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Lore, backstory. Does it still matter?Follow

#1 Apr 22 2013 at 12:18 AM Rating: Good
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I'm new to WoW, but I loved the old Warcraft games. I played them mostly for the storyline. Blizzard did an excellent job in the story I felt (especially with Warcraft III), but in my experience so far with WoW, it doesn't seem as if the story matters so much anymore. I find that I do quest after quest only looking for more loot. Nothing that I do with my character affects anything or anyone, and everyone else only seems to care about getting to endgame to do raids and such. Half of the time, I can't even determine what the main quest or plot is.
My question is: am I the only one? What do you guys think? Does the Lore and story of Warcraft still matter? Does it match up to the narrative displayed in Warcraft III?
#2 Apr 22 2013 at 4:38 AM Rating: Excellent
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Yes. It does still matter.

However it has had to move on in directions they have not always handled sensibly.

Some of what you are complaining of is down to the difference between a single-player game and an MMO. There are places where what you do changes the game around you but phasing is a very blunt tool. In a single player game you can actually destroy things because you are the only one they were there for anyway. In an MMO they have to be back in place for the next person trying to do the quest. This can break immersion significantly at times

The other aspect of people being gear conscious and end-game oriented is just how MMOs tend to be. For some people it is more of an "eSport" than an RPG.

However in most zones and levels there is a driving questline that progresses the story. Amid the mindless "Kill 10 X" and "Collect 12 Y" there are some really good, sometimes funny quests.

The other thing that has twisted lore is the same one that distorts lore in any series. Sequels demand superlatives. The top villain of the original WoW has to be surpassed by those in the next expansion. And we have now had 4 expansions. Personally I think it is a tribute to the people creating the lore that it is not more deranged.

I know that lore nuts will moan about how illogical it has become but I still find enough there to enjoy and wonder about. Only yesterday I was swimming around the Ruins of Vash'ji and reading the plaques of the statues. I'm sure if I researched them I'd find volumes on who they were and what they did - and possibly why it is inappropriate for the statues to be there. I'm just happy to find the appearance of depth.

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#3 Apr 22 2013 at 5:42 AM Rating: Excellent
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Lore still matters if you want it to matter and read up on it (for example in the many books that are scattered across Azeroth). But you can also play the game while ignoring most of it. It's a matter of playstyle and preferences.
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#4 Apr 22 2013 at 9:22 AM Rating: Excellent
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Nothing that I do with my character affects anything or anyone, and everyone else only seems to care about getting to endgame to do raids and such.


You're arguing two different things: does lore matter to players, and does it matter in the story. Does knowing the name of Doomhammer's weapon matter in a raid? Of course not (Oh man, but imagine if it did! You run to the wrong tile to answer a question and DIE!). It doesn't matter to players if you're a master of WoW lore. But within the game, it certainly matters. MoP shows this better than any expansion so far; since phasing was introduced in WotLK, the world DOES change based on what you do with quests. In MoP, the Jade Forest may change radically. And each patch that's released alters the landscape; 5.1 changed Karasang in huge ways, and 5.3 will change the Vale of Eternal Blossoms as well as Durotar and Orgrimmar.

You can be as invested in the lore or as meta as you like. Lore matters to players who care about lore, and it doesn't to those who don't.
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#5 Apr 22 2013 at 11:04 AM Rating: Good
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Relevant.
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#6 Apr 22 2013 at 12:00 PM Rating: Good
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Some of what you are complaining of is down to the difference between a single-player game and an MMO. There are places where what you do changes the game around you but phasing is a very blunt tool. In a single player game you can actually destroy things because you are the only one they were there for anyway.

