Lore & Motivation Development in Legion

I’ve listened to the intro music on loading screen in the morning, and there played this hero piece – taken from theme “Anduin”. That very tune which makes you grab your sword, bow or staff and fight. Here I caught myself thinking: do I really care for what’s happening now and what is expected next on Argus?

Surprisingly I’m not.

What moves the story and your dedication onward is not just the plot, but also your emotions – specifically, why you want to kill the big bad. This is what making you fight, endure this or that grind (reputations, world quests, AP, dailies – name it) – to become stronger and kill the big bad with your own hands.

Legion started with the heaviest impact on both factions: both leaders were killed in action.

Varian

Voljin

Never before each of the factions was so united and ready for the revenge. The desire to prove yourself, to kill everything responsible, to rally with the new leader was strongest we ever experienced.

And… Blizzard blew it.

The whole faction glory subsided in the very first scenario upon entering Stormheim – this was the last we saw even a glimpse of faction pride. Leaders are nowhere to be seen. Anduin mourned his father throughout the expansion, and only in Broken Shore he visited Varian’s grave. But he’s not seen even in Argus previews – this is not his war, and this not his responsibility. Thus neither of this is concerning Alliance.

Sylvanas became the new leader of the Horde. Her very first act as a new leader was plotting to enhance the ranks of Undead, treacherous and dangerous. Nothing addressing the war against Legion. This is not her war, and this is not her responsibility. Thus neither of this is concerning Horde.

Do you see how this faction pride all went in a dumpster and got absolutely no development?

The only faction presence was in The Nighthold, led by Liadrin, Tyrande and Vereesa who were busy messing each others’ hair more than dealing with Legion. Gul’dan was a true climax of the expansion – although we dealt with absolutely new pompous elves during the whole raid. Still, we avenged what happened in Broken Shore.

What we see now is class order halls, filled with renowned heroes and champions of Azeroth.

All the host is guided by Khadgar, who’s the world’s Guardian, but at the same time having fun. Guided by Illidan who’s having LOTS of fun because this it what he does. Guided by Maiev, who’s more of a hen mother, supervising her Broken Isles jailbreaks and following Illidan. Guided by Velen, for whom the whole war is more of a personal business considering Draenei history, his issues with Kil’Jaeden, his revenge for his homeworld, his vengeance for his son.

I don’t feel involved – I’m not motivated to help them with their personal business. Blizzard ultimately failed to develop Kil’Jaeden, to make him the guy you want to fight with. He’s not present in Broken Shore and in raid. He’s absent until the very encounter.

On Argus we will deal with the ruins of Draenei homeworld which could be immersing for Draenei players and explorers/historians, but not for everyone else. It’s all the same black rocks and fel green puddles. It’s a raid where we don’t even see Sargeras himself. We’ll just get the directions to fight and kill more fel bosses. We can do that – but for loot only.

Remember the great villains of the past – Illidan who challenged us since the very starting cinematic in BC, Arthas who we wanted to end ever since W3 RTS, Deathwing who ruined the world with our favorite places, fucking nazi Garrosh, Mannoroth and Archimonde – hated villains since the very same RTS. In Legion, the climax big bad is Gul’dan, and we’ve already dealt with him.

What we are left with today is JOB to be done. We need to do the job, but are we motivated to do it? We’re not. And not a slightest glimpse of spirit and/or faction pride. Nothing personal is involved.

12 thoughts on “Lore & Motivation Development in Legion

  1. I have 0 motivation. It’s feeling like a long drawn out story from Pandaria to here. Garrosh, to Guldan, to more Guldan. There has been no defining, we killed the last boss. That’s it then, we can go home. This to me is a protracted experiment to see how well a never ending tale with just endless patches would be received. From what I gather we kill Kil’Jaeden, and then keep going?

    Liked by 1 person

    • After KJ kill Illidan draws Argus with his sargerite keystone, and it becomes Azeroth moon – in our world. So we deal with the Legion war machine at our doorstep. I wouldn’t spoil the datamined info much, but we go to Argus, and it will be the end of the Legion and the whole Burning Crusade in 7.3. (with a small probability of “merely a setback”).

      I agree that story arcs should be limited with expansion endings.

      Garrosh was an excellent (and unexpected) final villain in Pandaria, and it felt like expansion end: the war ended with truce, Sha eradicated, tree blossoms in the Vale, he’s stripped off his powers and brought to trial.

