Global Chat: Everybody’s burning up about that Sylvanas thing


Yes, just about every MMO blogger was sharing heated opinions about last week’s World of WarCraft WarCrime. “It’s such a sad event and I’m particularly mad at Blizzard at the way they chose to write this,” wrote Aeternus.

Moonshine Manor was equally appalled, saying that she was “not sad at the story, but at having to mourn my fandom.”

“The storyline strips players of agency, it’s not a good feeling,” wrote Mmosey.

And Leo’s Life couldn’t make sense of it: “The lore nut in me sees no logic in this.”

In An Age sympathized with the outrage but noted, “This cinematic short is amazing in isolation.” And Atheren doesn’t want this to be the beginning of the end of Sylvanas: “I hope she gets a redemption arc.”

And Wolfy felt that the community reaction was too much for an outsider: “The level of the freak-out was above and beyond what I’ve had the misfortune of experiencing as someone barely remotely associated with the WoW playerbase.”


Aywren Sojourner: Summer excitement in FFXIV

“Moonfire Faire is actually pretty exciting to me this year. I like the rewards they’re offering and it’ll be interesting to be involved with a holiday on an RP server. There’s already a large beach event scheduled for one of the weekends that I may attend, and it’s always great to get more glamour incoming!”

MMO Bro: Five MMOs with the most dedicated communities

“When people talk about MMOs with good communities — especially good role-play communities — one of the first names that always comes up is Lord of the Rings Online. I haven’t spent much time in LOTRO myself, but I’ve seen the praises of its community being sung high and low.”

Psychochild: How MMOs get stories wrong, how MMOs can do stories better

“The other problem is that writing a universal story means that you can’t allow the player much agency. You rarely get to decide what your character does, it’s often a few choices with little consequence. Again, we look at FFXIV here where the character gets thrust into the role of the Warrior of Light (WoL). You can’t choose to play as another type of character in the game story-wise, and as you do your WoL things you are limited in the options presented to you. Any choices in the dialog present a very small branch in the text presented. You’re going to be moving forward with the story no matter what.”

Endgame Viable: I wish EQ2 would explain more

“There’s a lot I like about EverQuest II, it being one of the last ‘old school’-style MMORPGs around, and the massive amounts of content to explore (if you can find it), but there’s also a number of things that rub me the wrong way. Just little nagging quality-of-life things that are ‘off’ that make it hard to get back into the game.”

Magen Tales: The perfect game

“You can think a lot about what kind of game would truly be your ‘perfect’ game but, in the end, you try a game and you enjoy it or not. With its virtues, its flaws, its community; thanks to them or despite them.”

Princess in a Castle: I’m a spoiled MMO gamer

“I don’t know there will be another MMO that will change me as a player as much as the Guild Wars franchise did. I’m hoping that one will come a long soon, and Riot teased me with that question if they should make an MMORPG (HELL YES!), but I’m not getting my hopes up.”

Every day there are tons of terrific, insightful, and unusual articles posted across the MMO gaming blogosphere — and every day, Justin reads as many as he can. Global Chat is a sampling of noteworthy essays, rants, and guides from the past few weeks of MMO discourse.
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One thought about the Sylvanis affair. As an outsider looking in, the root cause is a storyteller’s shortcut. How do you jumpstart drama? Kill off a main character.

But there is another trope lurking out there. In the world of fantasy and comic books only Uncle Ben (yeah, from Spider-man) stays dead.

Sylvanis, she will be back and nastier and more powerful than ever.

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All I know is the writers of the EQ2/Guild Wars posts are apparently stealing my thoughts. Damn, thought-stealers! Solid lineup of blog posts : )


Burning of Teldrassil is a “jump the shark” moment for me.
How could this world tree blessed by Alexstrasza and Ysera, source of mystic and ancient powers, be simply burnt down by fire being lobbed at it? With all these powerful beings such as druids and Cenarion Circle defending it, nothing or no one could stop the fire? Not to mention its size. If you take Darnassus and the size of all the starter areas contained within it must be like the size of Manhattan island. But somehow it was possible to burn this massive tree down with a couple fire bombs. If you look at the WoWpedia article about Teldrassil it has this impressive epic legendary history with one final line – Teldrassil was burned down by the Horde under the orders of Sylvanas Windrunner.
Yeah this fits the definition of Jump the shark perfectly – “point at which far-fetched events are included merely for the sake of novelty, indicative of a decline in quality.”

Nemui Byakko


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Paragon Lost

Agreed, if I could like Doubleplusgood’s post more I would. Summed up exactly the cap on the bottle issue I have. How they wrote Sylvanas was really weak in my opinion but “Burning of Teldrassil” is totally the “Jump the Shark” moment for me as well.

Nemui Byakko

Yep. If it was Silvanas-like or Silvanas-unlike, is the second question. The first question is, HOW??? How it is possible AT ALL – to burn Teldrassil with several catapults??? WTF??? They think, the players are complete idiots or what???

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Alex Willis

As someone who has never played WoW and has no investment in the lore, but who has sort-of-followed it since launch…I just don’t understand the depth of the outrage. There was so much noise about the actions of Sylvannas being “evil” and that these things made everyone “evil” by association. Well…how is this new? In history or in fantasy? Or even in WoW lore itself? Does nobody remember Warcraft III? Remember how you played Arthas, doing evil things for “good” reasons? Allied forces firebombed Dresden in Germany during WWII, a move that in retrospect provided almost no military benefit but was unaccountably horrific and arguably a war crime. Does that make all the Allies evil? Probably not, but the debate continues.

