MMO Week in Review: Only you can prevent forest fires (August 5, 2018)

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

Proving they are indeed paying attention to the lore sometimes, World of Warcraft players went into what our own WoW columnist agrees is a justified meltdown over the expansion lead-in’s apparent storyline, which involves the world tree on fire, a lead NPC acting out of character, and half the playerbase aligned with genocide against their will. While designers have urged “patience” with the story, players are actively protesting, though some have taken it too far.

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

THIS WEEK’S TOP STORIES
EverQuest II launches Return to Guk - [AL:EQ2]As it turns out, a lot of adventurers in EverQuest II's world have traveled to the ruins of Guk over the years. Sure, the name sounds funny, but considering that…
Rend is hitting Early Access today - It's time to try a different sort of survival sandbox with the launch of Rend's Early Access today. You can pick up the game's current version right now for $30…
THIS WEEK’S CASTS & STREAMS
AND FROM OUR FRIENDS AT BLIZZARD WATCH

Blizzard’s Heart of Azeroth overview shows off an improved take on Artifact weapons

Analysis of Blizzard’s surprise new Saurfang cinematic: Old Soldier

How would you go about adding a third faction to WoW?

Every week, get caught up on the MMO genre’s latest news and Massively OP’s best content in our MMO Week in Review! Want more roundups of content? Try Friday’s Betawatch for MMO testing highlights, Saturday’s Make My MMO for MMO crowdfunding updates, and Sunday’s The MOP Up, which mops up all the little bits of news we didn’t cover anywhere else.

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thalendor

I will say this, I am genuinely surprised by how much the Old Soldier cinematic seems to have changed the narrative surrounding WoW.

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mysecretid

Possibly because many players felt they weren’t allowed to react or object to Sylvanas’ sudden, uncharacteristic lack of intelligent behavior — but by having the character of Saurfang call out the issue, perhaps it “spoke” to the issue enough (for now) that certain players felt their concerns were no longer considered irrelevant by the current plotline?

Just a guess on my part. A lot hinges on what comes next, I imagine.

Cheers,

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Sorenthaz

Because it gives the Horde someone to rally behind and they get to see that not everyone in the Horde was okay with Sylvanas’s decisions.

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Oleg Chebeneev

That thing on the left looks like a penis

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mysecretid

I thought you were just having a laugh, Oleg — then, I looked at the graphic. Yikes! Somebody slipped that past the review at Blizzard, I suspect.

Cheers,

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Ben Stone

It’s Sylvanas’ Big Dick Energy blowing up that tree.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

ONLY YOU…

ONLY YOU....gif
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Sorenthaz

5/7

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Schlag Sweetleaf
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mysecretid

Smokey as a Pandaren! You are my favorite madman, Schlag! Thank you! :-D

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

I have no dog in this show but how is it Sylvanus is acting out of character?

I mean she’s done horribly evil things in the past. Hasn’t she threaten to kill everyone in Stormwind just so she could rez them as undead?

All that said, I do think they didn’t handle the Sylvanus cutscene very well. If you have to tell your audience to ‘bear with us’ you maybe haven’t done the best job of story-telling.

It would be interesting if this is a leadup to a schism in the Horde and there arise three factions. I might almost be interested in going back to ‘kill ten rats’ in Azeroth.

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Sorenthaz

Folks who think it’s out of character do so because they personally think that the decision came off as impulsive and impractical and it betrays their perception of Sylvanas’s character.

That and they didn’t like that Saurfang/our player characters/etc. didn’t object or react to it in a satisfying manner even though the Warbringers short was supposed to revolve around Sylvanas and we got a full Blizzard cinematic for Saurfang’s perspective of the event + a novella. I.e. folks didn’t like how it was poorly communicated in-game.

Also some folks are just jumping on the hate train ’cause they just want to hate on Blizzard and go “aha told you their writing sucks” or whatever. /shrug

There have been plenty of arguments why it wasn’t against her character but some folks just don’t want to listen and others just want to take the opportunity to dump on Blizzard because they can. The argument keeps jumping around as well from “we’re not mad about her character, it’s because of XYZ other things” to stuff like “it was just the execution that was bad” which is more agreeable. Others keep talking about how Blizzard “promised” a morally grey story and kept hyping things up around the Burning of Teldrassil as if there was going to be a plot twist/misunderstanding.

Also folks don’t like that another Horde leader is evil because they don’t want another Garrosh situation and think that Blizzard is somehow just going to repeat themselves in that regard.

tl;dr some people don’t like how Blizzard is handling their storytelling/writing and others are just jumping in because they like to hate on Blizz whenever they can. And folks are obviously emotionally invested in this stuff or else they wouldn’t be reacting as strongly as they have been.

