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Eurogamer Interview on Sylvanas & Teldrassil

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Eurogamer talked to Senior Game Producer Michael Bybee about Sylvanas and the World Tree.

Check out the full Eurogamer Interview

Michael Bybee confirmed that Sylvanas will not follow in Garrosh's footsteps yesterday and now Eurogamer asked him a few questions about her and the World Tree.

Interview Highlights

  • Crafting stories in World of Warcraft comes with its own set of challenges, because the story is spread across many types of media (in-game cinematics, novellas).
  • According to Bybee, many beats of the Sylvanas story were told in places outside of the game and the vast majority of fans did not get the full picture when it comes to the ongoing plot.
  • A particularly ugly byproduct of the backlash to Sylvanas was the harassment of Christie Golden. Blizzard does not condone harassment, they only want to create awesome games.
  • Finally, Eurogamer's Tom Phillips asked about Teldrassil and if it could grow back. Here's what Bybee had to say: "It is a magical tree, and it's not the first magical tree. There's more that can be done, but we're not ready to talk about that future stuff."
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The harassment of Christie Golden just showed how childish and ignorant the WoW fanbase is. "Oh no, you're tampering with my favorite character and ruining them even though I haven't seen how the story unfolds. You should kill yourself."

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13 minutes ago, Valhalen said:

The harassment of Christie Golden just showed how childish and ignorant the WoW fanbase is. "Oh no, you're tampering with my favorite character and ruining them even though I haven't seen how the story unfolds. You should kill yourself."

What in the actual eff?! Jesus christ, the entitlement is beyond astounding. It's not the fans story, it's THE COMPANY'S STORY! Jesus christ, why can't these people understand this?

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29 minutes ago, Stan said:

According to Bybee, many beats of the Sylvanas story were told in places outside of the game and the vast majority of fans did not get the full picture when it comes to the ongoing plot.

This doesn't make for good story telling if it can't be in all one place.

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47 minutes ago, Stan said:
  • Crafting stories in World of Warcraft comes with its own set of challenges, because the story is spread across many types of media (in-game cinematics, novellas). 
  • According to Bybee, many beats of the Sylvanas story were told in places outside of the game and the vast majority of fans did not get the full picture when it comes to the ongoing plot. 

Yes, the Christy Golden harassment was stupid and ugly, and those fans should frankly have their game license taken away if the can be tracked down.

 

Having said that, the quoted part is what I have issue with.   I'm fine with novellas and collectors editions having sidestories or bits of historical lore or whatever.


But the main lore should be in freaking game.     We're still paying $15 a month, a subscription model that's outdated everywhere else, because WoW has tenure.    We're also paying the full price for a standalone game each expansion.   We shouldn't have to be asked to spend more money to find out -key pieces of lore-.    

Not even this expansion, WoD's plot last expansion hinged on a huge out of game plot development where apparently Garrosh stood trial, nearly got poisoned, was saved/kidnapped by a bronze dragon, and ended up in alternate world draenor.     Similarly in the previous expansion, we had a scenario where we infiltrated Theramore, got caught...and suddenly the city was blown up in a magical nuclear bombing.    It made zero sense with what we were given in game.   

Edited by Migol

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48 minutes ago, Stan said:
  •  "It is a magical tree, and it's not the first magical tree. There's more that can be done, but we're not ready to talk about that future stuff." 

Building on this point, I'm going to shake my lore rust off and hope I'm being somewhat correct. The tree at Hyjal was burned during WC3, and that inspired the Night Elf druids to grow Teldrassil, which had its own set of problems involving not being sanctioned by some spirits or something (see night elf starting zone). Teldrassil hasn't been around for long, maybe only a few decades IF that in Warcraft universe time, and it's not the first time the Night Elves have had to adapt.


 

52 minutes ago, Stan said:
  • Crafting stories in World of Warcraft comes with its own set of challenges, because the story is spread across many types of media (in-game cinematics, novellas).
  • According to Bybee, many beats of the Sylvanas story were told in places outside of the game and the vast majority of fans did not get the full picture when it comes to the ongoing plot. 

