A View From the Road: Screw Warcraft IV

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A View From the Road: Screw Warcraft IV

Why can't an MMOG be a proper chapter in a continuing story?

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We don't agree on much within WoW, but Funk and I do appear to agree on this: WoW is the sequential water carrier for the Warcraft canon.

In the words of Tom Servo, "Deal with it, Pinkboy!"

The reason is not that the MMO can't perform story telling, it's that you can't build off of it in relation to your character.

While most play mechanics in RPGs have been slowly simplifying to a more MMO realtime style, there is one thing that the MMO can never fully duplicate: the main character.

If I'm playing through a game that references the past game, I want to have *substantial* insight on the characters that are mentioned. They should be party members, or in most cases, the main character. When Warcraft IV: the RTS comes out, it will simply not carry the same impact to have the story be: "The Paladins fought back on the beach, into the dark temple!"

You'll think "hey, wait, it wasn't just them. I was there, too. I'm not a paladin! I'm a crazy witchdoctor who was helping his gnome find some glasses and *happened* to save the day" But you can never be referenced, since your character is fluid (even more fluid than the choices made in Mass Effect or KOTOR). It's not just a matter of having the next plot deal with "well, they could have played as good or evil" but player motivations and backstories in MMOs are endless. The plot will have to be entirely static, depicted as you only helped events played out but had no control over them (even if the control is an illusion, or written off as a non-cannon sequel).

KOTOR 3 better be in development. I don't just want to see what happens next, I want to participate with the main characters and control actions; not hear about it 300 years later as some quest giver talks about some ancient war.

Warcraft is a slightly different beast, since you were a nameless general. But I still imagine having more fun directly controlling the heroes, rather than following in their footsteps as a foot-soldier.

Commercially, there is also the issue: I have played and purchased Warcraft 1-3 and WoW, but only got to level 15 or so before stopping. I haven't been playing it (just not different enough from City of Heroes). So, how are they going to bring me back up to speed when Warcraft 4: the RTS comes out? Are they going to downplay the story of WoW and sum it up in a 5 minute cinematic? Or just abandon the core fans who actually like playing RTS games?

Phokal:
The reason is not that the MMO can't perform story telling, it's that you can't build off of it in relation to your character.

While most play mechanics in RPGs have been slowly simplifying to a more MMO realtime style, there is one thing that the MMO can never fully duplicate: the main character.

If I'm playing through a game that references the past game, I want to have *substantial* insight on the characters that are mentioned. They should be party members, or in most cases, the main character. When Warcraft IV: the RTS comes out, it will simply not carry the same impact to have the story be: "The Paladins fought back on the beach, into the dark temple!"

You'll think "hey, wait, it wasn't just them. I was there, too. I'm not a paladin! I'm a crazy witchdoctor who was helping his gnome find some glasses and *happened* to save the day" But you can never be referenced, since your character is fluid (even more fluid than the choices made in Mass Effect or KOTOR). It's not just a matter of having the next plot deal with "well, they could have played as good or evil" but player motivations and backstories in MMOs are endless. The plot will have to be entirely static, depicted as you only helped events played out but had no control over them (even if the control is an illusion, or written off as a non-cannon sequel).

KOTOR 3 better be in development. I don't just want to see what happens next, I want to participate with the main characters and control actions; not hear about it 300 years later as some quest giver talks about some ancient war.

Warcraft is a slightly different beast, since you were a nameless general. But I still imagine having more fun directly controlling the heroes, rather than following in their footsteps as a foot-soldier.

Commercially, there is also the issue: I have played and purchased Warcraft 1-3 and WoW, but only got to level 15 or so before stopping. I haven't been playing it (just not different enough from City of Heroes). So, how are they going to bring me back up to speed when Warcraft 4: the RTS comes out? Are they going to downplay the story of WoW and sum it up in a 5 minute cinematic? Or just abandon the core fans who actually like playing RTS games?

But you were never the main character in WC1-3, either. You were the commander, but the story revolved around Arthas/Jaina/Thrall/Sylvanas/Furion/Illidan, as it still does. We're now the foot soldiers fighting alongside the heroes.

That is a very well written article.

That was the main reason I played WoW for the many years I did, started with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans....Tides of Darknes....Beyond the Dark Portal.....Frozen Throne.....and WoW just kept the story rolling.

Like you mentioned in the article, the players in WoW, would be the little units that you churn out of the barracks while the Lore Characters lead them to victory. WoW is really good at it's story telling. A lot of the players I knew, never read the quest text, never watched the cinematics, they just wanted to do things as fast as possible, and that's the real shame.

Well said.

Just because most players are unware of or refuse to acknowldege the story unfolding around them, it doesn't mean it isn't happening, or isn't there for those who want it. Stories in games existed long before cinematics.

