More thoughts on WoW’s story

With all the continued discussion of WoW’s story lately I wanted to spend a couple more minutes working through my feelings. I want to try to convey a bit more clearly why I am so unhappy. Spoilers for WoW’s current story, cinematics, etc. ahead.

Say what you want about Blizzard’s choices for WoW lately, but they sure have people talking about the game. Amongst my friends and people I follow on Twitter I’ve seen many different reactions and perspectives. A small few seem to love this story, but most seem unhappy with it for one reason or other. Quite a few of my Horde friends are going through the same kinds of feelings we all experienced when Garrosh was warchief. This isn’t my Horde. Why would the other faction leaders go along with this? These feelings touch on one of my biggest problems with the current story: we’ve been here before.

The Horde has had a blatantly evil leader who went against tradition and honor and needed to be overthrown. As a Horde player it felt crappy then, and it feels crappy to see the same wheels in motion now. I hated practically everything about Garrosh’s story, from the moment Thrall chose him, through Cairne’s death, to the confrontation in SoO, and Thrall’s final kill steal in Nagrand. The only good thing that came of all of it was that Vol’jin ended up in charge. He was a cool lore figure, a pragmatic leader, and of course he barely got to do anything before he died.

Vol’jin’s death at the start of Legion felt almost like an afterthought. It was something to balance Varian’s more noble and cinematic end, and it was a plot point to cause faction strife. The circumstances of his death were designed to give the Alliance cause to suspect betrayal, and to put the most divisive figure possible on the throne. And Sylvanas didn’t even want to be there.

Forgive me for being bitter after seeing the Horde led into ruin, our capitol city sacked, our most promising leader killed in service of faction conflict, and our most interesting (IMO) leader stripped of all complexity and turned boring, rash, and ready to re-live the mistakes of the past.

And here’s the piece that frustrates me about the folks asking for calm, to wait and see, to trust that it will get better. I’ve done that. It got me through Garrosh, with hope that things would change and there was room for more interesting story to grow. It got me through pissed-off Jaina, obnoxious orc bros, and Illidan the chosen one, and it left me here, exactly where I started.

Even if this all turns out to be (insert lore conspiracy theory that fixes this somehow), it doesn’t change that Blizz chose to set things up this way. They chose to tell this story that they’ve already told me before. They chose to stoke faction-based strife that I never cared about much and am actively sick of now. It doesn’t change the fact that since MoP I feel like they keep putting up bigger and bigger warning signs that this game is not for me. All I can do is try to figure out if this is the moment that I finally start heeding them.

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