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3-27-2011 @ 11:43PM
I've gotta say, I really like the idea that Sinestra is not doing this of her own will, as it makes deathwing even more dispicible than he already was. Still, something about this bugs me. I read Day of the Dragon, it was my first warcraft book. Later, I read War of the Ancients. Day of the Dragon was fine in its own way, it established interesting characters that were used in later books (by better authors), and it layed the groundwork for official lore on such characters as the Kirin-Tor, the Dragonflights overall, Lorderon, and others, and in its own way was a good mystery novel, with the reader guessing along with Rhonin whether Deathwing and Krasus's goals were not one in the same. Rhonin only really got his 'designated hero' status in War of the Ancients, but he had to share the limelight with Malfurion, who was so out of character compared to WCIII and The Frozen Throne that it almost blotted out Tyrande's character derailment and the large number of Ret-Cons. Here's what bothers me, in War of the Ancients, we have these new characters introduced with no in-game or print-media precedent: Broxigar Saurfang, Jarod Shadowsong, Hakkar the Houndmaster, Captain Varo'then, Ursol, Ursoc, Aveena, Aggamagan, and more minor ones such as Dresdel Stareye and the underused Lord Ravencrest. These are fine, it is acceptable to believe that a low-ranking officer of the Night-Elves would lead the army that would beat the Burning Legion, but it's still bothersome that it's nobody we knew beforehand, and is instead the sibling of an In-Game significant character. For that matter, a character with no in-game precedent goes and HARMS SARGERAS, and not a known hero already established in the cannon. With these books also came the fact that Sargeras's body was eventually Entombed in Suramar, the otherwise-unimportant home of Malfurion, Tyrande, and Illidan. Why is Sargeras buried there? No idea, Miev is surprised to see it too. How did Agewynn know it was there and why did she put sargeras there? No clue to that either. And here comes Night of The Dragon, where we have a mysterious character, Lady Sinestra, only glimpsed briefly on Netherwing Ledge in Burning Crusade, makes a comeback...by kidnapping a nether-drake we've never heard of, gathering up the fragments of an artifact nobody's mentioned in years, creating a dragon that actually has an anagram of 'dragon' in its name, hiring the relative of SEVERAL established and beloved lore figures whom we've never had any indication of before, kill a passerby that's never been mentioned who happens to have an artifact with a very specific power unique to a creature not native to ANY world encountered in-game, said passerby has a friend who happens to have another artifact in the matched set (beacons of pure holy energy being like tableware for two, apparently), before the plot is resolved and the lore-significant villain is killed off by the newcomer, the underdeveloped lore figure and her adventure-magnet husbund who manage to broker a deal with an army of animals with no thumbs who think on the same level as a smart Murloc. Sorry for the giant run-on sentence, but it was required to convey how I felt as I read this. It's not that Rhonin and Vareesa are bad characters, its just that Richard Knaak can't seem to work inside continuity to resolve problems he creates. For all we knew before Night of the Dragon, Lady Sinestra was a dragon working as an agent of deathwing doing power-brokering with the dragonmaw under illidan's nose, which would serve as the precursor to Deathwing's eventual ascension. Instead, she has a completely homebrewed plot that begins and ends in this stand-alone story that is only allowed to happen because of the existence of characters created for the purpose of this story, without which her plot would have never happened in the first place.My suggestion? Instead of having the Netherdrake be Zzeraku, have it be Neltharaku. Instead of Zendarin, have it be Nek'rosh Skullcrusher, out for revenge and dominion as the 'true leader' of the Dragonmaw. Instead of a dranei and Iridi, have it be Isfar the Arakkoa bringing Terokk's artifacts to Azeroth where they won't be misused by the Channellers of Skettis. Essentially: WORK WITHIN THE SETTING, NOT AGAINST IT. This book is barely a year old and it's already had the ending Retconned. This is not good Storytelling, Knaak.
