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[Column] World of Warcraft: The Importance of Story

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,637MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

With a new animated series based on the Pandaria region of World of Warcraft, Blizzard once again asserts its contention that story is paramount. We take a look at that today in our latest WoW Factor. Check it out before heading to the comments to chat.

Last week Blizzard started to release a series of dramatic animated shorts, The Burdens of Shaohao. Six new shorts featuring original animation, outstanding music and voice talent that chronicles the story of Shaohao, Pandaria’s last great emperor. In these shorts, Blizzard has created a wonderful supplement to the richness of the world they created with Mists of Pandaria. Not only did this expansion bring a wealth of new gameplay features but it also delivered a story much deeper than I suspect any of us ever imagined. This week in the WoW Factor we take a look at these new shorts and why story is important for our games.

Read more of Reza Lackey's The WoW Factor: The Importance of Story.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

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Comments

  • slicknslim88slicknslim88 Norfolk, VAPosts: 394Member
    Great, an animated series about the "protagonists" (for lack of a better word) of the expansion that all players wish never happened, and began the truly devastating decline, and continual hemorrhaging of subscribers.  That's what gamer's want >_>.
  • expressoexpresso mePosts: 2,183Member Uncommon

    I love the story in MOP, simply filled with voice-over story sequences.... love it, best yet IMHO.

    Mists is truly an under-rated expansions, sadly some people are simply too bull-headed and border line racist to jump in.

  • HokieHokie Vancouver Wa.Posts: 1,063Member Uncommon

    It was a great MMO.

    What they've done with it is sad. Almost all player choice is gone, at least compared to what it used to be.

    Its now something any 9 year old can pick up and play, which truthfully it always was. But its emphasis is almost all focused on that simplicity of play.

    Gone are a lot of the deep choices and complexity of play, cause it might be just a little too confusing for their new pre-teen target audience.

    Sad.

     

    Sad Panda...pfft.

    "I understand that if I hear any more words come pouring out of your **** mouth, Ill have to eat every fucking chicken in this room."

  • tordurbartordurbar Alexandria, VAPosts: 429Member Uncommon

    I recently returned to WOW (for the third time). The story is not why I did so. No PVP fan the increasingly bitter war between the Alliance and Horde means only bothers me. My favorite part of the MOP video was when the Alliance fighter handed the spear to the Horde fighter. That is what I wanted - Alliance and Horde against the world. Obviously I am in a very tiny minority. 

    There is a facet of WOW storytelling that I still enjoy - the humor. Though WOW is not half the fun that it was during TBC and WOLK I still chuckle from time to time over the silly inuendo's the "very close" names and the sometime silly quest. Blizzard may have lost most of it's better developers but at least the "funny" guy is still there. That is one of the reasons that I keep coming back.

  • 4chen4chen San Diego, CAPosts: 6Member
    Originally posted by Hokie

    It was a great MMO.

    What they've done with it is sad. Almost all player choice is gone, at least compared to what it used to be.

    Its now something any 9 year old can pick up and play, which truthfully it always was. But its emphasis is almost all focused on that simplicity of play.

    Gone are a lot of the deep choices and complexity of play, cause it might be just a little too confusing for their new pre-teen target audience.

    Sad.

     

    Sad Panda...pfft.

    I agree the questing and grouping has been simplified, but in terms of arena and heroic raiding, choices/complexity is still present.

    Originally posted by slicknslim88
    Great, an animated series about the "protagonists" (for lack of a better word) of the expansion that all players wish never happened, and began the truly devastating decline, and continual hemorrhaging of subscribers.  That's what gamer's want >_>.

    I think that's a generalization for the millions of players who still play. IIRC, there was a panda was in wc3; and pandas were actually being considered as a new race before mop.

  • IncomparableIncomparable KuwaitPosts: 872Member
    Looks nice. Yet, if a person bought wow, or started playing. How many expansions would they have to get, and how many hours of leveling to get to pandaria.

    I really like asian culture, and so despite wow long ago being fun has a certain draw on me but i really do not like gear grinds or grinds in general. And so it seems a lot stands in the way of playing the content that i want. Unless i am mistaken, thats my inpression with all the expansions.

    “Write bad things that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble”

  • IncomparableIncomparable KuwaitPosts: 872Member
    Looks nice. Yet, if a person bought wow, or started playing. How many expansions would they have to get, and how many hours of leveling to get to pandaria.

    I really like asian culture, and so despite wow long ago being fun has a certain draw on me but i really do not like gear grinds or grinds in general. And so it seems a lot stands in the way of playing the content that i want. Unless i am mistaken, thats my inpression with all the expansions.

    “Write bad things that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble”

  • toljartoljar Elk river, MNPosts: 132Member Uncommon

    I personally did not like pandaria because it didn't fit the lore to me.