This is an excellent point I hadn't considered before. I guess that a world changing narrative just isn't feasible in an MMO like it is in a single player rpg.
The rest of you also make a good point. I guess WoW had to aim its interests at both genres of gamers: those who care about the story, and those who care about meta.
I guess a better question would have been this: do you think the style of game necessary to make an MMO successful hurts the story aspect? In a game full of players aimed only at meta goals, do the players seeking to be a part of the narrative and understand the World of Warcraft suffer? In a game where the lore becomes so easy to ignore, does the story script lose its power?
The story just mattered so much more in Warcraft III than it seems to in WoW. I know that lore matters to lore seekers, but with how easy they made it to simply ignore, does it really have bearing at all? Many of my friends just level up in dungeons, rarely stopping to see the quests.
Thanks for the insight on this guys. I truly am curious to see what players think of the game.
#7 Apr 22 2013 at 12:22 PM Rating: Excellent
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The story telling is a little disjointed these days because they redid the 20-60 zones as well as some of the 1-20 areas too during the Cataclysm expansion so the 'story' from 1-60 reflects a post-Cataclysm viewpoint and the 60-80 content takes place before the Cataclysm so I am sure it feels weird to anyone new to the game.

I think the storytelling is there but the overall story is kind of faint in the 1-60 experience now. The little stories in each zone do support the overall lore but they don't push it too hard. In Outland you start off with the usual stuff and you don't really feel much like a hero until the later zones (which are often skipped nowdays because they made leveling through the 1-85 experience faster). In Northrend it's pretty much the same though npcs refer to you as a hero right from the start but you don't really feel like you are making a big difference until the later zones of that area. Cataclysm involves several separate zones each with its own storyline and some of those zones do have 'permanant' changes that happen because of the player's actions though those changes are only seen by characters who have done the quest lines leading up to the changes. Each expansion does tell it's own story and is focused on leading you to the end boss/raid of that expansion.

Many players don't have much of an interest in the story and are only interested in getting to max level as soon as possible and they only do what is necessary to gear up for raids or arena or battlegrounds depending on what facet of the game they prefer. WoW does cater somewhat to these people in allowing them alternatives to straight quest leveling but if you are a true story/quest/lore nut, there is a lot in this game to keep you busy. You just have to sometimes let yourself slow down and take a little extra time to finish off quest chains and zones even if you find yourself outleveling them. The main focus of the game will always be the newest expansion and they will always be giving people shortcuts to bypass old content that most of them have already done on their mains but that doesn't mean you can't just take your time to see everything even if you just make an alt to do all the exploring while your main races to 90 for the raids.
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#8 Apr 22 2013 at 8:59 PM Rating: Good
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I truly am curious to see what players think of the game.


I'd guess that since you describe yourself as new to WOW, you haven't hit 90 yet or haven't been there long. Once you get there, you'll see a new aspect of story telling, scenarios. I gather that those are being tweaked in a future patch so that you can do them for lore once, and skip some of the lore for repeated runs. Even now, they have a cinematic that sets up the scenario and it can be skipped so that you don't have to watch it 10,000 times. Scenarios may give you more of what you want.

Still too much blood in my coffee stream. Edited for clarity, fail noted.

Edited, Apr 22nd 2013 11:03pm by Rhodekylle
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#9 Apr 26 2013 at 3:12 PM Rating: Excellent
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WoWInquirer wrote:

I guess a better question would have been this: do you think the style of game necessary to make an MMO successful hurts the story aspect? In a game full of players aimed only at meta goals, do the players seeking to be a part of the narrative and understand the World of Warcraft suffer? In a game where the lore becomes so easy to ignore, does the story script lose its power?

I think it's another "Three design goals, choose at most two" situation:
- Characters are involved in world-important events
- Characters' choices matter
- The world is persistent for all characters

Single-player games choose 1&2 by default. MMOs are stuck with the other two permutations.

Phasing technology helps to alleviate #3, but its existence gets lampshaded when you get two characters down different legs of the Trousers of Time (i.e. my hunter can mail a package from Dalaran where Jaina destroyed the Sunreavers and have it received five minutes later by my Paladin in Dalaran which is fundamentally unchanged since the end of WotLK).
#10 Apr 27 2013 at 7:06 PM Rating: Good
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The story in Starcraft is stellar, especially Heart of the Swarm.

The story line in Diablo was mediocre, but it was mainly just an excuses to kill legions of hellfiends.

The story in Warcraft, especially WoW has been epic to terrible to nonsensical and back. It has been retconned, ignored, and restored more times than are worth counting. If you look at the broad brush strokes of story and stop nit picking over the details it is pretty alright. While the actual novelization of Arthas was pulp and tash, the story in the games and lore of a noble person falling in the attempt to do what they think is right and help those around them is timeless, though done much better in Breaking Bad :P.
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