Being one who started at Orcs and Humans, retcons and the occaisoinal disconnect aside, I love WoW for continuing the story how it has, and for allowing the player to experience the "World" from a different perspective, and get face-to-face (albeit digitally), with the characters and locations from the RTS games.

There is a disconnect for those players who don't play MMOs or RPGs, or the two combined though, and they have been left out of a lot. Yes a "previously..." section would bring them up to speed, but they didn't have a part in it like the WoW players. Then again, an RTS where they repeat everything that happened in WoW, except RTS style... actually, I wouldn't mind that, if done right, but some WoW players might find it redundant.

Anyway, while I liked the genre-hop, I can see where Blizzard might be in an interesting postion regarding the next, if any, RTS in the Warcraft series.

Right, but that's specific for the genre hop that WoW made. For other RPGs looking to make the hop (KOTOR, Final Fantasy), that isn't the case.

Also, would the conflict hold as much meaning, or Arthas be as imposing, if we didn't lead him around through his campaign? I haven't played enough WoW to fully know, but these heroes had 100% screen time in the RTS series. Having an MMO have big, pivotal battles is great; but will I hate Arthas as much if I didn't watch him slowly corrupt over the course of 5-8 hours of screen time over the course of the Human campaign, and then lead his corrupted version for another dozen hours during the Undead campaign? I played for about a couple of weeks during the initial WoW launch, and I never hit a single "big story moment" or had any meaningful dialog that could be considered foreshadowing. Just the simple collect quests, kill these ghosts, etc.

The characters in WoW are good, but Are they stronger because we knew them from the instruction manuals and playtime of Warcraft 1-3? Could you build an MMO-only cast from quest givers and the occasional AI support that would be memorable over the course of, let's say, the ever popular RPG trilogy?

Maybe?

With WoW, you were more dealing with the aftermath of War3. And how the world during the war shaped the land. They delved more into the Lore with the expansions(Wrath mainly), but if you go to each zone in vanilla WoW, you can see the Lore is there just from a different perspective.

I would say, in my years of playing WoW, the big story moments didn't happen until about the time you get to the Plaguelands, where you can see the aftermath of the War. And of course, just playing all of Wrath, it's extremely lore driven.

CantFaketheFunk:

Phokal:
The reason is not that the MMO can't perform story telling, it's that you can't build off of it in relation to your character.

While most play mechanics in RPGs have been slowly simplifying to a more MMO realtime style, there is one thing that the MMO can never fully duplicate: the main character.

If I'm playing through a game that references the past game, I want to have *substantial* insight on the characters that are mentioned. They should be party members, or in most cases, the main character. When Warcraft IV: the RTS comes out, it will simply not carry the same impact to have the story be: "The Paladins fought back on the beach, into the dark temple!"

You'll think "hey, wait, it wasn't just them. I was there, too. I'm not a paladin! I'm a crazy witchdoctor who was helping his gnome find some glasses and *happened* to save the day" But you can never be referenced, since your character is fluid (even more fluid than the choices made in Mass Effect or KOTOR). It's not just a matter of having the next plot deal with "well, they could have played as good or evil" but player motivations and backstories in MMOs are endless. The plot will have to be entirely static, depicted as you only helped events played out but had no control over them (even if the control is an illusion, or written off as a non-cannon sequel).

KOTOR 3 better be in development. I don't just want to see what happens next, I want to participate with the main characters and control actions; not hear about it 300 years later as some quest giver talks about some ancient war.

Warcraft is a slightly different beast, since you were a nameless general. But I still imagine having more fun directly controlling the heroes, rather than following in their footsteps as a foot-soldier.

Commercially, there is also the issue: I have played and purchased Warcraft 1-3 and WoW, but only got to level 15 or so before stopping. I haven't been playing it (just not different enough from City of Heroes). So, how are they going to bring me back up to speed when Warcraft 4: the RTS comes out? Are they going to downplay the story of WoW and sum it up in a 5 minute cinematic? Or just abandon the core fans who actually like playing RTS games?

But you were never the main character in WC1-3, either. You were the commander, but the story revolved around Arthas/Jaina/Thrall/Sylvanas/Furion/Illidan, as it still does. We're now the foot soldiers fighting alongside the heroes.

I always thought we played as the Hero Units,since we can rez and level up.Plus the Paladin was a Hero Unit in Warcraft 3 and so was the Mage.

WoW mostly retells what is already there without changing much to existing story lines--I mean not much has happened to the main characters in WoW, they basically just occupy where they left off in the Warcraft series--but the Cataclysm will have to be part of Warcraft canon, no doubt about it.

