Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Posts with tag storytelling

Breakfast Topic: What's your headcanon?

Night elf reading
Headcanon is a concept you may not be familiar with if you're not an RPer or fanfic writer. Simply stated, it's a fan's personal interpretation of events or characters in whatever setting they're a fan of. Sometimes a person may use their headcanon as a way of coping with a story choice they dislike, and sometimes it may just be to fill gaps in the story line. For example, in WoW fandom, you might hear someone say, "In my headcanon, Jaina and Kalec are just good friends, because I hate them as a couple!" or, "I have this headcanon that Cairne and Magatha were actually fairly close at one point, and had a falling-out, and that's one of the reasons she hated him so much and he didn't throw her out of Thunder Bluff." The first is an example of a coping (or "corrective") headcanon, the second is an example of filling in unknown gaps.

One of the most fun things I do with my WoW friends is chat about our personal headcanons of the story and characters. What kind of relationships do these people have outside of what we see directly in official lore? Were they childhood friends, were they comrades in arms, were they lovers? Do these folks resent being forced into obligations they never wanted thanks to world events, or are they hungry to wield a power they wouldn't have otherwise achieved? How much does group X actually enjoy being allies (or enemies) with group Y? The "if only" game is endlessly fun!

Do you have any WoW headcanons? Did you, by any chance, already tell us about them back in October? Have they changed? For the most part, I only discuss my own headcanons with a handful of people, because I'm way too shy to do it in public! If you're not, though, please tell us in the comments!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Lore

People live in Pandaria; or, our house in the middle of the sea

"And that night, her mom said that the two of them and the now-dead guy were the only 3 people who ever lived in Las Vegas. Everybody else just arrived, ate their complimentary shrimp cocktails, and left."

Blizzard's focus is, as they've repeatedly professed, "to create the most epic gaming experiences ever." But for all the world-ending threats we've encountered in the last few WoW expansions, Azeroth just isn't that big. The entire Eastern Kingdoms are about the size of the island of Manhattan. We're made to believe that hundreds of thousands to millions of people of various races inhabit the planet, but examining the amount of residential space in each zone shows us room for far, far fewer.

Now, yes, the Azeroth we see could simply be an abstraction of some other, larger, "real" Azeroth that doesn't tangibly exist. But this one is the one we get, and it seems sillier and sillier each time when you ponder things like where exactly King Wrynn managed to find a hundred thousand troops to send to Northrend, or where night elves have lived for the past ten thousand years. The same goes for Azeroth's endless supply of doomsday villains and the cultists they inevitably find to do their bidding. They had to come from somewhere. And they definitely don't live in Stormwind.

But the problem isn't even really where they live. It's how they live. It's where they come from. Outland presented a unique opportunity to show us the how and why of the many strange alien races on an entirely new planet, but we learned more about how they died than how they lived -- the fate of most non-player races in World of Warcraft. Their homelands were a theme park, a casino, and we run through pulling levers, grabbing drinks, buying t-shirts. Nobody lived there.

Pandaria, though? People live there. The continent feels more like a brand new planet than even Outland ever did.

Read more →

Filed under: 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!

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Diablo 3

World of WarCrafts: Guide to fan fiction

World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music, fan fiction and more. Sample the whole spectrum on our Arts and Crafts in WoW page.

Of all the various and assorted Warcraft-related crafting that people do, there is none quite as prolific as the world of Warcraft fan fiction. Artwork, jewelry making and knitted crafts require at least some small amount of artistic talent, cake and cookie decorating take at least a rudimentary knowledge of baking basics, and things like music, home decorating, and other projects require creators to know an incredible amount of information about their various areas of expertise. But with fan fiction, all it takes is a piece of paper and a pen (or a computer and a word processing program) and your imagination.

Read more →

Filed under: World of WarCrafts

Wrath Retrospective: Lore and the art of storytelling


With the final content patch of this expansion on our doorstep and Cataclysm following close behind, we'll be taking the next several weeks to look back on Wrath of the Lich King and everything that made it what it is, for better or for worse, in WotLK Retrospective.

Wrath of the Lich King wasn't just an expansion -- it was an experiment in progressive storytelling featuring story lines and lore that we haven't seen since Warcraft III. While Burning Crusade tackled new issues and races, it did little to further any of the Azeroth stories we'd seen in the earlier Warcraft games; Wrath took a step backwards to move the prior stories forward. Along with this change in direction, we saw the introduction of a few things that hadn't been seen in Warcraft before that made a large change to the way we view stories and quests in World of Warcraft, and a re-introduction of many of the heroes and prominent figures that we'd only caught glimpses of in vanilla. Today, we're going to look at Wrath lore: what worked, what knocked it out of the park and what failed to impress.

Phasing

Quite possibly the biggest technical advancement in storytelling was the introduction of the phasing mechanic. This allowed players to play through quests, and as the stories progressed, so did the world around the players, giving a new and unique feel to story line progression. Suddenly, instead of playing through a zone with no indication that you'd made any changes to the status quo, the world changed around you -- the chain of events in Conquest Hold in Grizzly Hills and Frosthold in the Storm Peaks both actually ended with NPCs being replaced as a direct result of player interaction. In the quest chain of The Battle for the Undercity, both Alliance and Horde players are teleported into a phased version of Orgrimmar, designed as a vehicle to further the story line -- and as a way for Alliance players to interact with Thrall without being attacked.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore

WoW Insider Show 

Subscribe via  iTunes for our latest show.

Hot Topics


 

Upcoming Events


Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories