Nazjatar Lore is a Joke: All the Missed Opportunities

There, I’ve finally pinned my elusive concern about the Patch 8.2. – and this is exactly it. Now that you think of it, this is the major problem of the patch.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the War Campaign sequel – the scenario of liberating Baine is gorgeous along with its cinematic.

I have nothing bad to say about Mechagon. It introduced even quirkier but lovable mechagnomes over the “normally” quirky gnomes & goblins. It introduced a huge playground which is fit for exploring and tinkering, swaying with it in your face. It introduced a solid “sidestory” Big Bad, a reason to fight for and an excellent, climactic dungeon to wrap it all up.

In short, it’s a diamond in itself, and it works perfectly as a sidestory.

But Nazjatar… well, it’s simply hollow.

Just think of all the missed opportunities.

1. High Elves and Azshara.

We could have had a full-scale journey into the past of High Elves. What was Azshara back then before Shattering? How did her subjects treat her, and how did she treat her subjects? What was their life like? How arrogant the nobles were in their chase for power? Some hints to the first Legion’s invasion which led to the Shattering?

Nothing. We only get a short trip with Thalyssra or Shandris, see the Warbringers short… and this is it. There are roaming ghosts, and there’s zero hint to anything mentioned above. There are ruins, but they tell no story. None at all.

2. Naga!

We could get a full-scale story to learn about naga. Finally we’re at the heart of their empire! How did they transform? Where do the species come from, like brutes and all? Architecture? Society? Exploration of Zanjir/Shirakess clan history?

Nothing. The closest thing there was is only a snapdgaron origin questline – which was actually cool. But bite my shins, this is but a freckle of what could have been there.

3. Allied Unshackled/Ankoan.

Don’t even get me started on that. These two, especially Unshackled, have a story potential that could feed hours and hours of one-time stories.

We learn nothing of their societies, of how they fought and struggled with the naga. How they suffered from them, how their kids were taken by evil octopuses, families shattered and tortured. But they’re nothing more but vendors. They don’t even deliver their perks! You could take a single sea giant and turn it into a funny figure that everyone will remember for a long, long time past the expansion – like Addie in Highmountain’s Nesingwary camp, Meerah in Vol’dun or Lump (was it?), the ogre that hated fighting in Searing Gorge.

Nada.

4. The major storyline.

We know we must break into the palace, we sought the javelin that did the trick, but frankly it’s a simple Deus Ex. We just took it from a common no-name mob, just like that. There could have been the story that is about collecting Javelin parts, learning their whereabouts (while learning elven past), learning how it was created and how it helped to kill someone important (through a little flashback – nothing serious, think Huln Highmountain).

There could have been Lady Ashvane presenting a serious threat rather than sitting in a cave and leaving at the sight of us. There could have been a winding path to making a truce with the Horde rather than casually bumping into them and saying ‘ok, let’s work together’ – Lorthemar, and Jaina, and Genn, and Thalyssra discussing their concerns in homebase before meeting them.

All possible opportunities were missed out.

There’s a lot to do in this patch – it will actually take months to complete, there’s a lot of gameplay content. But we don’t have the purpose for it.

Now you think of it, it seems that all the writers took vacation when it came to writing Nazjatar. And that strikes the patch straight at its heart. The raid, which should have been the zone culmination, is just another place for mechanics, organized activity and getting transmogs. It doesn’t bear any emotional sense – it simply didn’t have a proper lead-in, or any at all.

Yes, we all know about the first invasion, the Shattering and Azshara stories by heart. But it’s always been a history textbook. Nazjatar could have made it personal. It did not.

What were they thinking?