Next person who says that WoW isn't Warcraft 4 is getting a face full of that article

Really well written, and it even goes to the side of the RTS people for a bit, the Warcraft universe is one of my favorite's lore wise, and I enjoy seeing it build around me in WoW (admittedly I didn't notice any til' Burning Crusade when I went to Nagrand and met Garrosh, however on reflection there was plenty during vanilla WoW as well) but I get more out of it than almost anyone else I know cause I waste 5 minutes by reading my quest log every time I fill it up.

Although another Warcraft RTS would be fun, moving forward there isn't going to be anything after WoW in the timeline because they just put out a new expansion pack with a returning super-villan, or a brand new one. So if they made a new RTS it would have to be in the past, before the first war, perhaps back when the world was one huge continent, or farther back than that with the titan's ordering of the universe. I'll be honest, I can see Blizzard putting a new Warcraft RTS out in one of those ancient time period.

Re-reading this, I feel like a MASSIVE nerd.

At first I was rather mad, but the ending you brought in the people on my spectrum, I.e. the people who don't like MMO's.

i find the problem whit story in mmo's to be that the real game becomes the end game (as this weeks publisher's note goes into, experienced points too) and everything leading up to that is a glorified tutorial, and thus you want to storm true it to get to the juicy part that is raids (in my case, for others it may be the pvp) and spending 1 month more in the "tutorial" reading up on the story seems like a waste of perfectly good raiding time, i know this is my problem and i could just read the damn text, but even if i did that, if i was to start playing wow today and read every single quest i would still miss out on much of the dungeon lore and all but the lvl 80 raid lore.

so unless you feel like spending yet another 6 months just reading and finding vanilla and bc guilds you will miss allot, and theres another problem, warcraft 1-3 though all good games whit allot of replay value, never needed for you to spend 1 years "finishing" the game and to read the story.

i understand why fans of the rts part of the series are pissed that warcraft IV is wow.

CantFaketheFunk:
the games - particularly WoW - are filled with one "go kill twenty wolves" quest after another. That's another popular misconception in itself

Really? Because when I played my free trial, that's all I fucking did. Sure, later it becomes "kill 20 wargs" and then "kill 20 giant wolves", but essential the same.

As far as story goes, I agree that WoW can continue the story. But who really cares one way or another? When Warcraft IV comes out it will be "you are here, the bad guy is there, kill him." Who cares if the story includes WoW plot or not? I sure as hell don't remember much plot from Warcraft I or II.

Phokal:
Commercially, there is also the issue: I have played and purchased Warcraft 1-3 and WoW, but only got to level 15 or so before stopping. I haven't been playing it (just not different enough from City of Heroes). So, how are they going to bring me back up to speed when Warcraft 4: the RTS comes out? Are they going to downplay the story of WoW and sum it up in a 5 minute cinematic? Or just abandon the core fans who actually like playing RTS games?

Again, there were stories in games before cinematics. Every Warcraft game and expansion has a "prologue" section in the manual that explains what happened in the game previous and the events since. In many of the major plot points in WoW, major characters are with the player. Maiev Shadowsong was there when you killed Illidan. The Blood Knights are involved with Kael'Thas. I bet Tirion will have something to do with Arthas. They could explain using just the cannon characters involved or use lines like "accompanied with a group of heros" or "leading the champions of the Argent Crusade" with those characters. Again, yes, they didn't participate, but they'll know what happened.

Phokal:
I haven't played enough WoW to fully know... I played for about a couple of weeks during the initial WoW launch, and I never hit a single "big story moment" or had any meaningful dialog that could be considered foreshadowing. Just the simple collect quests, kill these ghosts, etc.

I think this is where most of your bias is coming from. WoW has days and weeks of playtime. That's not you play it for days or weeks, eating/sleeping/working in-between, that's the amount of time actually played. Remember in the RTS games the first few missions are "build this base" "capture X point" "gather X resource" "kill X guys" "build X units" "Upgrade X Building" "Use X ability with your hero unit". Those are like the first few levels of WoW, you get some lore and plot, but it's mostly familiarizing yourself with the game, how it works, what to do, and determining your playstyle.

Phokal:
would the conflict hold as much meaning, or Arthas be as imposing, if we didn't lead him around through his campaign? The characters in WoW are good, but Are they stronger because we knew them from the instruction manuals and playtime of Warcraft 1-3? Could you build an MMO-only cast from quest givers and the occasional AI support that would be memorable over the course of, let's say, the ever popular RPG trilogy?

I don't think you're accounting for scope and time here. I could knock out the first three campaigns and expansions of Warcraft in a weekend. I could get a new WoW character to maybe level 20 in the same time.

Popularity? How many played Warcraft RTS games for the campaign? Honestly? I don't know if anyone has a number, but I bet it's not even close to the 11 Million with WoW.

