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#1 Posted by Darth-Malum (98 posts) -

So I’ve dabbled in playing WoW here and there and always wanted the game everyone always talks about, with the epic storylines of illidan and the lich king and all things like that, but whenever I’ve played all I seem to do is run errands for people and get very little story about the world I’m in, so my question to my fellow duders... when does WoW get epic, when do I get to experience these storylines for myself.. when do I get to realise Sylvanas burning the world tree is SUCH a big deal, because right now, I don’t know why!

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#2 Posted by xanadu (2045 posts) -

Somebody please instruct this poor soul how to care about things.

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#3 Edited by onarum (3212 posts) -

Seems to me it would never get "epic" for you? and that's ok, just try something else.

Personally I think WoW is hot trash, so my own answer to your question would be never.

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#4 Posted by BallsLeon (563 posts) -

25-40 person raid

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#5 Posted by Darth-Malum (98 posts) -

@xanadu: I do care about things thanks, I would just like to know when the story is actually gonna “get good”

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#6 Edited by BallsLeon (563 posts) -

@darth-malum: TBH the story itself hasn't felt epic to me since probably the Burning Crusade Illidan plot line, but what was epic for me was the scale and group collaboration. Arriving at Dalaran for the first time, raiding Ogrimmar with 40+ people, avoiding a group of gankers in Stranlethorn Vale, the PvE raids, and etc.

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#7 Posted by The_Greg (543 posts) -

It's very much down to preference. Some people find 50 people excitedly bouncing around together in an instance 'epic' and memorable. For me, personally, games like WoW never get epic.

I do like to play MMOs because I find them massively un-epic. I like to wander around on my own, completing dull quests and watching numbers go up whilst listening to a podcast.

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#8 Posted by xanadu (2045 posts) -

@darth-malum: Honestly the "good/epic" part of the story comes from the hours you invest into your character. People are freaking about the World Tree because its been in the game since the start in 2003. The last handful of expansions have seen the horde and alliance working together. We spent hundreds of hours working towards the same goals and now we're heading back to war with each other after a long standstill.

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#9 Posted by Big_Denim (840 posts) -

Ya, I think you may just not be into the way in which MMOs slow-drip their story.

I too have tried getting into a handful of MMOs over the years, and none of them ever click with me. I think I just struggle to take a story seriously in a multiplayer game.

A town center with people doing squats on the lamp post above the main quest giver doesn't draw me in. It breaks all illusion and makes me instantly not give a shit about the story and world. As another poster said, some people are okay with that.

Furthermore, some people are okay with a character's text box that says 'OMG tree is burning, get X number of Y things to help stop it.' Again, the developer may even hide that simple fetch quest with beautifully written lore that explains why that tree is important, but when 50 imbeciles are defiling its branches before my very eyes, it makes me think that tree isn't so important after all. Had that same piece of story been presented in a more single-player focused cut scene, then it may work for me. But a text box that's occurring real time in an instanced world just doesn't work for me.

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#10 Posted by cikame (2830 posts) -

@darth-malum: I took a stance against WoW for 11 years because it stole my friends, after putting up with listening to WoW conversation for so long i agreed to use a free trial to finally check it out myself, what i found is that in those 11 years almost everyone has made improvements to the MMO formulae, and that WoW is extremely boring.

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#11 Edited by glots (4336 posts) -

There's no ONE coherent story in the game, that begins at lvl 1 and leads all the way up to the max level. In fact, trying to follow some sort of clear story from the start is kinda impossible, because every expansion so far has included it's own grand story, but they obviously can't just erase the previous stuff when a new one comes along, so you end up seeing characters that are supposed to be dead in the current timeline and similiar nonsense.

Also while you can still do some of the older storylines, it wasn't really 'till Warlords of Draenor that Blizzard began to pimp up the story stuff. It still doesn't compare to most narrative-driven games, but it's certainly more "epic" than the older stuff. Plus you are guaranteed to become over-levelled when doing that old content and just end up steamrolling everything with no challenge at all.

Then there's the fact that nowadays lot of the end-game raids hold bunch of story content, what with cutscenes and such that you can't see in any other way in-game, so it's kinda rough for those who mostly play alone. I know I didn't want to do those things with a bunch of randoms, so I just ended up watching most of that stuff on Youtube, which isn't quite the same experience as getting to witness them in-game after defeating a boss or whatever, but no can do.

