Blizzard talks up ‘meaningful choices’ in World of Warcraft’s story

    
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Oh, good. This was really smart.

Did you still have any hopes about the story of World of Warcraft in this expansion? Did you think the writers would somehow pull out an amazing last-minute twist that somehow addresses all of the plot inconsistencies and feels satisfying? Yeah, that was never likely, but it’s even less likely in light of the most recent interview over on Polygon, in which lead producer Ray Cobo and senior concept artist Jimmy Lo all but outright state that Sylvanas will no longer be Warchief and players will always be the good guys.

While talking up meaningful choices being made by players, for some reason.

The emphasis is put on understanding the reasons behind the choices, but a great deal of time is spent explaining how players will need to choose a side while also acknowledging that the Horde cannot be actively evil as it is under Sylvanas. It’s kind of baffling. Then again, this is also an interview claiming that the current Horde leadership is full of new characters when the two characters mentioned (Saurfang and Sylvanas) have been in the game since launch. So… yeah.

Source: Polygon; thanks to Serrenity for the tip!

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Ironwu

I made my ‘meaningful choice’. Canceled my subscription.

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rafael12104

My first laugh of the day. Thank you. Lol

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Cosmic Cleric

Yeah, me too. I helped that turtle make it to that button today.

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Arcanum Zero

Okay, I’ve read this Polygon article through twice and I don’t see where Blizzard says Saurfang is guaranteed to come out on top.

The quotes the authors give specifically don’t include that statement, or anything that can be construed in that way without the benefit of the Polygon author’s leading text. This seems like a major oversight, if such a statement or strong implication were actually made.

I read this article as /Polygon/ having a preferred way for this to turn out for the Horde, and having inferred from intentionally vague statements that Blizzard has the same desires.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not impressed by Blizzard’s writing in BfA. I’m not defending them and I don’t think they’re going to execute this well. I just don’t see the smoking gun in this interview that everyone else seems to.

I think it is vanishingly unlikely that more of the Horde comes out in favor of Sylvannas than Saurfang, given this choice, but if that does happen I am hard pressed to believe that even Blizzard could fail to recognize that Sylvannas’ victory, and not Saurfang’s, would be the best choice for both their game and its fanbase.

If nothing else, Sylvannas’ Horde ends the mealymouthed are-we/aren’t-we war rhetoric in WoW, which is good for everyone. It wouldn’t be my choice, but it would be better.

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Mallus

I canceled my subscription when I found out the main story was locked behind mythic dungeons…
They’re attempting to force everyone into playing mythic, you know the part of the game that a minority of the WoW population actually plays.
The problem with Mythic is the extreme elitism, where groups will refuse to accept you if certain criteria is not met.

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Randy Savage

When players accused Blizz of pulling another Garrosh with Sylvanas, Blizz said “no, no, just wait until the story unfolds.” Now they’re saying the story’s going to unfold into another Garrosh? Brilliant.

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mysecretid

I confess, I’m shaking my head a lot lately as Blizzard continues to shoot itself in the foot while attempting to do what looks like public-relations “damage control”.

What gets me the most, perhaps, is that given World of Warcraft‘s enduring popularity and familiarity, they don’t really have to be stunningly innovative or surprising and daring in their storytelling.

WoW’s one job, if you will, (cue the memes here) is simply to “keep on keepin’ on” — to continue to provide more of that specific flavor of game known as World of Warcraft to the people who enjoy it.

Sure, it would be exciting if they could do wild and impressive things with the game’s storyline and play mechanics, but the truth is, at this point, they don’t have to …

People already like WoW as it is, despite its flaws, and they evidently like it a lot.

Blizzard’s only real necessary priority at this point is to keep adding more playable content on an ongoing basis, and to observe the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rule.

And yet, Blizzard seems to keep falling down on that last point. They keep tinkering with story elements and game mechanics no one asked them to meddle with, and then they seem surprised when the playerbase reacts negatively, and people cancel their subscriptions.

