Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's spelled L-O-R-E, not L-A-W.

I've been spending most of my spare moments working on the new blog (and it's coming along very nicely), but I had to take five to expand on the speculation about the coming expansion. We're only a few days away from Blizzcon now, so we'll find out very soon if it's true or not.. and I'm quite excited.

If you read this blog, and hate spoilers, I've probably already spoiled stuff for you earlier, so uh.. sorry about that. But just in case -


What amuses me is the number of people getting REALLY upset about the possibility of changes that go against the lore of Warcraft.

I certainly respect their opinions and their passion for the story, but what people need to understand is that lore is a history, it's not a set of rules. The past can't be changed (well, unless we head over to CoT and mess around!), but the future is an open book. Just because something has been a certain way for thousand years does not mean that it can't ever happen.

Night Elf mages: WRONG WRONG WRONG.. right?

The possibility Night Elf mages seem to be causing the biggest uproar. Evidently Night Elves can't be mages because:

From http://www.wowwiki.com/Night_Elves
Their powerful magic was recklessly unleashed by the quel'dorei,[2] who believed they were superior to other Kaldorei and practiced magics far beyond the considered norm.[citation needed] This careless use of magic may have allowed the Burning Legion to invade the world, and finally led to a catastrophic battle known as the War of the Ancients. This battle changed the face of Azeroth for all time, and resulted in the creation of the continents of the world, tearing the land apart and forming the vast nexus of energy at the center of the ocean known as the Maelstrom.

...the Well of Eternity imploded in a magical cataclysm, sending untold numbers to their doom. Many Kaldorei were dragged to the bottom of the sea, only to be twisted and transformed into the sea serpents now known as the vile naga. The catastrophe tore the continent apart into three sections, and left a permanent storm known as the Maelstrom where the well once stood. With the majority of the Highborne dead, the kaldorei turned away from their arcane legacy and began a new culture focusing on attunement with nature and their surroundings.

The TLDR version is that the Highborne dabbled in magic that they shouldn't have, which led to the destruction of the Well of Eternity, which in turn turned many of the Night Elves into Naga, tore the world into several chunks, and created the Maelstrom.

Basically: bad things happen when you play with magic.

So the Night Elves are a little shy (to say the least) when it comes to dabbling in the arcane.

But does that mean they'll never do it?

What if something REALLY big went down, and they were forced to reconsider? They are, after all, avoiding magic mostly by choice - they're not incapable of it, right? They can just change their minds, no sweat.

Oh, wait:

From http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/encyclopedia/508.xml
Afterwards, arcane magic was outlawed on pain of death, but the Highborne arrogantly continued their dangerous sorcery.

Rather than execute their defiant kindred, Tyrande and Malfurion sentenced the Highborne to exile. The exiles journeyed over the sea to Lordaeron, where they founded the kingdom of Quel'Thalas and began calling themselves high elves.

Okay, so, it's outlawed. Fair call. But if the Highborne can break the rules, is the idea of the Night Elves changing their minds really so inconceivable? Sure, it's been quite a while, they're creatures of habit now.. but is it such a massive leap that a cataclysmic event might drive them to change their ways?

Forever changed (again)

This already happened. We just weren't around to see it. Something really big DID go down, we just didn't log on until the dust had settled.

Is it time for round two?

I LOVE the idea of the world going through a massive, cataclysmic event that changes zones dramatically - destroys some, sinks some, tears some in half. That something so massive, dramatic and violent tears up the world as we know it, and the people have to rise up and find new alliances and new ways to fight back. I got goosebumps just now as I was writing that.

Posted by Irem on wow.com Aug 15th 2009
This is why I want for this to be true. As players, we've often only got Blizzard's word to go on that we've lost something. "The Scourge has killed thousands of people!" That's not our loss. Those thousands are just words on a screen. "Bolvar and Saurfang the Younger are dead!" Suddenly that's our loss because they're characters we knew and liked and will never see again.

If they really want to make us feel something powerful while changing the old world, they have to actually -change- it. Make us feel that punch in the gut when we log in and the places we leveled and played in are altered permanently, and when we realize that things we took for granted seeing every day are gone. Force us to own our place in the world by actually taking something away from us. That's the kind of immersion a time-frozen-from-character-creation game world can't provide, and I applaud Blizzard for not playing it safe, if this is all in fact true.
This. This, this, THIS.