Let's pretend that vanilla had no relevance to the RTS series really, until the 50's and Plaguelands.... in BC you're fighting Illidan, Vashj, Kael'Thas, and their minions, and what they've been doing/plotting, meeting the original orcs, even recruiting the son of Grom Hellscream into the Horde (Horde characters). Kael'Thas tries to summon Kil'Jaeden. There's definite character development in Wrath, by a lot. Tirion, from Vanilla in the plaguelands, re-establishes the Knights of the Silver Hand (remember them? created in WCII, "disbanded" and later mostly wiped out by Arthas in WCIII?), and the Argent Dawn (a group formed to fight the Scourge) to take the fight to Arthas. Garrosh Hellscream (Grom's son), leads the Horde front in Northrend, and tensions build between him and Thrall. Not to mention Arthas comes to harrass you almost every step of the way as you level to 80. You bring a new group into the Horde, the Tanuka. Alliance characters find Muradin Bronzebeard still alive and reunite the three brothers (breifly). In both Wrath and BC, you re-visit a lot of previous battles and such. You even re-trace Arthas' footsteps in an Icecrown quest, experiencing a lot if his transformation first hand.

I'm not mentioning a lot, and may have fudged a few things, but I think I've rambled long enough on this. Also, perspective of an 80 Horde character, haven't leveled an Alliance character that far yet, but keep up on lore and Alliance-side quests with the infowebz.

Because the Warcraft series ended the moment Blizzard chose to ignore nearly every major plot point and lore from earlier games for the purpose of adapting the franchise to a MMO gameplay, and in addition making it wholesome family entertainment, filled with comic relief and pop culture references at every turn, as opposed to the dark, brutal, Warhammer-inspired game world of Warcraft 2 and its subsequent expansion.

It has heavily degenerated into something that parents use to babysit their kids, and 13 year old asian girls to giggle over as they dress up their night elf druids in matching seasonal clothing.

It has become, in short, an abomination.

Kojiro ftt:

CantFaketheFunk:
the games - particularly WoW - are filled with one "go kill twenty wolves" quest after another. That's another popular misconception in itself

Really? Because when I played my free trial, that's all I fucking did. Sure, later it becomes "kill 20 wargs" and then "kill 20 giant wolves", but essential the same.

As far as story goes, I agree that WoW can continue the story. But who really cares one way or another? When Warcraft IV comes out it will be "you are here, the bad guy is there, kill him." Who cares if the story includes WoW plot or not? I sure as hell don't remember much plot from Warcraft I or II.

I think you miss the point. If you care about the story, and you have made it evident that you don't, this article was to explain how WoW is WCIV as far as the story goes.

Generalizing the whole thing on the free trial isn't exactly fair. The first 20 levels of 80 (or even 60 from vanilla) are exposition, like the "Construct this building" "make X units" "Gather X resource" "upgrade X building Y times" "kill X bad guys" missions at the start of an RTS. I know that an RTS is more than just building bases, gathering resources, making units, and killing bad guys, but I don't generalize that as the whole thing of an RTS. Yes, it's the bread and butter, but you must understand it before you can get into the "strategy" part. Same with the early WoW quests, they help you figure out your abilities and how the game mechanics work. Even then, there are more than just those quests, and there's lore in them even.

I always marvel at this though, because, in essence, what game isn't about killing or gathering X things before you can kill/gather bigger things?

Byers:
Because the Warcraft series ended the moment Blizzard chose to ignore nearly every major plot point and lore from earlier games for the purpose of adapting the franchise to a MMO gameplay, and in addition making it wholesome family entertainment, filled with comic relief and pop culture references at every turn, as opposed to the dark, brutal, Warhammer-inspired game world of Warcraft 2 and its subsequent expansion.

It has heavily degenerated into something that parents use to babysit their kids, and 13 year old asian girls to giggle over as they dress up their night elf druids in matching seasonal clothing.

It has, in short, become an abomination.

I vehemently disagree with pretty much every point you've made here.

"Stop poking me!" "Me not that kind of orc!" "*Fart* He did it! No, he did it!"

WC always had comic relief, and if you don't think there's more than a few dark moments in WoW, you clearly haven't been playing the game very long. I'd wager good money that the majority of the WoW playerbase is 18+, hardly the preteen playerbase you describe.

It's not that WoW cant do it, but I WANT Warcraft IV.
I want to continue Rexxar and Misha's story, via an RTS.
They released the demo campaign, and I just wish they could finish it.
Plus Warcraft: The Frozen Throne still has wonderful Online multiplayer and it can only get better with a new game.

WoW is not an RTS, i have made my point.

Byers:
Because the Warcraft series ended the moment Blizzard chose to ignore nearly every major plot point and lore from earlier games for the purpose of adapting the franchise to a MMO gameplay, and in addition making it wholesome family entertainment, filled with comic relief and pop culture references at every turn, as opposed to the dark, brutal, Warhammer-inspired game world of Warcraft 2 and its subsequent expansion.