     

    You had Vanilla WoW that established the story and where our roles as players were, you had BC that introduced the next big boss guy from the WC3 series, now comes WoTLK where you fight yet another iconic boss from the WC3 era and finally Cataclysm where you take on the most bad ass boss of the Warcraft series... Next is panda land... A thrown together story...

    IRONFIST Gaming community
    www.ironfistgaming.com

  • NanfoodleNanfoodle Posts: 5,468Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vivasvan
    Still better then any MMO out there.

    To me WoW has become like Apple, I will use anything but Apple products. Just because more people play it does not make it the best. Biggest problem with WoW, every year the treadmill gets worse and the class freedoms get more restrictive. I need more from my MMO. I hope the fans love the story. I am sure if you finish it you will get a purple that can be replaced by a green con item in a few months from now =)


    =-D Only on a forum can optimism be called bad and pessimism the good thing =-D Welcome to the internet and forums. 


  • SuraknarSuraknar Montreal, QCPosts: 824Member

    The Story of a game is important in so far as setting the tone and theme of the Environment.

    For me a background story is important, but, not a story that drives my play and decisions in game.

    It is the stories of the adventures of the players based on their interaction that are more relevant to me, more exciting, and have appeal or inspire for more.

    Following a cartoon story such as this one here, makes not difference to me, I can understand it can inspire young players, as for them it is like watching a cartoon of superheroes on TV and then playing superhero with a towel in the living room trying to emulate what they just saw. Same here, I believe, younger players get their imagination stimulated from these videos and then log on in game and have the opportunity to emulate the heroes of the clips.

    But for me, there needs to be more. There needs to be the opportunity for players to actually be the protagonists of their own stories of adventures in the game, not just be excited viewers and spectators.

    And that requires a game in which the world is driven by players not by the Dev team.

    - Duke Suraknar -
    Order of the Silver Star, OSS

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    ESKA, Playing MMORPG's since Ultima Online 1997 - Order of the Silver Serpent, Atlantic Shard

  • slicknslim88slicknslim88 Norfolk, VAPosts: 394Member
    Originally posted by expresso

    I love the story in MOP, simply filled with voice-over story sequences.... love it, best yet IMHO.

    Mists is truly an under-rated expansions, sadly some people are simply too bull-headed and border line racist to jump in.

    Just about every game out now has voice-over story sequences.  Doesn't mean all of them have good stories.  Just means they are modern games and that's expected of them.  MoP didn't have enough of them, it doesn't put enough effort into keeping with the times.

    And wtf do you mean by racist!?!?  People don't like the Panda's?? that's racist!? haha!

  • ArskaaaArskaaa KauhajokiPosts: 842Member Uncommon

    i hate pandas. lore is boring in MOP. liked more old school WC2 and WC3 story.

  • twruletwrule Daly City, CAPosts: 1,251Member
    Originally posted by toljar

    I personally did not like pandaria because it didn't fit the lore to me.

    You had Vanilla WoW that established the story and where our roles as players were, you had BC that introduced the next big boss guy from the WC3 series, now comes WoTLK where you fight yet another iconic boss from the WC3 era and finally Cataclysm where you take on the most bad ass boss of the Warcraft series... Next is panda land... A thrown together story...

    Agreed - It seems like the 'serious' lore-side of the game has been in decline since at least the latter part of WotLK (recall that they shoehorned in that cheesy 'there must always be a lich king' thing at the last moment, etc., but since it was closure on WC3 lore it was tolerable). Cataclysm started losing focus a bit, Deathwing not having much of a personality to speak of, and more internet meme culture than ever injected into the quests...but they did change the world and stick to the lore, more-or-less, and it was interesting...

    And then pandas. Could not bring myself to take the game the least bit seriously anymore - WoW is now more self-parody than anything else...

    I can't really see them going anywhere from here with the next expansion that might undo the damage, but boy would they have to do a lot.

  • mrjimorgmrjimorg Austin, TXPosts: 23Member

    Storyline? You click on the ! guy, then click <Accept>, then look on your map for the blob. They like to fool themselves into believing that they're writing great stories that we clamor for, but in truth very few people read anything- and they shouldn't. 1- The stories suck, and 2- This is a game, therefore it should be interactive, therefore not predestined. The story should be around the player and what he does or chooses or achieves or fails to achieve.

    However, if you are going to create a story, let me introduce you to storytelling 101 - Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution. Instead we have 25 stories all happening at the same time in the same area, many are unrelated to each other, all of which are pathetic excuses to "go kill 12 of xyz, then come back for some junk". Where is the build-up for the truely epic fight? Where is the satisfaction of having made a difference? I'm done with the crap they keep shoveling our way.

  • furbansfurbans Tinbucktwo, IAPosts: 965Member
    Originally posted by toljar

    I personally did not like pandaria because it didn't fit the lore to me.

