1. #1

    Blizzard's storytelling throughout Mists

    Disclaimer: this is my opinion, I am stating nothing as fact.
    The story in the game is the major reason I play this game. I stopped playing early on in Cataclysm, a big reason for that is because I personally feel the Alliance side of the story was not told very well, having to continue the Worgen story by playing Undead seems silly. Regardless, on to the actual point of this thread.
    Blizzard seems to be unable to make up its mind on how to tell a story.
    Lets look at this expansion's story telling post launch.

    5.1- the Fleet quests and dailies

    I never thought I could be more engaged, excited, and impressed with the story telling from Blizz with these Divine Bell quests. They didn't have the best pacing, maybe have a string of a few quests each week instead of tied with rep. The quests themselves were quite awesome though.

    5.2- the Thunder Isle

    Lots of dailies that took you all over the Island and through the story, maybe a bit too many quests that were too spread out at the end, but they were fun and engaging. The solo scenarios were and are probably the best way Blizzard has come up with the tell the story in a very engaging way.
    Throne of Thunder was fantastic, one of the best. It didn't seem very "busy" or "alive" though, just plenty of mobs and bosses standing around waiting to be killed.

    5.3- Battlefield: Barrens

    Blizzard's first try at a "sandbox" type area.
    It failed quite hard in my opinion. The actual story and conflict starts to heavily ramp up, yet Blizzard's story telling ramps down significantly. The first few actual quests, for the Alliance at least were very weak. Probably the least engaged I've been questing, nothing much fun about driving a robot around collecting maps.
    The Battlefield: Barrens part was just a grind, absolutely nothing more, just pick up a single weekly quest and then farm mobs until done. The escorts and Commander bosses weren't a bad idea, but could have been better.
    There could have been so much more Blizzard could have done with this! Daily sabotage quests, espionage quests into Orgrimmar itself, plenty of stuff Blizz could have done.

    5.4- Seige of Orgrimmar and the Timeless Isle

    The Seige of Orgrimmar will most likely be my favorite raid instance so far.
    The story and cutscenes are great, I love them. The first cutscene in the Vale of Eternal Sorrows is too long and boring though, speed it up. The rest of the cutscenes are great, people might complain there are too many of them, but with a raid like Orgrimmar, so heavy in story and background it needs and welcomes them. The raid actually feels alive and it feels like we are actually seiging a fortified stronghold. I can't praise Blizzard enough about this raid.
    The Timeless Isle. Another "sandbox". What happened here Blizzard? Where is the story? Why are we here? What is the point of the Isle? This place seems so detached from everything. There is a full blown war going on and here we are, camping rare mobs, grinding a tedious rep, and... nothing else, thats it. In the past we had a raid come out, and then a quest hub revolving around that raid. Why couldn't we have quests in Ashenvale and/or Azshara? attack Orgrimmar from all sides, deprive them of resources even more. I know we kinda did that in the Barrens, stealing Kor'Kron supplies, but doing something in all the zones surrounding Orgrimmar would have made great quests I think.
    Now, all we get is to farm 50 stones a week to see a 15second clip with no sound. Our characters aren't engaged in that at all, just spectators. We don't even get anything exciting with Wrathion past the Legendary cloak.

    Blizzard, I miss your great story telling past the launch of an expansion.
    The Isle of Quel'danas, The Argent Tournament, The Firelands, Landfall, The Thunder Isle.
    All of these were fantastic daily hubs with a great story. Why stop?
    I think I can safely say that people like story, they like having some type of structure, they can't appreciate "sandbox" type zones if it detracts from storytelling. a "sandbox" zone is typically go where you want, do what you want. It doesn't work if there is actually very little to do. You can fight the Celestials, once a week, you can do the pet tournament, once a week, after that you're stuck with farming Yaungol for the remainder of the week.
    The Isle itself isn't even big enough to truly be a "sandbox" anyway.

    "Sandbox" type zones and content CAN work, but not at the expense of story.

