Story and Lore Developer Live Stream
Cinematic Project Director Terran Gregory and Senior Game Designer Steve Danuser sat down to discuss the story and lore of World of Warcraft!


  • The Process
    • The in game story is planned out months and sometimes years in advance.
    • Cinematics have always functioned as an important point in a story in Blizzard games' history, and it started with the Wrathgate in WoW.
    • The game can create good ambient story, but cinematics shine in telling the more emotional story points.
  • Story in Battle for Azeroth
    • Bfa was a good opportunity to bring Jaina back into the story and develop all the different experiences she has had throughout the story.
    • People have strong feelings about the state of the Horde right now, and the conflict allows good storytelling and depth to develop.
    • The two philosophies of honor and conquest is the core of the ongoing story within the Horde.
    • Zekhan was already planned to be in Old Soldier as Saurfang's counterpart before players fell in love with him.
    • Bwonsamdi was influenced a lot by how his voice actor embodied him.
    • Christie Golden wrote the dialogue for the Bwonsamdi and Rastakhan cinematic.
    • There will be a lot more interaction between Talanji and Bwonsamdi going forward.
    • Flynn was super fun to develop as a counterpart to Talia.
  • Cinematics and Cutscenes
    • Prior cinematics were pretty self contained, but as the story has progressed, a lot of cinematics have bridged to the next.
    • The team has weekly meetings where multiple departments discuss the cinematics being developed and how to improve them.
    • Cataclysm was when a lot of the new cutscene technology was developed and this is why there are a lot of in game scenes (Uldum) because they team had a new toy that they ran wild with.
    • The Terror of Darkshore cutscene was a moment to show the ferocity of the night elves seen in past games.
  • Customization
    • The night warrior customization was a way for players to support Tyrande's transformation and vengeance for Teldrassil.
    • Golden eyed Blood Elves was a story choice to represent the light's role in the cleansing of the Sunwell.
  • Storytelling
    • The team wanted to let the player have some agency in the direction of the Horde and not just watching it develop.
    • Perspective has a major role in storytelling. There can be a difference between a character making a mistake and a write making one.
    • The Saurfang quest is not necessarily fundamentally changing the questing system of the game, but it was a moment to add meaningful choices to the story.
    • Choices will be used when it makes sense to create a more invested story.
    • The payoff for your choices will be meaningful.
    • There are moments in the Battle for Dazar'alor that haven't been seen yet. Terran showed off his Mekkatorque shirt with a "hint hint" when he said this.
    • Olds Gods and Azshara are coming!
    • The war between the Horde and Alliance will culminate in something deep and meaningful.
    • There is so much passion and love for the characters on the team and they want to do right by them.
    • Christie Golden coming on board was a huge win for the story team.
    • The team hopes that when Battle for Azeroth's story concludes and the "last funeral pyre is lit" players will have seen it as a great story that changed the world of Azeroth.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Story and Lore Developer Live Stream started by Stoy View original post
Comments 157 Comments
  1. OneWay's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Amnaught View Post
    Let's be real -- do you?

    There are tons of unanswered questions in the game right now that look like they'll never actually be answered because "it's not part of the story we want to tell", and this is the perfect excuse for any clarification at all on those fronts. And it's not happening, because they'd rather circlejerk on how "awesome" the story is right now. It's not, it's bullshit.
    Yes I do. The tons of unanswered questions in the game right now makes perfect sense, as it did in any expansion before.
    When you read a book (or watch a movie), you don't really go out of the books/movies context. Meaning, you can't read (watch) about things that are not the focus of the story. That being said, if it's not part of the story they want to tell, then it is not. It is a completely another focus of the story they want to say and because it isn't the one you are interested in, that doesn't make it a bullshit story.
  1. pfbe's Avatar
    The team wanted to let the player have some agency in the direction of the Horde and not just watching it develop.
    ... wasn't it the players who wanted and requested it?
  1. Eggroll's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RangerDaz View Post
    [I][U]

    I love new costumizations, which is probably one of the few things they did well in Battle for Azeroth.
    My Night Elf druid as gone full Elune, while my Blood Elf priest has infused itself in the Sunwell's light.
    Seriously, your kin is genocided, your capital destroyed and you are content with some cosmetic crap as "vengeance"? You gotta be kidding me, right?