This is exactly how I feel, and I couldn't possibly have said it any better.

Caving to the whiners, or building on the story?

Most people seem to be in one or the other camp.

Is Blizzard relenting to the whiners who want gnome healers and to fly in Azeroth, or are they putting the boot up this game and shaking it up?

Is it a lazy plot device to accommodate player wishlists, or the next step in an ever-evolving tapestry?

Is it lore-breaking, or lore-expanding?

If the speculation is true, they're going to have to spin some really fantastic stories to explain it all and make it believable. As long as it's done properly and not someone waving a wand and saying, "BOOM! Garrosh is the boss of you guys now, trolls can be druids if you want, and Night Elves got over their silly aversion to arcane magic. As you were."

As I said above though, I don't consider lore to be "the rules". I consider it to be a history book of what happened once before. Who's to say it can't change?

Phasing - oh please let it be phased

If this is all true, I have every finger and toe crossed that they use phasing. I have to say I would be very sad if the geographical changes were brought in and simply made permanent for every player, old and new. I would be sad to lose the ability to go see the old barrens, and i would miss Orgrimmar so, so much.

I hope that they leave the old world how it is for new players (and new alts), but perhaps once you hit a certain level (maybe trigged by a questline), the world changes to post-cataclysm. If it's true, I hope they put in a device like speaking to Alexstrasza at the Wrathgate - something that allows you to go up to old Orgrimmar and say "show me what happened here". This game needs more Wrathgates. That will never, ever get old, and I get goosebumps every time I watch it.

I'd love to be able to roll an alt and go see "old Orgrimmar", and take a picture and preserve it Postcards from Azeroth style.

A small, worn and neatly folded card, tucked carefully into my Orc's armor; that she might glance at it occasionally while looking over what is now left of Durotar - remembering what once was.

Oopsie, slipped into lorenerd mode for a sec..

Please Blizzard - if you're going to change the world - use your magic phasing powers for good. Make us another Wrathgate-type video to make all the little hairs on my arms stand on end.

PS - I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I jumped on the possible-Tauren-paladin bandwagon and reserved "Holycao" (which is a play on the name of my first druid, Caoimhe). I couldn't resist!

Bring on Blizzcon, and the truth!


Sylveria said...

Well from my understanding Blizzard has added stuff to WoW that ended up changing the lore. I think Draeneis are an example of that.. from what I heard from a friend. So I guess it wouldn't be surprising if NE mages came to exist in WoW. Although Blizz came up with the lore so they are allowed to change it if they want.. it is their game and all. :P

I kinda hope most of the leaks aren't the truth so I can be surprised at Blizzcon when they announce stuff. :)

Can't wait for Blizzcon. I leave Wednesday! :D

Danny said...

EXACTLY!!! I love you so much for this post. I agree with damn near everything you've said here (though I'm not 100% sold on all of the "leaks" myself). I've gotten so sick of the "NELF MAGES!?!?!?!? DDD:" whining the past few days it's not even funny.

Troll druids are a MUCH bigger lore transgression, IMO. Are they gonna bring Cenarius back from the dead or something? IDGI.

Kayeri said...

Well, I see no reason why gnomes cant find the Light just like their close cousins, the dwarves. In fact, I'd say that for ANY race in Azeroth, so that is entirely plausible to my mind. But there are a couple of the new combos that I do have problems with...

Troll Druids are one... now before any one goes off screaming about troll haters, it's because of the cultural aspects involving blood worship that turns me off of the idea. Trolls are an ancient people with strongly established traditions... and there's never been a hint of anything druidic beyond the fact they are a forest/jungle people... so yeah, I have trouble with that one.

Dwarf shaman is the other one I have a really hard time with.... Again, its with their cultural background... It just seems quite at odds with how a shaman should be in tune with the elements...

Undead hunter seems a little odd... bonding with a living thing is a bit of an anomaly to my mind... ::chuckle:: Maybe they have to make the pet undead, too...

Notabear said...

It is all phased. Assuming the info is true.

The idea behind the Cataclysm is that we defeat Arthas and the world goes to shit.

Arthas is the most powerful being in Azeroth AT THIS TIME. He holds a lot of other baddies in check with his quest for domination

Once King Baddie loses his hold on the world, old powers start coming up to take control of what he lost. So after a short victory dance, we're off to Azeroth where we begin to uncover new foes.