Did you ever play the previous games?

Did you notice they included rastafarian trolls?
Or anthropomorphic fighting pandas?
What about the mortar teams yelling "MOOOOOOORTAAAAAR COMMMMMBATT" as they were built, then arguing about how to blow up the enemy every time you talked to them?
What about the high pitched squealy goblin sappers?
The Dwarf hero who would quote Sean Connery?
The two peasants named Robert and Tyler brawling in village square in one mission? (Fight Club anyone?)

Hell, even as far back as the first Warcraft you had sheep that exploded if you clicked on them too many times, not to forget al the joke unit dialogue.

The franchise has always had an element of comedy, and element of darkness. WoW is no different.

I'm glad you mentioned us people who loved the orignial warcraft series but HATED the fact that WoW Basicly continued the story on an MMO which some Of us RTSers Hate. But what the hell, Time to hit wow wiki.

CantFaketheFunk:

Byers:
Because the Warcraft series ended the moment Blizzard chose to ignore nearly every major plot point and lore from earlier games for the purpose of adapting the franchise to a MMO gameplay, and in addition making it wholesome family entertainment, filled with comic relief and pop culture references at every turn, as opposed to the dark, brutal, Warhammer-inspired game world of Warcraft 2 and its subsequent expansion.

It has heavily degenerated into something that parents use to babysit their kids, and 13 year old asian girls to giggle over as they dress up their night elf druids in matching seasonal clothing.

It has, in short, become an abomination.

I vehemently disagree with pretty much every point you've made here.

"Stop poking me!" "Me not that kind of orc!" "*Fart* He did it! No, he did it!"

WC always had comic relief, and if you don't think there's more than a few dark moments in WoW, you clearly haven't been playing the game very long. I'd wager good money that the majority of the WoW playerbase is 18+, hardly the preteen playerbase you describe.

Those tiny comedic lines found in Warcraft 2 were easter eggs it took roughly 5 billion rabid button pushes to reveal, not integral quest chains woven into the final zone of the game concerning the Lich King's agent, the mullet-clad "Dr Terrible" that you have to defeat in a mini game of whack-a-mole.

Clearly you see the difference here.

The dark moments in WoW were akin to Simba mourning his father's passing in the Lion King.
The dark moments in Warcraft 2 was basically all of it. And manly, brutal events, like the warchief Gul'Dan opening a portal to hell and being torn to pieces by the demons he looked to control. Or Orgrim Doomhammer seizing the throne by decapitating his predecessor and banishing his children.

Armitage Shanks:

Byers:
Because the Warcraft series ended the moment Blizzard chose to ignore nearly every major plot point and lore from earlier games for the purpose of adapting the franchise to a MMO gameplay, and in addition making it wholesome family entertainment, filled with comic relief and pop culture references at every turn, as opposed to the dark, brutal, Warhammer-inspired game world of Warcraft 2 and its subsequent expansion.

Did you ever play the previous games?

Did you notice they included rastafarian trolls?
Or anthropomorphic fighting pandas?
What about the mortar teams yelling "MOOOOOOORTAAAAAR COMMMMMBATT" as they were built, then arguing about how to blow up the enemy every time you talked to them?
What about the high pitched squealy goblin sappers?
The Dwarf hero who would quote Sean Connery?
The two peasants named Robert and Tyler brawling in village square in one mission? (Fight Club anyone?)

Hell, even as far back as the first Warcraft you had sheep that exploded if you clicked on them too many times, not to forget al the joke unit dialogue.

The franchise has always had an element of comedy, and element of darkness. WoW is no different.

Pretty much all of that is from Warcraft 3, which was a steep step down from WC2 in regards to story and lore, true. Just not an all out embarrassment like WoW.

While I do see a semblance of a story in WoW, I do not believe that it is fully adequate to continue on from WC3. I have no problem with WC4 continuing on from where WoW will eventually leave off, however I do want WC4 to at least contain some form of campaign that will allow players to run through the WoW storyline. I played wow up to level 72 and just didn't enjoy the mmo anymore. Does that Mean that when the new RTS version of Warcraft comes out that I should just miss out on what content was released after my dropping of the game?

Byers:
Those tiny comedic lines found in Warcraft 2 were easter eggs it took roughly 5 billion rabid button pushes to reveal, not integral quest chains woven into the final zone of the game concerning the Lich King's agent, the mullet-clad "Dr Terrible" that you have to defeat in a mini game of whack-a-mole.

Clearly you see the difference here.

The dark moments in WoW were akin to Simba mourning his father's passing in the Lion King.
The dark moments in Warcraft 2 was basically all of it. And manly, brutal events, like the warchief Gul'Dan opening a portal to hell and being torn to pieces by the demons he looked to control. Or Orgrim Doomhammer seizing the throne by decapitating his predecessor and banishing his children.

