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Old 11-29-2019, 07:47 AM
BoxCrayonTales BoxCrayonTales is offline

Faerie Dragon
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 146


Originally Posted by Triceron View Post
Even without plot changes, Reforged already does this simply through updated graphics.

Any and every design that uses WoW elements instead of sticking close to WC3 already shows this.

- Malfurion and Tyrande hair is green now instead of blue
- Malfurion has wings like in WoW
- Grom doesn't have full black jaw tattooes, only 3 stripes on his lip ala WoD
- Gyrocopter pilot more resembles a gnome than a Dwarf
- Dreadlords don't have tails
- Trolls all missing their hind toe
- Hippogriffs no longer are Raven/Stag hybrids, more like Parrots
- Lady Vashj's hair is actual snakes

Plenty of deviation, plenty of changes, plenty of perceived retcon going around. All without touching the story.
Is the story really as good as we remember it being?

Remember, this is the period of Blizzard history where they solidified their standard plot outline of the races teaming up to fight a loony big bad regardless of their personal moralities.
  1. The seed of it started in SC1 when Metzen tacked on that pointless alliance between Tassadar and Raynor (which honestly makes no sense for Raynor's arc, except to justify his continued presence in this poorly plotted story, but that's neither here nor there), and introduced the dark templar cerebrate killer plot device to force the khalai and nerazim to make peace without actually resolving their differences.
  2. It got worse in BW when Raynor and Zeratul decided to fight the UED rather than open diplomatic dialogue when they knew nothing about the UED's culture or motives besides them fighting the Dominion and Zerg who were Raynor and Zeratul's enemies at that point. Then Kerry became the evil queen driven only by some deranged notion of vengeance against the universe or something; this is a infinitely huge downgrade from the Overmind, who was driven by rational self-interest and devoid of such moronic desires. Even when Aldaris does rebel against the Nerazim, it feels pointlessly contrived due to the bad writing of BW.
  3. It reached it's apotheosis in WC3 when the Legion was added as a generic villain driven by their leader's literal insanity who the orcs, humans, and night elves had to band against to defeat.

I don't know if anyone else has ever done a detailed analysis of WC3's plot and I'm not about to start. However, I will say note a few of what I perceive as flaws in the storytelling.

Firstly, the Alliance campaign basically ends with the Scourge conquering Lordaeron. This victory doesn't feel earned at all since we never receive any explanation of the logistics behind how the Scourge achieved this feat. To be fair, we didn't receive much explanation of the logistics in WC1 and WC2, but I would think the bigger budget of WC3 would have allowed for more explanation of that sort of things.

The Alliance campaign, rather than being about Lordaeron, is actually about Arthas. The plot is that the Lich King gaslights him in order to... I'm not actually sure why, but it seems to be part of a plan to conquer Lordaeron somehow. I don't see how Arthas becoming a death knight helps the Scourge conquer Lordaeron, since they were easily conquering even when he was their enemy and he doesn't offer anything to them since the Scourge has zero interest in the political situation of the continent that Arthas would actually be useful for. It just seems like Great Man history, which is discredited.

Secondly, The Scourge campaign is fairly boring compared to the sheer pathos of the Alliance campaign. The conflicts are much shallower and there isn't payoff for the setup at the end of the campaign. Arthas conquers Lordaeron, devastates Quel'Thalas, resurrects Kel'thuzad, and summons Archimonde. That's it. While he's technically plotting to betray the Legion, that never pays off until the last campaign and even then it's questionable whether the Scourge contributed anything. Destroying the skull of gul'dan and killing Tichondrius doesn't sound like it contributes much to the war effort, especially not when Archimonde is defeated by a deus ex machina.

I'm not claiming the storytelling is worse than any prior game. Blizzard games in general have weak stories and that's pretty normal for video games in general. However, I do think fans irrationally place certain stories on a pedestal compared to others.

A recurring problem with Blizzard's standard plot outline is that its implications on world building are ignored. After defeating the legion, the alliance and horde go right back to fighting. This defeats the point of even adding the legion in the first place, since the legion was only added to force the alliance and horde to both become unambiguous good guys rather than continue fighting for morally ambiguous reasons.

For example, while WC1 and WC2 era lore presented the orcs as seemingly evil compared to humans, if you look past the surface than the limited lore we have hints at a complex culture with its own moral norms. (And looking at human history in reality, it's hard to argue humans aren't as bad as or worse than orcs in every way.) Then WC3 throws that away and says "nope, the orcs were totally noble savage stereotypes before those nasty demons corrupted them." Then WoW throws that away again and says "nope, orcs are totally evil all along."

You can chalk this up to a divide between the developers. Some of them wanted to continue the possibly morally ambiguous fighting between the alliance and the horde, whereas others wanted a team up with a happy disney ending. When you're writing a franchise that you intend to milk indefinitely, which option makes more sense?

All of the times that the races team up come across as nonsensical, especially when the outside enemies are utterly lackluster and often get retconned as good guys years later. When the races fight each other, it also comes across as nonsensical because of the other retcons that turn them all into nice funny looking humans.

Apparently the SC2 devs want to do a SC3. Blizzard writing is like clockwork now, so it's either go to have a contrived war between the three races or they're going to team up again against a big bad evil guy who comes out of the woodwork. They might resurrect the Overmind for all we know, since Stetman's logs outright state its DNA is present in every larva but somehow nobody tried to clone it yet. (For those who don't know, the lore introduces tons of trivia that should redefine the setting but keep getting forgotten.)

Caring about a few retcons here and there in Blizzard lore is about as sensible as rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic while it is sinking. Blizzard doesn't care one iota about the quality of their own writing.

I think it would be better for all of us if we stop caring about Blizzard's decision and start making our own. Don't like the canon? Write fanfiction. Want other people to care about your fanfiction? Write an original universe.
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