1. #1

    What should be or have been the definitive personalities of WoW characters ?

    One recurrent and major problems with WoW and its expansions or books is the frequent inconsistency in the attitudes and personalities of many of its characters such as Varian Wrynn, Tyrande Whisperwind, Kael'thas Sunstrider, Maiev Shadowsong, the Stormrage brothers, Sylvanas Windrunner, Garrosh Hellscream, etc...

    Many times the characterization of these characters flips from one extreme to one other, with many being turned into far more antagonistic or mean that they were before, or sometimes on the contrary being turned nicer or more forgiving but without an explanation being given for these changes in attitude or them being only shown in books that most WoW players won't read. The best examples are surely Illidan Stormrage and Kael'thas in TBC who were turned into villains without any explanation or foreshadowing before, as well as Varian and Garrosh's changes iin personality after Cataclysm.

    So I'll ask you guys, what should in your opinion the definitive personality for each character you can think about, the one that will stay true and won't change radically overnight like it happens too often in WoW ? What traits should always stay consistent for them ?

  2. #2
    Dreadlord Ilyiana's Avatar
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    first i'll say i think the only real problematic personalities have been sylvanas, tyrande, malfurion, and of course everything in TBC. garrosh's entire trajectory has always felt pretty natural to me and is one of the better stories in wow.

    sylvanas: she's fine until bfa. the way i would've written this entire jailer arc is that she's made warchief, realizes the odds they face, and makes the bargain with helya in stormheim entirely out of desperation to 1) produce more forsaken so they don't die out and 2) give the horde a fighting chance in the war against the legion. i really hope they understand/change that making it so sylvanas has been going toward zovaal's ends since edge of night is a huge mistake, and hollows every single important character moment she had for like 6 years. it is a much more effective story for her to go to helya out of desperation, find herself in deep shit after helya tricks her, then go even more desperate during bfa and turn toward the jailer, realize how far she has fallen, and retreat to the shadowlands out of shame. i maintain that all of BFA is infinitely better if genn attacks lordaeron first, then sylvanas strikes darnassus in reprisal. neither capital should have been destroyed (both of those events were game of thrones season 8 "shock writing" that actually sucked, but teldrassil was infinitely worse). tldr, if sylvanas stayed consistent and turned to zovaal in legion-bfa out of a desperation to save her soul and her people and the horde, it's much better. then she retreats to the shadowlands after knowing what she's done, her shame and doubt is much more believable, and the redemption is actually kind of cool. tldr 2, her definitive personality is fierce champion of her people, cold and lacking moral compass, desperate to win and stay in existence, and still full of the sadness of what was taken from her (which is what has always made the character so beautiful).

    tyrande? idk. is her definitive personality still "malfurion is god nobody question him?" i hope not. i think her definitive personality is best shown in val'sharah, when she chooses elune over malfurion and goes back for him later. tyrande has been pretty insufferable in wow, which i wish wasn't the case, because i love her, but eek. if i were to try and "fix" tyrande, it would look something like cool leadership and much less "malfurion malfurion malfurion."

    malfurion has always been insufferable and i think that's just fine. he's on our side, sure, but my god he's annoying.

    i can't fix tbc. kael'thas makes more sense than the illidan turn, but is still not great. i was fine with him following illidan to outland and losing himself in his good intentions, but the turn to KJ was not it. illidan i would've made a little less hostile and a little more "wait guys i have a plan" and have the folks from azeroth, such as maiev, be more stuck in the mud and insist that we kill him regardless of his plans long term. idk, tbc is really messy. i still laugh when people call SL the worst writing to date because *gestures at TBC*. SL has a gigantic missed character moment with sylvanas, sure, but the rest of it is really enjoyable, tightly written, and good, so. tbc can't relate.
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  3. #3
    Jaina has some issues... they've flip flopped on her hard and trauma only goes so far when she's gone of on two major homicidal binges AND was present to make sure the person responsible was judged BY EVERYONE. Post Warcrimes she's a mess for anger that she decided to direct at everyone...

    She also has had some crazy issues with plot affecting her powers very blatantly

    Post Wrath Sylvanas has issues that everyone should know and be aware of by now. Her Cata antics are an awkward contrast to her Legion and BFA antics

    Malfurion's problem is he's too much for the story... he was what Tyrande is in BFA/SL but they shelfed him for some reason but he normally sleeps outside his relevant plot points so it's not big deal.