    The only retribution acceptable for the slaughter of the nelves and the destruction of Darnassus is Sylvanas and her toyboy getting skinned alive, tortured, chopped up, impaled and their intestines hanged on the gates of New Darnassus. THAT would be vengeance. Everything else is just another insult for the nelves.
  1. RangerDaz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Eggroll View Post
    Seriously, your kin is genocided, your capital destroyed and you are content with some cosmetic crap as "vengeance"? You gotta be kidding me, right?

    The only retribution acceptable for the slaughter of the nelves and the destruction of Darnassus is Sylvanas and her toyboy getting skinned alive, tortured, chopped up, impaled and their intestines hanged on the gates of New Darnassus. THAT would be vengeance. Everything else is just another insult for the nelves.
    LOL, while that would be fun, it would require time for Blizzard to do cut scenes, and annoy Sylvanas fans, so not coming anytime soon.
    But you can skin them all alive for now. You have a Darkshore warfront, daily assaults and you can always pvp and kill NPCs in the Horde faction cities
  1. Hextor's Avatar
    The in game story is planned out months and sometimes years in advance.
    I'm not sure this is supposed to make us feel better. Cause it sounds worse than winging this dumpster fire at the moment.
    Danuser gets to play with his self-inserts in BfA, bringing us this useless verbal masturbation of a stream...
  1. Eggroll's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by RangerDaz View Post
    LOL, while that would be fun, it would require time for Blizzard to do cut scenes, and annoy Sylvanas fans, so not coming anytime soon.
    But you can skin them all alive for now. You have a Darkshore warfront, daily assaults and you can always pvp and kill NPCs in the Horde faction cities
    So the genocide on their kin and the destruction of their capital did not annoy nelf players and fans? Seemed ok for the devs to antagonize the players of the 3rd most popular player race now, didn't it. And apparently they enjoy cruelty alot, so what's the fuzz?
  1. Sigxy the Lemming's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Nathasil View Post
    I think WC3 is a bad example, because the Horde story right now basically IS WC3's Arthas-Story. If you had to pick a faction in WC3 and not play all of them linearily to see the story, the reactions would have been exactly as bad as they are now in BFA. They just chose the wrong kind of story for a faction-based MMO.

    Just imagine you were forced to play only Horde in WC3. What would be your story for the entire major storyline of Arthas following the Scourge and falling to it? Right, you would sit on a boat doing nothing. Which is EXACTLY what the Alliance story feels like this expansion, as Sylvanas is Arthas.

    It just does not work. In an MMORPG you do not just play everything and when the story of one faction is non-existant for a while (=10 years) you just say "Well, i would really like to play Alliance, but since the story is on the Horde side right now, no biggy! I'm sure 10 years from now they will eventually get around to telling more Alliance stories and until then i will just play that Horde character i don#t really give a fuck about!"
    I don't know, man. People love the story in WC3 from what I understand. While I get what you mean, here's one important thing with the WC3 story which BfA is trying to do, which is what you mentioned doesn't work in an MMORPG: How much of the story in WC3 was actually focused on the "Horde vs Alliance"...?

    The tutorial had some Horde vs Alliance, that was one level. We saw a little tad bit of it on the "Official custom campaign" where the Orcs met the Trolls. The Human Arthas campaign didn't have any Horde vs Alliance since it was more about the Blackrock Clan only. Orc campaign had like one mission before they became buddies (Orcs vs Night Elves doesn't count as they weren't Alliance yet). Then we got Rexxar's Campaign which is half Horde vs alliance and closest we got to it... funny enough, that thing was ALSO about bringing the Horde together, haven't seen THAT done before.

    Faction stories are boring and overdone. The story has told several times the Horde and Alliance NEEDS to work together to save Azeroth repeatedly. They can't be done in an MMORPG when both sides play them. You can't get any satisfying results from it for both sides.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eggroll View Post
    Seriously, your kin is genocided, your capital destroyed and you are content with some cosmetic crap as "vengeance"? You gotta be kidding me, right?

