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Posts with tag story-development

BlizzCon 2014 interviews feature Cory Stockton, Alex Afrasiabi

Just in case you missed it in the madness of Warlords of Draenor's launch, WoW Insider had the opportunity to interview not one but two developers this year at BlizzCon 2014. Both interviews were posted earlier this week and are well worth the look -- and may have been missed in the flood of Warlords expansion announcements and updates.

For those with more of a bent towards lore, the interview with World of Warcraft's Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi focused on the story behind the expansion, including discussion on alternate universes, some surprising stories about Garrosh Hellscream and the development of Warlords, and even an interesting tidbit about alternate Azeroth.

For those with more of a technical bent and burning questions about Warlords of Draenor's features and content, check out our interview with Lead Game Designer Cory Stockton. In the interview, we take an in-depth look at garrisons and their development, the new look of Warcraft's professions, and some cool new things to look forward to with transmogrification, as well as a few other fun features of the latest expansion.


Filed under: Interviews, BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor

Alex Afrasiabi on Warlords, Garrosh, and alternate Azeroth

Warlords of Draenor is a little over 24 hours away from launch! Although Warlords of Draenor is seemingly a step in a different story direction for the franchise, it has never been in more capable hands. BlizzCon may be over, but we had the opportunity during the convention to sit down and chat with World of Warcraft's Creative Director Alex Afrasiabi about the new expansion, Garrosh Hellscream, Warcraft's creative direction, and much more.

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Filed under: Lore, Interviews, BlizzCon, Warlords of Draenor

Know Your Lore: Warlord Zaela and the Dragonmaw Clan

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

They are Dragonmaw -- a clan that seems a little out of place in the name department, having existed long before dragons ever arrived on Draenor. However out of place that name may have been at the time, the clan lived up to it with brutal efficiency upon traveling through the Dark Portal and arriving on Azeroth. Yet for all its bravado, all its strength, and all its extremely powerful artifacts of questionable origin on its side, the Dragonmaw didn't really flourish. In fact, it found itself ironically subject to the manipulations of those it tried to subjugate, over and over again.

One orc woman saw the path her clan was destined to travel, the seed of corruption that was quickly threatening to tear the Dragonmaw apart, and feared for the fate of her clan. But when given a chance to make a difference, she seized the opportunity, killed her own Warchief and was rewarded with the chance to lead the Dragonmaw at the side of the Horde. Zaela may not have a lot of story behind her just yet, but make no mistake -- she will do whatever it takes to guarantee the safety and survival of her clan.

It's a pity that her methods involve allying with the most hated orc on Azeroth.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The problem with story progression in WoW

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

I've been working on an alt these past few weeks, leveling through content at my leisure and re-visiting storylines I haven't seen since the early days of Cataclysm. I started out in Azuremyst Isle, hopping over to Darkshore once I reached the appropriate level -- basically, once I'd gotten out of Ammen Vale -- and completed the entirety of Darkshore not because the XP was good, but because I wanted to see the entire thing again.

From there, I hopped to the Eastern Kingdoms, where I did part of Duskwood, most of Northern Stranglethorn Vale, and then up to the Plaguelands -- Western, then Eastern -- before hopping down to the Badlands. After the Badlands, I did a small portion of Searing Gorge, then hopped down to the Swamp of Sorrows and the Blasted Lands, where I hit level 60 and promptly went through the Dark Portal to Outland. Which is when I realized something -- if I were a new player, someone who had never picked up World of Warcraft, I would have absolutely no idea what the heck was going on. At all.

There's something really wrong with that.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

What we leave behind

I'm really concerned about Dog. Dog is the dog that I rescued from near starvation in the Heartland over in the Valley of the Four Winds. I was so excited to find and rescue this poor little guy that I even wrote a brief article about him at the time. Since then, Dog has been happily living the life of a king on my farm, and despite the fact that I was never able to name him, he seems to be happy enough to just respond to the name Dog, not to mention a few choice emotes. If you haven't already done so, try using /love, /pet, /bark, or /kiss on your puppy, because the result is adorable.

Actually, I kind of love everything on my farm. Shaggy the yak from Farmer Fung, the sheep from Chee Chee, the piggies sent courtesy of Fish Fellreed (who is still my favorite), and of course Luna the cat from Ella. Even the chickens, although they have a disturbing tendency to flop over dead due to phasing. I spent a lot of time building up the farm and making it the nicest little place to hang out, even when I'm not currently farming crops. It's a good farm. I had fun building it.

But I'm super concerned about Dog, because I know I'll be leaving soon.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Community Manager Zarhym on game design vs. story development

Zarhym on game design vs story development
It's always interesting seeing the blue team's thoughts on World of Warcraft, whether on the community, or the development of the game itself. Community Manager Zarhym had some profound words to share this week regarding the interviews we've been seeing for patch 5.4, and the challenges of setting up community interviews with the different developers. There's been a big, ongoing debate amongst players regarding story development this expansion -- in particular, faction story development. Players feel that the Alliance story has been somewhat left behind this expansion, to say the very least.

