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  1. #1

    Why BfA's story is disappointing (subverted expectations)

    BfA's story isn't disappointing because it's bad. On the contrary, it's not bad at all. It's just painfully mediocre but with just enough glimpses of a great story that we could've gotten thrown into the mix to frustrate lore maniacs. Blizzard's primary fuck up is that they made it seem like it would go in a particular direction and then fucked it up and went in an entirely different but much more boring direction. Here are some examples:

    Expectation: BfA will be a story full of moral ambiguity and political intrigue.
    Supporting evidence: Legion and BtS set up a nuanced conflict in that the Alliance fired the first shot and Anduin turned out to be not as experienced and masterful at handling the diverse factions of the Alliance as his father was. Il'gynoth's whispers had people believing that Anduin would make mistakes that would cost the Alliance and Azeroth at large dearly.
    Subverted: BfA's conflict is as straightforward as can be. There's no moral ambiguity: Sylvanas' supporters are entirely evil and Saurfang's Rebellion and the Alliance are paragons of moral goodness. The fact that Genn fired the first shot is never brought up in a meaningful way. Anduin's inexperience is never a hindrance to the Alliance; he never has to face the wrath of the Night Elves for failing them nor peasant uprisings for drafting farmers into the army. Even Varian had to deal with the consequences of Northrend Campaign when the farmers in Westfall rebelled. But not Anduin. Anduin can do no wrong.

    Expectation: there will be a naval conflict.
    Supporting evidence: Ogmot prophecies of "two great armadas clashing upon a sea of blood". The first stage of BfA revolves entirely around rallying Zandalari and Kul Tiran fleets.
    Subverted: the only major naval battle between the Alliance and the Horde happens at the climax of the Battle for Dazar'alor but it's not really that interesting. The fleets get taken care of in a one-off cinematic and no glorious naval battles happen.

    Expectation: the war in BfA will have a beginning, a middle part and a climax.
    Supporting evidence: it's common sense that stories should follow a certain arc.
    Subverted: the war has a strong beginning, and... Nothing else, really. The Horde never manages to retaliate after Dazar'alor and the war itself ends very suddenly and in the most anti-climactic way possible. The differences between the Alliance and the Horde don't get resolved in a meaningful way either, setting up a MoP v3 a few years down the line.

    Expectation: N'Zoth's return will be glorious and earth-shattering.
    Supporting evidence: all the prophecies. The faceless ones rambling about Ny'alotha rising from the depths.
    Subverted: N'Zoth's return has no repercussions. Neither he nor Ny'alotha rise from the depths despite it being foreshadowed for years that Ny'alotha is a sunken city = at the bottom of the sea. Instead he just teleports to some weird dimension (that never gets fully explained) and promptly gets his ass handed to him. For fuck's sake Blizzard, people wanted a cinematic of a horrifying eldritch city arising from the depths, not a dull "well I guess the Black Empire is here now" impromptu from Ion.

    Someone on off-topic forums explained why J.J. Abrams' movies suck and BfA suffers from many of the same problems. There's a large cast but most of it never interacts with each other and all of the focus is on the most hateable characters like Baine, Saurfang and Anduin. Things don't get explained properly and events seemingly happen at random, with no build up or consequences. Danuser, Golden and Kosak are not terrible writers but they fucked up BfA's story big time by promising us an exciting epic and delivering a mediocre, uninteresting slog instead.
    Last edited by Wilfire; 2019-12-17 at 06:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Agreed on the fleets. When you think about it, going to Zandalar/Kul Tiras was completely pointless.

  3. #3
    Herald of the Titans Maljinwo's Avatar
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    BfA is the king of dissapointing storylines
    This world don't give us nothing. It be our lot to suffer... and our duty to fight back.

  4. #4
    I actually agree with all of this.

    The fact that they wasted N'Zoth on this trash fire of an expansion is criminal.
    Last edited by Sithalos; 2019-12-17 at 06:21 PM.
    Scheduled weekly maintenance caught me by surprise.

  5. #5
    Legendary! Schattenlied's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilfire View Post
    Supporting evidence: Ogmot prophecies


    Supporting evidence: all the prophecies.
    Maybe people will learn to stop taking prophecies from entities who's entire shtick is deceiving people as anything other than the deception it is.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don’t have one, you’ll probably never need one again.

  6. #6
    The only "naval battles" we had proved how pointless ships were. Jaina just froze them all in place, Tulanni rekt them all with her dinosaur, and the alliance basically bombed pearl harbor. And then a bunch of ships went down the toilet in Nazjatar.

  7. #7
    Mechagnome Pakheth's Avatar
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    N'Zoth was wasted soooo badly.
    Heck, Y'shaarj had more influence over their expansion than N'Zoth had over BfA.
    Last edited by Pakheth; 2019-12-17 at 06:47 PM. Reason: Typo

  8. #8
    All of those examples weren't exactly a case of "subverted expectations". That's just a case of the story being underwhelming due to the limitations of the game engine, and this has always been the case with WoW. In Legion it was mentioned how entire kingdoms would burn when in the end that wasn't shown in the game. In Cataclysm Deathwing didn't seem like a world-ending threat in the game, and even his pre-patch event was underwhelming. Same thing here. N'Zoth, the naval conflict, etc., it's not that Blizzard wanted to subvert expectations, they were just underwhelming because that's simply how this game is. You can't have a big naval battle unless it's in a raid (which is the only way you can truly capture the size of a battle), and we already had the Battle of Dazar'alor as the climax of the naval conflict. You can't have N'Zoth covering the whole world in darkness because that's too much work for Blizzard art team, so I'm afraid the Visions of Stormwind and Orgrimmar will have to do. Subverting expectations is something else, watch 8x03 and 8x04 of Game of Thrones if you want to learn more about that topic.