      Blizzard managed to grow a powerful villain out of Gul’dan, although he would have looked best in the end of expansion. Reviving Mannoroth, then “I’ll deal with you myself” (rolls up sleeves). For Legion, the best boss could be Kil’Jaeden in The Nighthold, and Archimonde in Tomb of Sargeras.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My personal thought is they dropped a huge ball by not adding an end of expansion scenario for the Garrosh Trial, with him escaping and the last word being that we had to pursue him or he might change the world as we know it. The story is missing unless you read warcrimes.

        I hope in the future they do a better job tying up the loose ends.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s interesting. I think you are right, I wanted to kill Garrosh; big time. I have no problem thinking of myself as a mercenary but the NPCs really want to call me hero (I like the World Quest where I’m told I was asked for by name). Right now it feels like I am tapping my foot, marking time.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I have heard interviews with people a Blizzard where they think they over exposed the players to Arthas in Wrath of the Lich King, but I couldn’t disagree more. We need to build up that antagonistic relationship to make the end meaningful.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You are very right about that. I had a lot of motivation to take out Gul’Dan (Whenever I do, i still play the Anduin theme at the same time) but I have failed to build up hype for ToS and Argus yet, sadly.
    Still pondering how to get it to work.
    But yes, things sure have seem scattered throughout Legion, I do wonder what brought that on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m excited for what is there after Legion, the Void is way more interesting than Fel Magic, Argus itself have strong connection for the next story arc, and if you look for PTR stuff, Argus is not all green fel like Broken Shore.

    I think the problem with MMO storytelling is basically the nature of MMOs themselves, developers have to come up with stories to keep the game going, it’s like a anime series with 100s of episode, after 600 of them even the fanbase can get fatigued.

    In the other hand, Lord of The Rings Online (LotRO) is reaching the end of the story with next expansion, they can’t do much to add more lore, the lore is already written and the author is not with us anymore, so this might be a case of MMO reaching the end chapter, but the game started with all the lore written for it, this is not the case for WoW or other MMOs, which makes it hard for the games to have good storytelling for a long run.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My trouble with Legion story telling is they failed to grow a big bad we want to fight with. This is achieved via questing, cutscenes, cinematics – making you want to kill him/her.

      Blizzard is very much capable of growing a bad guy/good guy out of nothing and quickly: it required no time to develop Yrel, Valtrois, Blackhand, Imperator (although ogres were more of a comic relief, but still).

      See how they delivered Xavius via Val’sharah questline, with heart ripping death of Ysera, continued in dungeon and with climax in the raid. How they delivered Shal’dorei, the arrogant pompous enemies which slaughtered their kin, and topped with Gul’dan who was perfectly developed throughout WoD and up to death of warchief/king cinematic.

      I don’t really know how they managed to fuck up Kil’Jaeden which had so much background. His presence in Broken Shore and in Tomb should have been always felt, taunting us, doing atrocities here before our eyes. What we got is a guy in doubt in cinematic. And this is it. We don’t see him until encounter itself.

      I hope the Argus questline would be grave and rich enough for a lead-in to make the new dungeon and new raid justified. Not to fight just loot dummies.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Some aspects of the expansion have no getting around. You have to do Suramar etc. but others, like freeing Illidan, I never completed a quest to gather shards or something, and yet he’s out and about on Broken Shore. A lot of the raid Normal or higher quests never completed, there is so much story I never finished that they just moved along. Sorry you are too slow, git gud. We need you here now, don’t worry about Suramar, it’s a silly place. All the action is in Broken Shore. Go. Go there now.

    And I suspect the same will hold true for Argus. If I do not Kill Kil, will Argus magically appear one day for me along with all the new content? I’m tempted to not complete LFR in a few weeks just to test the theory that regardless of how you want to play the game, there is a time table being followed and you will comply.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is very true, and a bit dumb, too! Im trying to think of it, if it was different though; if you could not move on to Nighthold etc. if you had not freed Illidan? And so forward? I imagine that would cause players to be upset too? It’s not easy to solve these things, but I entirely hear you; the storytelling seems here, there and everywhere – without making sense.

      I’m trying to recall how it was back back in the ol’ days though; it was even “worse” storytelling wise, was it not, if one can actually compare? Were we very hyped for Serpentshrine – or was it all about Black Temple, for example? Hm. Food for thought :)

      Liked by 1 person

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