People have cited enough of the comedy even from WCIII, yes, it wasn't promeninent, but still there, A LOT.

In WoW, from square one, in every starting area, quests involve getting the head of the main bad guy for the zone. Or their ear. Actually, one of the low-level dwarf quests is gathering a lot of kobold ears. How about playing as Arthas with the mission objective of kill 100 of your own men and turn them undead? Duskwood where you hear the tale of Jitters and how he left an artifact at a family farm and ran as the Dark Raiders killed the family, women and children? Lots of "avenge my family" quests. Tirion, where you help him redeem his son from the Scarlet Crusade, only to watch him die? Or ghost girl in Darrowshire(?), where you talk to ghost aunt and bring still living uncle to tears?

Or maybe I just read the quests too much... I don't know.

It just irks me that I can't enjoy good Warcraft lore in my beloved RTS fashion. I spend a decade burning that midnight oil, micro managing my way through the games on the hardest difficulty, unbeknown to me that the next five years of story line, that I sweated out and grew bald because of, will vanish off into the land of the MMO. It's like if George Lucas decided to make the final Star Wars movie a five minute internet flash video. It may be the story line, just the presentation of it is rubbish. You can't just say to me that there is too much content in WoW for an RTS. True it might take a decade to get all that story into that format, but I'll keep buying Warcraft RTS games regardless of how old it gets.

Nuke_em_05:

Byers:
Those tiny comedic lines found in Warcraft 2 were easter eggs it took roughly 5 billion rabid button pushes to reveal, not integral quest chains woven into the final zone of the game concerning the Lich King's agent, the mullet-clad "Dr Terrible" that you have to defeat in a mini game of whack-a-mole.

Clearly you see the difference here.

The dark moments in WoW were akin to Simba mourning his father's passing in the Lion King.
The dark moments in Warcraft 2 was basically all of it. And manly, brutal events, like the warchief Gul'Dan opening a portal to hell and being torn to pieces by the demons he looked to control. Or Orgrim Doomhammer seizing the throne by decapitating his predecessor and banishing his children.

People have cited enough of the comedy even from WCIII, yes, it wasn't promeninent, but still there, A LOT.

In WoW, from square one, in every starting area, quests involve getting the head of the main bad guy for the zone. Or their ear. Actually, one of the low-level dwarf quests is gathering a lot of kobold ears. How about playing as Arthas with the mission objective of kill 100 of your own men and turn them undead? Duskwood where you hear the tale of Jitters and how he left an artifact at a family farm and ran as the Dark Raiders killed the family, women and children? Lots of "avenge my family" quests. Tirion, where you help him redeem his son from the Scarlet Crusade, only to watch him die? Or ghost girl in Darrowshire(?), where you talk to ghost aunt and bring still living uncle to tears?

Or maybe I just read the quests too much... I don't know.

I keep naming Warcraft 2 as the darker, more brutal part of the franchise, and people keep trying to refute my points, using examples from Warcraft 3. Is there some kind of reading comprehension thing going around? Unless you're old enough to have experienced Warcraft 2 in its prime, when the gameplay was as cutting edge as the story was grim, and the cartoony graphics a product of the technology at the time rather than a conscious design choice to lighten the mood, I'm probably not gonna be convinced by your arguments.

Anyway, the quests you mention, gather heads, ears, toenail clippings, et cetera, are pretty standard fare in every MMO. The original WoW had a higher amount of these than the later expansions, as it tried to do things a little more by the numbers rather than radically carving its own path. And for all of these quests you name as dark, there are ones that take you going through boar poo, or tagging lizards with mechanical scorpions.

WoW really does try to do drama when they feel the need. It's just that it falls a bit flat when they don't really have the balls to stand by their convictions and make the game world a thoroughly more mature place, in fear of alienating the part of their player base that enjoys the silliness and amusement park aspects of it. (of which there are many, even if they're over 18).

Byers:

Nuke_em_05:

Byers:
Those tiny comedic lines found in Warcraft 2 were easter eggs it took roughly 5 billion rabid button pushes to reveal, not integral quest chains woven into the final zone of the game concerning the Lich King's agent, the mullet-clad "Dr Terrible" that you have to defeat in a mini game of whack-a-mole.

Clearly you see the difference here.

The dark moments in WoW were akin to Simba mourning his father's passing in the Lion King.
The dark moments in Warcraft 2 was basically all of it. And manly, brutal events, like the warchief Gul'Dan opening a portal to hell and being torn to pieces by the demons he looked to control. Or Orgrim Doomhammer seizing the throne by decapitating his predecessor and banishing his children.

