Saturday, December 20, 2008

Loving the lore

Although not actively engaged in it I definitely have role playing tendencies. At least to the extent where I enjoy thinking about how my characters feel about the world, their personalities and their reactions to events in game, even if I don't actively play these things out in the game itself.

One of the things I very much enjoy about playing Warcraft is the lore and in Wrath I am enjoying the quest lines and story involvement more than ever. Blizzard have really stepped it up a notch with Wrath in my opinion and for several reasons. Firstly, there are DRAGONS! Lots of dragons! As a long time fan of these mythic beasts it's exciting to see them in game and from a lore perspective it's definitely great to get back to the main Azerothian story line started so long ago in the early stand alone games. Secondly, the amount of flavour and detail Blizzard has imbued into the world really adds to the immersion, and thirdly and perhaps most compellingly, the introduction of phasing technology means you feel as though you are actually having an impact on the story.

The battle of the Wrath Gate quest line is simply THE best, most epic, quest line ever and some of the most fun I have ever had in the game - especially in solo play. The long Marshal Windsor chain in vanilla WoW was certainly great and I'm glad I was able to experience it on Jez, but in my opinion the Wrath Gate sequence has taken it a step further. I won't go into details in case anyone reading this has not yet done the quest since I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone, but if you haven't done it yet I exhort you to go do so. Now.

I have dabbled in the past (several years ago now) in writing role play fiction through a forum based community and I did a fair bit of reading about writing fantasy fiction. One of the tenets I most clearly remember is in order for a fantasy fiction environment to succeed it must be clearly imagined and consistent. The community I was involved with wrote role play fiction based within Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time world and I had a massive guide I would refer to when writing to ensure authenticity with the world.

It's this incredible depth and richness of detail which I love about the World of Warcraft and think contributes strongly to it's ongoing popularity. There are of course other important aspects of the game that cause it to stand out from the crowd but for me the lore itself, and it's exposition within the game, is what anchors me in.

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