The quest from 80-85 is apparently supposed to follow a questline, unlock TBC where we just kinda leveled up and more like Wrath where you actually change the world as you go.

Still, even if Lore is put into place to explain the future of Azeroth, that doesn't fix errors in common sense. Are the Tauren so pathetic and weak willed as to follow the murderer of their leader?

Does Thrall hate the Horde so much he'd leave it willingly in the hands of a war monger?

Are the Elves so scared they would lift one of the oldest bans in their history just to fight a new enemy?

I hate leaks. As excited as I am for the Cataclysm, leaks just plan piss me off.

Kayeri said...

And as regards Night Elf Mages... well, the fact is, there ARE some still around who have been in hiding for millennia, in the library in Dire Maul, and I think in one or two other places in the world... so they DO exist.

With the quest info that's been posted, I would guess they are coming out of hiding to try and warn us of the coming second Cataclysm. So when it occurs, they will win some support and its plausible some will wish to be like them... thus, the new night elf mages... or one could be created that has hidden away and is now returning to the greater world.

I do hope Blizz puts some things in about the Kirin Tor and how they will regard these Night Elf mages and want to 'bring them into the fold' and such... That could spawn some very interesting stories.

Assuming all this happens, of course.... I love speculating on lore, it is SO much fun...

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for Blizzcon! It will be exciting to see what they are going to announce =) We leave Thursday morning!!!

I honestly don't mind things being shaken up a bit...but I don't know if I'd be happy about loosing Thrall as our faction leader (if that part is true). I'm quite happy with the big green guy =)

Sean said...

I hope they use phasing, but not in the way you suggested. I would be very sad to see all those "childhood memories" of zones like the original Barrens, old Orgrimmar, old Gnomeragan (if they take it back), and other "original" zones disappear, I think that's what we would need for this to be really impacting. If we could just start a new character and see everything the way it used to be, then it wouldn't be so "cataclysmic". I think we really would need to loose everything we once knew in order for there to be a truly moving expansion. That, and I also think blizzard is trying to push for us to reroll alts... think about it: we've got herilooms (which I'm sure there will be more of), there will only be 5 levels to level in the new expansion, and to me the most convincing is that they're giving us a bunch of new race/class combinations to roll on. How can they change the entire azeroth as we know it... and then only give us 5 levels to level through all of it? I think (and hope) that there will be a whole new path to 60 and I pray that this will finally give us that feeling we all had when we were lobie little characters in our teens and 20's in a huge, mysterious world with so many mysteries and surprises around every corner. What's your take?

Erispere on Whisperwind said...

I hope that all of this is true and more. Whatever your particular take on the game, it is getting a little long-in-the-tooth. For it to have remained as spectacularly popular as it has is a testament to Blizzard's work and ingenuity.

That said, how many expansions do we really think we have left? There are only so many new continents or places you can introduce, and I truly wonder how many new subscribers WoW is adding at this point. How many people are coming to this game fresh and clueless now, almost 5 years after launch?

Which is why I love the idea of taking Azeroth and actually changing it. One of the great things about a persistent world is that it is always there, whether we are or not. But that is also it's downfall, because in this case, persistent means virtually unchanging. The same NPC's are standing in the same spots, doing the same things, day or night.

I would love to have to go back to the 'old world' and see it changed radically, and get to revisit old places with a new eye and a reason for being there. I think another expansion of more of the same will just bore people faster, so go for broke, and change it all up.

One thing that I would love to see, that we probably never will, is seasons actually changing in real time in Azeroth. I would love to see autumn in Elwynn and spring and summer in Dun Morogh. It's hard to feel Christmas-y in Stormwind when you walk out the gates and it's lush and green. ;-)

Love the blog, Keeva, and enjoyed you on Rawrcast a few weeks back - I love Brit and Aussie accents - I could listen to them talk all day!

Keeva said...

Permanently changing elements of the game is something I find really exciting. Heck, I was excited to fly over Hillsbrad and see the enormous crater left behind by Dalaran - I thought that was AWESOME.

One of my favourite things in the game is CoT, especially Hillsbrad, because I can see how things once were, before certain events in history, before wheels were set in motion to change them permanently. I love seeing Tarren Mill as a thriving farm village, before it became all gloomy and dead. And the keep, whole and undamaged - then I can go to the "real" Hillsbrad and see it destroyed and run down.