The setting of this entire story is as a prelude to war, if I’m not mistaken. Now that war has broken out, people don’t want to get their hands dirty? They think that the actions of their leaders make them “evil” by association? Seems naive and a little buffoonish to me.

Also, the lore films clearly show the rifts in the Horde leadership. It could not be more clear.

“The storyline strips players of agency, it’s not a good feeling” — That’s literally what a storyline does. That’s what a story IS — a narrative. And in a world with a lore that is heading in a specific direction, that direction might not be yours. MMO players kind of need to prepare for this. It’s nothing new, and it’s nothing shocking.


Your epic rant/argument is set up against a terrible strawman. Nobody’s arguing that Sylvanas is not evil. The problem is that she has always been written and described as cold and pragmatic evil, and yet suddenly, she became this cartoonish, moustache-twirling, over the top irrational villain. That’s the character assassination right there.

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting code.))

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Alex Willis

If this much drama is over “character nuance”, then that is a LOT of tears over not very much at all. The shift from “cold and pragmatic evil” to “moustache-twirling” is a shift, sure, but it’s not from good-to-bad. It’s One Kind of Bad to Another Kind of Bad. Hardly a tectonic upheaval.

((Edited by mod since the original post was cleaned up.))


wow rosieposie…..what’s with the insults over a post?


“The storyline strips players of agency, it’s not a good feeling” — hmm… okay… I’m the author of this article. I don’t totally disagree with you — while I’ll admit that MMO storylines often strip players of their agency, I don’t agree that this is a ‘natural’ state of MMO stories. I’d argue that the promise of a game vs almost any other type of narrative, is that the player has some choice (agency). But agency in an MMO is quite tricky, since it restricts the developers’ narrative choices, sometimes many years down the line.

But I don’t think that restricting player’s agency is a good solution to narrative quandaries. If someone had told me 12 years ago that playing a Tauren Druid would mean burning a World Tree, perhaps I would not have chosen it. Now, the option is to drop a character I’ve played for more than a decade and reroll, or ….?

That’s what a story IS — a narrative. And in a world with a lore that is heading in a specific direction, that direction might not be yours

Yeah, that’s basically the ‘real world’, and is a reason I’m more interested in inhabiting MMOs atm.

Castagere Shaikura

The last time i played Wow was maybe two years. So have no dog in this hunt. But i never got into the stories because watching the latest trailer was interesting. I have no clue as to who any of those characters were. But watching all these people get mad has been fun. I really dislike main story lines in mmo’s. I have never like any of them and i don’t think mmo’s really need them.

IronSalamander8 .

I was pleasantly surprised at how fun BfA has been. I got to see a heavy goblin presence in a mission I did to the Kul Tiran lands (Bilgewater represent!), love the Zandalar capital city, unlike most MMO ‘cities’ it feels like a city and not a collection of huts or a single city block, and lots of sidequests! The pre-expansion stories had too many flaws to enjoy but the game itself has been great fun.

Also I love the new demonology. You can get so many demons at once it reminds me of the Mastermind class in CoV. I even got Prince Melchazzar to show up randomly once!

Edit: Also since I’ve never been that invested in the WoW storyline in the first place, my dislike of the current direction has little impact on my play time. I never expect good writing in the game so when I don’t get it, it’s not a surprise anyway. I just enjoy the game until I get bored and then unsub and play something else.


As a WoW outsider this whole “incident” has looked like a total win for Blizzard.
I think they have done a great thing here with their story.
I must admit I’m a little bit confused by much of the outcry from people over the turn in the story.
Correct me if I’m wrong but Sylvanas, who is far from virtuous, lost her cookies one day and burned down the tree of life.

What a great plot twist!

As for people who want to see a “redemption arc” for Sylvanas …. why?
Why can’t a villain be a villain?


The story is great.

((Edited by mod. Please review the commenting code.))

David Blair

I’d argue that the problem isn’t with the story, but the storytelling. In-game cinemas, the Warbringer animatics, the true cinematics, then the external to the game novellas, and web comic. With certain things staged 7 days apart that didn’t improve the telling of the story. They need to stop or severely pull back on the fragmentation next time.


The Horde and Alliance just teamed up to destroy the Legion and Blizzard wanted a PvP expansion. They had to do something extreme to get us hating each other again. This has been the best marketed expansion yet with everyone writing about what is going on in the World of Warcraft.

Blizzard are the masters of controlling the market for a reason


I like what Blizzard is doing with Sylvanas and don’t think it is bad writing at all. If it wasn’t for Jaina turning up (which even the Alliance didn’t know about) she would have wiped out most of the Alliance leadership and crippled them for years. She also managed to secure all of Kalimdor for the Horde along with a rich supply of a powerful new resource. If she was successful in Lordaeron she would have managed to do something that no other Horde leader has managed. She is definitely playing the ends justify the means game and she isn’t a traditional Horde leader as in she doesn’t value honor above all but she does place the Horde above all and will do whatever it takes to make sure that the Horde not only survives for years to come but is the dominate force in Azeroth.