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The Queue: The beginning of WoW, threads, and the podcast


Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

We'll jump right into the first question here. My answer is a long one...

Rick asked:

Why was WoW never started from the Beginning? I mean why not tell the whole story from the start? Seems like we could have had a lot more content this way, and bouncing around would have never happened, do you think some day we may see that as a WoW 2 thing? I mean I finally picked up the Battlechest with the RTS WoW, but I think it would have been nice to see in the game we all love.

Same goes for the books, I wish we could just get the whole story in order for once.



I love this question on multiple levels. I think it gets to a very good criticism of WoW, and that's its narrative method. Right now we jump along from point A to B to C, cross over some boundaries, go to a different land, and end up at the present (which will soon be the past). This hasn't come about because of lack of storytelling integrity, but because of the very nature of a persistent world game.

Last week I wrote about how WoW is just the next step in a long line of storytelling vehicles, dating back to pictures on the cave wall to the grand operas of the 1800s. The next step for storytelling is to have a responsive and dynamic environment which is uniquely and completely altered based on character actions. Think of the holodeck on the Enterprise; when Picard and Data go and kill one of their fictional Sherlock Holmes enemies, the entire design of the program changes. Characters interact differently, plots change, and the entire environment becomes responsive to the protagonist's actions.

The bouncing around, the lack of easy to follow continuity is due to the necessary unresponsive nature of WoW and all of gaming. We've seen hints of the solution in phasing now, and other games implement it to a greater extent, but still, we have yet to see an entire world change based on the actions of the gamer. Even in Skyrim, which has one of the most responsive environments out there, do you think kids would be running around outside if there were dragons about? Of course not.

So back to your question -- why doesn't WoW start at the beginning? Because the world would be too large, and the story itself would be impossible to tell. The world would not change, the response would not happen; and with as dynamic and changing as Azeroth's history is, that change is a necessity.

Now I do want to mention another side to your answer here -- and that's one of the backstory. Everything must have a beginning, and a lot of the creation myths have this in spades. Azeroth's creation, while there are still some holes to fill, fits nicely into the standard (and ancient) dogmatic nature of humanity's lore. A good story has this depth and world building as a foundational element to the current tale, which almost always picks up at a pivotal plot moment in the history of a character. In our case it's the arrival of the Orcs.

Can we, should be, go back to the first traces of the Burning Legion? I think we should! Can we in any sort of fleshed out way, without doing another Back to the Future style jumps? Not right now -- but I wouldn't put it past Blizzard do find a way to create a responsive world to do just this.

Geonerd asked:

Since its children's week do you think we will ever find out whats going on with Salandria and Dornaa future selves?

Welcome to dangling plot thread number 9,899. It's over 9000.

Diamond asked:

Are we getting a podcast tonight, did I miss something, or is my computer being obnoxious again, as it does?

We announced on Twitter last night that the podcast was delayed -- we'll likely do it Thursday evening, although I'm not 100% sure yet.
Have questions about the World of Warcraft? The WoW Insider crew is here with The Queue, our daily Q&A column. Leave your questions in the comments, and we'll do our best to answer 'em!

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