In an interview with World of Warcraft's player-led Community Council, game director Ion Hazzikostas weighed in on issues with the game's story and the steep narrative learning curve faced by newcomers.
During the panel discussion, a Community Council member asked Hazzikostas and his colleagues if there were plans to "fill in some of the lore gaps" in the game. It's "hard to figure out the lore," the question continued, "A lot of the older lore is in books and stuff that [is not found in] the game." (via PC Gamer).
In his response, Hazzikostas attempted to "speak to the narrative side of it. I completely acknowledge that is a weakness, it's something we need to improve [and] it's something that Chris Metzen and I chatted about a bunch recently; how we could better integrate in-game mechanisms for getting people caught up."
For those not in the know, Chris Metzen is a World of Warcraft veteran who recently came out of retirement to work on the MMO once more. Metzen's time with the franchise dates back to Warcraft: Orcs and Humans in 1994 - the first-ever Warcraft title.
Hazzikostas used the example of Anduin Wrynn, one of the game's major characters, to illustrate the steps he and the team could take to help onboard newer players.
"What was [Anduin's] journey? Where did that start? [...] What has he lost? Gameplay isn't fully the right way to get someone caught up there, but, in-game journals, the ability to view cinematics, things that don't require you to go out to YouTube and watch compilations there [... this is] something we're definitely discussing."
Given the recent announcement of World of Warcraft's next expansion, The War Within, now seems like an excellent time for Hazzikostas and the team to implement these sorts of quality-of-life adjustments for lore-hungry new players. Plus, with The War Within acting as the first part of the new Worldsoul Saga trilogy of expansions, players old and new will want to have all the relevant lore at their fingertips as they embark on the next stage of the MMO juggernaut's journey.
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Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.
Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.
Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.