Like others have said, though, I'm also in the club where the "epic" feeling of WoW didn't come from any of the big stories (I honestly didn't even know of any back in Vanilla), but from exploring the world alone or with friends and, for me personally, the game being my first proper MMO experience. The scale of everything back then was just mindblowing and unlike anything I had ever played.

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#12 Posted by Cheetoman (525 posts) -

You have to start from the bottom to get to the top.

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#13 Edited by The_Greg (543 posts) -

@cheetoman: It takes way too long. I think my least favourite term in this industry is 'endgame'.

If a game gets good at the end, it's a bad game.

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#14 Edited by Zelyre (1901 posts) -

You need to really dig around for the story. A lot of it is implied. I don’t think at any point does a boss come out and say haha the Scarlett crusade is run by a demon.

As for being part of an epic story? Not your character. Smack illidan or art has around, at 1% he does some bullshit and the real heroes come out of no where, do some anime attack, and loot you don’t need drops.

I think WoW is a hard game to go back to. It was awesome when it first came out. Unlike Everquest or Ultima, you felt powerful, but it was a challenge as well. It was the best of the theme park type mmos but that formula has been tired for a long time.

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#15 Posted by Vortextk (944 posts) -

I played back like 2011-2012 with a friend. Only time I did. I had a ton of fun. I hate most of the story cause it feels over dramatic and doesn't really matter and I don't care. That's an opinion, a ton of people disagree. I think the game has great gameplay but the lore will never matter to me. It might not ever for you. The epic moments for me, as a person that didn't give two bits about the story, were huge raid fights. I don't care who death wing was, but fighting on his back at the end of cataclysm was pretty cool.

Most of the people going crazy of Sylvanas shit? They've probably played a majority of the game and expansions as they happened. Now? You go through an old raid with like 1 other person for mechanics sakes if you want transmog/rare drops, you probably don't touch almost all of the more mundane questing that leads into thing and in general skip so much of what people care about that you probably will never get to their level.

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#16 Edited by haneybd87 (394 posts) -

I don’t think WoW is about the story really. There’s a deep lore to it but you’re not fed a story like so many non-mmo rpgs. Some of the later expansions get better about the narrative stuff but still I don’t think that’s the main draw of the game. The main draw is going to be gameplay, really.

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#17 Posted by mellotronrules (2610 posts) -

when do I get to realise Sylvanas burning the world tree is SUCH a big deal, because right now, I don’t know why!

the reaction is a combination of time and investment- not the plot or writing itself.

at the risk of offending those that care deeply- warcraft is not a particularly interesting/original universe. BUT- it's been around for almost 25 years, and sylvanas' arch starts in Warcraft 3 (under somewhat tragic circumstances) and continues through the 15ish years of WoW.

if you've been on board with the plot since War3, her heel turn is potentially (depending on your personal buy-in) a big deal.

but my advice to you: no amount of crash-course WoW playing will convey what the 20+ yrs of Warcraft players might be experiencing. so don't expect to find it. besides- you'd be better off playing War3 if you wanted a succinct explanation of her origin/motivations.

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#18 Edited by Superkenon (1703 posts) -

@darth-malum It's possible it just isn't ever going to be for you, but how far into the game are you, and what have you done?

If you're just leveling up through the old world, then it's very much a mixed bag. The Cataclysm expansion, I think, largely made the world less interesting -- much of the old interesting world-building was replaced with mildly interesting set-pieces that don't really mean anything past the quests they're relevant to. Some zones are well done and provide interesting stories, but I don't think the 1-60 level range is going to do much for anyone who's not already into WoW (whereas, the Vanilla versions of Kalimdor/Eastern Kingdoms did a better job at throwing story bones to new players... even if the gameplay was worse).

That aside, it gets better as it goes. Pandaria in particular is an enormous improvement over everything that comes before it -- it's kind of the point where I thought to myself, "oh, this is WoW 2." It's a beautiful continent with good storylines sprinkled throughout it, wrapped in an intriguing overall narrative where both factions are being introduced to this new land and culture. Draenor, which comes after, seems good as well -- though I didn't play during that expansion, so it's largely a blank for me. I consider Legion to be another fantastic expansion, which is what the Broken Isles pertains to. Each of the zones is very unique and plays out their respective stories in wildly different ways, and most of it is pretty good, at least to me. Note though that I've been into WarCraft since the RTS games, though I'm a real junkie for the world and its lore.

