This expansion feels like Kingdom Hearts

“Visit new and familiar worlds featuring over 100’s of Disney Warcraft characters!”

“Beware of the Disney Warcraft villains and their devious intentions!”

“Team up with Disney Warcraft heroes as you battle evil!”

“Experience stunning graphics and authentic voiceovers!”

Something had been bothering me for awhile. It’s not how screechy all the main quest givers / lore characters are. It’s not how inconsistent the lore feels with every previous piece of WoW media. It’s not how dull and predictable the story is.

It wasn’t until I finally got round to doing the Venthyr garrison campaign. Err…order hall campaign… Err… war campaign… Err… covenant campaign, that I finally realised it.

Watching the prince of Silvermoon be denied (justifiable?) revenge on Kel Thuzad as some other Lich with inconsistent power levels tells him it’s not his place to decide Kel Thuzads fate, it felt like a cutscene from Kingdom of Hearts.

This is perhaps the worst expansion for fan service / wow lore, and despite all the improvements in graphics and cutscenes, the story feels vastly inferior to the storytelling of classic.

Which brings me to the realisation that warcraft has moved so far away from its origins that the entire world no longer seems consistent.

I’m writing this while at work, so I’ll give four quick examples:

1.) Originally, the light was a medieval like religion that gave its power to those that had faith. It was based around churches, cathedrals, and knightly orders.

More recently, the light is about aliens, powers spaceships, and shoots lazors.

2.) Originally, the story was quite adult, and had more realism. Can you remember the first time you read about Aedelas Blackmoore throwing Taretha’s severed head over the ramparts to land at Thralls feet? Or when Renault Morgraine stabbed his father through the heart?

Now the story is all about the power of friendship and believing in each other…

3.) In regards to world building: lore consistency and world consistency are important. The world used to be a dangerous place: normal mobs could kill even tanks, and elite mobs often required a full group to kill.

Now I’ll pull 15 odd mobs to farm cloth and just aoe them down. The world isn’t dangerous, and so there is no concern about it.

4.) As the world was a dangerous place, and there were realistic and darker parts of the lore, stories weren’t as predictable. So there was a level of excitement and interest as you worked through a quest or read through a story.

Now after 8 expansion of “OMG UNBEATABLE BAD GUY!! but with the power of friendship we came, we saw, we conquered” you don’t even need to read texts to know what happened. It’s worrying when a friend that hasn’t played the game in six years predicts the storyline of Shadowlands thus far based on the trailers.

But rant over.

Edit: 5.) Cloth classes are tankier than plate wearing classes… How can this not destroy any sense of belief when a person wearing cloth robes can take more hits from a sharp axe than the people wearing plate armour…

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Why do you compare the 2? Classic is about building the world and wondering around to figure out what happened since W3 days. Current method of story telling mostly follows key characters and tells their stories with the players doing what they arguably should.

Still, among side quests, item descriptions, occasional dialogues, it is still possible to find some remnants of such, say, “souls borne” method of story telling. While I like it a lot more, I am not sure there are all that many players who take screenshotes, notes, chat about quest details or battle pet placement, and things like that. Maybe a bit of both kinds would be better than just one way to tell a story. (hoping for updated and expanded archaeology… eventually).

I am not sure if how many original devs are still in the company. On top of that, Metzen / Afrasiabi were just as big offenders of consistency and the original vision of the story.

I do not mind if the new developers tell the new stories that they actually can tell. Even prefer it, rather than a reuse old characters / ideas to tell these stories, for which those old characters / concepts were never intended.

It’s like a question about armour-bikini. How would a full plate armour set irl protect you from a falling melting meteor? Turns out, it won’t. On the other hand, currently non-tanks die almost immediately if a boss attacks them, but back in TBC days, and Classic too, just putting on a shield by a dps warrior / shaman, or hopping into a bear form, could give a chance to survive 2-3 hits and it could give time for the group to recover. Maybe things like that could make a return, someday.