Zarhym decided to chime in and comment not only on this topic, but on the topic of interviews in general, and how hard the story development team works on the story behind the game we love to play. Given that we've done several interviews with various developers over the course of Mists of Pandaria, it was nice to see Zarhym's thoughts on the matter. Read on for his post in full.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The Alliance and the Darkspear Rebellion

Know Your Lore The Alliance and the Darkspear Rebellion
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Sometimes, the storytelling in World of Warcraft sets people on edge -- which may very well be the understatement of the year. So far, nothing in Mists of Pandaria has been quite as contentious as the idea of Alliance vs. Horde story development. We've delved into the seemingly lopsided nature of Alliance development in WoW before, and taken some guesses and speculation on what the Alliance seems to be missing from a development standpoint.

But patch 5.3 has introduced a new element -- the Darkspear Rebellion -- and with that element comes a new wave of discontent. Having played through both sides of the event, I can definitely see where the Alliance are coming from. While the Horde has a really great triumphant moment of smacking down Garrosh's forces, the Alliance doesn't really have an equivalent. Which leads people to ask, once again, when the Alliance are going to get a moment of glory?

It's a good question, and the answer to that question warrants a look into the story behind the expansion, as well as a look at the nuts and bolts of story development.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: What is the Alliance missing?

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Alliance lore and the Alliance storyline in general have both been subjects of contention since some point early in Cataclysm, and the complaints don't seem to be getting any quieter. In the upcoming patch 5.3, the Alliance will be taking a direct hand in the events playing out near Orgrimmar, but not in the way you would readily expect. And oddly, this has Alliance players worked up in a near frenzy on realm and story forums, bitter and angry about the direction the Alliance storyline has been taking and repeatedly demanding more.

And it is incredibly difficult to understand just what all the fuss is about. There isn't a tangible moment that one can point to, there isn't a cohesive example of what has been happening. There's just a sense of unhappiness that is, to Alliance players, absolutely real. So this week, we're going to take a slightly different route for Know Your Lore. We're going to look at the nuts and bolts behind Mists of Pandaria, the Alliance, and the story so far. And we're going to do so in as analytical and constructive a manner as possible, to try and find that specific what-happened that seems to be bothering so many players.

Let's take a deep breath, dive in, and ask ourselves not "what is wrong," but instead, "what is the Alliance missing?"

Please note: Today's Know Your Lore contains some spoilers for patch 5.3 content. If you're trying to avoid spoilers, you may want to turn away.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Patch 5.2 and beyond with Dave Kosak

Patch 52 and beyond with Dave Kosak
Hot on the heels of the official patch 5.2 trailer, we had the opportunity to sit down and speak with one of the developers behind it all. While chatting with Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak about patch 5.2 and its development, one thing became incredibly clear -- 5.2 is definitely not just a raid and a few dailies. There is far, far more to be seen and experienced in the new patch.

Read on for some of the details behind the trailer released earlier today, the story in the new patch, daily quest development, scenarios, and even a few hints at what's in store for patch 5.3.

Please note: There are a couple of minor spoilers for 5.2 content in the interview. Nothing huge, we promise!

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Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2012, part 2

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

In part one of our look back at 2012's best lore developments, we looked at the various aspects introduced to better introduce lore to those that had only a passing interest in it. While the Lorewalkers, print media and instance developments were also tremendously appealing to those that already have a handle on Warcraft lore, they also served as a method of getting the lore out to those that weren't really interested in the minutiae of mogu and mantid.

And that's honestly pretty important. There are plenty of players that play the game simply to play it, not paying attention to why they are playing at all. By implementing subtle elements that introduce the lore in an unobtrusive fashion, the developers have quietly found a way to make sure that regardless of how or why you play the game, you still have some sort of basic understanding of what is going on. Cataclysm had a story, but it was so complex that it was difficult even for those with a strong grasp of lore to puzzle out exactly what was going on and why we were doing what we were doing.

But the fun doesn't stop there -- and today's picks are those that are slightly less unobtrusive in regards to lore and story.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Know Your Lore: The dynamic new face of Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore The dynamic new face of Mists of Pandaria SUN
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Cataclysm was a good expansion for lore development. There were several new tools brought in to help the merger of gameplay and lore. There were just as many old tools that were reworked and reimagined in a way that made the story behind the game a fluid and interactive experience. And I'm not just talking about game mechanics like phasing and new quest technology; I'm also referring to the larger presence of novels and short stories that tie directly in with the game universe.