At its best, WoW tells really good, subdued personal stories with its quests. The more you're willing to engage with the characters and the quest text, the better of a time you'll have. Otherwise, yeah, it's always going to be something that can be boiled down to fetching.

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#19 Posted by Cheetoman (525 posts) -

@the_greg: Yea I totally agree. I was addicted to WoW when it first came out but every time I try and go back everything rings hollow for me.

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#20 Posted by Casepb (711 posts) -

There really isn't any big epic story moments I guess. I mean the cinematics are the most epic thing really. Some quests are pretty cool and fun to do. WoW doesn't really have a personal story like SWTOR does though. I went back recently cause some friends did. I'm enjoying it like I use to. It's one of those games I play when I want to take it easy and quest.

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#21 Posted by shivermetimbers (1713 posts) -

WoW is very much a thing of its time. In 2004, there wasn't much like it on the market...or at the very least not as approachable as WoW. Now it's basically a series of quests to get to the endgame to do raids that reset every expansion.

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#22 Posted by Lazyimperial (486 posts) -

Personally, the only epic story moment for me that remains emotionally compelling is the first time I did The Deadmines. It was a level 16 to 20 dungeon in Westfall that was the conclusion of a zone-wide story, and it felt suitably grand and odd. That was years ago, and I've played all the expansions so far (haven't played in a year and a half, though. Got so sick of the game).

Then again, that's very likely the jaded gamer in me talking. WoW is an incredibly grindy game with boring combat mechanics and spongy raid bosses that milks every... single... ounce of content for all its worth. WoW's content structure consists of "release an update, boost the gear cap, make the players grind each piece of such said new content OVER AND OVER for six months to effectively re-attain the level of effectiveness they had prior to the gear cap boost, and then release a new update that begins the cycle anew for another six months. Do this until two years have passed, and then release a new expansion with 30 hours of quest content that then gives way to... yep, the same old cycle. Enjoy." They've done this so much that in order to save electricity and processing power, they've now done... what, two or three stat crunches? It's risible.

All this repetition means that any epic story moment you do happen to find buried in WoW's god-awful, horrible writing and plots will be drowned out. If it was tied to an individual quest that doesn't repeat, you'll have forgotten it under all the endless end-game runs of the same miserable, paltry number of dungeons and raids. If it was an epic story moment tied to one of such said dungeons and raids, you'll repeat it so many times that you'll learn to completely ignore it and will likely wipe it from your mind. It's just in the way of you getting a pair of boots that are +2 gear levels or a new belt that is +3 gear levels. Click past it. Heck, you'll reach a point where you'll get actively mad at any jerk who is watching the cutscene while you and the rest of the raid/dungeon group are waiting to advance. How dare they inconvenience you to listen to space-satyrs with horribly fake Russian accents prattle on about crystals!?!?

Couple the above with incredibly dull combat and a system designed to favor hardcore gamers who are willing to forsake their personal lives to run endless hours of mythic dungeons and heroic raids, and yeah... I just wouldn't bother. If you fight through the pre-Guild Wars gear grind character advancement system and resist the monotony of infinite repetition in order to see WoW's myriad zone and expansion stories, you'll find... plot mediocrity in great abundance. *shrug*

In fairness, some of the campy side-quests have really great dialogue. WoW was always at its best when it was being bizarrely off-kilter and subtly macabre.

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#23 Posted by Darth-Malum (98 posts) -

I mean i guess what I’m trying to say is that, I’ve played the game a little bit and I know what important people are called in the WoW universe like guldan and illidan and arthas and I could go on... but I know NOTHING about them, i just happen to be inhabiting a world in which they exist, and I would love to go on quests that teach me about the world I’m in and why these people are important... it’s like being part of our world and not knowing why world war 2 is important!

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#24 Posted by Efesell (4510 posts) -

So far the entire plot build up to the new expansion has been some of the worst storytelling Blizzard has ever done and generally speak they are for the most part Bad at storytelling anyway but usually they fail in what is at least a charming way.

