So, on the plane ride back from my California trip, I had a chance to read the Arthas book, which contains a story of the life of Arthas who became the Lich King. The book covers things from his childhood, recounts the culling of Stratholme events (that you should remember if you did the caverns of time instance), a lot of events from Warcraft III, ending in the destruction of Dalaran (before the bubble-hearth), and does a good job of summarizing some of the events that happened during World of Warcraft’s history. What the book felt like was a summary. However, it put together pieces of the lore puzzle that I hadn’t grasped, since I never played Warcraft III (I didn’t get into Blizzard games until WoW, since WoW came out the summer after I graduated from Undergrad and had more than 10 minutes a day of “free time”).
Anyway, what reading the book reminded me is that lore is really important for making the game fun. If all you do is kill a boss over and over again and have no reason what the significance of killing them is (or why some of them won’t just stay dead!). While you can just read lore summaries on WoWWiki, having the lore in book format really helps tie all the threads together. I mean, why are we in Northrend? Why d0 we need to slay all the bosses in all the raid dungeons? If your battles feel like they have a greater purpose, and you really feel how evil the bosses are, then clearing an instance has much more meaning. Lore is a tool to help with emersing yourself in the game world.
The only strange feeling I got reading the book was related to the events (like the instance for culling of strat) where I feel like I’ve been able to help shape some of the history through the game, and I’m reading about in-game events that I’ve seen with my own eyes. For people that played all of Warcraft III, my guess is that the Arthas book was dissapointing, since you’ve seen most of the events. However, for someone like me (who likes the lore but didn’t play the earlier games), it’s really interesting to be able to read about the lore and feel like I have a somewhat better understanding than I did before, and when I get to help kick Arthas’ rear-end somewhere down the line, I’m going to find that the kill will be much more meaningful.
On a Somewhat related note: So, I found it completely ironic that after thinking about the importance of lore during my plane ride home, I logged onto my computer, and saw a druid related Lore article on Wowinsider (wow.com). The article is mostly speculative about what the NPC conversation means, but it’s interesting to think about how druids might play a role in the fight against Arthas, in more ways than just being player characters in a raid instance. After my newly refreshed interest in the lore surrounding the game, I am really interested in seeing how this plays out.
One interesting thing that the wow.com article also talks about how the NPC conversation also leaves open the possibility of getting more druid spells that have to do with sunlight instead of the mostly “moon” themed spells. Another flavor of spells would be neat for balance druids to have. We could have a sunburst spell or solar flare spell, or things that might spice up the moonkin spell arsenal a bit and have at least some justification for it (The Solar & Lunar eclipse talent also helps give the wacky idea some ground to stand on). It’s just speculative on the part of the players guessing things that could come, and probably isn’t worth keeping your fingers crossed or anything. It could just be a conversation between two NPCs that isn’t entirely that meaninful on it’s own… Then again, fire-ish spells overlap a lot with shaman spells, so maybe it would just be sun-themed arcane & nature spells instead of having actual fire spells… At any rate, in the next expansion, the moonkin need new single-target spells to add to their rotations, as switching back and forth between starfire & wrath (while keeping up DOTs) isn’t going to last in whatever the next expansion is – because in the end, it’s really not that fun to have such a limited range of spells.
edit: and excuse any typos. I’m exhausted from traveling all day… but I wanted to get a post out because I feel like I neglected my blog all weekend.