Raynor, a comparison

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now that most of the WOL hate has died down, i would like to forward a suggestion to the player community specifically. (no not you blizz stop reading my posts dammit!!! >W< ]
if you like this post please press the dislike button :) so it will be buried, thanks. Also MVP's dont you dare forward this >W<!!

Now that that's out of the way, i want to set my proposal up right so that you all can see where i got my conclusions, so ill start with an analysis of Raynor BW to WOL. (disclaimer: long long post)

So lets start!

In WOL blizzard decided to focus SPC (single player campaign) on telling a personal story about Raynor specifically and his movement to overthrow the dominion (not that he ever got that done). This represents a marked shift in the genres previous SPC's wherein the struggle of power between the three races was the main focus of the SPC story with a dynamic interplay between many different characters of multiple races spiced up the more generic campaigns and interludes between gameplay. To clarify, one couldn't say BW or SC1 was all about Raynor, as there was zeratul, kerrigan, and others given equal lime light, none of which became the overall focus of the game. Whereas, in SC2, Raynor is given much much more screentime and becomes the general focus of the game.

Now i realize that not everyone agrees with this statement in its entirety or all the reasons for it and that there have been many posts debating this. It is not my intention to rehash these arguments here, i merely mention this shift because it impacts the next statement.

Because of the previous (and im sure for other reasons too) Raynor has achieved much more focus and, his character has been fleshed out much more to reflect this increased attention.
This is a good thing because when a character is given a lot of attention while not being given enough depth to match, they tend to become very one dimensional and boring.(again a personal opinion, anyone who disagrees is entitled to it).

As such i will analyze Raynor's character in SC1+BW, then his character in WOL.

BW

BW, as stated before focused a lot on a big overarching story of politics and power struggles both within each of the three races and between them. In this main plot Raynor was an important but relatively minor character, he only participated in a few of the missions and we only saw him in the brief interludes between the campaign's he was involved in. He basically acted as your sidekick. There was nothing wrong with this and all of the BW characters did the same. That being said, his role as a character was rather limited within the entire setting of the game and his personality at that time reflects these limitations.

In the aforementioned dynamic interplay between the SC1 cast, Raynor generally took the roles of the gung-ho optimist and the jokester. Raynor always had the quip, he was almost always optimistic about everything and even when the events in the game do get him down, he was never down for long as he would end almost all of his dialogue with some form of joke or entertaining statement, even when thing were at their bleakest, like when the overmind stood poised to lay waste to aiur and the protoss were struggling to defend against it, he ended his dialogue on a high note. He was the guy who encouraged the player and his fellow heroes when times were grim, it was his dialogue and personality that lightened the mood and made the conversations between the more serious characters (zeratul, tassadar, etc) from becoming too serious and therefore boring. The rapport between him and fenix in particular made the conversations during the protoss campaigns much more lighthearted and entertaining, especially considering the dark and depressive plot.

The actions Raynor did do in game showed that he had a fearless upbeat attitude an indomitable spirit and a relentless drive to accomplish his goals, like when he defended the warpgate during the end of the first protoss BW mission, declaring that he and fenix would be fine and you (the player) should head on through while they stayed behind seemingly for suicide mission (though it did not work out that way), or when he brought an entire fleet to fight you in the BW zerg campaign last mission in order to fulfill his personal revenge to kerrigan. This also synergizes with the other emotion raynor primarily shows, righteous anger, like when fenix was killed and he gave his speech to keerigan about her lack of humanity and vowed to kill her one way or another or his conversations with mengsk when he encountered him after mengsk betrayed Kerrigan. This emotion provides the drive that let raynor overcome the many obstacles placed in his way in SC1 and BW withut succumbing to despair or depression.