     

    You had Vanilla WoW that established the story and where our roles as players were, you had BC that introduced the next big boss guy from the WC3 series, now comes WoTLK where you fight yet another iconic boss from the WC3 era and finally Cataclysm where you take on the most bad ass boss of the Warcraft series... Next is panda land... A thrown together story...

    Panderia fits the lore just fine.  Where do you think the drunken master panda hero came from in WC3?  While I don't care much for the pandas they do fit the lore as they were always there if one looked.  A lot better than the "English" worgen and the "hip-hop" goblins imo.

  • DatastarDatastar Austin, TXPosts: 195Member Common
    You know what's even more important then story, not dumbing down your game to levels that even a 3 year old could succeed.
  • ChrisboxChrisbox Monroe, NJPosts: 1,707Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Datastar
    You know what's even more important then story, not dumbing down your game to levels that even a 3 year old could succeed.

    ^ That.  Not to mention WoW's story is now told through daily quests basically so uhhhhh fail.  

    Played-Everything
    Playing-FFXIV:ARR

  • NephelaiNephelai SydneyPosts: 184Member Uncommon

    They chose Panda land on a financial strategy that's why it looks like the odd thing out. They were bleeding Asian subs and thought the whole oriental theme would bring revenue back.

     

    As it pans out they chose wrong.

     

    Making a great game would of been a wiser choice.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • JRRNeiklotJRRNeiklot Decatur, ALPosts: 108Member
    Yawn.  I want to make my own story, not watch someone else's. 
  • jbombardjbombard SapporoPosts: 531Member Uncommon

    LMAO.  Great story?  They took an april fool's easter egg race, and because one of the designers really liked pandas, they decided to put a race in the game and build the story around it.  That is what we call putting the cart before the horse.  That is pretty much bad design no matter how you slice it.   You should put story first and find your new races and classes as they occur naturally in the story.

     

    Not to mention the story itself is pretty one sided and just about as unoriginal as you can get.  If you play Alliance you certainly aren't in it for the story, that or you are a masochist.

  • LissylLissyl Peru, INPosts: 271Member Common

    I loved the series on Emperor Shaohao.  It was very well done.

     

    It's too bad that the expansion, after the initial glut of dailies, ceased to feature the Pandaren hardly at all and became another Horde-Alliance-Horde-Alliance kinna-but-not-really war story with a terrible outcome.  There were some small parts with Taran Zhu and Lorewalker Cho (the saving grace of anything after 5.0), but the Pandaren are largely left behind.

     

    Tack on a f2p-style cash shop and that was enough to make me give up WoW.  I'll always love it nostalgically, and I don't feel ripped off from the expansion the initial gameplay was very good and refreshing...but Azeroth just isn't home anymore.

  • jesteralwaysjesteralways ChittagongPosts: 1,040Member Uncommon
    These are very nicely done, art-voice acting are superb, i hope in future expansions they represent story in game like this. 

    i want an open world, no phasing, no instancing.i want meaningful owpvp.i want player driven economy.i want meaningful crafting.i want awesome exploration, a sense of thrill.i want ow housing with a meaningful effect on my entire gameplay experience, not just some instanced crap.i want all of these free of cost, i don't wanna pay you a cent, game devs can eat grass and continue developing game for me.
    Seems like that is the current consensus of western mmo players.

  • GravargGravarg Harker Heights, TXPosts: 3,332Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vivasvan
    Still better then any MMO out there.

    QFT

  • IncomparableIncomparable KuwaitPosts: 872Member
    Originally posted by Incomparable
    Looks nice. Yet, if a person bought wow, or started playing. How many expansions would they have to get, and how many hours of leveling to get to pandaria.

    I really like asian culture, and so despite wow long ago being fun has a certain draw on me but i really do not like gear grinds or grinds in general. And so it seems a lot stands in the way of playing the content that i want. Unless i am mistaken, thats my inpression with all the expansions.

    Could someone answer the question? Thnx

    “Write bad things that are done to you in sand, but write the good things that happen to you on a piece of marble”

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Common
    Originally posted by Incomparable
    Originally posted by Incomparable
    Looks nice. Yet, if a person bought wow, or started playing. How many expansions would they have to get, and how many hours of leveling to get to pandaria.

    I really like asian culture, and so despite wow long ago being fun has a certain draw on me but i really do not like gear grinds or grinds in general. And so it seems a lot stands in the way of playing the content that i want. Unless i am mistaken, thats my inpression with all the expansions.

    Could someone answer the question? Thnx

    for USA players:  $70.00

    http://us.blizzard.com/store/browse.xml?f=c:1

    BattleChest  $20.00  (includes base, BC, LK)

    Cata               $10.00

    Mop                $40.00

    you can see MOP starting area  from lvls 1-15 as Panda

    and Pandaria from levels 85-90

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