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Steve Danuser About Patch 9.1 Storytelling

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The Narrative Lead on World of Warcraft talks about new storytelling techniques in Patch 9.1.

The developers delivered the main story outside of the raid in Chains of Domination to allow players that haven't touched Sanctum of Domination to experience it.

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With the epilogue, the goal wasn't to hide big secrets, but to offer more content that the community experienced altogether rather than some seeing it through datamining and others not.

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Eh if they are going to release the raid end, I'd rather they make it clear that is what they are doing. And maybe they could just release the LFR wings a bit faster instead. This way anyone who hadn't done Sylvanas in the raid actually felt their character did not take part in the story. So yeah maybe realize this is an RPG and not just a story and you should not be robbing people of their own narrative agency.

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How about for a new storytelling technique, actually tell a good story.  I know that's been an alien notion to Blizz for almost a decade but going for good storytelling and not throwing big, contrived  "gotcha" reveals at the wall and then figuring out lame ways to connect them isn't actually storytelling.

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1 hour ago, Nym85 said:

And maybe they could just release the LFR wings a bit faster instead. 

This felt weird to me, and I don't even raid.

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Or maybe blizz could actually release full LFR when mythic is open aswell or give mythic a couple weeks and then fully release it and not having LFR wings open every 2 weeks!

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2 hours ago, Calorat said:

How about for a new storytelling technique, actually tell a good story. 

This tbh.

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2 hours ago, Calorat said:

How about for a new storytelling technique, actually tell a good story.

How about not taking a subjective matter and pretending its objective. I'm more into the WoW story now than ever before. I've been playing Warcraft since WC2, I'm just just now jumping into this.

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2 hours ago, Calorat said:

How about for a new storytelling technique, actually tell a good story.  I know that's been an alien notion to Blizz for almost a decade but going for good storytelling and not throwing big, contrived  "gotcha" reveals at the wall and then figuring out lame ways to connect them isn't actually storytelling.

This. Don't like his writing so far, too many twists without build up and masterminds piling on top of other masterminds. This is just getting ridiculous. Jailer was inserted into majority of previous plots and now it all makes less sense.

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49 minutes ago, FrozenEmbers said:

How about not taking a subjective matter and pretending its objective. I'm more into the WoW story now than ever before. I've been playing Warcraft since WC2, I'm just just now jumping into this.

I dunno what you're talking about... what subjective vs objective thing, are you talking about? Be specific, because the story altogether is worse than BFA and WoD.

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2 hours ago, Calorat said:

How about for a new storytelling technique, actually tell a good story.  I know that's been an alien notion to Blizz for almost a decade but going for good storytelling and not throwing big, contrived  "gotcha" reveals at the wall and then figuring out lame ways to connect them isn't actually storytelling.

I actually think they are telling a "decent" story. The problem is blizzard atm has a *filtered* way of showing it in-game, many reasons why. I really think WOW needs a 2021 "Developer's tools" upgrade, probably a completely new overhaul of the system tbh. A new system with better physics and character animations would go a long way. I see Bellular always criticizing how "stuff doesn't make sense" and characters mouth movements don't even line up with the dialog they are saying. Another thing, Blizzard should make their graphic novels of WOW independent of the game and never put Story anywhere other than in the game. When they do, they split the playerbase, cause the half that didn't get all the game's story through the game, think the story is *filtered*. (I would 100% agree if I hadn't got all the information from the Books and game:). My biggest issue though, is every single post Blizzard is always saying we're learning along the way, if this doesn't work at least we have learned from it.  At this point I'm like you guys have tried everything and the bad stuff you have tried 2x, if you haven't learned by now how to tell a MMORPG story you never will.

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3 hours ago, Calorat said:

How about for a new storytelling technique, actually tell a good story.  I know that's been an alien notion to Blizz for almost a decade but going for good storytelling and not throwing big, contrived  "gotcha" reveals at the wall and then figuring out lame ways to connect them isn't actually storytelling.

While I know this is a common comment throughout fans of WoW, I just dont understand what more people expect. The story has nuance, complexity and emotions behind it, theory crafting is a never ending battle of what could happen next. While some of it is token story telling (like "gotcha" as you mention) that IS what the RPG genre is filled with. "Its evil bad guy get taken out against all odds" which narratively fits every "hero" game. Characters are able to get redemption arcs, or just simply face the consequences of their actions. If you read War Crimes the book, you'd see that nuance they were invoking. Garrosh SHOULD have just been slaughtered but the leaders wanted to hold some sort of restraint, and not be the thing they are killing. I guess it just seems like everyone is a literature major out of no where and judge the game on some Shakespearian level.

Personally, Im enjoying how the story is shaping up, but im also a 30 something father with only enough free time to get some dailies done and do maybe get AOTC this tier. I sorta wonder how other people have attached themselves so far into the story. 