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11 thoughts on “Nazjatar Lore is a Joke: All the Missed Opportunities

  1. Part of me wonders if a lot of storyline is lacking because Metzen was on the way out, and Christie Golden was still getting familiar. The zone is kind of cool to see from the air, but it feels disjointed, why these naga here, why are the murloc’s over there. What did the creatures flying in the air do when the whole zone was underwater.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My major concern is not ‘why’ – frankly it’s easy to deduce everything and we really know the lore. There are no blank spots. But they just waved away all possible emotional investment, expanding our knowledge about what we already know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve thought for a long time that something has been missing. In Wrath and Cata, we would rush home and be eating dinner at the computer, the desire to get in there, get the bad guys, we need to help save world!! Pandaria had a great story, when the little panda girl got killed, we enacted vengeance. Since then it’s missed something.

        This comes close to expressing the emotional attachment from Wrath.

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      • I wouldn’t say so. WoD narrative was awesome – we simply lacked gameplay. Legion had awful narrative (except for Suramar and Xavius) . BfA was pretty good so far, I was emotionally driven by both continents and climactic DazarAlor raid. They just simply didn’t do anything for Nazjatar, and this is quite surprising considering its potential.

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  2. You’ve articulated very clearly my sense of disappointment with Nazjatar. As I was working through those last few days to get to Revered, after I finished the raid attunement questline, I kept feeling like “This is it? We’ve been hearing naga swear “By Nazjatar’s depths!” since Cataclysm at least, and this is all there is to the place?”

    Speaking of Cataclysm, Nazjatar feels small compared to Vashj’ir. For all the complaints about combat in 3D and the arduousness of that long, long, long on-rails questline, I love the environment design of Vashj’ir. The three distinct subzones make it really feel expansive — it’s almost like a precursor to Argus in that way. Shouldn’t Nazjatar have been at least as large as Vashj’ir? And I felt like the distinctive architecture of the dungeon in Vashj’ir — Throne of the Tides (?) — should have shown up again in Nazjatar, and it didn’t.

    But yeah, it’s really the missed story opportunities that made Nazjatar feel like a let-down.

    There are these “Hina-Aram Refugee” ghosts that you can talk to that will tell you about how everyone is ignoring their reports that Azshara is in league with the demons. I thought, when I first encountered them, that there might eventually be a questline where I had to do something with/for them and learn more of their story… but nope.

    I found some Ankoan Blademaster Burial Shrines as I wandered around the zone, some of which described their subjects with female pronouns. Is there an Alliance questline that has you find them all, or even an Achievement for finding them all? I didn’t ever spot anything similar for the Unshackled, though I’ll admit that I might not have been looking closely enough.

    And, like you, I was expecting there to be more to the Alliance and the Horde making a truce than more or less ignoring each other until we run into each other while going after the Tidestone and shrug our shoulders and say “okay, let’s work together, guys.” More initial tension, a tentative (and possibly initially rebuffed) outreach to the other side, more meaningful conversations between the leaders before the big push together against Azshara. OK, yeah, War Mode, and Battle for Nazjatar, but I’m a pure PvE player, so I need to see the tension and the resolving of tension in a PvE storyline.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’d definitely sacrifice travel time if all the biomes were enhanced in scale and got themselves a proper story. Spears/crash site/homebase part would serve as sending us back to ships and dealing with Alliance/Horde. We could salvage stuff and arrange meetings there.

      The middle part and homebase would serve as a means to properly introduce new allies. We go into effort liberating more and more of them (it may even have been on a weekly basis), and learn how naga harass their slaves.

      The Zin-Ashari part would have been about delving into the story of High Elven communities – some turned into naga (loyalists), and some turned into ghosts.

      The palace depths would be about Zanjir/Shirakess/Zoatroid communities – we could have seen how dangerous they are, how they train and produce troops.

      In short, Nazjatar lore should have been at least an 8-part achievement, not three.

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  3. I was asking myself why I would return to this zone after opening the way to the raid. Sure, you can get some gear and maybe a way to be more powerful but it doesn’t feel like they need me. There are no invasions, the residents don’t really care that we are there — they keep pathing back and forth all day with no purpose. It feels really passive.

    Liked by 1 person

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