Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When lore isn't covered in game.

I have made no bones about my love of reading. It has gotten to the point that the Platewarer has decided I need a Kindle. The hope is that it will some how limit the number of physical books that enter our home so we can get rid of a few of the book cases...he is rather optimistic in my opinion.  That being the case it never fails to shock me how LITTLE reading goes on within the Wow community.  This past week when the Hour of Twilight patch dropped I was provided with endless hours of entertainment by nothing more than fellow players who had no clue what was going on because they could not be bothered to read any of the information provided OUTSIDE of the immediate game.

Here are some examples, all of which are completely serious and true. One individual could not understand why Blizzard named the patch in honor of the Twilight movies, that was "just taking the whole Pop Culture thing to far".  Another told us all that at the end of the Raid Thrall was going to turn into the new Aspect of Earth because "secretly he had always wanted to be a dragon".  Finally we have the individual who must be related to Wowcendor's Gogo guy, because he just couldn't understand why all the rogues in his raid wanted the chance to reset Hagara rather than just killing her outright. "It is all about the loot right?"

As one of my guild mates stated "I don't even read the quests, you expect me to read a short story to know what is going on?"  Short stories, patch notes, novels, Magna, even cinematics, Blizzard has come up with a plethora of ways to extend their story lines and expand their character development. However the vast majority of them happen outside of the game itself. What this means is that the majority of players really don't know what is going or why. Even when things happen IN game, it doesn't necessarily help.

Take Thrall's personal motivations. Patch 4.2 started out with an extensive quest chain that did nothing more than look at Thrall's deepest desires. There is a belief that the most excruciating torture a person could ever endure is to have their deepest secrets expose to the world and that is what Thrall had happen. Yet the vast majority TOTALLY missed the significance of that.  In the words of our friend the "GOgo guy" it was "all about the loot" and the rush to the end. Thrall's personal desire for peace, a family, a NORMAL life were lost as individual players imposed THEIR interpretation of his ambitions on to him.  This frequently obliterates the actual story Blizzard is attempting to create.

Varian, Gorrosh, and  Sylvanas are others that have under gone major lore changes outside of the game or at the very least have had the changes in their attitudes explained. Not to mention the alterations to the world itself in the precursor to the Cataclysm. Next year we will have Christie Golden's Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War Novel which will explain all about the destruction of Theramore and the discovery of Pandaria, something that has already been hinted at again outside the game in Charge of the Aspects by Matt Burns, Blizzards most recent official short story.

So does this really impact the average persons enjoyment of the game? That is open to discussion. Those of us who want to know will take the time to look for the actual information and I truly believe benefit from it. Our friend the Gogo guy, couldn't care less. Blizzard could name the final boss of the Mist of Pandaria "George the Bounce" and he wouldn't even notice unless said boss fails to drop his Tier helm. Now this isn't to say that there would not be a general out cry all over the forums, oh no, trolls spew forth much venom all the time. As to the knowledge it is based on being real or imaged? That is open to debate. 

Blizzard has done what they can to at least get the information out there. Sometimes I wish all of it WAS found at least SOMEWHERE in the game. Something like expanding on the Higher Learning and Well Read Achievements with a "Modern History" or "Post Cataclysm Writings" that has books that gave a brief over view of what all had happened for those who may not have gone back and done the new quests or read the outside of game materials. Oh well, not everyone can be a bibliophile.

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