Monday, 18 November 2013

Hey Stoopid

Blizzcon provided a large amount of information, and for those that did not attend or watch the virtual event, it is safe to say we are finally catching up. One small item that slipped my attention is about the Warcraft film, due to my interest being solely based around the game and not the various multi-media surrounding the game.

I was first alerted by the Instance Podcast, when Scott Johnson was disappointed by the Blizzcon panel and the lack of definite details being released. The film is still under tight control, but it appears that the storyline according to Wowpedia is:

"BlizzCon 2013 featured an entire panel on the movie. They revealed that the story was going to be around the time of Warcraft 1, and that the focus was going to be on Anduin Lothar and Durotan, as they felt it was important to portray both the Alliance and Horde. Concept art was shown of Dalaran, Stormwind, Ironforge, and Draenor."

The penny final drops that the reason for the convoluted time travel/time bubble storyline is a complete tie in with the film. The storyline for WoD looks very sloppy and is shoehorned into the game to make the film look more palatable. If you want to see exactly how flimsy the storyline is then I suggest that you read Anne Stickney over at WoW Insider.

I have borrowed the diagram drawn by Anne to emphasize the point.

Is this the biggest load of bunkum storytelling you have seen for some time? Not only do they go back in time, they change history and then somehow move the entire alternate world to a different timeline. Even Stephen King would not be so bold.

We have already dallied with time in the Caverns of Time, and the Cataclysm heroics, End Time, Well of Eternity and Hour of Twilight. Blizzard have given up with the idea of an entire continent that can be shrouded by mist, or an Island that comes and goes as it fancies. We are left with the most inconceivable plot line because it ties in with the future release of a film. Quite frankly I am a little appalled at this.

Will it affect the game and will I stop playing? No of course not, but this is nothing more than rampant commercialism. I have heard people saying that the subscriptions will rocket in the face of the new expansion. I think the answer is that nothing will ultimately stop the game sliding into obscurity. At the end of the day nobody would ever have anticipated peak figures of 11 million or that the game would last more than 10 years but it will continue to decline unless the film is a huge commercial success, the new expansion is simply paving the way for the film.

The plotline might be transparent in the extreme, but personally I am interested to see how the lessons of the current expansion are improved upon, and the long awaited Garrisons feature will more than keep me occupied.


  1. I don't have the first clue (or care) about how/if/why the WoD time travel plot intersects with the movie, I only care about how it impacts the game.

    Speaking only for myself, the chart that Anne provided is pretty much exactly how I originally interpreted what was going to happen... to a rough approximation, Garrosh goes back in time, changes stuff there (that since it happens there isn't noticed here), time passes, he ends up back at today (either naturally - he's now that much older - or via a similar trick to what got him back there in the first place) and is going to attack us. We wouldn't notice since nothing that he's doing has any impact here. All we know is that he's gone and suddenly he's back with troops.

    Made sense to me then, makes sense to me now, it doesn't seem to be at odds with anything else that's happened in the game... I mean, we kill the same high-ranking bosses every week and they somehow come back to life every Tuesday/Wednesday morning, that alone is 100x more improbable than anything that WoD is dealing with from a time travel perspective.

    All I care about is a good story, either they pull it off or they don't and it's way too early to be predicting that. The time travel thing is just a detail, it's not something the average player who isn't steeped in lore will even really need to care about.

    Or at least, that's how I see it... could be right, could be wrong, it's still really early in the process.

  2. I think the story is basically motivated by two goals:

    1. Go to Draenor before it changed to Outland (benefit: don't have to create new continent)
    2. Continue, plausibly or no, from the story in MoP (benefit: don't have jarring transition or random Draenor appearing out of nowhere)

    So you can imagine a meeting wherein someone says something like:

    "We want an expansion in Draenor, but how do we get there from here given that it is destroyed, and might break immersion if it were suddenly available again without explanation?"

    And then the fateful reply:

    "Well we have Garrosh and that whole thing, so what if he, like, went back in time or something?"

    And then it was nearing lunchtime, so there you go.

  3. The whole thing is just very lazy story telling. Having read R who is always the voice of reason, ultimately as long as the game is good, does it matter how we got there.

    Thankfully I am not a Lore Nerd so I have no need to rationalise the process, just enjoy the ride. Hopefully it is going to be a good one.

  4. Just to tag on a bit to this, some recent TFH posts at WI seem to be proposing that this type of timeline plot has been set up for a LONG time in the current lore. Assuming there's at least a kernel of accuracy in those speculation posts this could be some of the more impressive storytelling I've seen in a video game... so hold off on the lazy talk until they tie the threads together. :) I just hope it's done in-game and not in a novel...

    That they probably DID have a "how do we get back to Draenor?" discussion doesn't really change that, either, my guess is that they've had a general plan in mind for a timeline story and were just waiting for the opportunity to use it... and they pulled the trigger when they decided to go to Draenor.

    One other thought - aside from what we're getting, the other likely story candidate for Draenor would be to have Garrosh go back and for us to literally follow him in time and we end up in Draenor of old. The ACTUAL time travel expansion that some think that we're getting here. Of the two, I much prefer the story they seem to have decided on (let Garrosh be the one to time travel, we'll just deal with the fallout).

    The other nifty potential side-effect of WoD is that, unless I'm missing something, Outlands will "no longer exist" going forward for our >70 toons, we'll still remember leveling through Outlands but the other portal is now the new Draenor (and they'll of course give us a way to get back to Outlands but that'll be more of a game mechanic thing than an in-game lore one). Considering how much I *HATE* leveling through 60-68 (I do as few levels there as possible) on alts these days, there's some karmic justice for me incoming. Bring it on.