Game > Lore

I read a lot. As far as WoW goes, some of what I'm reading are excellent WoW blogs, but I also follow standards like WoW Insider and mmo-champion (whose coverage of Wrath has been amazing). I enjoy it all, but not all of the enjoyment I get is intentional. People who complain about lore in WoW make me smile.

I guess that having a steampunk motorcycle means that Blizzard has completely ruined… something. I mean, I don't know what that is, but as you can see in this Massively article, it seems to be pretty bad. Read those comments!

For this group of people, I think that seeing a motorcycle in the game seems to have completely destroyed their suspension of disbelief, or serves as the last straw in the ongoing destruction of such. My question is, how have these people not been tripped up over any number of other points before this one?

  • Characters carry around an entire armory's worth of equipment in one bag. One light feather takes up exactly as much room as twenty feathers, while twenty-one feathers take up twice as much room as one feather. One feather also takes up as much room as a horse. Also: horses in backpacks. I mean, why does anyone have a stable? I would think that there'd just see be one small silk pack in the back of the rancher's house. You buy a horse, he reaches into the bag o' horses.
  • Weather follows political boundaries. It is raining in Dustwallow Marsh, but not in the Barrens. Step left, rain. Step right, sunny. Rain. Sunny. Rain. Sunny. I'll stick with the rain because honestly, I only visit the Barrens when I really need to.
  • Too many pop culture references to list, most of it good for a groan or chuckle. For example: every last dance. (And I am disappointed that there hasn't been a Rick Astley dance. Crossing my fingers.)
  • Characterization is weak. Nobody has a last name. Or, you know, family. Well, NPCs sometimes do, but you don't. Also, nobody's named the same because there's an invisible global naming committee. Oh, and your friends cease to exist frequently, but it's cool because they'll likely be back tomorrow, resuming the exact moment that they departed from. It's also really easy to deduce someone's guild affiliation, even if they're not wearing a tabard… because it's spelled out in text floating above their head, along with their name. At least you never have to worry about forgetting your one-night-stand's name in the morning. "I had a great time last night… Silenceikeelyou. Call me!"
  • You can whisper in anyone's ear from across continents/dimensions. Wait, I hear whispers all the time in real life, too. Never mind.
  • A new fantasy race was recently introduced when their spaceship crashed into the planet, and that spaceship grew a new island or something. Come on, people. On the fantasy whack-out scale spaceship > motorcycle.
  • The world is static. A game experience where nothing you do in game leaves a mark on the environment. You've been able to attune and go kill Onyxia for four years. There was a time in the life of this game where you could see Onyxia's head hanging on the gates of Stormwind every all day, every weekend. Because Onyxia died all the time, the heroes brought her monstrous head back to Stormwind all the time (in a backpack), and the city congratulated all the time by hanging her head outside the front gates… yes, all the time. And yet (ancient spoiler warning), there she was in Stormwind Keep! Glaring at you! Then being exposed as a dragon and whooshing off to her dragon lair, waiting to be slain and hung on the gates! But no wait, five minutes later in Stormwind keep: Glaring again! Also, not just Ony. Every enemy in the game. For this reason alone, I can't imagine roleplaying in MMOs as anything but very, very difficult. "These troubled times remind me of when I killed the bandit lord Van Cleef, lo those many months ago–" "But Lordazurefox, I just killed him last night, what are–" "OOC SHUT UP YOU'RE RUINING MY STORY!"

None of this concerns me in the slightest–that list is not a dig on the game. Honestly, I smile. Because it's a game. A game for the playing. It's possible to have good stories in games, but MMOs in particular are difficult if not impossible to pull this off.

WoW happens to be a very fun game that's storied as well as is reasonably possible. It's cinematic at times, but never a story. It's a game, and Blizzard will always choose a better game over story integrity, because people aren't paying them a monthly fee for the story.

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6 thoughts on “Game > Lore”

  1. One of the fun things that roleplayers do is come up with logical explanations within the universe's standards for why many of these happen. In particular, the characterization is easily corrected using a mod with more information, such as surname, titles, and physical appearance. Many roleplayers assume that cross-environment communication occurs due to nifty gnomish/goblin (your choice, though draeneic could also be applied, I suppose! That's something to consider…) devices.

    It's fun. You deal. The thing to keep in mind is that the world is the way that it is and that we shouldn't try to go about the efforts to justify everything that happens. We watch a show about dragons or spaceships or faeries or angels or devils and don't sit there and try to justify why those things exist in that universe and not our own; it's called suspension of belief. So, if players and mobs are incapable of sustaining a physical and lasting death (other than the "DELETE" option), or if we're capable of carrying items in bags with almost no limit, why do we need to come up for a reason why it occurs? It does. The end.

    Personally, I feel it's Blizzard's game. There are already elements of steampunk within the universe and we're gradually gaining new technology as the years pass. Why should it be so surprising? Bleh!

  2. I smiled a lot reading this post (not only because of the link lovage, thank you! :)). When you think about it there are many pretty illogical things in the game. Just as there are in Star Trek and all sorts of other fantasy/sf fiction. Just think about the breathing… is there really atosphere on those little astroids you can fly to? Where are the ladies rest rooms? Is it only some quest animals that have that kinds of physical needs? The list is endless when you think about it.

    There have been some fun tries to explain stuff. I just loved the things done at the blog Cope:, looking into the natural science aspects of the world.

    In one way I can agree that since there are space ships, why make such a big deal about motorcycles? You're perfectly logical. But to be honest, I'm no fan of motorcycles myself. I can't give you any convincing reasons for it, but to me it just doesn't fit in. I guess it reminds me too much of the real world. I don't want to see cars or trafic lights or TV monitors either… I think Blizzard has succeeded in making a nice mixture of fantazy and science fiction, a special blend of their own. But motorcycles? That's neither… it's just to plain. Imo.

    Oh dear, THIS was a wall-of-text-kind-of-a-comment! Proably I should better had made a post about it. Maybe I will one day. Anyway: thanks for a fun post to read.

  3. I find the people who get upset about things like the motorcycles aren't the RPers. Anyone who complains about the motorcycles wasn't paying attention to the planes, zepplins, trams and submarines.

    The RPers use WoW as a setting and rarely use quests/bosses etc as part of their RP. If you need a villian you have someone play that villian. The game part is what you do when you're not RPing, not often actually part of the RP.

    1. @Asu – Wow, that's really interesting. I had no idea that people actively took villain roles, that's a lot closer to classic pen and paper roleplaying. Although, without complete control of the environment, wouldn't you need a large "supporting" cast to make it work? Or do you just interlace the RP story with the WoW environment?


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