I was so excited to hear about CoT Strat - I was just sorely disappointed that I couldn't explore the zone around it! I wanted to get my bearings and say, "oh, okay, so this is where all those ghouls are, and here's where the great big fungus area is, and this is that big corrupted lake..."

I find it fascinating, and I wish there were more things like this in the game, where we can see how things were before some big battle or event that changed them forever. Or going back a few decades and seeing towns we know as small villages, just starting. Lands that are ravaged in the present, lush farmlands in the past.

I'd love to see more CoT type instances where we can be present to see some of the major events in WoW lore. Not necessarily with a view to putting our noses in and messing around with history.. but I'd really loved to be able to be "there" when the big stuff goes down. I loved doing the Wrathgate Undercity stuff (both Alliance and Horde). I want more events like that! I want to get involved (even if it's just as a spectator, really) in the major events.

That's why I would really love to see it phased, but unchanged for new characters, so that we can go back and explore how things once were.

But honestly, I will understand if it's not phased and they just make it a permanent change. It really will be a huge deal to me to lose Orgrimmar, though.

Danny said...

@Kayeri, Dwarf shamans are already in the lore. Look up the Wildhammer clan. They're feral and much more primal than their cousins.

Sydera said...

I feel exactly zero allegiance to Warcraft "lore" and "history."

It's a story that a collection of "authors" wrote--apparently with little thought or attention to character, grammar, or sense. It can be unwritten in a moment (hopefully with better style and less proper nouns).

My main beef with the lore of Warcraft is that, as a longtime fan of fantasy literature, I find it totally unreadable. This genre can be so much better than the literary pieces Blizzard gives its players would have us believe. Blizzard needs to hire an actual novelist to fix it all. Their plots are an absolute undisciplined mess.

It's a shame, because the world is rather nice with its different areas and populations. Some characters--like Kael'Thas for example--actually have some potential. I think a good bit of cleanup in the actual "lore pages" and documents would go a long way toward me actually paying any attention to the various shenanigans of the Highborne and other such story notions.

Melissa said...

I hope that, if they do have to change the old world, it happens as you say, as an event of a quest line that one has to complete at level, oh I don't know, 81. Because without the old world trials (that, if I'm understanding correctly, have been nerfed already), how would a young player, or new alt, experience and level.

I would be sad to see all new players coming into the game thinking "Is this what all the hype was about?". No, it's not the status of the land itself that is special, it's the change after playing that would be the real "kick in the gut and make you feel something" moment.

Either that, or new players should be warned that they much buy expansions TBC and WotLK first and play to end BEFORE installing the new expansion.

Ikuturso said...

First, it seems MMO-Champion might have been "had". ( http://bwtl.wordpress.com/ )

Secondly, why the MMO people insist on repeating the word "lore" whenever discussing strories, story lines, settings and characters? People discussing literature, cinema or any other genre of games don't do that.

I don't even think its correct use of the word.

lore /l(r)/ noun [U] knowledge and information related to a particular subject, especially when this is not written down; the stories and traditions of a particular group of people: weather lore Celtic lore—see also folklore

©Oxford University Press, 2005.

Not to be pedantic, but it is getting beoynd irritating.

Thirdly, if the rumors prove to be true, and the Azeroth is significantly remade, won't that mean that people owning merely the basic game without the expansion(s) won't be able to play the game at all? It will be a bit much to expect anyone just wanting to try out the game to buy all expansions as well, and I don't think phasing is the answer to everything. One option could be that instead of releasing an expansion Blizzard will roll the base game and the expasions into one inexpensive special edition package. I suppose...

Keeva said...

From BWTL: First of all, let’s look at his source.

A private post on Something Awful. The trolliest of troll sites, the creme de la creme of bullshit. Perhaps you’ve heard of the “Goon Squad”? That’s there home base. And all of the information posted in that thread seems very, VERY familiar.

This is a mistake so many people made, mostly because MMO badly worded the edited post.

The source *wasn't* SA. He has his own sources that he insists are reliable.. but then on top of that, he quoted the stuff about the Tauren questline etc, which is what came from SA, and basically "makes sense if you think about it".

SA wasn't the source, but his edited post made it sound like he said it was.

Only an idiot would take something posted on SA and announce it to be fact :P He just edited his original post badly.