People have cited enough of the comedy even from WCIII, yes, it wasn't promeninent, but still there, A LOT.

In WoW, from square one, in every starting area, quests involve getting the head of the main bad guy for the zone. Or their ear. Actually, one of the low-level dwarf quests is gathering a lot of kobold ears. How about playing as Arthas with the mission objective of kill 100 of your own men and turn them undead? Duskwood where you hear the tale of Jitters and how he left an artifact at a family farm and ran as the Dark Raiders killed the family, women and children? Lots of "avenge my family" quests. Tirion, where you help him redeem his son from the Scarlet Crusade, only to watch him die? Or ghost girl in Darrowshire(?), where you talk to ghost aunt and bring still living uncle to tears?

Or maybe I just read the quests too much... I don't know.

I keep naming Warcraft 2 as the darker, more brutal part of the franchise, and people keep trying to refute my points, using examples from Warcraft 3. Is there some kind of reading comprehension thing going around? Unless you're old enough to have experienced Warcraft 2 in its prime, when the gameplay was as cutting edge as the story was grim, and the cartoony graphics a product of the technology at the time rather than a conscious design choice to lighten the mood, I'm probably not gonna be convinced by your arguments.

Anyway, the quests you mention, gather heads, ears, toenail clippings, et cetera, are pretty standard fare in every MMO. The original WoW had a higher amount of these than the later expansions, as it tried to do things a little more by the numbers rather than radically carving its own path. And for all of these quests you name as dark, there are ones that take you going through boar poo, or tagging lizards with mechanical scorpions.

WoW really does try to do drama when they feel the need. It's just that it falls a bit flat when they don't really have the balls to stand by their convictions and make the game world a thoroughly more mature place, in fear of alienating the part of their player base that enjoys the silliness and amusement park aspects of it. (of which there are many, even if they're over 18).

Played and loved WC2, thank you very much. Just as I played and loved WC3. And I'd much rather have a game world that tried to go its own root rather than just ape the GRRR GRIMDARK world of Warhammer. I'm fine with moments of levity in my games, and I don't think having a quest where you sift through Talbuk poo makes, say, the Darrowshire quests any less sad, or that the Mimiron fight has a pop culture reference to Voltron undermines the fact that you're dealing with both a physical embodiment of insanity that's influenced many of the pivotal moments in Azeroth's history AND an envoy of the gods that is on the verge of making the call to eradicate Azeroth once and for all.

There's plenty of dark stuff in WoW, and even the fun-poking rarely gets in the way. Look at the Shade of Aran fight in Kara - he's a spirit that has been driven insane from years and years of post-mortem torment at the hands of his son, he freaks out if anyone in the raid has Atiesh, and yet he still manages to drink to restore mana in the middle of the fight, joking about mages complaining about the same thing.

APPCRASH:
*SNIP*

While a touch on the extreme side for examples, I think that's pretty much it.

Though for the idea of a Star Wars becoming an internet flash video, you get a cookie.

image

Pass and disagree. There isn't any progression just reskined NPC with repeat of same boring quest.

Warcraft and it's stories are just a cheap knock off of Warhammer. Yeah I'm that guy. troll blah blah blah.

Well...theres also that part where the story started as a RTS, so...I guess lots of people would like to play the rest of the story as a...RTS!
Tolkien didn't do the ending of Lord of the Rings in a poem didn't he? He kept the narrative equal in all parts.

And of course theres the people that don't like MMO's, the peoplethat can't play much time on a MMO and the part that it's hard to organize raids/dungeons groups to ceartain parts of the story etc etc.

A MMO is a very crap medium to get a full blown story. Unless you experience it for the first time when it was new, there's a big chance that you will never see it.

How many people that joined TBC/WotLK got to see the end of the full questline involving Blackrock Mountain? Not that many.(Theres plenty of raids in wich you can solo but there is plenty of bosses in the old raids that require alot of people or certain classes.)

And theres always the OOC idiots T-bagging XXXX character.

Hell in vanilla WoW you only got reconnected with the main storyline of the RTS in the latter levels and Naxxramas. The rest just felt like a recap. TBC was quite...off in everything. Only in WoTLK you got a full immersion of the game story line.

Playing WoW to see the end of a story that you started to "watch" in the old RTS Warcraft games is just a big "NO".

The fact that you have to raise a character from 1-80, equip it with the best gear, enter a half decent raiding guild, pay 30€ every 2 month it's not a good payoff as a RTS game that costs 50€ and you can just cheat your way to see the end. The MMO you have to be on constant playing, than in the RTS medium were you can just pop up the game and revisit the story, without having much trouble.

World of Warcraft is not Warcraft 4. Just because you mention that possibility you deserve to get slapped all the way to the moon Funk....TO THE MOON!

