Friday, June 26, 2015
Is This The End?
It is Friday well in case you didn't know. Now any WoW fan knows 6.2 is all around and the Hellfire Citadel is all up and running. Also you may or may not know that it appears the "ending" to Warlords is all around. Now if you are worried about spoilers I know ignore today's post, but Jokubas has a theory how the cinematic should have gone down for this week's Reader Post so have a look.
Archimonde wins. We were not prepared to fight Archimonde, we should not have killed him.
He brings down those meteors to destroy Draenor. The cutscene is not a celebration, but an evacuation. The heroes realize they cannot win, only mitigate their losses. Gul'dan, meanwhile, knows he will not survive the meteor impact either and panics. Archimonde prevents him from escaping and talks about the pact, which is the last thing we see as we escape. There's a bittersweet reflection as the escape portal forcibly shuts behind us. After going to black, it returns to show Gul'dan in the Nether, with Kil'jaeden or some other voice hinting at the plans he has for Gul'dan and presumably our timeline. End cutscene.
The cutscene we got implies Draenor isn't going to be seen again, and just kept around in case they want to use those characters again, so they don't really need it. If they actually destroyed Draenor, we'd actually have a reason to fear what might be coming next, and with the Gul'dan stinger, it would actually feel like a proper cliffhanger, instead of just being told it is.
And just to be clear when I say Archimonde should have won, I think one of the biggest problems with Warcraft's story since World of Warcraft isn't that the heroes always win, it's that each plot follows the same arc, and the endings just follow off of it. New villain reveals themselves, we fight to their lair, we kill them. Mists of Pandaria is the only real exception, and I think that was both good and bad. Bad because, in order to roll out the rebellion and Garrosh's threat, the leveling experience had to be almost entirely filler. Good because the overarching plot felt like a continuation and a conclusion to the war started in Cataclysm, not just a march to a villain. Outside of that expansion though, the closest thing to a real complication we've gotten was the Wrath Gate way back in the day, but that barely felt like one because it was obvious we weren't going to beat Arthas at his back door before touching Icecrown. Warlords of Draenor tries to do this with the Iron Horde->Fel Horde switch, but we would have gone to Tanaan and took down the last villain there regardless, so it didn't feel like a shift. I'm not saying the villains need to successfully cause an apocalypse or roll the die on a few characters to kill off, that tends to be handled poorly as well, but the path to defeating them should not be linear, and it shouldn't always literally involve defeating a villain. Like in my example, I think it's totally fine if we never fully resolve what Archimonde does in an alternate universe as long as we resolve whatever comes as a consequence of it for us.
Warcraft III was not a linear march from Lordaeron to Archimonde's house. It was an ever-growing story that started small and grew more complex, introducing new threats and complications over time. It was obvious relatively early that Archimonde was the main villain, but that didn't make everything between then and the ending feel like filler. There was the Scourge, then the Legion. There were actually plot relevant and logical skirmishes between the factions. The faction conflict was resolved, the Scourge would end up betraying the Legion in the expansion, and ultimately the Legion would be defeated on our doorstep, not theirs.
I was hoping this would be the first multi-expansion plot, because I think we could really use a threat that is more complex than just getting to the villain's lair. If that happens though, this cutscene just does not sell it.
So what do you think? I am still digesting everything but feel free to speak your mind.
Enjoy your weekend!