Going to have to agree with some other comments here that we should have access to all the important details about lore inside the game. Nuances, details, and scenes should be fine to put exclusively in other forms of media, but we should at least get bullets of dialogue from characters in-game about everything that's happening.

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1 hour ago, Stan said:

According to Bybee, many beats of the Sylvanas story were told in places outside of the game and the vast majority of fans did not get the full picture when it comes to the ongoing plot.

As someone who has read most of the "not-ingame story", it still doesn't make sense for her to burn the tree on a whim. If it was planned, it would have been fine. Sylvanas trying to keep everything under her control, not upset everyone or needlessly start or escalate a war was a big deal in "Before the Storm", but there she goes, pissing off half the faction. If it would have been part of a big plan, it would have been all in character.  She's disgustingly evil, but she's not stupid.

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1 hour ago, Valhalen said:

The harassment of Christie Golden just showed how childish and ignorant the WoW fanbase is. "Oh no, you're tampering with my favorite character and ruining them even though I haven't seen how the story unfolds. You should kill yourself."

Not "the WoW fanbase", it's (like always) a vocal minority.

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9 minutes ago, jinsu2301 said:

As someone who has read most of the "not-ingame story", it still doesn't make sense for her to burn the tree on a whim. If it was planned, it would have been fine. Sylvanas trying to keep everything under her control, not upset everyone or needlessly start or escalate a war was a big deal in "Before the Storm", but there she goes, pissing off half the faction. If it would have been part of a big plan, it would have been all in character.  She's disgustingly evil, but she's not stupid.

Did you read A Good War? It went in more detail on why she burnt it that her Warbringers animation didn't show.

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2 hours ago, jinsu2301 said:

As someone who has read most of the "not-ingame story", it still doesn't make sense for her to burn the tree on a whim. If it was planned, it would have been fine. Sylvanas trying to keep everything under her control, not upset everyone or needlessly start or escalate a war was a big deal in "Before the Storm", but there she goes, pissing off half the faction. If it would have been part of a big plan, it would have been all in character.  She's disgustingly evil, but she's not stupid.

Well the tree was mostly burned because Saurfang failed to finish Malfurion and thus didnt deliver a blow that would weaken the Alliance .Whole Invasion of Teldrasill was planned by Saurfang as it is pointed out in CE novellas(which are also free to read on Blizzards official WoW site)

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3 hours ago, jinsu2301 said:

As someone who has read most of the "not-ingame story", it still doesn't make sense for her to burn the tree on a whim. If it was planned, it would have been fine. Sylvanas trying to keep everything under her control, not upset everyone or needlessly start or escalate a war was a big deal in "Before the Storm", but there she goes, pissing off half the faction. If it would have been part of a big plan, it would have been all in character.  She's disgustingly evil, but she's not stupid.

As others have said, the "on a whim" thing was retconned. The Warbringers shorts were done before CG joined the team so she corrected the stupidity of it in her novella. Don't worry. It now makes a lot more sense. But the issue is to anyone who doesn't go out of their way to read the extra lore they won't realize.

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1 hour ago, Marick said:

Well the tree was mostly burned because Saurfang failed to finish Malfurion and thus didnt deliver a blow that would weaken the Alliance .Whole Invasion of Teldrasill was planned by Saurfang as it is pointed out in CE novellas(which are also free to read on Blizzards official WoW site)

It's not because Saurfang didn't kill Malfurion. She left him to do it and wouldn't have known yet that he didn't kill Malfurion by the time she burned it. It wasn't like, days later that she burned the tree, it was same day

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38 minutes ago, Aegrotat said:

It's not because Saurfang didn't kill Malfurion. She left him to do it and wouldn't have known yet that he didn't kill Malfurion by the time she burned it. It wasn't like, days later that she burned the tree, it was same day

Nah both novvelas and ingame they wait for Saurfang to reurn before going to Teldrassil.Novella even describes that at first Sylvanas thought Saurfang has burned the body since he didnt have the head when returning to her at shore near Lor'danel.She asks him if the deed is done and he says that he couldnt do it since Tyrande intervened.So she very well knew Malfurion was alive before burning the tree