It is the interplay between these two emotions that defined raynor’s characterization. He started out more with a jocular easygoing attitude with brief forays into righteous anger and focused drive. But by the end of BW his personality shifted to a more angry, driven and focused attitude with only brief glimpses of his previous jocular one. This shift culminates in his vow to kill Kerrigan, one way or another. I is assumed, from everything we knew about Raynor’s personality in BW that he would continue on this course to try to kill her and any sequel addressing raynor would depict his indomitable spirit, relentless drive and righteous anger.
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WOL (goin to do less with this one as the game is more recent and everyone here has at least played it)

4 years later in WOL, Raynor is depicted as a very different man from who he was at the end of BW. While some things are the same, he still has his gungho- beat them all attitude when commanding the troops, he is a mere shell of his former self. His optimism and indomitable spirit have all but vanished and he is instead often bitter and severe with those he talks to, frequently overreacting on more than one occasion when one of the crew even mildly questions his decisions. He will even periodically become defeatist about his goals and his life. He drinks heavily, as depicted by all the scotch he downs on a continual basis, and he suffers from major bouts of depression. These all culminate in the scene with matt and the cigars. WOL is the story of raynor finding his way back from this pathetic state to regain his previous personality. Over the course of the game he gains back a lot of his positivity as well as his indomitable spirit and relentless drive. He even gains back some of his previous jocular nature. At the end of WOL Raynor has regained his BW personality, albeit with a little more cynicism mixed in.

While this transition was a fun and interesting way to tell WOL as well as give Raynor more characterization depth, I feel that the change of Raynor’s personality from BW to WOL was very unfair to the fans. There was literally no warning or setup anywhere in the lore to preface this dramatic change from a man who may be down but is not out, to a man whose spirit is all but broken. It made the transition to WOL seem all the more jarring and unnatural rather than smooth and organic. I would even go so far as to say that if the setup had been made in a more appropriate fashion, some of the QQ about the WOL story after its release would have been prevented. Going through the WOL story for the first time my main thought was, What happened to Raynor to change him so?

There are also other discontinuities that affected mine and a lot of others enjoyment of the WOL story. For one, Raynor’s tactical situation in WOL was very different from his situation in BW. In BW he was defeated, but nowhere in the resulting conversation did he imply that his forces were wiped out, rather he implied that they were forced to retreat/escape from the platform. Yet in WOL all he seems to have left from his original force is a single battleship and one crewmember (Horner). Where did everyone else go? His relationship to mengsk is much changed as well. At the end of BW, he and mengsk were more or less on equal terms tactically after their respective defeats, but in WOL’s beginning Mengsk has completely rebuilt his dominion and raynor only has a single battleship to his name. What happened there? How did mengsk get such an advantage over him considering they started out pretty much equally? Raynor and kerrigan’s entire dynamic changed as well, whereas ending BW there the whole “queen B---- of the universe” vs “righteous crusader” dynamic, going through WOL there was rather the “fatalistic pessimist” vs “ the enduring cynic”. What happened to change those two so much in their relation to each other?
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Questions like these imply that the four years between BW and WOL were anything but peaceful, things happened and people were affected in dramatic ways. However, no mention of these events is in any of the current lore. The closest thing I can find to reference these years is a mere three paragraphs in the backstory of raynor as told by the official sc website here. http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/game/hero/jim-raynor

[quote] Raynor escaped the massacre and vowed vengeance. Even so, against the full strength of the zerg Swarm and the vast psionic powers of the Queen of Blades, his chances seemed slender at best. Eventually, exhausted and disillusioned, Raynor returned to terran space to lead a resistance movement against the spreading power of Arcturus Mengsk’s Terran Dominion. Over the years this fight hasn’t gone well. Arcturus Mengsk has used his greatest weapons – oratory, the media, and propaganda – to marginalize Raynor’s efforts.
Raynor’s Raiders remain public enemy number one to the powerful Terran Dominion. Mengsk sees Raynor’s continuing existence as a challenge to his authority. However, Mengsk is also wary of creating a martyr by having Raynor assassinated, and so he has taken steps to keep Raynor and his followers constantly hunted and harried, denying them any chance to gain a respite and build their strength.
Years of skirmishing with the inexhaustible resources of the Dominion has whittled down Raynor’s forces to a shadow of their former selves. Raynor has had to resort to occasional mercenary work just to garner enough funds to repair and rearm in the short term. Keeping his outfit running means that additional mercenary jobs will likely be needed in the future. Freedom isn’t free. [/Quote]

Upon initial examination of these paragraphs one might conclude they only tell the same stories as the BW ending and WOL beginning, but a closer reading suggests something different.