  2. #2
    I disagree with your connection between sandboxes and the story. The daily (or equivalent, in the case of sandboxes) content is pretty much irrelevant to the story. In 5.1 and 5.2, the story came from set-in-stone questlines that were only gated by time/reputation/dailies etc, but weren't reliant on them for the actual storytelling. If the Krasarang stuff was a sandbox but the Bell quests remained, it wouldn't have impacted the storytelling at all.

    Battlefield Barrens and Timeless Isle just needed longer/more substantial set-in-stone questlines; the Darkspear Revolution questline was short and the Hourglass thing isn't very substantial. Being sandbox-like didn't have much to do with it, in my opinion. I feel that the reliance on dailies is a great step forward, and that it just needs some questlines (not dailies) accompanying it to complete it.

    I don't really think that the Timeless Isle would be any better for the plot if it had daily hubs. It's just an environment that's largely disconnected with the current plot. Battlefield Barrens' downfall was that the questline it offered was pretty awful compared to the offerings of 5.1 and 5.2.
    Last edited by Eats Compost; 2013-09-27 at 04:11 PM.

  3. #3
    i totaly agree with you, I think just like you!
    5.1 and 5.2 were amazing! the raids and the daily quests hubs and the way the story was told!
    every attempt of 5.3 and Timeless Isle just feel bad and not connected properly to the crazy story going in the background ....they could do it in a much better way..
    AND even when the story reached its high point ... what a shame ...

    I think the winning combination is to combine the Isle of Thunder and Timeless Isle..
    Last edited by Morthes; 2013-09-27 at 04:03 PM.

  4. #4
    Some of the best raid content since TBC; some of the most pointless and forgettable storytelling since a Michael Bay movie. The whole purpose of this expansion was to house the legendary quest chain as a prequel to an eventual Burning Legion appearance.

  5. #5
    It seems to me Battlefield Barrens was probably a late substitution because of player backlash over dailies. I'm willing to bet that the devs had a major new daily quest hub in the Barrens similar to the Isle of Thunder but scrapped it. I thought the Barrens stuff was good, there just wasn't enough there. If it had as much content as the Timeless Isle, it would have been perfect.

    Loved the story line elements in 5.1 and 5.2, but couldn't stand the dailies. I was burnt out after all the 5.0 dailies. In terms of story, Blizzard probably should have put Battlefield Barrens in with patch 5.4 as Timeless Isle really has no connection to SoO. Timeless Isle would have been fine as a standalone in patch 5.3.

  6. #6
    Overall it has been weak. (Note I am ally so I have not played Horde side of it just seen bits online)

    5.1 4 of 10 good idea...but the story about the bell did not seem to tie into the hub much. I always go back to the isle of Q which was so well done. The fort should have taken time to be built with slow expansion from building into offensive activity. Visual growth maybe dependent on faction progress/participation.

    5.2 7 of 10 really liked this isle but it fell short in some ways. The solo scenario's were good overall - though I prefer group ones, even for story telling. Thought the ally v horde story stuff was pretty good. Once again would have preferred more "build-up" based on activity/participation. The base only moved once - from ship/bach to ruins...for as many steps as there were more growth movement would have helped. Movement of dailies would have been nice - by the end there were so many to do...and generally no reason to do them.

    5.3 1 of 10 real regression here. The opening quest was awesome for one side and sad for the other. The weekly left me cold...the rares offered no bonus/special item. There was no dynamic for doing them...no base grew...no story developed. Wasn't even sure why there were alliance caravans there...we had no base...and if they were there to support horde why would/could horde destroy them....

    5.4 6 of 10 interesting idea but odd implantation. The isle really doesn't tie into the raid. It is not dynamic in any way. It is neat at first, but has really short lifespan due to these factors. I do love the addition of the various rares, the rare summoning, and the unusual items available. it does become a bit of a bag filler though with so much "stuff" for fun. Not big on the pvp with your own faction part...elsewhere in the world we are at war, but lets destroy each other for fun? If this is to "wrap up" panda land....well it is lacking.