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48 minutes ago, Marick said:

Nah both novvelas and ingame they wait for Saurfang to reurn before going to Teldrassil.Novella even describes that at first Sylvanas thought Saurfang has burned the body since he didnt have the head when returning to her at shore near Lor'danel.She asks him if the deed is done and he says that he couldnt do it since Tyrande intervened.So she very well knew Malfurion was alive before burning the tree

I feel like this is a good example of why things need to be portrayed in game a bit more lol

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So she did burn the tree because she was mad that Malfurion was still alive? I am sorry, but I really don't see how that makes this any less evil and barbaric. A little bit less stupid perhaps, but that's not the problem big parts of the horde had with her.

What bothers me the most about the Blizzard story team is them always being like: "You don't know the whole story, so you cannot judge Sylvanas yet", which to me is total nonsense. I know enough.

She burned the tree with innocent men, women and children inside and thus she is irredeemably evil. What kind of new information could make such an act of malice acceptable?

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53 minutes ago, Ogerscherge said:

So she did burn the tree because she was mad that Malfurion was still alive? I am sorry, but I really don't see how that makes this any less evil and barbaric. A little bit less stupid perhaps, but that's not the problem big parts of the horde had with her.

The only thing I want to point out is that she didn't do it because she was MAD that he was still alive, but the goal in killing him was to break the alliances hope. when she burned the tree, it was also an attempt to kill hope, not just "because she was mad" but it was still very much an impulse decision.

Basically she just tried to substitute Malfurion with the tree. that being said, she explicitly said right after that she knew it would make the alliance come for them rather than crushing hope so it's... contradictory.

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8 hours ago, echorausch said:

Not "the WoW fanbase", it's (like always) a vocal minority.

I have grown up in a family of individuals of various degrees of public recognition. 

It is not even a vocal minority that make these threats. It is a tiny, tiny, tiny handful of individuals and those kind of nutty dirtbag, sociopaths have been around ever since mankind figured out how to scribe words into stone and wood.

Before the internet, these criminals called and made threats. They would demand athletes take their own lives for making errors in big games or if an actor cheated on their spouse.

Before phones, these cowards wrote letters.

All abuse is about power. These harassing people never cared one bit about the story of WoW. They saw other people getting upset and that gave them cover to launch their mini-reigns of terror.

The point is- this is not a WoWfandom issue. It is a mental health and law enforcement issue.

I applaud whenever anyone abusing others is called out. You then are supposed to report that harassment to the FBI. The one thing I would not do is blame the town from which the threats came.

Learn the meaning of the word 'conflate'. The community as a whole can only call out those they see making threats. We have zero power to stop strangers from harassing other people though.

You critiquing Blizzard's boneheaded, ultra-stubborn recurring choice of trying to tell an expansion's story through a confusing plethora of mediums has nothing whatsoever to do with some person making threats.

Expecting fans to feel guilty because someone else did something vile, is a form of abuse because like all abuse, it comes from someone wanting to force others to feel bad for something they did not do wrong.

Edited by ZebuVardare
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12 hours ago, Aegrotat said:

The only thing I want to point out is that she didn't do it because she was MAD that he was still alive, but the goal in killing him was to break the alliances hope. when she burned the tree, it was also an attempt to kill hope, not just "because she was mad" but it was still very much an impulse decision.

Basically she just tried to substitute Malfurion with the tree. that being said, she explicitly said right after that she knew it would make the alliance come for them rather than crushing hope so it's... contradictory.

I appreciate the correction, but ultimately that is exactly what I mean. Even with this new point of view, I still don't see how that makes her actions any less vile. 

Again, I don't care for her motivations, because no conceivable end can justify such disgusting means.

Which is why I am so curious about how Blizzard plans to make me change my mind on her and agree with them, that murdering dozens or even hundreds of innocent civilians in an especially cruel way, is okay, or "morally gray", under the right circumstances.

The point is, that to me, such circumstances simply do not exist.

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