Raynor is said to be exhausted and disillusioned after trying to kill Kerrigan. Initially I thought this referenced the last campaign of BW but….this contrasts a lot from the Raynor from BW, who always showed an indomitable spirit. For that raynor to reach exhaustion implies he made several attempts on kerrigans life, not just one. His relentless drive as depicted in BW also backs this reasoning up as BW Raynor does not seem like a man who would give up after just one attempt. Further, during these attempts he would have almost certainly had more chances at dialogue with Kerrigan, this proposed dialogue could also be the source of raynors change of heart with Kerrigan from righteous anger to self pity and self blame.

Furthermore this exhausted disillusioned raynor is then immediately harried and marginalized by a mengsk in control of the terran dominion again. Taking control of the dominion would have taken time for mengsk further emphasizing the time/efforts raynor spent trying to kill Kerrigan and shows why Mansk has such a disparate position from raynor as raynor chose to try for revenge immediately rather than rebuild his strength whereas mensk did the opposite and gained a significant power lead on Raynor.

Finally the third paragraph denotes why raynor only has one battle ship rather than his force from BW, some was probably lost trying to kill Kerrigan, the rest were lost during the years of constant harassment and skirmishes until raynor only had one battleship and one original crewmember from BW left.

This explanation of events would do a lot to explain raynor as he is depicted in WOL, he is man who has failed at almost everything he has tried to do for four years now and has been powerless as his companions and friends were slowly stripped from him, leaving him depressed. He has received emotional and psychological damage from kerrigan, which have left him with bitterness and self blame. His relentless drive and single mindedness are no longer his greatest assets as they were in BW but instead are the enemy, for they got a lot of his friends killed and directly resulted in mengsk being able to gain power unopposed. Emotionally damaged, relentlessly hunted and unable to trust his own instincts. I can totally see how, if the aforementioned events unfolded as stated, they would make these changes in Raynor’s personality from BW to WOL.

Because of this I have made this proposal in Joeyrays bar: (I chose there because the people there have shown some talent at storytelling)

http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/6471617199#1

To wrap things up I want to say, we can choose to let others failures be a source of distress to us, or we can work to change those failures into successes, which become a source of accomplishment. Hopefully the proposal will be a success.
Edited by Shingan on 8/30/2012 4:10 PM PDT
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Posts: 520
+1

But they won't listen. Ironically, by being so scared about trying to appeal to everyone they have begun to alienate their key audience. They are appealing to the people who will flip at the next big release.

Though, I really do hope they fix everything in HotS
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hey you should be -1 ing :P but thanks
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Heres to HotS. *raises glass*

Hopefully, the Dominion actually stays crippled this time.
Edited by RLL on 8/30/2012 4:27 PM PDT
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-1 :)
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08/30/2012 04:36 PMPosted by Starzilla
-1 :)


HA
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Excelent post.

(Disclaimer: I'm not a WoL hater nor I ever was. I'm a critic. A disliker, tops)

I think that the bad transition is probably WoL's core flaw. The story has other flaws (small ones and big ones), but I believe this is the one thing that could had "saved" WoL for most of the "hater" community if it was done right.

As you point out, as WoL starts, we don't quite recognize that character in front of us. I'm not against surprises, but Blizzard really could had explained, during the game, how Raynor turned out like this. Course we know why, he makes that pretty clear; but the way it happened isn't exposed, so Raynor's change of character makes the link with the previous game seem less solid.

