Monday, October 25, 2010

What I Wanted to Know from the Lore Panel

Alex Afrasiabi and Chris Metzen try to not answer too many questions at the lore panel
Watching the lore panel this weekend, I sensed that there is a fine line Blizzard walks every time they do one of those things. There are relatively few questions one could ask that Metzen and Afrisabi would be willing to answer.

Spoiler Questions - Most of the unknown story is stuff we will see in the near future and they are not going to give that away.

Questions about favorite characters, like "Are you going to bring Illidan back?" The devs look at each other, cause they know the answer in Warcraft is that anybody could come back, but that one is not really under consideration.

Completely random questions that nobody ever thought about, like, "What clan does Saurfang belong to?" I think it's an interesting question, but as Metzen put it in that case: "Blackrock. As of ten seconds ago, it's Blackrock."

So, let's imagine that I up and flew my butt down to Anaheim and forced all the others out of the way so that I could ask the Lore Questions. This is what I would have asked:

How did anyone know that Arthas Menethil became the Lich King? No one saw him put on the armor and merge with Ner'zul. The last individual to have seen Arthas before he ascended the Frozen Throne was Illidan Stormrage, who was in no condition to see what happened next. I suspect Kel'thuzad knew what happened, or perhaps knew the plan in advance. But I don't think he went on tour, telling about the news from Northrend.

Has anyone ever learned that the Lich King was Ner'zul? I know this from reading WoWwiki, but I don't think anybody in Azeroth had that information. Illidan might have learned more about LK while he was talking with Kil'Jaden, but he had no reason to share that info. And if somebody did tell him it was Ner'zul, that name would have meant nothing to Illidan. I don't recall that Illidan would have really met an orc at that point.

There was a pretty cool encounter with The Lich King in Howling Fjord where he basically just taunts Alliance characters and refers to the fact that he was once a Shaman. And then he breaks our bodies in half.  I think that would have been fresh information to any character. Any member of the original Horde ought to be aghast to discover who the Lich King really is (was).

Has anyone told Malfurion Stormrage that his brother was killed in Outland? Did anybody mention it to Tyrande? Neither of them would have defended Illidan or have been terribly surprised, but both felt deeply for him and would have grieved.

Did anybody make the connection that Lord Daval Prestor of Lordaeron was Deathwing in disguise? In one of the Warcraft novels (probably Day of the Dragon) several of the Kirin Tor got pretty close to working it out, but Deathwing got his ass kicked right after that and Lord Prestor just utterly disappeared with no particular explanation why. The fact that "Lady" Katerina Prestor lurked around the court of Stormwind for so long after that with no suspicions makes me think that the connection was either lost or that the human kingdoms of Azeroth really need to work on their communication skills.

What happened to Arthas' sister, Calia Menethil? She has been a periphery character in several different stories. (She has largely been treated as damsel in distress by most writers) but we are talking about an heir to the throne of Lordaeron here! You can't just let someone like that disappear. There are so many possibilities for what she could bring to the story, both in trying to find her and once she is discovered, alive or...maybe not alive. What if she were scourged and "wakes up" when Arthas' power broke as a kind of new Forsaken. Would she challenge Sylvanas? What if she's alive and wants her throne back? What if she has turned into some sort of extremist in recent years, hanging out with the Syndicate or something? What if the Syndicate trotted her out as a sort of hostage or as some play for power in the northern kingdoms? Too much goodness here!

And one more thing about the Forsaken. Did their ranks get bolstered at the death of Arthas? The Forsaken we know were a product of the Lich King's power temporarily weakening. Arthas' fate should have shaken the tree well enough that some more sentient undead fell out. I have seen some story in the Cataclysm Beta that suggests this did not really happen, though Sylvanas did go recruiting.

I mean really. Somebody walked up and asked if Mudcrush Dirtfeet's story is going to be developed. He got a cheesy laugh and all I could think about was wasted opportunity.  (Dirtfeet seems to be an ogre quest giver somewhere in the world).

One other thing I sense: I don't think Metzen likes the Warcraft comics for the most part. There was a question about Medan and the Council of Tirisfal and those guys got a whistful look on their faces that suggested to me that they don't like that character.  Comics have a tendency to bend and veer into some of the craziest storylines. And not that Warcraft doesn't either, just I think it may be difficult reconciling those two.  Medan looks like one of The Most Powerful Persons in the World at the moment, and Metzen clearly wants Thrall to have that title. I can't blame him. Medan is kinda shallow if you ask me.

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