Currently Light is just yet another “high magic”, with some good, some not good characters. And all seek for their own interest which sometimes align with us (mortals), and sometimes - does not. Repeat 6 times.

Yes, the game is more in line with its age rating nowadays. But you can find some more grim elements if you look around. Those are not common, but exist. I think the closest to it in the main story would be

Or going alongside Niya in Ardenweald as she sees her “homeland” dying and killing her closest friends in the process.

Overall tone is different, that’s for sure. But it was different for a long time. Rhonin’s speech in WotLK is just as awful as worst of what you could consider to be “the power of friendship”.

In the previous times, when Metzen and later Afrasiabi were leader the story team, the main question was “what is cool?” With explanations of how those “cool events” are tied together being “outsourced” into other media (books, etc.)

What the current approach will be - who knows. Shadowlands is the first expansion made fully under Ion’s lead, and it looks better so far than almost all of what I saw BfA-related. So, maybe the devs are no longer slaves of the “rool of cool”, but only time can tell.

IMO blizz can make nice self-contained stories. I do not pay much attention to the overarching stories, because to me it seems like a perpetual attemp to have a cliff hanger, and the devs forgetting that other than promising a story in the future, something needs to be told in the present.

Shorter story lines are not bad IMO. For example “Broken Wings” in Bastion, or “When gorm eats a God” in Ardenweald. Or the visit to Sepulcher of Knowledge in Maldraxxus.

Sure thing. Come again someday.


gl hf

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I’m not saying I disagree with all your points (I do get KH2 vibes), I don’t think WoW is as childish in 2021 as you think. The threat this expansion is going to Mega-Hell and being tortured for eternity; in The Maw, we find multiple accounts of the horrific tortures these character go through, and we now know a lot of the characters who died are here, being tortured for eternity.

It’s hammy, but it’s still dark. I wouldn’t call the game kid-friendly. BFA had Drustvar, a zone with a boss that was a rotting pile of pig flesh that served pieces of himself to the guests - Warcraft as a series is a pretty big fan of that hammy horror stuff.

So whilst I don’t agree this game is all unicorns and rainbows, I can get your frustration.

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I have to disagree, we never see anything, we never see any results. We just have Jaina and Anduin, whilst looking absolutely untouched, telling us it was awful. But we don’t know what it is.

This was actually pretty good, and made for quite a compelling story.

But then the rest of the story became “by the power of love” between Jaina and her mother. I recently did these quests again to unlock Kul-Tirans, and it’s quite cringy and unrealistic.

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I’d very much prefer it if it was a Kingdom Hearts’ style story. Kingdom Hearts knows what it is. WoW doesn’t. They just throw in something for everybody without really caring how it fits with the rest.

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Which is arguably why they should go back to the original concept, the design and lore that got people involved in the first place.

i love kingdom hearts!

I wouldn’t compare this story to Kingdom Hearts. Here I don’t get headache atleast when I try to to understand the story.

I do when they keep retconning it…

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Never played KH but I do understand your frustration with the game regardless.

I think some aspects of the lore have matured and improved over time, but then the execution of them is more often than not failing it. To link it to one of your points:

I think it’s a good thing that the Holy Light isn’t this cliché lawful good, unquestionable source of righteousness, that it’s often depicted as in other works of fantasy. Here’s the problem though, with the exception of the Illidan - Xera cinematic, and I guess the Mag’har scenario, there is very minimal explicit info about the light being ambiguous in it’s ways in game. You have to read the chronicle and other books and mediums to get the full idea of what the light is, which is one of 6 greater cosmic forces of sorts which also battles over dominion of the universe. They’re not better than demons and shady octopus people, they’re the same thing but in shiny golden armor. Instead of plunging the universe in eternal darkness or fel fire, they’ll just make everyone a pious slave.

