Posted by: Chris | August 25, 2008

Guest Post: A Story, a Game, a Universe

Editor’s Note: This is our first guest post at Blogatelle. Take it away, Chris!

The “World of Warcraft”, a statement that brings to mind various different words and thoughts. World of Warcraft, the game that makes millions of dollars leading players on to always get the next better piece of gear. World of Warcraft, the universe that reveals mysterious previously unknown in the Warcraft official lore. World of Warcraft, the game where you can join a group of heroes and take down the most terrifying of enemies. World of Warcraft, where you must always take the next step, and grow.

When picking a genre for World of Warcraft, one must break down the aspects of the name. The game, the story, and the people. The game itself, the mechanics, the bare bones of how things work, how they are played, and how the world of gaming perceives and classifies it. The story, the lore and the heart of the adventure, from the most mundane to the most epic. And finally, the people. How they impact the world, and how they bend the game to their liking.

A game…

When talking about World of Warcraft purely in a video game sense, there are a lot of things that we can call it. First of all, it is an adventure game. From your first wolf to slaying the most difficult of bosses, the game itself is an adventure. You start your adventure in a rather mundane sense, and help those around you to perform various small tasks that would be too dangerous for most townsfolk. As your strength grows, you are asked to perform more dangerous tasks relating to those same stories, eventually reaching a conclusion. Each new path has a new tale to tell, no matter how long or short. Once you make it towards the ends, the tales become much more epic, from finding out the origin of the Fel Orcs to stopping Kael’Thas and Kil’Jaeden. You follow the fall and the redemption of heroes, nations, and even entire races.

World of Warcraft is a strategy game. Right from the beginning, you are given new skills, and more come along the way, as your gain power. How you position and use these skills is all a strategy, picking the most convenient places and using the right skills to get your job done. When adding the aspect of interaction and even combat with other players, strategy plays a big part in how you take to the field of battle, and could mean life or death if you come up against the wrong team with the wrong strategy. When it comes to fighting the big bad bosses at the end of the game, it’s all about entering the fight and knowing the strategy for defeating the boss well; one person not following the plan could mean death to everyone else.

World of Warcraft, obviously, is a role-playing game. You take the role of an adventurer, and your actions determine the paths you take and how you develop. Will you be good, or evil? A hero, or a villain? Everything is about perception when it comes to interacting with other players, and how you act determines how your life will work amongst the denizens of Azeroth.

The story

It’s time to define what kind of adventure or world “World of Warcraft” truly follows. What stands out the most is that this is a Medieval Fantasy game. Knights, Magic, demons, monsters… all the classics are there. From Kobolds to Dreadlords, swords and sorcery, castles and dungeons, this carries every trait of the traditional Medieval Fantasy world.

The game involves degrees of Science Fiction. Extraterrestrial races are common in the lore, from the great Titans of the Pantheon, shaping worlds to their vision, to the various demon-plagued worlds recruited by Sargeras in his work to reverse all the work the Titans had made. The Naaru, great beings of light, provided dimensional transportation craft made of advanced technology that allowed the Draenei to avoid the fate of becoming just like their Eredari brethren. Great mana-forges drain the essence from shattered lands, fusing magic and technology. Constructs of various types and sizes also see magic and technology in harmony, giving life to creatures that otherwise would not live.

World of Warcraft could also be defined as an action/adventure story, though not in the typical gunshots and exploding buildings sense. Great wars have been waged over time, and your character must blast through waves of enemies, taking down the most powerful of warlords to the greatest of armies. Watching your comrades fall in armed combat, but weakening your opponent enough for you to finish them off.

The people.

When things come down to the people, I’m specifically meaning role-play. The way people act and participate has a profound effect on the type of game they are playing. Some characters find love, changing their story to a romance. Some people are trapped in tragedy, fighting to save someone they care about, perhaps at their own cost, leaving it a Tragedy. Some are adventurers ready to take on the world in the most violent of ways, and fall under the genre of action.

Whatever the character’s choice may be, they not only have an effect on their storylines, but they shape the roles of those around them, and in turn, are shaped by those same people. Stories meet each other along the way, blending genres to create romantic adventures, tragic suspense, action mysteries, and the like.

World of Warcraft can be called many things. The name itself encompasses many various aspects of the  world of games and stories. Though some people only look at the game from one side, one may never appreciate just how many aspects that are tied to that name.

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Responses

  1. Great insight! 🙂


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