World of Warcraft Shadowlands is getting a prequel novel called Shadows Rising

    
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World of Warcraft Shadowlands is getting a prequel novel called Shadows Rising

If for some reason you’re still really hoping that Blizzard will pull some good storytelling in World of Warcraft, maybe point your eyeballs to the novels instead of the game itself for something super satisfying. Blizzard fansite Blizzard Watch recently published a chunk of the newest novel, Shadows Rising, which’ll lead us in to the Shadowlands expansion later this year. Promo material for the book, which is penned by Madeleine Roux and expected to hit shelves on July 14th, calls it the “official prequel novel” for the new content. Apparently, among the cast of characters is Zekhan himself.

“‘The Horde is nothing!’ With those infamous words, Sylvanas Windrunner betrayed and abandoned the Horde she vowed to serve. The Dark Lady and her forces now work in the shadows as both the Horde and Alliance, including her own sister, Alleria, race to uncover her next move. Struggling to shoulder the crushing weight of leadership, King Anduin entrusts the void elf and High Exarch Turalyon to uncover Sylvanas’s whereabouts. The Horde now stands at a crossroads. The various factions form a council, leaving the mantle of warchief to rest. Thrall, Lor’themar Theron, Baine Bloodhoof, First Arcanist Thalyssra, and many other familiar faces rise to this new challenge. But the threats are numerous, and the distrust runs too deep.”

One poster on Icy Veins cleverly points out that by not putting lore like this directly in the game – you know, where it logically should be – the devs can “have it both ways” by quoting the books to handwave some decisions and then deeming the novels not canon whenever they introduce content the team doesn’t want to work with. Story checks out!

The excerpt itself includes spoilers, so heads-up. Also, the release date for this book does seem to push the expansion off until at least late summer if not later, which is probably what you expected anyway.

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Danny Smith

Oh good. Another book to give us more Sylvanas. I was worried we might go a few months without western Lightning showing up.

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Kherova

Can’t even tell you how much I hate having the story in the book instead of the game!

Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

Help to Free Hong Kong then, Blizzard, and put your money where your “rising” is.

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Robert Mann

Back when WoW hit it big and first did this, some people I know read the novels and thought that suddenly the writing would improve. Instead it just kinda didn’t matter. The novels really didn’t give you reliable background for the exact reasoning noted in this article. They were better than the in-game stuff, which didn’t improve.

Where on occasion IF you read the books you apparently get to understand things better, at other times you are left looking at the in-game mess and thinking “Why in all that exists did they choose this over what was in the book?”

The answer is the same one that has plagued so much of gaming. The developers make a story, and the writers just get to try to shoehorn some sense into things. Instead of working with a good writer and making a great story throughout the game (which occasionally happens, and is usually pretty darn good).

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Josh

Oh good another tie in novel in which Blizzard will sequester story critical information I’m sure.

Oh goody more Nathanos and Sira. I see we’re still in the business of p&^^ing on Night Elf fans and calling it rain.

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Hurbster

A full-price game with a sub and you have to buy extra stuff to get the full story.

sigh…

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Bruno Brito

I’ve read the preview.

Weak. It’s literally Zekhan being used as a plot mover and both Talanji and Thrall acting like something completely different than what they should be.

It’s another “the Horde is breaking apart” bs. I’ve grown tired at this point. Just end the damn faction if it bothers you.

By the way, Zekhan admiring Talanji was weird. He just lost a mentor, the Horde is under turmoil, and everyone is worried about Sylvanas. Why are they trying to force a relationship between them?

Oh, i know. It’s the leverage that Blizzard wants when they need to pull the breaks on this “Tsunde-lanji”.

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Bruno Brito

That’s because the story of Warcraft ended with Arthas sitting on the frozen throne. After that they’ve been pulling from between their their butt cheeks to come up with a story for already created expansions.

Debatable. The main story i agree. They still have decent side storytelling, and some of the most auxiliary cast are still great characters. Greymane, for instance. So is Shawn, Calia and Malfurion.

The problem is that the main plot is simplistic, cheap and uses fan favourite characters as moving cogs for the plot. Sylvanas being this moustache-twirling villain is stupid because she was always secretive and sharp.

There’s also the problem with the fact that nothing we did in BfA sticks. We’ll still have factions.

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Loopy

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Bruno Brito

Basically.

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Danny Smith

What happens when you run out of logical reasons to push your sports team meathead faction warfare story anymore and so you just have to keep flip flopping a switch between facist murderfactory regime and noble savages lacking direction. Because thats all the horde will ever be to keep giving reasons for them not to dissolve or have all the other factions, not just alliance but everyone they fuck over in their cyclical goosestep periods, to straight up wipe them out.

No doubt in Shadowlands they will appear all noble savage again then the expansion after watch Lor’themar turn out to be working for whatever 18th times the charm world ending apocalypse noneentity and take control of the horde and make them militant, genocidal monsters again.

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Sorenthaz

Before the Storm was a really good read IMO, so this might be worth a read as well.

But of course they were going to do this. They always have pre-expansion novels to try and bridge story elements that lead up to the upcoming expasion. Will be interesting I guess if they bother to go into Sylvanas’s psyche at all or not.

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Jaymes Buckman

When have they ever said the novels aren’t canon?

Bereman
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Bereman

It’s less an outright admitting that the novels aren’t canon and more simply ignoring things in the novels when putting together in-game content.

Notable example would be the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Theramore, where Jaina goes in alone and finds the Focusing Iris along with some pretty traumatic experiences of finding the remains of very close friends that dissolve into crystalized dust when touched…

Versus going in with the players in-game, sounding pretty calm about the whole thing, and fighting off Horde NPCs to recover the Focusing Iris, then teleporting away to do stuff.

Sometimes it’s the follow-up events/aftermath in-game that reference things having happened differently than in the books.

So…they just don’t treat the novel events as canon if they decide to do something different in-game. This wouldn’t really be an issue if the story was better told and represented in-game instead of putting these major moments in novels…but apparently they don’t want players to have to read a lot of text in-game or view too many cutscenes to experience the story…which means, due to that choice, the presentation of story is hobbled from the start, even without adding in how they put these major character and lore moments in stuff outside of the game.

And as far as I know, they are the only ones that are doing it that way. GW2? FFXIV? ESO? Even where writing is rough or presentation is lacking, all the story you need for those games is entirely within the game.

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Malcolm Swoboda

All of those games (barring arguably GW2, maybe) have better writing than WoW.

Bereman
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Bereman

I agree.

But even if they didn’t, my point was that the writing is in the game (barring the occasional side story that isn’t important to the plot), versus putting major elements of it into novels like WoW had been doing for the last several years.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Oh I just wanted to say it lol

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Sorenthaz

It’s more like they probably write stuff for the expansion ahead of the novel or the novel is being worked on while coming up with the expansion story. Hence why usually the novel doesn’t touch too much on actual expansion stuff and more just lays out groundwork or focuses on a time period that’s before the expansion during the downtime after the main story in the MMO winds down ’til the next expac.