3-28-2011 @ 2:31AM
I definitely know I'll be downvoted for this, but it will bug me for the rest of the week if I don't say anything.Your proposal to "fix" the "debacle" of Knack's work is to bring in these characters: the woefully obscure son of a long dead orc to fight for his rightful place in the Dragonmaw (which was second in command to the Warchief), the most notable and powerful nether dragon someone can find, and the minor quest giver from Outland who really doesn't do anything but point fingers in the direction the player needs to go (his brother was Darkweaver Syth, though! Don't you remember that guy!? He was a real FORCE in the story of Warcraft! Right? ... Right?).For one thing, your Nek'rosh is dead - you'd have to retcon his entire existence. Have you seen him once since Cataclysm? No. He would've been in charge at Dragonmaw port. If not there, he would've still been a lvl 30 quest target in Wetlands. A far more likely scenario is that he actually was in charge at Dragonmaw Port until Overlord Mor'Ghor and the boys from Outland came home and killed him for accomplishing nothing in his entire life. But nothing was added for his character in the end. Blizzard just didn't want to mess with such a nothing character.On to Neltharanku. What's your point with using him? Do you want more emotional impact by killing off the leader of the Netherwing? How would killing off a leader like that accomplish anything in the story, let alone making it a better story? You do realize that you would basically be doing the same thing as Knack did in "killing" off Sinestra: removing an interesting character in canon and removing any chance of plot progression for said character and anyone affiliated with him or her. Lore-important characters like Sinestra and Neltharanku always die in-game. Arthas, Malygos, Illidan, and even Anveena, whose entire existence was outside of the game until the Sunwell, all died in-game. Blizzard does not kill lore-significant characters like this in the books and comics.Moving on, we have this character Isfar. He is by far the most obscure person you've suggested. His origins lie within a wholly different story than Deathwing's, plays no part in the events at Netherwing Ledge, and has ABSOLUTELY no reason to be in Azeroth anyway, let alone be in Grim Batol battling the minions of Deathwing. If he wanted to get away from these "Skettis Channelers," he would just hide in Shattrath, not Azeroth. That's what all exiles in Outland go to get away from their oppressors. While the priest does take a stretch to be there, at least she makes some sense in being there. Draenei are uncommon, but they are at least found on Azeroth. I have personally never seen one of Isfar's kind on Azeroth. The priest also embodies the Light - this acts as a foil to the Twilight Dragon's and Sinestra's powers. Besides, I seem to recall Isfar dealing out these "artifacts of Terokk" to random mercenaries. Care to explain that? My first point, your moral of the story - Write within not against - completely contradicts your own suggestions. None of your suggested characters have any place in the book. You would have to retcon an entire story to bring in the orc and you would also have to write a huge backstory to bring a friendly, powerful, artifact-bearing arakkoa into our Mary band of merry Sues. What you propose is even worse than what Knack did. Please, don't get me started on your proposal of killing off Neltharanku. What you did was pull random characters out of your hat and try to apply them to a story written for different, specific characters. It doesn't work that way. Sorry, but it just doesn't.My second point, my "moral-of-the-story," is while, yes, Knack does have quite a few shortcomings when it comes to his writing, he is an accomplished author - something likely none of the commenters here are. It is fine to express your dislike for his work. I've screamed "KNAAAAAAACK" myself. The only reason I'm writing this post is because our friend mibu here disrespected the man so far as to basically say, "You suck, Knack. Rewrite your whole book or get out! Here's how to make it better, btw." For one thing, mibu, hate to break it to you but your suggestions aren't any better, if not worse, than what is already established. On the other hand, I did agree with everything you wrote...until the last paragraph. I would not have even posted this if you hadn't added your obnoxious, all-capped sentence.Continuing, I have personally only read Day of the Dragon, and I really don't plan on reading any more of Knack's books. I am writing this post is out of respect for Knack as a person, something everybody deserves. I just hate it when one person tells another person how to do something when they have no idea how to do it himself/herself. I know mibu was going for constructive criticism, but one needs to know what one is talking about when it comes to constructively criticizing a person. In short,@mibuI agree with most of what you said, but please don't be a hypocrite.I honestly do agree with everything else you said, I just felt the need to defend Knack as a writer. Believe it or not, I did upvote your post. Some of the things brought up are completely true, especially your last line. It just seemed sour after reading what came before it. Anyway, I've used up my one "Stand up for Knack" card for my lifetime, so no one needs to worry about me defending him anymore. Feel free to downvote.