So at the very least the answer is 'Not Now'.

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#25 Edited by Superkenon (1703 posts) -

@darth-malum: Yeah, that's an interesting one. The plots of characters have been doled out across the span of 14 years at this point, little by little, so it's hard to point at one thing and go, "yeah, here's the one part that explains everything!" This is kind of an issue inherent to MMO's in general, too -- by their nature, they're designed to give players an experience of a changing world over a long period of time. This makes it hard to come in and know why anything matters.

Coming into Legion late I'm sure is *terribly* confusing. At the beginning of Legion, Illidan is dead. At the end, he's back alive and helping players. Normally, you would have done a quest chain to bring him back, where they introduce him and let you learn things about him along the way. But, as the expansion progressed, they made it possible (and easy) to skip past that part now so that new players could catch up to the end-game fast. To a new player, suddenly this guy is around and super important seemingly without explanation. For gameplay reasons, I think it's smart that they don't force every player to do every quest, but it certainly makes it a mess to follow story-wise. You can still do all the relevant quests, but it's very easy to do them out of sequence in a chronologically-confusing way.

Honestly, this is a situation where wikis could be your friend, if you like going down lore rabbit holes. WarCraft's goes pretty deep -- in a real windy, goofy way that personally I'm way into. Reading up on subjects that confuse you could give you a lot of much-needed context in a way that's a lot more digestible than trying to do all the quests in a 14 year-old game in order.

Alternatively, if you want to check out a fun old RTS, WarCraft III could be a great introduction to the world as well. It sets the stage for most things that happen in the MMO.

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#26 Edited by haneybd87 (394 posts) -

@darth-malum: Well most of the big characters were also big characters in Warcraft 1-3 so a lot of that lore is basically glossed over in WoW and this picks up where those games left off. Warlords of Draenor does go back to some of those events (you go through a portal and back in time) but that’s not until the 2nd to latest expansion and even then certain big characters play no role in that particular storyline.

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#27 Posted by Vortextk (944 posts) -

This is why the story in FFXIV is slow, long and mostly unchanging. You are forced to see everything from start to finish unless you skip cutscenes or buy the story skip from the item shop. It's a long slog if all you want is end game content, but if you watch the game as you play, you know all the major beats, characters and everything just as well as anyone else outside of optional raid content over time which has some story or side quest stuff.

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#28 Posted by oraknabo (1744 posts) -


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#29 Edited by CrazyBagMan (1660 posts) -

Barking up the wrong tree, my dude. It's epic in certain context, but hardly ever in the story, especially if you only dabble.

EDIT: Christie Golden writes some pretty well regarded books in the WoW universe which sounds more like what you want.

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#30 Posted by glots (4336 posts) -

If learning about characters is what you want, you basically HAVE TO play Warcraft 3 and Frozen Throne to learn where characters like Arthas and Illidan came from. You can find lore of them from within WoW too, but like said before, it’s either scattered around the world in form of random, ”outdated” quests or in raid dungeons that are similarly part of the past by now and which you have to do on your own. Plus about 90% of it will be in text form, which doesn’t exactly spell out ”epic” to me, unless you have a very vivid imagination and don’t really mind the lack of voice acting, cutscenes and all that.

So like Superkenon said, your best bet is to either go down wiki hole, which definitely isn’t for everyone, read a bunch of novels (everyone loves that) and/or playing Warcraft 3. There are no quests that’ll take you on a tour to learn about Sylvanas in-depth.

Jumping into WoW currently as a new player and trying to understand why other long-time players care about some characters so much is almost like watching Infinity War without knowing anything about it’s cast of characters. But at least with IW, you can watch the previous movies to get up to date. Ain’t that easy with WoW.

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#31 Edited by Tom_omb (1073 posts) -


It looks like a lot of the people posting in this thread haven't played WoW in a long time...

The "epicness" comes from the scope of WoW. It's been building on the story from the RTS games for 24 years. The world has changed within this single game for 14 years. The little boy in the Stormwind Throne room in 2004 is now King, leading the armies of the Alliance, agaisnt the Horde. Check him out in the Battle for Azeroth cinematic. They recently nuked an entire zone that's been around since the begining to stab it with a sword that dwarves mountains.

