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So, as I was surfing the web tonight, looking at ancient mythology and cultures, a topic that has sort of piqued my interest lately, I couldn't help but notice the glaring similarities between it, Diablo, and by extent all Blizzard lore.
Diablo, obviously is based on Judaic-Christian myths and fables, words like nephilim are derived from these very same myths, but are used in Diablo as well. This got me thinking, I can understand taking a bit of the story and twisting the name, maybe something like nephilar, or nephil, or even nephilac, but why does Blizzard so blatantly take things to create the lore?
This find got me thinking, I began linking every blizzard story or piece of lore directly to a piece of history, or ancient mythology.
I know, I know, I'm kind of speaking the obvious here, but why do we care so much about the story when it is so contrived and stolen that even The Barenstine Bears have more creativity.
I realize that all cultures and stories stem from pre-existing lore and myths from pre-dating cultures, but why does blizzard so blatantly copy them?
The Titans in World of Warcraft and all of their followers are directly taken from the ancient Norse and Greco_Roman Pantheons. The Titan's foes the "Old Gods" are direct copies from H.P. Lovecraft's "Old Ones". Living in the desert, trapped under water, being outside the cycle of death as well as many other sci-fi horror themes are all taken from H.p.'s work. Even the appearance is based heavily upon Lovecraft's general descriptions and depictions.
The dwarves are basically carbon copies of Tolkien's work, which by extension is lent partially through Norse mythology. This goes for goblins and elves too.
Nearly everything in the Blizz-verse is a contrived, bland, carbon copy of a pre-existing work.
Not to mention how terrible the story telling, I swear, I have never heard the word corrupt so much in one game, of course I speak of WoW and Diablo.
SO my question is, why do people care so much about the story? after playing through the game once and seeing not only all the flaws with the storytelling, as well as all the copying of the lore, how can people care?
I'm not trying to insult anyone here, if you are interested in the story, then that's great, but it seems like people take it way to seriously considering all the discussion in every blizzard related forum on the web. Is it because it is easily understandable and accessible
I realize I may be speaking the obvious here, but what does everyone else think, why do YOU like the story more than the original works?
Edited by Benji#1670 on 7/16/2012 7:18 PM PDT
Storytelling falls broadly into two categories: ideas/lore and execution/storytelling. There are a thousand Tolkien clones out there--most of them terrible--but in the hands of someone like R.A. Salvatore those old Tolkien themes and concepts feel new, exciting, and fresh despite essentially being just another Tolkien clone. People are willing to overlook weaknesses in one area if the other is strong enough. A story with ho-hum lore can be great if that story is told well. On the other hand, a story not told particularly well can still be great if it has deep engaging lore. I think what people are complaining about is that both have declined in D3. If pressed, many people admit that D1/D2 were not radically unique (or even Blizzard's best work) lore wise but D1/D2 were expertly executed. The story, despite being derivative of other things, was told so well that despite it borrowing from other sources the story felt new, fresh, interesting, and fun. Like I said, people are willing to overlook flaws in one department if the other is strong enough, in D1 and D2, the execution was strong enough to overlook the kind of standard lore. In general, many of the themes and plot points in Blizzard games are borrowed, but what set older Blizzard games apart was the execution. The games were so well plotted, dialogued, and written that the lore, despite being standard, swept the player up in an exciting, coherent, and fun experience.
I think many people are complaining in the forums because in recent Blizzard outings, both the lore and execution has slipped. The lore has lacked internal consistency, felt extremely stale, felt borrowed to the point of being cliche, and the execution has lacked quality plotting, dialogue, and storytelling. In essence, Blizzard's trademark execution (which has saved its games in the past) has been lacking, and the lore either is worse than before or is just harder to overlook than it once was. I think that is what people that have been critical of recent storytelling attempts by Blizzard have been saying: both the execution and the lore has greatly slipped and the games now lack core redeeming creative features (lore, execution, or both). That is certainly what I have argued ;)
So I agree that Blizzard's lore tends not to do much new, but I think what has traditionally made Blizzard games great is how that lore was presented, executed, and plotted; and with D3, WoW, and WoL that story saving execution has been sorely sorely lacking.
Edited by ATROPOS#1914 on 7/16/2012 10:01 PM PDT
I enjoy the lore even if I don't always enjoy how it's delivered in the games. I read The Order and enjoyed it a lot. Then I got the Sin War trilogy and really enjoyed that. I'm sad there aren't more books in the Diablo universe like there seem to be in the WoW universe. I want to know what happens next with Imperius and Tyrael even though the story presented in D3 was weak. The characters really intrigue me.
Most stuff I read can all be boiled down to good vs evil. It's the way the characters develop along the way that makes the story interesting.
You know there are more than that right?
I've been pretty disappointed in the D3 storyline. I agree that it's very cliche, contrived and ripped off in many many ways. I also agree that if presented or executed properly that this can be OK. It's been one of the worst aspects by far to me of the game. In fact if the story or execution had been a lot stronger I don't think I would have really had any complaints that I couldn't get over about the game. D3 was to me, just as much about continuing a story I've been waiting a long time to finish "reading". The wait has been worse than even The Wheel of Time series and when it finally arrived it's, abysmal.
I have been asking myself why over and over and I think I may have the reason. D3 in general has been modified to be accessible to the masses. Blizzard wants to reach as large of an audience as possible (makes sense for a company whose focus is profit margins) so along with simplified game play and questionable game mechanic decisions, they have also simplified the story down to the point to where almost anyone of any age that has the motor control to play the game can follow it. I can only assume to make it appealing or approachable to even the most casual gamer (i.e. the one who has never played an ARPG or RPG, doesn't even really like fantasy but is curious because all their friends or the media are talking about how great D3 was going to be). I guess in that respect maybe they have succeeded in doing what they intended?
I wish they hadn't though. I miss the days when a franchise was what is was and you either adjusted to that and learned to appreciate it for what it had to offer or moved on. The game/franchise didn't try to cater to the lowest common denominator. I think that makes much more permanent fans and the games are more interesting and diverse. Watering things down to cater to the masses may seem like a good idea on the sales floor, but just like in music and movies it also slowly makes everything disposable instead of memorable. That game that had potential to be something you thought about for years to come is suddenly just another blur of mediocrity in your mind. Maybe it'll help you pass the time well enough but nothing will stick with you about it in the end. It will be in the end just a way to pass the time until more of the same comes along. I feel like they did this with the story in D3. I would be even more disappointed if it hasn't been happening so much in general lately with many game franchises, not just Diablo. I'm starting to get used to the idea that I'm gonna have to let a lot of good stories go as they're either ignored completely to make a good console port or watered down to the point of being almost insulting.
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