Talk about anger management –- today's Breakfast Topic seems to have unleashed a torrent behind the scenes on the WoW Insider staff email list. What started out as a survey to gather ideas for the top storylines that send players into a rage turned into ... well, a rage.
Here's just part of what went down after I asked for some ideas on storylines that make players blow their tops:
Robin Torres: Thrall making Gallywix the leader of the goblins, even after all he'd done. Sassy Hardwrench for Trade Princess!
Dan Desmond: I'd have to say most every storyline having to do with Tirion Fordring. He was useless for most of the battle against the Lich King, he hogs the Ashbringer and taunts you with it every chance he gets, and he even has the Argent Crusade build a statue of him in Hearthglen! Such an arrogant blowhard.
Matthew Rossi: Daniel, the words you're looking for are "typical paladin." He's the perfect representative of the class. I have no idea why you'd resent him for being the best at paladining.
Sarah Pine: I was really mad at Leyara's fate. Malfurion abandoned his people to the Horde's advances, and because she dared to be angry about it we had to kill her. Screw Malfurion.
Former staffer Kelly Aarons (via Twitter): I wasn't thrilled when we were taking back Razor Hill and Thrall just was like "lol see u guys l8tr."
What about you? What WoW storylines spun you into a fury, whether it was the story itself or the telling (or lack of telling) of it? (Click past the break if you're up for wading through the WI staff's descent into fury-fueled madness, including DK specialist Daniel Whitcomb's whirlwind entrance into the debate and how Ashkandi figures into all of this.)
Matthew Rossi: I didn't like that instead of master manipulator Deathwing who once played the Kirin Tor, the kingdom of Lordaeron, and the dragonflights off each other, we got angry kaiju Deathwing, whose plans seemed at best nonsensical and at worst creepy sister stalker fanfic. I did like a lot of Dragon Soul, but I really felt Cata suffered for not having Deathwing display any of that noted deviousness.
Joe Perez: Anything involving Sunwalker Dezco. He's basically my new favorite Horde NPC. Everything involving him has had me finding so many feels.
Matt Walsh: I'm carrying a small candle of hate for Jaina for botching the peace talks between Varian and the blood elves. I know nothing was ever going to come of that, but nonetheless!
Anne Stickney: I'm still annoyed about Fandral. There was so much more that could have been done with him.
And then the death knight walked in on the conversation, and things got deep fast. You can just hear the runic power building up.
Daniel Whitcomb: Uh. How much time you got? Some of the major ones:
- Malfurion Stormrage and the night elf ancients/Cenarius abandoning their people to the Horde and allowing them into Hyjal during Cataclysm despite their actions in Ashenvale and other forests.
- Mallfurion's advocacy against night elves regaining their immortality. How can he be so arrogant as to watch his people suffer and tell them they have no right to be angry or seek relief for it?
- Fandral Staghelm going evil, and Leyara being abandoned and vilified. Leyara's anger was a perfectly natural response to Malfurion's neglect and the Horde's aggression. She should have been treated much more sympathetically, including forcing the Horde on Hyjal to do some soul-searching.
- Thrall's actions in the goblin starting zone. If he was supposed to be neutral in Cataclysm, making him massacre an entire Alliance fleet and recruit the people who would build most of Garrosh's war machines is a very bad way to do it. It would be like if Varian killed every guard in Thunder Bluff while escaping slavery, then recruited the Venture Company for the Alliance on his way out. And of course, topping it off with appointing a slavemaster as leader of the goblins was just completely mindboggling. I know it would have been impossible to appoint the PC, but at least go for Sassy Hardwrench or something.
- Thrall's hypocrisy in Tides of War. When Jaina begged him to help rein in Garrosh, he refused, claiming neutrality. When Garrosh as a result went rampant and destroyed everything Jaina held dear, though, he was suddenly 100% willing to cast aside that neutrality to fight Jaina. The double standard is glaringly obvious there. I was also not a fan of him telling Jaina she just needed to get herself a man.
- Varian's hypocritical treatment of Jaina. In Tides of War, he refused to help Jaina counterattack Orgrimmar. Except within minutes after she left, he had a fleet ready to sail on that same capital and never thought to tell her about it. Later, in patch 5.1, he sent Anduin to try to convince Jaina to kick the blood elves out of Dalaran, only to chew her out for doing it a few days later because she ruined his peace talks with the blood elves. Peace talks, again, he never told her about.
- Neither Tirion Fordring or Uther Lightbringer deserve the praise they get in Alliance lore, as they are/were hypocritical, petulant, and ineffective at their duties.