Quest lines in every zone usualy have big climatic moments. Many races starting zones are a little low key compared to others. The Worgen starting area has you fight a battle along side your king and end up with you fleeing your homeland. Goblins also flee their island home when a volcano threatens it.

The game gets better about telling that story with voice acting and cinematics with newer content. If you're interested in Illidan, unfortunately Burning Crusade is the oldest content currently in the game. Wrath of the Lich King did a much better job of putting you face to face with the big bag from the start. But Legion makes up for that with plently of Illidan face time. There's a quest chain that gives you all you'd ever want to know about the guy or play as a demon hunter to follow in his shoes. It's not really necessary to play the RTS to understand. Blizzard have some of the best cinematic artists out there and they've done a great job at filling in the backstories of the major players in recent expansions.

What have you played? How far? That would help us understand what specifically you are frustrated with. Most people here just seem to be venting based on their experiences when they quit years ago. Granted, if you're not willing to read the quests and invest in the fairly old fashioned gameplay, it may not be for you. A big reason I keep coming back is that I've invested years of my life in these characters in this world.

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#32 Posted by glots (4336 posts) -

I do wish that Blizzard would somehow figure out how to create a single story that you could more or less follow from the very start and that it would evolve together with your levels, so that it wouldn’t become too easy at any point, but that’s probably near impossible or a huge time/money sink, plus once you’d be done with it, that’d be it, unlike the repeatable world quests and end-game raids.

It is kinda crazy how rarely they update some of the old stuff, though. I’m pretty sure the narration that you receive everytime you make a new character, still talks about (could be wrong, been at least a year since I last made one) Garrosh and Vol’jin when you create a new orc/troll, despite the fact that they are both dead by now. In fact, even if you had played WC3 back in the day, it would probably be odd to jump into current WoW and see Sylvanas as the current warchief, with no sign of Thrall anywhere...except when you go to Draenor, of course. Then he’s around. Or when you go to Northrend and see Garrosh there. Who should be dead. And an ex-warchief. Or when you quest in Silverpine Forest and watch as Garrosh commands Sylvanas around.

So yeah, it’s a bit of a mess. You gotta have patience for doing some old content that won’t reward you in any other way besides lore-wise, if you really want to dig deep. A lot does also depend on how much you have played, like some have already asked. If you just boosted up your first character right away, then you’ve already missed a big chunk of stuff, which you can obviously go back to do, but like said, it will all be low-level and won’t present any level of challenge.

Man, I guess writing about WoW is what I have to do now after having finally stopped playing it.

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#33 Posted by Kvel2D (149 posts) -

WoW gets epic when classic comes out and you come to Ironforge or Orgimmar for the first time. The first time you ride an epic mount your head will be spinning from the speed. First time seeing Ragnaros and following that pretty much every end boss of all raids will be epic as well.

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#34 Posted by MostlySquares (323 posts) -

The epic part is taking part in the world. Once you have a grasp on the lore, the areas become meaningful and you grow attached to the world.

The story was never the main draw of WoW, at least not the main story. You can view an MMORPG more like an extraordinarily slow paced road movie. The friends you play with are more important than the game itself in many cases as well. MMORPGs are meant to be played by groups of people who find their own fun to a certain extent. An MMORPG will likely not satisfy all your cravings. For me, WoW is about classes, leveling them, learning them, doing battlegrounds and getting my ass kicked and stuff like that. I have such deep love for that world, and I don't know a lot of lore tbh. I've just played for so long that I've made my own.. My characters have their own stories of triumphs and fuckups. My mage, which I played since the dawn of time, is a character with so much history. I've been leveling her for more than a decade at this point.. It's nuts to think about. I am very much attached to her.

That's the epic part of mmorpgs. Don't play them like singleplayer games expecting to get your singleplayer glands squeezed real good.

An RPG is to an MMORPG what a Lego game is to Minecraft. There's a certain level of bring your own fun there.

If you want to enjoy an mmorpg, let it wash over you. That's how these games get a hold of you. It's about being in that world, doing the things.

Also, endgame is always sad. No need to rush to it unless you have friends and you want to dungeon.