3-28-2011 @ 9:08AM
I want to add something here, I have read other books by Knaak (outside of the WoW books), and I don't mind his writing style as much as some others. He has one additional problem not faced by many fantasy writers, when your writing inside of a world that was pre-designed by someone else, it limits your creativity.I think using obscure or unknown characters, although having an effect on current lore, gives him more ability to mold a story the way he wants, rather then a copy and paste template of what is already known.I don't think Knaak is the greatest, but he is working with what he has to try and create a more diversified story line. It would get old if only the characters that existed in WC1 were followed. The story would be all but over before it even began, this would have caused us to lose WC2 and onward to where we are today. Interest would have died very early on. I think he is adding a new dynamic and making people think of some of the lesser heroes who have traveled the lands of Azeroth. Some of these lesser heroes in story lines have gone on to do much more then expected of them. *cough* Garrosh *cough* (wow never noticed how much his name sounds like bad phlegm)
3-29-2011 @ 9:23AM
@ GanatolaYou're right Gana, those characters probably wouldn't work, and I was just pulling them out of my hat, though I still stand by my opinion that Nek'rosh would be a viable lore figure. And I did not mean to attack Knaak as a person, as he has a very pleasant demeanor in his interviews and I would definitely like a conversation with him. I am also all for the creation of new lore to get the story moving, there is just one problem I have with it.Knaak is demonstrating a tendancy to create lore elements with little basis in what we have established. With the example of Hakkar the Houndmaster, he created a character with a personality, backstory, and motivation to be something of a first-teir antagonist for our fledgling heroes. This by itself is fine, but then he has Rhonin and Krasus react to killing him as though it was a significant event. The two of them knew about Hakkar, he had a history, it was common knowledge among mages that he fought in the Third War. Now, while this does give the world a feel of being bigger than we'd seen up to that point in the novels and games, it causes a bit of a problem in that Hakkar is significant only to the War of The Ancients trilogy. He goes unmentioned in World of Warcraft (which came out after WotA), was never put into WCIII, and we didn't even get an inkling as to what he might specifically be until Burning Crusade (Omar the Unscarred). Examples like that and the Dranei's staff are Knaak's main problem. On their own, they seem like flavor, an expansion of the world we know. In a novel set in its own world, or even a Warcraft novel out of continuity, this would be fine, but it's not. This is a novel written to further the story of the Warcraft franchise, and it's clear Knaak did not take that into consideration. He wrote in one figure in lore only glimpsed once, gave her a backstory and personality (not complaining on that one, he did a good job there) and then had her be the driving force in a story that had potential, but ended before it could have any implications to the Warcraft universe as a whole. The characters killed off did not exist before this book, the villain's death was Retconned within a year of realtime, and little was accomplished outside of character development. It strikes me more as an episode of an 80's merchandise-driven cartoon like Transformers or G.I. Joe; Megatron and Cobra Commander come up with a scheme, Optimus and Joe find out about it the hard way, the villains cause some damage, but our heroes win in the end, entire cast forgets about how it started and will rarely reference it again (hence why Starscream stayed alive until the movie). Instead, the heroes remember that they faced an obstical and overcame it while the villains add a tally to the number of times they've been thwarted and go back to the drawing board on their next scheme.That is what this felt like, an episode with little direct impact, but HUGE ramiffications for the warcraft story team to untangle later. Now they have to answer quesitons like: How did we not know about another Windrunner? Who is this nether-dragon and why should I care about him? Why didn't anybody gather up the demon soul after Deathwing fell? Are there lots of dranei artifacts that channel the power of the Naruu directly? That is my problem with this book, and Knaak's writing in general. He seems to forget that he is writing for an extensive fanbase who are quick to point out inconsistancies, and he is not responsible for explaining the issues or placating the masses, whom I am a member of. When I read a story like this, or a weaker D&D novel that keeps pulling original characters and major lore figures together like this to solve the problem of the week, I just think about the poor bastards on the writing team who have to clean up the continuity mess later.To answer one of your last points: I was not criticizing Knaak as a person, I was criticizing this particular peace of work as a VERY bad job with regards to continuity, and commenting how the worst problems with this particular work are reoccurring tropes in his writing as a whole. THIS is the post where I attack him as a writer in general. =P
3-28-2011 @ 11:44AM
@aerraeWorking within an already established setting can be difficult for some people, but not everyone. Look at the -huge- amount of fanfiction, a good amount of which Blizzard's promoted and put on it's website, that works within the setting and doesn't kludge something together and create an obnixious overly powered character like Ronin. It's difficult for Knack, but not difficult for everyone, and I think it would do Blizzard good to find someone who it's not a problem for.
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