    TBC... I forgot this trainwreck. Can we put it back in the dirt and not beat it to death more?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Terrorthatflapsinthenight View Post
    One recurrent and major problems with WoW and its expansions or books is the frequent inconsistency in the attitudes and personalities of many of its characters such as Varian Wrynn, Tyrande Whisperwind, Kael'thas Sunstrider, Maiev Shadowsong, the Stormrage brothers, Sylvanas Windrunner, Garrosh Hellscream, etc...

    Many times the characterization of these characters flips from one extreme to one other, with many being turned into far more antagonistic or mean that they were before, or sometimes on the contrary being turned nicer or more forgiving but without an explanation being given for these changes in attitude or them being only shown in books that most WoW players won't read. The best examples are surely Illidan Stormrage and Kael'thas in TBC who were turned into villains without any explanation or foreshadowing before, as well as Varian and Garrosh's changes iin personality after Cataclysm.

    So I'll ask you guys, what should in your opinion the definitive personality for each character you can think about, the one that will stay true and won't change radically overnight like it happens too often in WoW ? What traits should always stay consistent for them ?
    Mmm im not sure, kaelthas I can buy it, a lot of people disagree as to how his story was handled.

    But illidan, garrosh, varian, etc. Their personalities have remained the same over the years. Heck, garrosh even died without saying sorry, lol.

  5. #5
    The Insane Val the Moofia Boss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickybrighteyes View Post
    Jaina has some issues... they've flip flopped on her hard and trauma only goes so far when she's gone of on two major homicidal binges AND was present to make sure the person responsible was judged BY EVERYONE. Post Warcrimes she's a mess for anger that she decided to direct at everyone...
    The problem with Jaina is that only Golden knows how to write her well, but Golden doesn't write WoW's story. She writes books that have to connect from A to B, and she gets to write what happens in between, and that's it. Blizzard decides the actual events and writes the characters in the game. Hence why we only see a good Jaina in the books.

  6. #6
    Titan Syegfryed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piamonte View Post
    Mmm im not sure, kaelthas I can buy it, a lot of people disagree as to how his story was handled.

    But illidan, garrosh, varian, etc. Their personalities have remained the same over the years. Heck, garrosh even died without saying sorry, lol.
    Varian straight up turned from a warmonger racist to what we saw in recent years, grant it, it take more time of devolepment but still feels forced.

  7. #7
    Moderator Rozz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Val the Moofia Boss View Post
    The problem with Jaina is that only Golden knows how to write her well, but Golden doesn't write WoW's story. She writes books that have to connect from A to B, and she gets to write what happens in between, and that's it. Blizzard decides the actual events and writes the characters in the game. Hence why we only see a good Jaina in the books.
    I agree with this. One of the reasons I don't like Jaina is because she came off as campy barbie eye candy in early lore. Sure she was smart and wanted peace, but that's the generic role of most pretty blond girls in fiction.

    Later she had became more of a grounded character that I don't feel existed until Golden got ahold of her.

    Anduin is a similar story.

    They may not be perfect characters, but are better than the nothing they used to be.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Syegfryed View Post
    Varian straight up turned from a warmonger racist to what we saw in recent years, grant it, it take more time of devolepment but still feels forced.
    We have enough explanation as to why varian changed, his relationship with his son was what made him change his ways. We had scenarios and short stories exploring this, i this his development was well handled by blizzard.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Piamonte View Post
    We have enough explanation as to why varian changed, his relationship with his son was what made him change his ways. We had scenarios and short stories exploring this, i this his development was well handled by blizzard.
    I second this. I don't follow the short stories or novels, but I felt like Anduin's persistence on peace and understanding (which we got a lot of during MoP) finally reached his father, which is why I found the Legion cinematic pretty moving. Varian finally understood the need to let go of blind hatred and work with the "enemy" for a greater cause. Varian's son was important to him, so what Anduin believed in became important to him. Sucks he died shortly after tho.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mber341 View Post
    . Sucks he died shortly after tho.
    Character development was complete. Time to retire the character and develop someone else :P

    IMO a lot of the problems with WoW's characters is that the story is largely told in an episodic fashion, and that requires them to be bite-sized and cliffhanger-prone. Everything is overdramatized and compressed to fit into that format.

    Larger chunks happen during expansion transitions, which is also why we tend to see leaps in character development then - even to the point of leaping into what feels like entirely new personalities.