Why is this suddenly a love story? When did anger and hatred became just sadness and longing? It isn't impossible to imagine that in 4 years, a lot has gone through Raynor's mind, so I accept that the Raynor from SC1 can be the Raynor of WoL. But the way it is told, you just feel something is missing, or something isn't clear. If the story isn't clear, the characters don't seem solid.

TL;DR: WoL's bigger flaw is lack of exposition.
Edited by TcheQuevara on 9/12/2012 11:06 AM PDT
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how Raynor turned out like this


Losing his homeworld or close to a homeworld.
losing nearly all of his friends.
losing countless battles.
Helping arcturas kill 8 billion+
helping form the dominion
helping *kill* the original kerrigan.
losing ALL of his forces on char when meeting *New* kerrigan
Losing more battles.
helping kerrigan take over.
losing fenix and friends.
survivors guilt.
being a drunkard.

I could go on and on, it made perfect sense to me.
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I don't think you read all my post.
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09/12/2012 11:05 AMPosted by TcheQuevara
Why is this suddenly a love story? When did anger and hatred became just sadness and longing? It isn't impossible to imagine that in 4 years, a lot has gone through Raynor's mind, so I accept that the Raynor from SC1 can be the Raynor of WoL. But the way it is told, you just feel something is missing, or something isn't clear. If the story isn't clear, the characters don't seem solid.


The love story wasnt sudden at all. You can tell he still had feeling for kerrigan even while infested. The anger didnt become sadness, they were always a grouped package in this case. Also, very early on, you know raynor is demoralized because of the events of BW, and they tell you raynor has been losing for 4 years against arcturus.
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I know Raynor's reasons. That's the thing with plot exposition. Some people need it and some people don't. I know Raynor's reasons to be upset, but his character and opinions also changed.

I think finding out the game is a love story was sudden. Raynor&Kerrigan's affair or crush was evident, but at first the story wasn't about it, and it wasn't even Raynor's driving motivation in SC/BW.

I can figure why this became important to him; other people can't. But even I missed some exposition explaining just how Raynor changed his mind on so many things.

That's why I'm making a constructive criticism; instead saying tha WoL sucks or whatever I'm saying bad plot exposition, or rather, a bad executed transition is one of WoL's core flaws.
Edited by TcheQuevara on 9/12/2012 12:29 PM PDT
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*sigh* Here we go again.

Side-lining the Fenix vow was THE reason why Raynor's BW to WoL transition is so jarring. The last moment we see Raynor in BW, hes angry and vowing revenge. Next time we see him at the start of WoL, he's depressed and longing to be with Kerrigan again....wait, what? Who the hell is THIS guy!?!?

There should of been some SEEN character development of Raynor dropping his need for revenge overtime instead of just simply ignoring it all together. A simple explanation of why he gave up his revenge vow was all that was needed and yet we didn't even get that. Anything would of been better then just dropping it altogether...which Blizzard did. -_-

Bad storytelling at it's finest.
Edited by Retloclive on 9/13/2012 7:07 AM PDT
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Side-lining the Fenix vow was THE reason why Raynor's BW to WoL transition is so jarring. The last moment we see Raynor in BW, hes angry and vowing revenge. Next time we see him at the start of WoL, he's depressed and longing to be with Kerrigan again....wait, what? Who the hell is THIS guy!?!?


WOAH RAYNOR IS A HUMAN BEING!!! SUPRISING!!?! I know you have some sort of 'Hard-on" for Fenix but seriously most people don't stew in anger over something for that long without:

A: Going insane
B: Spiral into depression.

Raynor chose B, and therefore he is still a Human, because people do this.

There should of been some SEEN character development of Raynor dropping his need for revenge overtime


I agree.

09/13/2012 06:59 AMPosted by Retloclive
Bad storytelling at it's finest.


The entire story is horrible it makes B movies on Sci fi look like oscar bait, and etc.