To be fair, when everyone has been playing Vanilla and TBC, I was getting my fill of epic moments in Guild Wars 1. GW1 is still playable to this very day and while those moments were epic then, they aren't now. We all evolve with the artistic medium and maybe we all out grow it at some point or another? 

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12 minutes ago, Turmoil said:

Jezus these tweets are written by "consumer yes-men", it's so unbearable.

I think you mistake "yes-men" for people who are actually still interested in what theyre trying to accomplish. His response reads genuine, as a person who trying to take a 3rd party view on how to improve storytelling.

Everyone expect the devs we look up to be infallible professionals, its so unbearable. 

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Just now, Razortotem said:

I just dont understand what more people expect.

It's pretty easy actually. They could write story without invalidating and messing previous lore. As was mentioned above, Jailer was introduced in such a way that a lot of stuff doesn't make sense anymore (like W3 campaign). Not to mention that there was no foreshadowing to his character even existing before, they also didn't make his motivations feel compelling. 

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6 minutes ago, Arcling said:

It's pretty easy actually. They could write story without invalidating and messing previous lore. As was mentioned above, Jailer was introduced in such a way that a lot of stuff doesn't make sense anymore (like W3 campaign). Not to mention that there was no foreshadowing to his character even existing before, they also didn't make his motivations feel compelling. 

Retconning happens. Its a hard thing to deal with but we havent had the same narrative lead since Warcraft 1, much like how Star Wars 1-9 all sorta hit different high points. Theres also no source materal to pull from like Game of Thrones.

I wont be the judge of good or bad story telling but like I said, I didnt "expect" differently because of the previously mentioned points. Im currently entertained and wonder what will happen next but I guess I just dont have the drive to sit there and compare every little bit of lore but hey I'm also a person who doesnt pick up on a lot of details easily, like the Broker stuff went way over my head until I watched a lore video). Those side pieces though make me feel like they do a good job entertaining in the now, ya know?

Edited by Razortotem

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22 minutes ago, Razortotem said:

Retconning happens. Its a hard thing to deal with but we havent had the same narrative lead since Warcraft 1, much like how Star Wars 1-9 all sorta hit different high points. Theres also no source materal to pull from like Game of Thrones.

I wont be the judge of good or bad story telling but like I said, I didnt "expect" differently because of the previously mentioned points. Im currently entertained and wonder what will happen next but I guess I just dont have the drive to sit there and compare every little bit of lore but hey I'm also a person who doesnt pick up on a lot of details easily, like the Broker stuff went way over my head until I watched a lore video). Those side pieces though make me feel like they do a good job entertaining in the now, ya know?

Yeah, but WC1 barely had any lore, it was developed in other games. There is some supplementary source material btw, but they often ignore the books or just contradict them. At one point you just shouldn't mess with foundations of your lore or it all falls apart. Like Dreadlords (who just used to serve Burning Legion) fighting Kel'Thuzad now doesn't make any sense, because apparently they always served the Jailer, same master. This creates even more plot holes. It was Ner'Zhul who called Kel'Thuzad to Northrend, they even had telepathic link, but somehow KT's true master has always been the Jailer? Those aren't little lore details as you've said. Now whole missions and events don't make sense, some characters are acting against any semblance of logic. Jailer could have been handled way better (and Sylvanas as well) by making him his own thing, rather than inserting him into events where he didn't even exist.

Speaking of Brokers, they bear strong resemblance to Ethereals. Also their story of Tazavesh is pretty much repeat of Mechagon.

Edited by Arcling
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1 hour ago, Arcling said:

Yeah, but WC1 barely had any lore, it was developed in other games. There is some supplementary source material btw, but they often ignore the books or just contradict them. At one point you just shouldn't mess with foundations of your lore or it all falls apart. Like Dreadlords (who just used to serve Burning Legion) fighting Kel'Thuzad now doesn't make any sense, because apparently they always served the Jailer, same master. This creates even more plot holes. It was Ner'Zhul who called Kel'Thuzad to Northrend, they even had telepathic link, but somehow KT's true master has always been the Jailer? Those aren't little lore details as you've said. Now whole missions and events don't make sense, some characters are acting against any semblance of logic. Jailer could have been handled way better (and Sylvanas as well) by making him his own thing, rather than inserting him into events where he didn't even exist.

Speaking of Brokers, they bear strong resemblance to Ethereals. Also their story of Tazavesh is pretty much repeat of Mechagon.

The books were written by Knack who for all intents and purposes, was a boring, unimaginative writer. After that, all of the books and current lore are written by Christie Golden, who works for current day WoW. Maybe thats also a talking point for you but "meh". They need to move the story in a direction that keeps new players the most engaged. The redirection from WoD is a major reason we have what we have today, THAT story wasnt working.