  11. #11
    Titan Syegfryed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Piamonte View Post
    We have enough explanation as to why varian changed, his relationship with his son was what made him change his ways. We had scenarios and short stories exploring this, i this his development was well handled by blizzard.
    isn't when him and Garry were mirrors back in old days, but then made Varian a hero and garry a villain

    Besides, "his relation with his son" does not change one's mentality about racism after what he had faced.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Rozz View Post
    I agree with this. One of the reasons I don't like Jaina is because she came off as campy barbie eye candy in early lore. Sure she was smart and wanted peace, but that's the generic role of most pretty blond girls in fiction.

    Later she had became more of a grounded character that I don't feel existed until Golden got ahold of her.

    Anduin is a similar story.

    They may not be perfect characters, but are better than the nothing they used to be.
    I respectfuly disagree, Golden turned her into an unstoppable deus ex machina just because she tried to self-insert as her for a long time. Same thing with Anduin, except thats her midlife crisis trying to make him her son she never had.

  13. #13
    Moderator Rozz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verdugo View Post
    I respectfuly disagree, Golden turned her into an unstoppable deus ex machina just because she tried to self-insert as her for a long time. Same thing with Anduin, except thats her midlife crisis trying to make him her son she never had.
    Jaina was already a deus ex machina that was primarily known for being boobs in a purple crop and having a thing for orc men. Golden is guilty of favoritism, but she's the best at characterization. When her characters talk/speak, it feels like something they'd think and say. How the team retcons that seconds later is another issue in itself. As for Anduin, I'm going to still say he's better than he was. Pre-MoP Anduin might as well never existed and at least stands as his own character now. Say what memes you feel apply, but I agree with the reasons why she's placed on cinematics and the like.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rozz View Post
    Golden is guilty of favoritism, but she's the best at characterization.
    No, she is best at tugging at heartstrings by using cheap drama, something that hacks use to build an army of fanboys that will defend them from any criticism. See also: David Cage.

  15. #15
    Moderator Rozz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verdugo View Post
    No, she is best at tugging at heartstrings by using cheap drama, something that hacks use to build an army of fanboys that will defend them from any criticism. See also: David Cage.
    Having read her books that are usually criticized for their lack of drama or action until the last quarter, I have to disagree there too. I think you're being way more critical than she deserves when the other writers are guiltier of far worse. Besides at the height of Golden's favoritism she's never had any Thrall, Malfurion, or Sylvanas levels of nonsense. It's pretty disingenuous to compare her to David Cage, when some of the better received wow stories involve her and a select few others.

    But ultimately we'll probably never agree and that's fine. She's one of the few wow writers I haven't totally lost faith in, especially when all her "terrible mistakes" are so minor in the scheme of dumpster wow-lore.
    Last edited by Rozz; 2021-09-08 at 12:35 PM. Reason: Malgurion lol
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Val the Moofia Boss View Post
    The problem with Jaina is that only Golden knows how to write her well, but Golden doesn't write WoW's story. She writes books that have to connect from A to B, and she gets to write what happens in between, and that's it. Blizzard decides the actual events and writes the characters in the game. Hence why we only see a good Jaina in the books.
    I think it's more that more than one person had a hand on her story and hasn't stuck to a single thread while using the same trigger for multiple personality shifts.... and then the rule of cool drama reasonings for certain choices in narrative directions (i.e. selectively able to teleport an army or a couple people within a specific timespan)

  17. #17
    Dreadlord Smallfruitbat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verdugo View Post
    No, she is best at tugging at heartstrings by using cheap drama, something that hacks use to build an army of fanboys that will defend them from any criticism. See also: David Cage.
    Surely, this comes down to style. If I pick up a WoW novel with Christie Goldens name on the cover, I know what I'm going to get. I echo the sentiment that she does well with character. I believe she was responsible for the short story 'Elegy', there were some nice moments in there. Unfortunately, in my opinion her bias against the Night Elves deliberately made them look stupid and spoiled the story.

    Where she left Jaina's character at the end of Warcrimes was completely ignored by the in game story-telling. Jaina isn't a perfect character but I do agree, when she's in Goldens hands she at least has some depth.

    - - - Updated - - -

    As to other personalities, Tyrande has been poorly done in WoW. I get that you cannot have an over powered playable race in an MMO-RPG but they've pretty much neutered them.

    The most recent 'developments' for Tyrande have been cringeworthy, a lot of the problem with it is we're flitting between 3 minute cinematics when they effectively flick a switch and the position change happens.

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