Over-exaggerations are FUN!
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There should of been some SEEN character development of Raynor dropping his need for revenge overtime


I agree.


This is historical.

I agree as well. If we see some of the major fanbase complaints - "sudden" (so to speak) love story, no mention about Fenix, etc - a good part of it could had been avoided with a better transition.

Side-lining the Fenix vow was THE reason why Raynor's BW to WoL transition is so jarring.


On Blizzard's defense, Fenix, DuGalle and many other SC/BW events didn't directly affect WoL's narrative. They were just trying to keep it simple. But I think they didn't handle it the best way.

And then again, forgetting about not just Fenix, but all of the friends he lost to Kerrigan, shows a weak, kind of pathetic side of Raynor. Which is great. I think Raynor is the most human Blizzard character so far.
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I think finding out the game is a love story was sudden. Raynor&Kerrigan's affair or crush was evident, but at first the story wasn't about it, and it wasn't even Raynor's driving motivation in SC/BW.


It isnt really his motivation now either. His motivation is all about saving lives, and building a better tomorrow.

As you point out, as WoL starts, we don't quite recognize that character in front of us. I'm not against surprises, but Blizzard really could had explained, during the game, how Raynor turned out like this. Course we know why, he makes that pretty clear; but the way it happened isn't exposed, so Raynor's change of character makes the link with the previous game seem less solid.


I felt that i recognized the character though. I mean, I look at what happened to him in BW and you'd expect him to be a pretty depressed guy. We saw what happened to him in BW. That is how he depicted in WoL
Edited by Brathearon on 9/13/2012 12:16 PM PDT
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09/13/2012 12:16 PMPosted by Brathearon
I felt that i recognized the character though.


Worked for some people, didn't work for other people. That's the deal with communication. Even a bad communicator will have people who'll get him. Maybe even average communicators get understood by most people, but if we are to call someone a "good" communicator, I'd expect very few people to misundertood her.

Regardless of WoL's final quality, many people thought the transition, specifically, wasn't that clear.

And the strangest thing isn't he being depressed, is Sarah being mourned rather than hated. If I stop to think about it, I can imagine this as something possible, but at a first glance, it just seemed implausible, and that awkwardness hurted immersion and narrative.
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09/13/2012 08:04 AMPosted by TcheQuevara
On Blizzard's defense, Fenix, DuGalle and many other SC/BW events didn't directly affect WoL's narrative. They were just trying to keep it simple. But I think they didn't handle it the best way.


I've said it before; you can skip over Brood War's lore completely and nothing would feel out of place in Wings of Liberty aside from a commentator making a brief mention of Brood War at the very start of the game.

Hell... I've lost count of how many times I've complained about the Dominion's sudden return to almighty glory after the thrashing they got in BW. Doesn't matter how you justify the Dominion's unseen reconstruction, the transition phase just isn't there to make the Dominion top dogs again at the start of WoL believable. Just because it's been a 4 year time-skip is no excuse. Let alone, somehow magically turning Korhal into a Coruscant metropolis in that timeframe.
Edited by Retloclive on 9/13/2012 3:27 PM PDT
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The notion that Raynor had to be the one killing Kerrigan *is* awkward and implausible. Zeratul and Artanis not only have better reasons for personally eliminating her but they also have the means to do so.

Additionally, we were talking about sexism, but the whole concept of humble manly man Raynor being the only one to put down the unambiguously evil and vain Kerrigan reeks with misogyny, literally. Had Blizzard gone with that, there would have probably been an uproar - a legitimate one, this time - from women and feminist gamers alike. As the oldest (and until WoL, only) female character in the StarCraft franchise, Kerrigan deserves better than to be reduced to a final "boss" for Raynor to defeat, most likely in a cutscene.

I mean, what would that essentially be telling women? That female characters cannot have power and ambition without becoming evil and despicable? That they can be no match for the man they love?
Edited by JohnnyZeWolf on 9/13/2012 4:13 PM PDT
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