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Sorenthaz

Also here’s the quote that keeps getting blown out of context and championed as the “BLIZZARD PROMISED US MORALLY GREY”

“Azeroth is a world of grey, it never was world of black and white” – Ion Hazzikostas

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mysecretid

Hey Camren,

The main issue many have is that Sylvanas is suddenly being written as if she has the intellect of an undead turnip.

Evil she is, but her “grand plan” just doesn’t hold up to much scrutiny. For someone who’s supposed to be a proven tactical expert, Sylvanas’ whole strategem here seems cringingly dumb upon close inspection.

Cheers,

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

That would be where I feel the storytelling falls down as well. The appearance that tshe made the decisions petulantly.

How much better would that reveal have been if Saurfang had come to her enraged, demanding to know why she would do such a thing. He tells her, “They will come for us now. All of them.”

Then have Sylvanus smirk, “I’m planning on it.”

Of course, even tactical experts make mistakes and/or are blinded by their own egos. Hence, the Minard map.

Once you realize what it is about, it is horrifying in its implication.

Minard.png
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mysecretid

Thank you for the graphic! Alas, my French is so poor — from years of disuse — that I don’t trust my ability to interpret all the proper meaning from it. For this, I apologize.

Cheers,

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

It is Napoleon’s march on Moscow in the winter of 1812- 1813. His army’s strength is in tan on the left of the map at around 400 thousand. The remainder that return is also on the left as the tiny bar in black.

Almost 400 thousand men dead, most frozen to death, in less than a year. Ten’s of thousands dead just trying to cross rivers.

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mysecretid

Thank you! It would’ve taken me a very long time to parse all that out.

And yeah, it’s appalling how certain people have no empathy for the lives of others in the face of their own goals.

In Napoleon’s time, this was often limited to generals and rulers — these days, certain business executives seem to have joined the list.

And Sylvanas, unfortunately :-)

Be well!

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traja

Yeah even successful military leaders are perfectly capable of making mistakes that look stupid in hindsight. Really the puzzling part about Sylvanas is that the decision was seemingly made on a whim. That is not very common with major military decisions. Of course we could explain it by saying that Sylvanas might have considered the option before.

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Sorenthaz

The point of burning the tree was to still try and wipe out the Night Elves’ sense of hope because Sylvanas knew that Saurfang didn’t finish off Malfurion.

Unfortunately this of course wasn’t communicated well in the game but the novellas (which are supposed to become publicly available sometime… better be really dang soon because it’s ridiculous Blizzard hides this story from everyone but PHYSICAL collector edition owners, not even the digital deluxe owners get a .pdf file or something…) give a much deeper perspective of things.

Part of Saurfang’s guilt comes from the fact that he feels the Burning of Teldrassil was largely his fault because A. He didn’t kill Malfurion and B. He couldn’t stop Sylvanas’s order to burn it. But essentially burning Teldrassil was Plan B because even if they did occupy it, they would soon have to deal with Malfurion’s wrath + an uprising from the citizens on Teldrassil since it’s not like they’d feel hopeless or anything.

I really really really dislike that Blizzard kept this stuff largely exclusive to some mini-novels. Both are apparently ~70 pages or so and pretty much cover everything we have questions about from the little we get to see in-game, and yet Blizzard decided to put these in as Physical Collector’s Edition exclusives rather than release the stories piece-by-piece as additional reading when the event unfolds. :|

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IronSalamander8 .

That’s exactly how I feel too. She makes so many boneheaded decisions here that I can’t take the idea she’s a strategic of tactical expert seriously. Her burning it down is certainly in keeping with her darker nature, just her rationale here is lacking.

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Sorenthaz

The rationale is unfortunately probably going to be more exclusive to the novellas that Blizzard will supposedly release to non-Physical CE owners eventually… but basically the whole point of burning Teldrassil was because Saurfang didn’t kill Malfurion.

So their options were basically:

1. Occupy Teldrassil as plannned but then deal with Malfurion’s wrath when he recovers, along with plenty of Night Elves who’ll still be willing to fight for their home.

2. Pack their bags and leave, taking the loss/failure to where the Alliance will still have a stronghold in Kalimdor that gives them access to the Azerite, likely forcing Sylvanas to deploy more troops to defend their mining operation in Silithus.

3. Burn the tree down to kill hope for the Night Elves, diminish their population greatly, and put the burden of how to deal with it on the Alliance’s shoulders so that it’s harder to focus on retaking Gilneas and whatnot as they suddenly have to prioritize figuring out how to help the Night Elves and how to retaliate against Sylvanas’s attack.

Essentially killing Malfurion was a big part of the plan because that wiped out the most powerful chess piece for the Night Elves + she figured it would greatly kill their hope. Burning Teldrassil was the alternative hope-killing method and also a way to make sure the Alliance stronghold in Kalimdor is no more + the Night Elves wouldn’t have enough forces to retaliate in a meaningful manner.

hurbster
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hurbster

Or, as shown in the video she got real salty and burned it to show that pesky night elf.