That’s more elaborate and interesting than it being a basic medieval religion like if you ask me, and funnily enough, more realistic too depending on your world views of the purpose of religion. But you know, the game doesn’t do a very good job at all at showing these ambiguities.

This bugs me too. Although I don’t think that the game has become less dark at its core, they’ve just ramped up the comedy species with stupid cartoony voices and light hearted jokes. For every dark element there’s about 3 or 4 comedic light hearted ones. Warcraft 3 campaigns had a better ratio, the story was mostly serious, but there were loads of small funny things around that you had to look for. Don’t know about you but I still go around in the beginning of every expansion over clicking npcs so I can hear their annoyed voice files! :sweat_smile:
It’s a bit like the old vs new star wars films, stories were more serious, there was plenty of humor but wasn’t forced and was usually because of the measured delivery from comedy relief characters… In the new ones everyone is a bloody one liner joker and it just detracts from the story.

heh good one.

PS: I really hope I didn’t start some sort of cosmic forum war by talking about star wars in a warcraft forum… :dizzy_face: :woozy_face:

…which is kind of a problem in itself, isn’t it? Where we had loads of different things, we now might have the same thing in different colors. Not sure how that is more interesting. Or where you see any ambiguity there. If your interpretation is right, there doesn’t seem to be any ambiguity at all. It’s just that there are no forces of good or evil, just self-interested monstrous powers that you have to balance against each other if you don’t want to be crushed. Sounds extremely simple to me.

And it isn’t as if the Light was a unified concept before. The church, the Argents and the Scarlets had widely different ideas concerning important moral matters, putting them into dirct conflict with each other, and even the Forsaken’ Cult of Forgotten Shadows was another twist on the teachings of the church. When they came, the Draenei had no relation at all to that, and were a wholly different group, with quite different principles and believes.

I don’t know how streamlining everyone into “pro mortals” and “slaves of a power” could ever make something like that more interesting.

Ther never was a

in the depiction of the Light before. The Scarlets proved that quite clearly. But there kind of is an unquestionable good now: Balance.

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Well where I’m hoping the things will get more interesting, is in the event of villainous light addon. Will they explain in more depth how light users actually draw their power, and where they draw it from, especially if they’re actually fighting the light itself and pure Na’ru?

There did use to be some more interesting ambiguity in the past, like when they introduced blood elf paladins (blood knights they called them?) they used to say that “they found a way to slave the light to their will” because the light wasn’t working that way otherwise. It was rewarding you for your faith or something. On the Arthas novel it goes more in depth about how his doubt manifested in a lack of powers, and by the end of the Stratholm purge, his hammer’s glow dimmed.

But to me it just seems that all of that ambiguity just got swept away lately, and I’m hoping that they’ll bring some of that back. Probably wishful thinking.

I’m not sure if “balance” is an unquestionable good or, well self defense. As far as we’re aware, the plain of disorder and fel have now been permanently defeated and mostly out of the picture. I say mostly because I’d imagine the Twisting Nether still exists and loads of demons roaming around, just no leadership or structure. That’s not a balanced state to me. As for plane of shadow, old gods on azeroth might dead, but sounds like we’re nowhere near void lords or whatever dark beings control that corner of the cosmos.

To me it’s sounds almost as if the whole core philosophy of the wow universe right now is Illidan’s one. You know the whole “we can’t rely on anyone we can only save ourselves”, which is different than most epic fantasy out there (I think?).

Well, you’re with Sorel on that one, it seems. Going back to what was interesting was kind of his point, wasn’t it? While you might think the situation we have right now might be salvageable, you seem to agree that it it worse than it was.

As good as it gets. It doesn’t matter if the highest good feels particularly good, it’s still the highest. The point was, that in the version you describe there is no relevant question of what is good left, while there was before. A cynical answer is still an answer. And I vastly preferred the open question.

Would it be better to follow a “what if good guys are not good guys, and bad are actually good” cliché?