    Also, and this is to address your final point, how was the focus on Anduin when he barely appeared in BfA? After the Battle of Lordaeron (which was in the pre-patch), Anduin appeared only sporadically to do mundane things like interacting with a girl or planning with his allies. It was only in 8.2.5 that he was once again brought on the spotlight, where he supported Saurfang's rebellion as a bid to end the war as swiftly as possible, and pointed out how the Alliance is also haunted by its ghosts (though his examples were ridiculous, so he should read some history books).
    How could I ever have loved someone so weak? Let us hope Arator did not inherit your cowardice.

  9. #9
    Do you think that Blizzard will admit that they made a mistake with BFA's storytelling and apologize for it?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Zacharyarons View Post
    Do you think that Blizzard will admit that they made a mistake with BFA's storytelling and apologize for it?
    No, I'm just pointing out that this never would've happened with Metzen in charge.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Pakheth View Post
    N'Zoth was wasted soooo badly.
    Heck, Y'shaarj had more influence of their expansion than N'Zoth had over BfA.
    N'Zoth was consistently being built as this ever arcing presence made this even more sour. His dragon pawn had an entire expansion where he wrecked havoc, but N'Zoth himself feels like a cameo in a sitcom about a dead lady is stuck in a contract with goody toeshoes and gotta share a flat together.

  12. #12
    So, you think Blizzard will never admit that they made a mistake?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Pakheth View Post
    N'Zoth was wasted soooo badly.
    Heck, Y'shaarj had more influence over their expansion than N'Zoth had over BfA.
    thats just silly to say... yshaarj had zero influence over the expansion,the sha were completly different entities from him with their own independent mind,and the heart garrosh used was a dead battery,by comparison n'zoth saves azshara and shes a major influence in the expansion,n'zoth is behind much of the early conflicts in the expansion,and now he gets his own patch and raid with a very likely future,i missed that part about yshaaraj,this expansion is probably the most old god influenced expansion ever,cthun had one raid and some low lvl cultists,same with yog saron,nzoth has been completly involved in the events of this expansion but passed one as well

  14. #14
    Yeah, all of it. And btw:

    Nelves still thirst for vengeance. And a new capital.

  15. #15
    It's not so much 'subverted expectations' as 'wasted opportunities' I think. The only thing about the expansion I got majorly wrong was I thought the Black empire would get an end game zone like Argus instead of just the raid. Still hated the war story all the way through with only the internal Kul'tiras storyline holding my interest in 8.0.

    It's odd that for years I was waiting for the Azshara/N'zoth expansion but when they finally gave it to me I just couldn't care less.

  16. #16
    You only have to look at the BFA cinematic to see that it promised the exact opposite of what the expansion delivered:

    You had Sylvanas and the Horde on the defensive, protecting Undercity from an aggressive Alliance led by a reluctant Anduin goaded by Genn Greymane. Sylvanas jumps down on the front line, putting her life at risk to rally the Horde - Saurfang is the first to be emboldened by her cries. Anduin learns what it's like to shed blood on the battlefield, and also finds the inner strength to rally his people like a true king, not a whimpering child. Instead, Sylvanas is evil and self-serving and totally had that attack coming for murdering innocents, Saurfang abandons her literally the next moment, Anduin only ever wanted peace and Genn never had any influence on him at all.

    Back in the Legion, there were hints that both Sylvanas and Anduin would have had to prove themselves as leaders of their factions. Anduin was a young and inexperienced man, traumatized by the death of his father and surrounded by much more experienced advisors, some of them potentially dangerous (Moira and the Dark Iron, Alleria if she ever lost control, Genn if he was trying to push for a war), all of them with their own interests. Sylvanas was an undead monstrosity with a shady past; most of the Horde and all of the Alliance wouldn't have trusted her and would have tried to undermine her even if her intentions were ultimately good (for the Horde at least). It would have been interesting to see these two characters overcome these challenges to become better leaders, but no, everyone but Tyrande respected Anduin's authority, and Tyrande's defiance had no consequences, and on the Horde side everyone supported Sylvanas throughout the entire war, up until the end when retroactively almost nobody did.

    I wonder if we actually got the story they started out telling or if they changed it along the way, and if so how many times...

  17. #17
    Honestly seems like most writters/narrative teams these days for gaming and movies. Aren't that really talented to begin with. With wow for example they want to retcon things like the wraithgate and the lichking. They get to a highpoint, then drop the ball. With the horde they build two factions within. The loyalists to Sylvannas and the other to Saurfang. After the conclusion theres no more interaction with Sylvannas. They don't seem to think things threw before going forward. Stuff gets scrapped after running with it.
    They figure the players will overlook this one, once the next expansion goes live. Most likely throw out a book to sell in which will be useless later on when more retcons hit. They also claimed that the nightelves got there revenge for Teldrassil with the zandalar raid. Yet Tyrande never wanted to attack Zandalar. She wanted Anduins help with reclaiming darkshore.

  18. #18
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    If there's anything you can consistently expect from the Warcraft franchise is to never deliver on its potential.
    "I have the most loyal fanboys. Did you ever see that? Where I could stand by Thoradin's Wall and massacre my own people and I wouldn't lose any fanboys. It's like incredible." - Sylvanas Windrunner

    "If you kill your enemies, they win." - Anduin Wrynn

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyral View Post
    If there's anything you can consistently expect from the Warcraft franchise is to never deliver on its potential.
    Except the human potential, they deliver on that one.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Wilfire View Post
    No, I'm just pointing out that this never would've happened with Metzen in charge.
    Why, he didn't apologize for "Merely a setback", "There must always be a Lich King... who is Arthas... wait no he's not... oh, he is... scratch that, he's not...", Deathwing becoming a brainless brute, and so on.

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