Maybe it’s true what they say … that you can never get a true perspective on something when you’re inside of it?

Just some random musings. Feel free to ignore.

Cheers,

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Jack Kerras

Blizzard’s MMO has not one single time held up any internal system intended to improve agency for players.

Not one jot of cool shit for crafters, ever, it’s just Yet Another Accrual System, but with inventory requirements. No making things and naming them. No building a house. No markets, no black market, no real trading, just the bullshit economy you can build when only the things that aren’t cool items ever go up for sale.

Sure, you have to trade for potion materials, but that’s basically just a brainless grind and an amount of spending time on your crafting screen. Nothing about creativity, agency, or anything to draw a crafter-archetype’s interest.

Nothing about World of Warcraft has ever meant meaningful choice to anyone. You get led by the nose through a story. You kill the bosses you’re supposed to kill. Your numbers get bigger until the designed point at which they are no longer meant to grow, at which point you get a patch that adds a new boss that’s hard. That’s the whole game, and its stat numbers and money numbers have gotten so fucking crazy mudflated that they’ve collapsed on themselves more than once.

The meaningful choice is whether or not to stay on the treadmill, full fucking stop.

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Bannex

Choose a side? Honestly, I am kinda curious. They going to get rid of horde and alliance?

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Schmidt.Capela

From the linked article, it seems to be Horde players choosing between Sylvanas and Saurfang. Though the article also suggests that the end result is already decided, and this specific player choice won’t matter at all in how the expansion will develop.

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Dominick Critelli

Yeah it won’t, the end result is Saurfang.

Basically when the test first launched a bunch of players were pissed off because the game forced them to side with Saurfang, there was no choice whatsoever. So, Blizz decided to actually listen to feedback and changed it up so that we could pick who to side with…except, the fact the original version of the quest was Saurfang only pretty much tells you who the players are intended to side with/who will win in the end.

Hopefully they take a lesson from this and don’t lay down the foundation for absolutely everything before the expansion is even finished going forward but, this is Blizz we’re talking about, meaningful choices is an oxymoron with them.

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blue touchpaper123

Faction unification seems like the ultimate conclusion to the World of Warcraft story to me , once they do that then it’s pretty much game over for that time period in Azeroth .

If they are going down this road it would be better to develop WoW 2 set maybe a few hundred years in the future where the Horde and the Alliance are facing a new threat that requires unification and they can start afresh and properly introduce it throughout the game world rather than as an expansion .

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Weilan

It would make most sense if WoW 2 is set in the past in Pre-Sundering Kalimdor.

The story of WoW after WOTLK has been a pathetic joke and they’ve been pulling it out of their asses, because after WOTLK, the game has been pushing the story, not the other way around.

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Danny Smith

In theory its a nice idea. Knowing Blizzard however introducing it this late in the games lifespan seems more like another “We have to come up with something to interest people again!” shot in the dark.

As usual with modern wow i expect the worst, hope for the best.

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rafael12104

And…

Nathan 200x150.gif
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Rolan Storm

:D :D :D So very fitting. :D

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Utakata

…remember Blizz use to refer it as “an illusion of choice”. /le sigh

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Arcanum Zero

To be fair, while it sounds /terrible/, the illusion of choice is a real, valuable tool in interactive media. The problem is that you can’t lean on it, and you can’t let the player see behind the curtain, and MMOGs are specifically designed to do both.

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David Blair

I was joking with my wife that a year into WoW classic they should just have the server diverge into a different direction with a different expansion and have it follow it’s own timeline to blow everyone’s minds… just kick it off with a giant dead turtle washing up on Durotar. No survivors… go from there…

Serrenity
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Serrenity

giant dead turtle washing up on Durotar

This is slightly (alot) horrifying haha

Serrenity
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Serrenity

I read this and literally said out loud, “uh…what??” because nothing in that article made any sense.