It looks like it. After Legion and death of Tirion the vision of what Light is was dramatically shifted and insted of TBC approach of “many are the paths of the Light” where it was up to a user to decide how to use it, for better or for worse, now the usual expectation is something like “light is evul”, zealotry, and other :poop:

Is it better when 1 idea cannibalizes nuances and variety? I guess everyone can decide for themselves.


gl hf

Sort of. I think the ambiguity that was there was interesting and better, yes. It wasn’t though explored in any meaningful way. Now, although space goats and floating diamond thingies are kind of lame, I think we’ve got a springboard to make something great out of it and actually explore the ambiguity in a meaningful way.

There were open questions in wow?

Well I guess that is a bit of a cliché as well yeah… :dizzy_face: And I guess they’re resorting to these ideas because all original meaningful lore and plot threads are now depleted and it would require actual effort to write new and meaningful stories!

This is where I’m hoping, like I said above, that they’ll use this opportunity to actually write stories that will explore the ambiguity the Light brings, and not just end up with a “burning legion, but instead of green now the badies are shiny golden ones”.

Mind you there’s a bit of trap there too. Because both with fel and shadow we already have the “oh hold on a second, we can use their powers to our advantage without being corrupted by their ideology/power” (demon hunters, warlocks, shadow priests). So yeah, a bit of a minefield all of that isn’t it?

The shift thats happened with modern depiction of magic schools is that its more zoomed out and generalised. Its more focused on the nature of Light or Void etc. From what they want to achieve in cosmos and their crusade affects the world. Rather then having it depicted as before and showcasing how certain races use the same force differently and how the Light manifests in them giving more multilayered nature to those magics of school - how Light was more religious thing for humans not even having direct powers source like Naarus and so forth. How different it was in Draenei and in Blood Elves. It did not lack level of ambiguity and also operated in certain set of rules such as belief and unquestionable obedyance.
Now we get more broad picture of Lights politics and the racial cultural differences have moved in backside of the stories which is frustrating since we don’t get to really see the nitty gritty of internal things about the favorite races players chose.

But at least they gave Void more then one side to it.

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I think a big problem here is that the devs don’t even seem to be trying to develop the perspective people have on all this cosmic lore that is different from what they define as true. Yes, they can easily make the Shadow more morally ambiguos than it was before. Yes, they can tell us that all Light-using religions were essentilly doing the same thing, and propping up a predatory power. But having the cultural shift where people learn and accept truths like that is a wholly different matter. You have to think about how information would flow in the population you’re looking at, and how much of it woul be doubted and resisted, because it is threatening their view of life.

At the moment we don’t even get a “I believe it because the king announced it as truth”, which would still be flimsy as heck. We just get the lore and the next time someone talks about it, it is accepted as fact.

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Yeah pretty much that - the phase of which the story moves is light speed. How the regular denizens are out of the picture and only whole cultural shift happens in regards to only couple of leading characters is what puts the story in such a stale and unbelievable stance. Its been moved by only a very narrow scope while the whole world is on pause.

The whole Turalyon story is more believable because it took him years to get where he is now but him having to come back and readjust to Azeroth there’s a massive void of info there.

And I think that’s because of this very zoomed out story telling that only concerns itself with only few characters and then the cosmic games is why we are expanding so fast with the external threats and the engagement and immersion becomes so sparse.

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I agree with you and I hate it.

It feels like AoS, or even Stargate to me. Not like a real expansion, more an introduction for a new way for us to reach a endless number of new worlds, plains of existence etc.

like I said, I hate Shadowlands.

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It’s only going to get more “zoomed out” from here I reckon! The more “zoomed in” events usually happen in the books and we only get one of those per expansion. And even in those, we’re only getting glimpses of the “regular world” and how massive events affect its citizens. The last interesting introspection in a population imo was the exploration of the Desolate Council and the idea that Forsaken and humans could be reunited etc.

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