of the dead within your reach and not doing it properly is a huge waste of opportunity.

Let’s just quote a quest with a guy asking about Ve’nari:
“I eat monsters like the Jailer for a breakfast. Ever heard of the Burning Legion?”

Sounds good to me.

Well… not if we’re doing the same dreadlord story. We can (and probably should) do a wholly different story, sure, but if one large point is “through the dreadlords he manipulated events for years”, inventing the boss of the boss of the dreadlords is totally unnecessary.

With the story they have, they wouldn’t even need to change much of anything to make it about Denathrius. The Jailer was banned, but Denathrius did (or came to) agree with him. Since the Jailer was in no position to lead anyone, what happened after was Denathrius taking up the cause as his own, using his own methods. Zovaal was never a suble guy, Denathrius was, so him sitting there for eons looking for opportunities actually fits him, while it never made sense for the chained one. They wouldn’t even really have to change the boss order up, since Denathrius doesn’t have to be the heavy hitter to be the brain of the operation. The schemer type villain doesn’t have to be able to crush you all the time, he is supposed to outmaneuvre you, the Jailer on the other hand could be a fine enforcer, even without more of a character than he got.

Not that it would close the other obvious plot holes, but I do feel that Denathrius was the natural choice for the villain of the crappy plot they actually did write, and I don’t really understand how they settled on the Jailer, when they quite obviously had no idea of what to actually do with him.

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I would have us step into a portal back to Azeroth, where we wake up and realize that BFA and SL were just a nightmare/dream and both expansions only live in our conscious when we are dreaming or knocked out cold.