For over 14 years now, World of Warcraft has remained to only be active, but relevant as a whole in the gaming community. While it did not define the massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) genre that we have today, it continues to be a part of it. More importantly, it continues to evolve with it. With the release of its seventh expansion, Battle for Azeroth, WoW boasts a thriving fanbase, along with tons of third-party marketplaces selling WoW accounts, WoW Gold and boosting services. However, there’s one thing that the players all agree on—the storytelling of the lore has definitely improved.
Storytelling in WoW: Then & Now
Game storytelling doesn’t get much more epic than the Warcraft universe. With the franchise turning 25 years old soon and having released the seventh expansion, World of Warcraft stories have been told as a fantasy world set in conflict. Epic struggles, each with grand heroes and vicious villains push players into the spotlight while these wars raged, with the players protecting the safety of the virtual lands they live on. And since then, players have been held in captive awe as to how Blizzard has told its stories since the early days. Mind you that they’ve managed to evolve their stories to keep up with the changing tastes and technologies of the time and to keep the players immersed and entertained.
How Battle of Azeroth Keeps Things Entertaining
Back when World of Warcraft launched Facebook, Youtube, or smartphones weren’t even in existence. WoW was the first MMORPG to have a social network, with the millions of players playing the game. Since then, the newest expansion, Battle for Azeroth, has taken place in the shadow of the opening act for World of Warcraft, the War of the Thorns. In this event, both Horde and Alliance players head to the Night Elf territory of Darkshore to take part in the battle. Eventually, the Alliance falls back and the Horde claims Darnassus, the capital city of the Night Elves. Sylvanas Wind runner, the Horde Warchief, then makes the decision to burn Darnassus down while still full of civilians in an unprecedented act of genocide. Whether you choose to be a member of the Alliance of the Horde is up to you.
Blizzard decided to mix things up on patch 8.1, Tides of Vengeance. A quest line called the Fate of Saurfangwill now have a rare player choice inside it. When players meet up with Zekhan, they’ll now have an option to either accept his quest or reject it. Accepting the quest will have it play out like normal, but a rejection leads players down a darker, more loyal path. Upon rejecting Zekhan, loyal Horde players will be given a quest to return to Sylvanas and tell her of this treachery. Sylvanas then reveals that she has “special plans” for Zekhan, which doesn’t sound particularly good for anyone.
While World of Warcraft has offered light choices like this in the past, these quests usually revolve around the character (or an NPC) killing someone. The choice with Zekhan is far more involved than most other World of Warcraft choices, especially since it has the potential to drastically impact the narrative.
Ultimately, the ability for characters to choose which sides to serve, Saurfang or Sylvanas, is fantastic. It’s exciting, new, and may lead to a whole new avenue that’ll eventually open up WoW to more people. The question is what comes next? How will this new method of storytelling be used for both sides? One thing’s for sure, it’s going to take more than a branching story to create a satisfying ending for those who are hyped for the new expansion.