This isn't to say that Cataclysm's story was perfect. In fact, despite these innovations, there were problems abound with Cataclysm's storytelling methods. Zones played as seamless stories, but to many players, they felt as if they were on rails. Worse still was the lack of cohesion. The main storyline of Cataclysm felt to many just as scattered as the new zones we had to explore and level through. While Cataclysm was full of innovation, it seemed as though that very innovation led to an experience that ultimately wasn't as satisfactory from a story standpoint.

Mists of Pandaria is a stark contrast to Cataclysm. To be perfectly honest, it's a stark contrast to any WoW expansion we've seen to date. Throw your preconceptions of a world on rails out the window, because we're about to make the leap into dynamic storytelling.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: The final boss of Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore The final boss of Mists of Pandaria SUN
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

We've heard various and sundry conflicting tales about Mists of Pandaria, tales of various pandaren groups, tales of faction warfare, tales of a warchief's downfall. But in and among all of the tales, one theme pervades, one thing stands out as something people point to in dismay. This thing is the lack of a final boss that is a powerhouse in Warcraft lore, something that we've had with every prior expansion. Illidan, Kil'jaeden, the Lich King, and Deathwing were all prominent figures in Warcraft lore before we rose up to defeat them. They were terrible threats to our world, threats that had to be dealt with.

But in Mists of Pandaria, we don't have the reassuring face of a villain to charge after. We don't have a major lore figure to take care of. We have no idea what we're facing other than some rumblings about the warchief's downfall -- and even then, we're not sure if those rumblings are correct. For the first time in World of Warcraft's history, we don't have an easily recognizable, high-profile figure to contend with.

Or perhaps we do. We have to deal with one of the greatest threats we've ever seen. We just aren't looking closely enough.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Mists of Pandaria

What WoW's story could learn from Diablo III (and vice versa)

What WoW could learn from Diablo III and vice versa ANY
I like the Diablo storyline. It's complex without being incomprehensible, and unlike WoW, it doesn't have a gigantic and sometimes daunting pile of backstory to wade through. You can pretty much jump into Diablo III without having played any of the prior games and still have a pretty good idea of what's going on. The world, Sanctuary, has a fairly simple premise, but the repercussions of its creation have far-reaching effects that are more often than not a gigantic pain in the butt for those living on Sanctuary.

I liked Diablo III. I liked the gameplay -- who doesn't like carving their way through hordes of demon corpses? I liked the controls, which were relatively simplistic, and I liked the talent trees, which were fun without being confusing. It's hard to compare WoW and Diablo, because the two games are so very different in concept. One's an MMO, the other is a click-fest of looting and gore. But they both have one thing in common: story. And oddly enough, it seems as though there are a few things these two games could learn from each other on that front.

Please note: There are spoilers for Diablo III in this post. If you haven't finished playing through to the end and you wish to avoid spoilers, turn away!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Diablo 3

Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2011, part 1

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Since Rossi is taking a look at the top lore reveals of Cataclysm, I decided to jump in hand-in-hand with that. A little over a year and a half ago, I addressed some of the storytelling methods of Wrath -- what worked, what didn't work. It wasn't a look at specific lore moments as much as a look at how Blizzard was handling lore as a whole. Compared to the early days of WoW, Wrath made some giant strides forward in how we as players interacted and mingled with the various storylines of the expansion.

Much like Wrath, Cataclysm observed all that had come before, took a good look at all of it, and promptly made some giant strides of its own. What we've gotten in the past year has been nothing short of astonishing in terms of creating a meld of gameplay and lore that draws the player in and keeps them there ... to a point. After all, nothing's perfect in this world, and there are always things that could be tweaked and improved upon. Let's take a look at the top 10 lore developments of 2011 -- not the story we've seen in the foreground, but all those wonderful mechanics behind it.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Chris Metzen discusses the role of the writer at GDC Online

So how does a writer fit into World of Warcraft? If you ask Chris Metzen, they are the cheerleaders, torchbearers and keepers of the flame, responsible for the keeping the heart in the game. In a presentation at GDC Online in Austin, Texas, Metzen talked a bit about the balance between writing and gameplay and the job of a writer at Blizzard.

Though lore has taken more of a front seat in Cataclysm, it's ultimately the gameplay that comes first with Blizzard, even before the story. According to Metzen, if you don't make it fun in the first 3 minutes of gameplay, you've failed. If the gameplay is a turn-off, it doesn't matter how wonderful the story is -- people still aren't going to want to play it. The presentation is an interesting look at some of the less-highlighted aspects of game development, and Gamasutra has coverage of the whole presentation. For those interested in what the job of a writer looks like at Blizzard Entertainment or wondering what goes on when creating a story as massive as Warcraft, it's a really interesting read.

But that's not all from GDC Online -- Blizzard writers also got together to discuss great gaming moments and the challenges of game design. The coverage of the event discusses more about the writing process, fan feedback, and creating memorable stories. Check out the full story over on Gamasutra as well.

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

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