So, over Christmas break, I had long airplane flights. So, I took the Warcraft: War of the Ancients trilogy book series with me as reading material to keep me from getting bored on the plane.
For as much as some people dislike Richard Knaak’s work, I actually found this series to be important for me. It helped me with realizing who Deathwing is, and why his coming back in the next expansion is really a terrifying thing for Azeroth. In addition, I learned a lot about Malfurion and the early history of druids in the book series. I also realized that it would have been helpful for an introduction as to why Illidan was the big bad guy of the Burning Crusade expansion. I didn’t play any of the Warcraft games before WOW, so I tend to have frequently missed out on important lore things.
Lore is important for feeling connected to the storyline in the game. Lore is important for knowing WHY we’re fighting, and WHO we are fighting. It is easy to get distracted by game mechanics, and lose the story along the way. The lore-based books help make the world feel bigger (and older) than it feels as you go through various quests and raid encounters. It makes the battles feel bigger and more hopeless in ways that gives you a reason to want to fight.
An example of being disconnected to the Lore: I complained one week when we were learning Ulduar about how I felt cheated because the keepers don’t actually die. I think it was just unfulfilling to keep defeating but not killing the bosses (I knew they helped us on Yogg, but I didn’t quite “get” what was going on). My boyfriend responded to this complaint by spouting off the reason why they don’t die (something about our objective being to free them, not to kill them). I don’t remember the specific details, but I got caught up in the fight mechanics and forgot to pay attention to WHY we were doing it.
I read the Arthas book at some point so I would feel more connected to the lore surrounding Northrend and the Lich King. I thought it was really helpful for me to do that, since I wanted to feel more connected to WHY we were in Northrend fighting.
Deathwing is one scary beast. I’m also starting early to study up on lore that I think is relevant to Cataclysm so that I don’t feel so disconnected from the WHY. Deathwing used to be a normal dragon, but the old gods corrupted him and made him go a little bonkers. He betrayed the rest of the dragons, and did a lot of bad things. When you know the story behind where Deathwing comes from, the idea of his getting free to wreak more havoc on the world is pretty scary, and is much more motivating to fight against it.
One of the other great pieces in the War of the Ancients book series is that there is a lot of information about Malfurion Stormrage, and what the early druid spell casting actually looked at. I never really quite understood the love triangle between Malfurion, Illidan (his brother), and Tyrande (NE priestess).
One of the things this book series has is detailed descriptions of how Malfurion’s druid spells worked (ie. seeds that burst into flames: “Malfurion threw the seeds into the bat’s maw. The monster convulsed immediately… A fiery glow erupted from within Varo’then’s mount. The captain tried to maintain control, but to no avail. The bat flailed around, shrieking. A moment later, it burst into flames. Malfurion had used the seeds’ inherent heat during earlier battles…” (Knack, 2005, The Sundering, Pg. 287). This is definitely a spell we don’t have anymore, but I think “flaming seeds” should be something that the we should start looking into learning how to use again (on second thought, maybe not with the name “flaming seeds”).
The small amount of Malfurion lore in this book series actually made me really excited at the prospect of the Malfurion book that is supposed to be released sometime relatively soon.