My relationship with Blizzard and its games is odd in that Warcraft has never been all that interesting to me.
Well, I suppose that, in and of itself isn’t odd. Warcraft doesn’t interest a lot of people I am sure.
But that fact that World of Warcraft has ended up being my MMORPG of choice for most of the last decade is what makes it strange. It means that I haven’t really felt as connected to the game through its lore as I have in other similar games.
I certainly care about the lore in Lord of the Rings Online. As many interesting little features as Turbine has in LOTRO, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have played it a tenth as much as I have if it wasn’t grounded in the works of Tolkien.
I also came to care about the lore in EverQuest. While it was something new, the games connection to TorilMUD (itself rooted in Forgotten Realms, which gives me a lore erection just saying the name), along with its newness and nature at launch, set my expectations and ideas about Norrath. I have a pretty solid notion of what Norrath should be like based on that, something that has not always served me well. Part of my problem with EverQuest II early on was the movement away from the lore of the original in the first couple of expansions. And the whole crazy mounts thing irks to this day in EQII in a way that doesn’t bother me at all in WoW.
Hover disks in Norrath annoy me because that isn’t 1999. In Azeroth they don’t even register because didn’t they always have stupid techno gadgets in their games?
Basically, in WoW, in Azeroth, my take on the lore is pretty much whatever has been handed to me piecemeal over the years, without me having ever managed to get invested in it.
Which brings us back to strange.
Strange because I have actually owned all of the Warcraft RTS games, the source of the lore for WoW.
I have just never gone through the single player campaigns on any of them. Ever.
This was because I never had any enthusiasm for them other than as games to play with friends. To my mind they were in the RTS genre to be played against other people, not single player games to be explored. And even then, of Blizzard games, StarCraft and the Diablo games were far more popular in my group of friends. I only picked up the Warcraft games over the years because they were the game of the moment for people at the office. I think Warcraft II may have literally only been installed at the office and not at home.
So, before WoW, I played the Warcraft series for a few minor moments in between Total Annihilation, StarCraft, and Age of Empires (I and II, but not III). Somehow that little bit inoculated me against caring about the lore.
Not that I haven’t had my moments with the lore in Azeroth now and again. I was involved with the story surrounding Wrath of the Lich King, and have played through as much of Mists of Pandaria as I have in part to finish stories. In fact, the return to the end of WotLK got me thinking about story and lore and what came before WoW, so I decided to dig out my Warcraft III CD.
Well, my Warcraft III CD case. I have no idea where the actual CD is at this point. But the case had the serial number on it, which was enough to activate it in Battle.net so I could download the game. So I was set to get myself updated on some Warcraft lore.
Time to play the Warcraft III campaign!
How that played out after the cut where, if you played through and remember well the Warcraft III single player campaign, the punchline you are probably expecting, given what I have said above, does arrive. We ask that you please hold your “Well, duh!” moments until the end of the performance.