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11-07-2011 @ 4:50PM
I definitely agree with all of this. One of the things that got me hooked so much on the RTS games was the mix of Serious Business and goofy humor. I think they did a really good job of incorporating that into WoW, while expanding on the world building some. Regarding Burning Crusade, though: I agree that they succeeded in tone; Outland felt suitably alien, but to me it still felt like part of the WC-verse, as an RTS fan. The first time I stepped through the Dark Portal in WoW felt almost exactly how I felt the first time we saw Draenor in Beyond the Dark Portal and again in The Frozen Throne. Standing in HFP for the first time looking at all the red desolation, it made me remember what Kael and Vashj must have felt when they were wandering there lost.Where BC lost me, however--particularly as a fan of TFT--was that I think it was the point where the story stopped driving the gameplay in favor of the opposite, and the end result was that RTS characters got shafted left and right in the name of having an excuse for raids. Vanilla wasn't perfect in how it treated some RTS characters, as Tyrande began her descent into irrelevancy there, but BC was where it really started. I've nerdraged enough on here about Illidan's stupid flanderization and Kael's laughably bad heel turn, but I actually think the worst example of this was Vashj and the nonsense in Zangarmarsh. Here you had a disjointed story that basically went nowhere as you were questing in the zone, and then suddenly you hit 70 and had to go back and kill her. It was such a tragic waste of an interesting character too, which is why it still sticks in my craw years after the fact. Maiev was similarly wasted, and while I'm hardly a fan of that character, I think it's pretty fucked up that she turned up in the final showdown with Illidan, only to be unceremoniously auf'd in a novel. This kind of thing only continued in WotLK with Anub'arak.I really hope that Metzen & Co. learn from that, and particularly from the mud they dragged Kael through, when bringing legacy RTS characters to WoW in the future. When Alleria and Turalyon finally show up, for instance, I hope they're done justice.
11-07-2011 @ 5:12PM
As opposed to granting Justice Points on kill? :P
11-07-2011 @ 5:14PM
As another fan of the RTS games, I definitely agree with you, Kylenne. When I first started WoW in mid-BC, I thought that Kael would be the faction leader of the Blood Elves. Imagine my surprise when I traveled to Silvermoon, saw some random dude in the leader spot, and then after a Google search I learned he was a raid boss. Huh? Also, Illidan always seemed more like an anti-hero than a villain to me. Sure, he consumed the skull of Gul'dan, was corrupted, yada yada yada...but he used that power to kill a major Burning Legion lieutenant in WC3. He seemed like he was someone that basically wanted to do the right thing, but was corrupted by his addiction to magic, heartbroken from Tyrande's rejection of him, etc. Again, that seems more like anti-hero material, and having him as a raid boss seemed contrived after seeing his character develop in WC3. I also found Anub'arak's unceremonious destruction in Wotlk rather ironic, since for most of TFT I used him more than I used Arthas (in fact, first thing I did with Arthas was to max out Death Coil just so I could heal Anub, haha). Here's to hoping future heroes/villains from the RTS games - the few that are left, anyway - are given better treatment.
11-07-2011 @ 6:07PM
@Dan: Yeah, that was my major problem with Illidan's portrayal in BC. It really seemed like all of the nuance and shades of grey he had in WC3 were just chucked out the window because they needed a raid boss; he was always more Chaotic Neutral to me than a mustache-twirling bad guy, which is what made him so interesting to me. Illidan was never evil, per se, he was just really fucking reckless and desperate for approval. BC was just such a blatant "we need bosses!" move on their part, with the Illidari. WC3 was my favorite of the RTS games because that's when the series started to move away from the black hat vs. white hat stuff from the previous games and BC seemed like a huge step backwards, in how Illidan was portrayed (and later, Kael).The Feronas Sindweller quest chain in revamped Felwood is a huge step in the right direction to me, as far as remedying that, and I'm glad Metzen's been talking about redeeming Illidan and/or bringing him back. It's just bittersweet to me, because if it happens it's going to be without Kael and Vashj, and I loved the dynamic they all had in TFT and think the latter two deserve some rehabbing too. I would have loved to have seen Vashj break away from Azshara in favor of Illidan and play a role in the inevitable Nazjatar expansion. I kind of wish we could get a reboot of BC at this point, because there were some interesting plot elements in it despite the fail. :\
11-07-2011 @ 8:19PM
Amen. To all of the above. (Also, great article, and I can't wait for part two of this examination of tone!)
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