We can go back and forth. Ultamately, I respect you opinion but continue my opinion, I just dont understand what people expect differently and also, why people get so caught up in the past when they can just enjoy the story being told now. There's also one point we both overlook, content doesnt matter when raid, mythic+ and PvP are the mainstays of the game. Its not how we get into the fights, its just that we do lol. *shrugs*. I know im not makin any friends with my logic but I hope you have a good day 😛

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40 minutes ago, Razortotem said:

The books were written by Knack who for all intents and purposes, was a boring, unimaginative writer. After that, all of the books and current lore are written by Christie Golden, who works for current day WoW. Maybe thats also a talking point for you but "meh". They need to move the story in a direction that keeps new players the most engaged. The redirection from WoD is a major reason we have what we have today, THAT story wasnt working.

Didn't mean Knack specifically. Even with more recent Illidan and Before the Storm books they have chosen to overlook a lot of things (Nathrezim/Dreadlords having a home world, despite later being revealed as beings created in Shadowlands and in service to Denathrius and Jailer, Sylvanas' motivations from the other book etc.).

40 minutes ago, Razortotem said:

We can go back and forth. Ultamately, I respect you opinion but continue my opinion, I just dont understand what people expect differently and also, why people get so caught up in the past when they can just enjoy the story being told now. 

I've already explained what people expect differently. New stories don't have to (and usually shouldn't) contradict previous material. It's fine, you have your opinion and you might not be invested in certain stories, but those are very big changes when previous story stops making any sense. How can you enjoy it when characters' motivations don't fit them at all or suddenly they "were behind it all along!". Those are big things, not some small details. Good story needs something like proper build up and payoff. This is just lazy writing without caring about even the most obvious things.

Edited by Arcling

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28 minutes ago, Razortotem said:

I just dont understand what people expect differently and also, why people get so caught up in the past when they can just enjoy the story being told now.

 

That's the problem. Blizzard's present-day writing of Warcraft insults the intelligence of its oldest fans, consumers of their product that have been passionate of the universe they created, the characters, and the conflict of said characters dating back to the mid-1990s.

 

I have been vocal in the past, on this site, about how their writing today completely undermines, belittles, and minimizes so many of the events and characters of their own past story. I've been told "dude it's not just about orcs and humans anymore, things change." Fair enough, things change. Things evolve. But in story-telling, they can, and should, evolve in an organic way - not a ham-fisted, shoehorned way that leaves you scratching your head, or making you feel like an idiot for expecting anything logical.

 

There are some huge pillars of the Warcraft universe - characters that resonate with fans emotionally. These are characters that story-telling could continue to interweave with one another in new events - that way you get evolved stories with people you care about.

 

Who really cares about the Jailer? We didn't know this subwoofer-blowing-voiced edgelord existed prior to Shadowlands; does anyone actually care about anything involving him?

 

Spoiler

As a side bar, did  they really need to kill Varian and Garrosh and Vol'jin? Characters like this should be driving the story to evolve, not some baddie no one cares about.  These are example characters that organically grew from older characters prior to a firmly established lore and conflict. Conflict between characters people care about is what gives people cause to care in the first place.

 

 

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4 hours ago, FrozenEmbers said:

How about not taking a subjective matter and pretending its objective. I'm more into the WoW story now than ever before. I've been playing Warcraft since WC2, I'm just just now jumping into this.

They are objectively good and bad ways to tell a story which is one of the things you are taught in writing classes and courses.  Blizz for the most part the last decade has been doing it the objectively bad way, regardless of the content of said writing (which has been far from good also).

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Wow is relying on gimmicks like twists and mystery boxes to make thier story interesting rather than just writing an interesting story. This hack should be fired, no one should be defending current WoW lore or story telling its objectively bad. GoT S8 bad.

Good and bad stories aren't subjective, what entertains you is. Just cause you'll shovel shlock doesn't mean it's good. There is also nothing wrong with liking garbage, we all have guilty pleasures  just have the critical thinking skills to realize enjoying =/= good.

Edited by Grumar

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WoW story is good. Those who are saying that it isn't are stupid and weird.

Edited by Enryu

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On 8/14/2021 at 4:47 PM, Calorat said:

They are objectively good and bad ways to tell a story which is one of the things you are taught in writing classes and courses.  Blizz for the most part the last decade has been doing it the objectively bad way, regardless of the content of said writing (which has been far from good also).

A story is a form of art and there is nothing subjective about art. There maybe a general agreement of what maybe "good" or "bad" art, but nothing set in stone for what is liked or disliked. You could find a story that literally every writing teacher in the whole world would agree that the story is bad, but could find a person who liked it. Does that mean that the story is subjectively bad? No, it's proof that it's objective. 

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On 8/14/2021 at 12:54 PM, Turmoil said:

I dunno what you're talking about... what subjective vs objective thing, are you talking about? Be specific, because the story altogether is worse than BFA and WoD.

Stories are a form on art, and art is subjective. But all these people out here pretending that their opinion is fact. They are pretending the story is objectively bad. If I said that I enjoyed the shadowlands story more than BFA and WoD, i just PROVED that your last statement is false. You may hold the OPINION that the story is worse, but its not FACTUALY worse. 

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