But probably my number one piece of anger is the treatment of Lordaeron in regards to the Alliance. Lordaeron was the main kingdom of the Alliance through much of the franchise's history, its beacon of hope in WCII. In WCIII, the Alliance storyline revolved around the fall of Lordaeron in large part.
This would seem to follow then, that WoW would be ripe for a redemptive arc about Lordaeron, or at least some mention of how the Alliance feels about it and what they are doing to take it back. Instead, the Alliance side has been almost silent about it, while the Horde gets free rein to kill any Alliance north of the Thandol Span in their quests. It even got worse in Cataclysm, as we completely lost what few outposts we had north of Thandol (Andorhal, Stromgarde in the form of its prince becoming Forsaken, Hillsbrad), often without any real chance to retaliate, sometimes without even a single quest referring to the loss. Even the long sought after Gilneas was given to us only to be immediately taken from us again, with its thematics transferred to Horde-only questing and its inhabitants becoming pink night elves in theme, geography, and temper.
But yeah. I got beef with WoW lore. Love the rest of the game, but maaaan, do I have beef with WoW lore.
Daniel Whitcomb: Oh, and I forgot to mention the travesty of Westfall and Redridge's Cataclysm storylines. They make Varian look incompetent and out of touch, if not kind of oppressive, they use too many pop culture references, and they both ended without adequate closure.
Daniel Whitcomb: Oh, I hated Maiev going evil as much as Fandral. Both of them were such excellent agitators for change and criticism of the druids' complacency, and could have been used for such great intrafactional conflict if they hadn't been made completely evil instead.
Michael Gray: I was a giant fan of being forced to rescue Thrall and then watching his successor blow up Theramore. That was great. And by great, I mean, "I'm afraid you're not getting this whiskey bottle back, bartender."
Megan O'Neill: Wrathion is a cocky little #$%^t. Go to get my cloak after completing his latest errand (sitting on his duff in an inn is hard work, man), he talks to my warlock like she knows nothing about draconic power.
Excuse me, little whelp. I'm not going to go over my entire dragon-killing resume as it's pretty long, but let's just mention Thyrinar -- whom I defeated in the process of binding my soul to an actual full-grown blue dragon so the blue dragonflight wasn't totally FUBARed in a selection of a new leader. Forget that that was before I teamed up with the other four dragonflight leaders to take down the fifth while aiding three rogues in getting daggers infused with the strength of the Old Gods and the Black Dragonflight, from this guy named -- wait, who gave them those daggers ... Hmm, it can't have been you because then you'd be aware that we know something of wielding draconic powers ...
And then Wrathion goes and gets wrong three-fourths of the pretty standard/obvious riddles posed by the Celestials before I got my cloak. He answered one of the Celestials with one of the other Celestials ...
Some draconic knowledge/power. /eyeroll
(I get it that it's not really awesome storytelling if he gets all the riddles right on the first try, but he's honestly been nothing but talk, talk, talk this entire quest line. I'm not going to believe Wrathion until he puts his butt on the line and pulls off some power, y'know? Sure, he's imbued my stuff to make it more powerful, but my warlock is an enchanter. She can imbue stuff, too; it's not that difficult.)
Council of the Black Hole -- They make an awesome Council of the Black Harvest that goes in a direction for each spec, with some nice faction/race representation -- and then they only visit one-third of it. C'mon, give me a short story or something about the other two pairs of warlocks.
Since it was for the warlock-only green fire quest line (and, uh, there's no more pushy warlock dev like Xelnath) and Kanrethad's was probably the only one that would involve future troubles like the Burning Legion (the other two were Deathwing/Cho'Gall, who are dead, and Ragnaros, who is also finally dead), chances are good they aren't touching any of it again, which makes me super sad.
(Greedy warlock is greedy? Maybe.)
Daniel Desmond: La la la, can't hear you.
Also, the redemption of the blood elves always annoyed me. Draining the essence of the naaru to grant themselves Light-given powers gave them a really cool, albeit dark edge. Now they're just, "Hey guys, Light worship is neat; let's share cookie recipes."
Robin Torres: I agree with the redemption of the blood elves. They used to be deliciously evil when they had a captive naaru to drain light from.
Daniel Whitcomb: I still RP my blood elf paladin as deliciously evil. Stupid naaru.
Matthew Rossi: Evil tends to win enough in real life. I don't need it to win in my fantasy too.
Scott Andrews: Evil will always triumph, Rossi, because good is dumb.
Matthew Rossi: You left Ashkandi off of a list of epic weapons in WoW. As far as I'm concerned, you are evil.
Scott Andrews: I'm OK with that. I did give it an honorable mention, though, so maybe I'm just chaotic neutral?
Matthew Rossi: PURE. EVIL.