Edit: Also would like to mention that a big section of the article was a comment on how good the story writing is, not how good the storyline works in a MMO.

The problem in this thread lies... somewhere around this post -here-.

CantFaketheFunk:
But you were never the main character in WC1-3, either. You were the commander, but the story revolved around Arthas/Jaina/Thrall/Sylvanas/Furion/Illidan, as it still does. We're now the foot soldiers fighting alongside the heroes.

No, you were NOT the commander. That was just an abstraction so the game could be presented with those champions as units on the field. In terms of Lore, it was Arthas/Lothar/whoever who commanded the troops, not you. Because if you were -literally- Arthas, you'd... have to be Arthas. It'd be more Dynasty Warriors than Command and Conquer. They would have made the Xbox/Xbox 360 Kingdom Under Fire games about 10 years too early. Which isn't the game Blizzard wanted to make.

But this is a thread about World of Warcraft being Warcraft IV in disguise, and I do have plenty to say about that. And the issue I have with World of Warcraft is twofold.

Firstly, if you're playing it for the story, there's a hell of a lot of filler. Lots of unrelated padding. Grinding your way up to 60, or 80, or whatever; most of it's not going to be your story gameplay. As Phokal mentioned before - those "big story moments" are very rare. I played a Blood Elf Paladin to 65, so I put more time into World of Warcraft than a weekend, so don't start coming at me from there. And, don't get me wrong. I did experience lots of stuff. Everything in the game has to be related in -some- way, and they've expanded their details immensely. But if World of Warcraft is really Warcraft IV, then it should be full of stories about the main characters, detailing the resolution of those plotlines. And while those are there, they are NOT what most players will get to experience. If there -were- lots of those "big story moments", meaningful quest chains, etc, in World of Warcraft, prior to level 60, and I missed them...

...then what the fuck is wrong with the design THAT I CAN MISS THE STORY AND YET STILL COMPLETE THAT PART OF THE GAME?!

Ahem. Secondly, my other issue that I had was that so much of the high-high end stuff, the long-abandoned former level 60 endgame, the derelict and obsolete level 70 endgame content, and the lofty, teetering heights of the level 80 content is where all this epic story stuff is. Sunwell. Level 70 raid. It's where Kael'thas tries to summon Kil'jaeden. Kael was one of my favourite characters from Warcraft III - he was a noble character, trying to save his people.

...I blinked, he formed a pact with the Legion, and oh, I can't actually go and experience this content anyway, since noone's going to group up with me to do it, because they're all at the endgame of Wrath of the Lich King.

The reason for these issues is that while the MMORPG -can- be used to tell a story... it's not used very well. And I believe the reason for -that- is because most people don't play the MMO for the story. They want to have fun, and do some quest, and kill some stuff! Find some more loot! Not root around in some stupid fantasy kingdom.

That's for nerds.

I object because I -am- a nerd, and they're ruining my fun.

--Fen

Note: John Funk's article here -must- be read simultaneously with Alexander Macris' article, Why Do They Need Sequels, featured here at The Escapist on 12th October 2009.

piscian:
Pass and disagree. There isn't any progression just reskined NPC with repeat of same boring quest.

Warcraft and it's stories are just a cheap knock off of Warhammer. Yeah I'm that guy. troll blah blah blah.

Except... you're wrong.

And personally, I prefer Warcraft to Warhammer in pretty much every aspect. go figure ;)

I agree with Fenixius on a lot of his parts. I hate how WoW need to fabricate some more background that people didn't get to see to make up some of their game content. Really? Kael is a grey elf prune at the end of his fight (spoiler!)? So I can take playing in the after math of WC3, to be honest, I love the WC storylines and there is nothing wrong with continuing that story from an MMO, what I hate is playing the aftermath aftermath of the WC "void" that happened between WC3 and WoW.
I guess I'm one of the few people who level from 1-70, on 3 characters, before using things like wowhead or a quest helper add on, I read the quests and enjoyed them some what if not alot. But I hate it when I approach this large castle brimming with crazy creatures and need to gear up with 24 other people, and then realize I have no idea what the hell the damn building is. I'm not going to wait, nor will my teammates, and find quests that explain everything. So I feel like I'm missing a page of the story.

Then Wraith came out, (spoiler) at the end of WC3 Icecrown was a war torn battle field covered in elf, naga, various undead bodies, a bleeding Illidan (who I thought died), and in the center was a big icy spiral stair case to where a throne sat. Even in the menu of WC3: Frozen Throne they show a distant picture of it, and it's a crappy ice tower. Sudden in the expansion Ice Crown became this massive fortress that looks like it's made from shiny Terminator parts and all his undead warriors look like they got platform shoes.
I could argue about more complicated aspects of WoW storyline (? Wargs? Catacylsm? O My!" but I think I've confused enough people.

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