  7. #7
    In terms of storytelling this expansion was probably the best. That doesn't mean you had to like the story-if you prefer demons and dragons that's a separate issue.

    Lei Shen could have used a little more work pre-5.2 other than just generally hearing about him and narrowly missing out on stopping the trolls from reviving him in Kun-Lai.
    Last edited by DetectiveJohnKimble; 2013-09-27 at 07:10 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by DetectiveJohnKimble View Post
    In terms of storytelling this expansion was probably the best. That doesn't mean you had to like the story-if you prefer demons and dragons that's a separate issue.

    Lei Shen could have used a little more work pre-5.2 other than just generally hearing about him and narrowly missing out on stopping the trolls from reviving him in Kun-Lai.
    I agree, I love the story this expansion, I just wish Blizzard would actually give us more.

  9. #9
    New Kid Zaelsino's Avatar
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    5.1 had a great setup for the story. I personally think the pacing was fine, especially if you consider the day-or-three break in-between quests to unlock a new story segment. Each faction had unique quests and two very different ways to reach the same conclusions; just look at the Dalaran purge. Two sides of the same coin was great for the story, different interpretations of it, and debate.

    I didn't really like 5.2. Its thematic was nice (blood elf lore <3) and seeing most of my favourite faction leaders was a nice plus, but instead of the 5.1 formula, every single thing we did was completely mirrored. Half of the NPCs had copy pasted dialogue. Instead of unique story quests, we had identical scenarios. It was underwhelming IMO.

    5.3 was filler, so I forgive it. The Alliance experience was poor, and the Horde didn't exactly get more than five minutes' worth of fun either.

    5.4, eh, too early to judge, but I still miss the 5.1 formula. It would've benefited from a proper and RELEVANT hub, like Quel'Danas and the Firelands stuff, not some magical isle literally in the middle of nowhere with almost no bearing at all on the actual plot. It just feels disjointed.

    I want to see more 5.1-esque hubs in the future. It was a solid formula and one they could improve upon even more.
    Last edited by Zaelsino; 2013-09-27 at 07:27 PM.

  10. #10
    5.1 Is the best example of how to tie dailies to a quest line. At the end of the expac the Divine bell story has become irrelevant, which is a waste..
    But the storytelling and lore development were going in the right direction, 8/10.

    5.2 Was heading in the right direction aswell, I liked how they connected Scenarios to the actual storyline and the Isle of Thunder made complete sense toward the raid's lore. Too bad I hate scenarios though
    All in all it lasted a bit too long, but great nontheless, 7/10.

    5.3 This is where Blizz took a left turn. Nothing really escalated in the already storyless, short quests. A weekly quest wasn't enough content by far and so much more could've been implented to really flesh out the preparations for the siege instead of just collecting resources, such as spionage quests in Orgrimmar like suggested by the OP. 5/10.

    5.4 Disappointed. 6/10.
    1. Timeless Isle makes no sense lore wise. People such as Grand Admiral Taylor are chilling there while their is a full-scale siege of the Horde capital going on..
    2. Overall lay-out of the raid is wrong. It is not explained in-game why the Siege of Orgrimmar, which takes place in Kalimdor, starts in Pandaria.. very little actual story and lore development.
    3. Outside the instance there is no siege going on, another mistake.

    Overall Mists storytelling and lore gets a 7/10

    I hope the lore of 5.5 and next xpac will be fleshed out more. Blizz still has a chance to flesh out the lore of patches such as 5.4 in books.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercos View Post
    In terms of story, Blizzard probably should have put Battlefield Barrens in with patch 5.4 as Timeless Isle really has no connection to SoO. Timeless Isle would have been fine as a standalone in patch 5.3.
    This aswell. and even if they didn't move Battlefield Barrens to 5.4, the Timeless Isle could've easily made it in 5.3 aswell, it being replaced by another hub which would actually be relevant to the story.

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