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#35 Edited by ThatOneDudeNick (1570 posts) -

I just click accept and do the quest, for the most part. I only have a basic understanding of the story. The epic part for me comes from dungeons and raiding with friends. There are a lot of different reasons that people play. How far in are you? Either you boosted and missed all context for everything and it'll probably never be good. Or you're still leveling, which can suck.

There are some interesting little stories while leveling and it's cool to come across those. There are more areas than you could ever get to while leveling, so you won't see everything. I've leveled characters where I felt like I didn't see anything cool. I've leveled others where I found a bunch of cool quests by leveling in different zones.

I bounced off the game several times before it clicked.

Could just not be for you, and that's okay too.

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#36 Posted by soulcake (2789 posts) -

"You Are Not Prepared" for the bad storytelling in WoW.

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#37 Posted by The_Greg (543 posts) -

It's all very subjective.

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#38 Posted by Tom_omb (1073 posts) -

@glots: It's not a mess, the 1-60 leveling experience simply takes place in the past. Just like each expansion takes place in a specific time period. The current content is always the present.

I think I'm the rare breed of WoW player that actually reads every quest. The story has a deep mythology that I enjoy watching unfold in real time.

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#39 Posted by MezZa (3048 posts) -

Sounds like the RTS would be more what you want rather than the mmo if you want to actually learn more about characters, history, and lore.

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#40 Posted by HasbroDP (60 posts) -

Bro, you are over 6 years late to the party. Its been over for a while.

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#41 Posted by Otacon (2337 posts) -

For me WoW speaks to the same part of me that finds animal crossing appealling, being in the world is the appeal of it. Also if you're at lvl 20 queue for a few dungeons, you'll get the experience of what it's like to play with others on a small scale. Unfortunately they won't have their preceding questlines with them so the story may be confusing

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#42 Posted by Zirilius (1700 posts) -

@mezza said:

Sounds like the RTS would be more what you want rather than the mmo if you want to actually learn more about characters, history, and lore.

Yep and now that WC3 runs on modern equipment after the 1.31 patch it's a great start.

The story of WoW pre-lich king sucked. A lot was inferred or required doing Raids to figure out. I think the story telling has only gotten better and outside of the writing of the pre-patch content (Ithink the story is fine but the writing very disjointed in the quests) they have grown leaps and bounds in their story telling.

You do need to have some investment in the world to really have some sense of scope and excitement.

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#43 Posted by makari (674 posts) -

It is a world where people have small problems and the world has big problems. WoW gives you slices of both of these from one moment to the next. Due to its wide and open nature, the all-too-easy way of missing story beats and picking up on endings to stories before encountering their beginnings, and a LOT of the story being told in outside media that is barely touched if at all in-game it is very difficult to have a cohesive narrative experience.

As someone who loremasters every expansion and even reads some of the novels at times it is full of cute nods and obscure recurring characters. There have been minor plot threads from one expansion that carry on in unexpected ways in later expansions, but if you weren't there or skipped past those quests it would be totally lost on you or seem insignificant. If you have the time and care to pay attention you can get a lot out of the fandom. It is, admittedly, really hard to do so nowadays, especially if you're just starting out.

It's very common for a WoW player (even long-time fans) to say 'who is this major expansion character? Where did they come from? Why should I care?' The answers exist, but sometimes you have to dig. And sometimes it's really deep.

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#44 Edited by tds418 (484 posts) -

@the_greg said:

@cheetoman: It takes way too long. I think my least favourite term in this industry is 'endgame'.

If a game gets good at the end, it's a bad game.

I don't think talking about 'endgame' is necessarily bad. For games like WoW and other MMOs, even MMO-lite games like Destiny, the 'endgame' is where the dedicated players are going to be spending most of their time. It only takes so many hours to get to max level and go through the new zones, so whether the endgame content is captivating enough to sink another couple hundred hours in is going to matter as much, if not more, to those core players than the quality of the content in the initial leveling.

My $0.02. Obviously, it's better for a game to have a great leveling experience and a great endgame than to just have one.

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#45 Posted by reap3r160 (265 posts) -

The "Epic" storylines all really happen at the max level for the expansion. Until then the story is focused on the individual zones with some of the larger conflict sprinkled throughout.

My theory is they do this because at max level the writers aren't restricted on what they can offer to players based on level, everyone is on the same playing field.