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World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Lore Issues Addressed
Blizzard's head lore expert Chris Metzen addresses issues
By Nick Arvites 05/19/2006 17:06:25 PST
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In a forum post earlier this week that escaped notice on my personal radar before publishing the latest Weekly World of Warcraft, Blizzard's resident lore boss Chris Metzen addressed many of the contradictions made by The Burning Crusade lore pages. Metzen admits they did make an error in creating lore that conflicts with the story built up in Warcraft III. However, he does attempt to justify the Retcon, and uses the "to make an omlet, you have to break a few eggs" analogy in regards to the Warcraft lore.

While we are providing the link to his post on the forums, we will also mirror it as links to the official World of Warcraft forums seem to go down periodically. 

Source: World of Warcraft forums 

Reprint: Metzen on Lore

Hey y'all,

I wanted to drop you guys a line and explain whats up with some of the recent changes you've all been seeing in the lore and specifically address your concerns about the draenei and their revised backstory. Bear with me here, I tend to get a bit wordy as I build up steam.

Anyway, here we go:

Hit #1: Lore Train-Wreck
Right To be totally up-front with you guys, it's my bad, straight up. The obvious lore contradiction with Sargeras and his encounter with the eredar was clearly documented in the Warcraft III manual. I wrote those bits about four years ago, and to be totally honest, I simply forgot. Genius, right? With my excitement to get the draenei up to speed and root them more firmly in the setting, I forgot to do my homework and go back over my earlier writing. I can assure you, no ones more crushed about this mistake than I am. Ive spent the last few days kicking my own ass over this one. Sucks to fail. It may not always be evident, but we take this story stuff really seriously at Blizzard. It's been one of my personal missions at this company to maintain a high level of integrity throughout the Warcraft game setting (all of them, actually) and I think weve done a pretty decent job of upholding the continuity over the years.

I think it's important to note that world building is far bigger than just storytelling, and it requires (in my humble opinion) a certain amount of flexibility. Sometimes you need to expand certain ideas or retcon whole sections of continuity to broaden the scope and accessibility of your setting. There are a good number of these types of situations already (like totally revising our timeline, suggesting trolls were the progenitors of all elven subspecies, etc. there's a hundred other examples). To make an omelet, ya need to break a few eggs, and WoWs one big omelet.

The trouble is, this has become a pretty big setting. There are literally thousands of characters, hundreds of locations, and all sorts of creatures, items, and plot themes that all define this world. As you can imagine, it's a lot to police. Sometimes things do fall through the cracks, mistakes get made and were forced to scramble to come up with clever solutions to continuity errors. (Hakkar, anyone? ). You not only have me jamming ideas, but a ninja team of quest designers, an army of freelance RPG writers, and a commando squad of red-hot novelists who are all involved in fleshing out the lore and making it more than just wallpaper on a game.

I'm explaining all this not to excuse this particular mistake, but to give you some understanding of how the mistake was made. I've read a fair amount of posts over the past few days and I know theres a lot of confusion and frustration surrounding the whole eredar/draenei train wreck. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel. At the end of the day, we're all just a bunch of geeky fanboys and fangirls, and we all get pretty fired up when people start screwing with the worlds we love. If anything, all of the venting and creative suggestions Ive seen over the past few days have reinforced for me the fact that you guys really do care about this world and its troubled denizens.

While I can't promise that these types of mistakes will never happen again, I do want to state clearly that we take the responsibility of crafting and maintaining this lore very seriously. You all pay good money to adventure through this world month by month, and you deserve the best we can give.

Dont lose faith well do ya proud!

Hit #2: So Whats the Story, Blizzard?
Ok, so what's the real scoop behind the eredar/draenei story then? At this point, even though the NEW lore directly counters the Warcraft III manual, we're still going to run with it. There are a lot of reasons for this, not the least of which is that I think it's far stronger than what I crafted back in the day. The eredar were not necessarily all evil. Sargeras did come to them and tempt them with power. They did NOT make Sargeras crazy. This gives the eredar more dimensionality and roots the draenei to a key moment in Burning Legion history.

We've also woven all of this new lore into an upcoming novel by Christie Golden (author of Lord of the Clans) that depicts the draeneis escape from Argus and the RISE OF THE HORDE on Draenor. The book DOMINATES, and you're going to really dig it. Durotan, Nerzhul, Guldan, Doomhammer, Hellscream, Kiljaeden, Velen; this story is the one youve been waiting for. I'm getting geeked up just thinking about it.

However, this new lore does leave a large hole. How did Sargeras go nuts? What drove him to fall and begin his Burning Crusade? I dont know yet. It will be his encounter with some evil race (who dares me to use Old Gods???), but it wont be the eredar.

I'll chew on this. Maybe we'll solve this by the end of the expansion. See this is that flexibility stuff I was talking about earlier

Hit #3: World of Spacecrafts
Another concern I've been hearing about is the inclusion of certain sci-fi elements into the setting. I appreciate that this stuff is pretty far out, but thats the whole point: Outland, and the greater universe out there in the void, ARE far out. Change is always difficult. I remember people getting really upset about dwarves with guns, steam-tech, Gnomeregan as a hi-tech city many people had a hard time rolling with those technologies in a fantasy setting. But I ask you all can you imagine WoW without those elements now?

We're definitely throwing some new concepts at you all, but I'm very confident that when youre able to see these elements in context, over the course of the game play, you'll understand why we've been so excited to include them.

To be clear, were not talking about having the Millennium Falcon cruising around the Twisting Nether (Im certain there would be some legal issues there, to say the least). The draenei nether-ship you've been hearing about is far more than it seems. Its part of a larger dimension-traveling fortress called Tempest Keep that essentially teleports through alternate realities. It doesnt bank and roll or shoot proton torpedoes (not yet, anyway).

While we will be introducing a number of naaru technologies (like this ship, for instance), we're not planning on going hog-wild. Conceptual balance is everything. For those of you who are fearful of seeing jet-packs and laser pistols filling up the AH, never fear. If you did see them, theyd likely be goblin engineered and get your character killed anyway.

Hit #4: Blood Elves Sure Get Around
I also saw some strangeness about the apparent contradiction of how the blood elves could have sabotaged the draenei nether-ship since they're all holed up in QuelThalas. Remember, there are twisted blood elves in Outland who have been there since TFT campaign. It's those creepy elves who sabotaged the draeneis flight to Azeroth.

I'd love to elaborate on this further, but I'm afraid I'd spoil your appetites for dessert.

In conclusion, I just want to reiterate that we do take these continuity errors very seriously.
It's very important to me that you all feel you can trust us as developers and know that were out to build a world thats worthy of your time and your passion.

Thanks for bearing with me here. See y'all on the other side of the Portal!

Chris Metzen 

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