    The only retribution acceptable for the slaughter of the nelves and the destruction of Darnassus is Sylvanas and her toyboy getting skinned alive, tortured, chopped up, impaled and their intestines hanged on the gates of New Darnassus. THAT would be vengeance. Everything else is just another insult for the nelves.
    Problem is that this won't happen... and let's be really honest here: If it comes to that and we DO get rid of Sylvanas and her boytoy, do you honestly think the NIGHT ELVES gets to do it? No, it'd be the humans. Because you Night Elves can't succeed at anything without humans helping out like always according to Blizzard.
  1. Kazlofski's Avatar
    So to cover for much more bad press recently about Blizzard, did they announce that Arthas was gay yet?
  1. Mr Coo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FuxieDK View Post
    That remains to be seen, if she follows her father's path, or if she also turn traitor..
    I mean, we already know she doesn't follower her fathers path, which is why she wen't to the Horde for aid to begin with..
  1. Confucius's Avatar
    mon, de lore... dis crap, I tell youz
  1. Eggroll's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Sigxy the Lemming View Post
    Problem is that this won't happen... and let's be really honest here: If it comes to that and we DO get rid of Sylvanas and her boytoy, do you honestly think the NIGHT ELVES gets to do it? No, it'd be the humans. Because you Night Elves can't succeed at anything without humans helping out like always according to Blizzard.
    Yeah, apparently these two clowns don't even know Tyrande and Malfurion go way back to the Warcraft series, too, and have seen MUCH more than Saurfang... this is idiotic.

    This whole live stream reeked of Horde bias so much you have to really consider they are deliberately trying to get rid of one part of the player base.
  1. mmoce3884136a5's Avatar
    So the whole thing is two dudes stroking eachothers pole through the whole thing. We learned nothing here.
    Next time they should stream on a website that starts with a P and end with hub.
  1. davitsen's Avatar
    "More strong female characters", as we dont more than enough of that this exp!

    First it was Star Wars and now WoW! Fuck off with the politically correct naratives!
  1. Void Fallen's Avatar
    A livestream of one hour and NOT ONCE did they mention the Alliance. Thanks Blizzard, It's really nice to know how little you care about our "storyline". Oh, what am I talking about, there is no storyline at all, because Blizzard is too busy carefully tailoring the internal dynamics of the Horde to give any attention to the Imperium of Man.
  1. mmoc217b3a527e's Avatar
    I mean, you can come up with the greatest story ever, but with this being WoW, there's no way to actually make it on the level of single-player games like the Witcher 3. I mean, Vanilla had no real story, and it was enough to bring millions of players into Azeroth. For a game such as WoW, gameplay should ALWAYS come first, with story being a very minor part, best left for cinematics.
  1. Elune-life-nature's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Eggroll View Post
    Yeah, apparently these two clowns don't even know Tyrande and Malfurion go way back to the Warcraft series, too, and have seen MUCH more than Saurfang... this is idiotic.

    This whole live stream reeked of Horde bias so much you have to really consider they are deliberately trying to get rid of one part of the player base.
    No, it is not a problem. The maximum thing that an Alliance player would do is to get mad and whine but they would still fill the company's pockets with cash. So no big deal.
  1. FuxieDK's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by P5YKO-TP View Post
    I mean, we already know she doesn't follower her fathers path, which is why she wen't to the Horde for aid to begin with..
    Well, we're in Dazar'alor on her father's grace..
  1. Mr Coo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by FuxieDK View Post
    Well, we're in Dazar'alor on her father's grace..
    True, but that's about it, and I do believe his views change after all we've done.

    Still, Talanji was the catalyst.
  1. FuxieDK's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by P5YKO-TP View Post
    True, but that's about it, and I do believe his views change after all we've done.

    Still, Talanji was the catalyst.
    Catalyst for what?
    We might help her in Nazmir, but if Blizzard pulls a Saurfang on Talanji, the Horde needs to sever all ties to her and stand by Rastakhan..

    Too much internal strife is poison and a boon for the Alliance.. We need a united Horde..
  1. Duridi's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Keesasha View Post
    I mean, you can come up with the greatest story ever, but with this being WoW, there's no way to actually make it on the level of single-player games like the Witcher 3. I mean, Vanilla had no real story, and it was enough to bring millions of players into Azeroth. For a game such as WoW, gameplay should ALWAYS come first, with story being a very minor part, best left for cinematics.
    So because you don't like WoW's story, it should not be there?

    Seriously, WoW is the only story I've ever been this involved with. If anything, I want even more story added. It has so much potential, and so many directions to go. It's spot on in my case.

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