I think Blizzard — perhaps rightfully so — is hesitant to do a lot of heavy-handed storytelling, like a certain other MMO. And really, much as I love that game's story, I also concede that there were times I wasn't expecting tons of cutscenes or reading, and it brought a bit of a halt to my gameplay.
So, then, while I'm sure they are expensive to produce, I would think animated shorts like the "Afterlives" shorts might be a great way to flesh out the Warcraft universe a bit more. It doesn't even necessarily be limited to ongoing events; I could absolutely see loving a series with maybe one-off tales that are completely unrelated, fleshing out different aspects of the past.
For example, a little short-story about the rise of Hogger, or maybe what he's been up to in the Stockades (real talk; I actually kind of hope Gnolls become playable one day, with Hogger as the obvious racial leader).
Or, since we never saw him die, maybe an episode following what became of Runas. Or the founding of the Bloodsail Buccaneers! I also wouldn't mind getting to see the exodus of the Draenei from Argus, maybe a first look at what Archimonde and Kil'jaeden were like prior to corruption (best I remember, Archimonde was seen as quite young for a leader, but Kil'jaeden was close friends with Velen).
I'd love something like that, with like a really good narrator, giving more of a "storybook" vibe to the thing. Ideally, it would be cool to have one episode a month to look forward to. I'd personally veer away from "hinting at it" over social media channels, though, and just let each episode be a pleasant little surprise what it will be about!
As an alternative, while I would probably be a little less compelling on its own, I actually kind of like the idea of "episodes" using WoW's in-game models. As much as we all want to see more armor with custom models, WoW's models actually look pretty damn good when animated. I still personally consider Thrall's Cataclysm model to be the highest achievement in WoW (just the right mix of simplicity, cartoon-iness, and seriousness), and I would think they could be produced every few months, to really give the story some steam. Only difference is, I would probably focus purely on ongoing events, as opposed to the animated shorts, I think that format lends itself a little better to "fleshing out difference parts of the universe".
Which, don't get me wrong; the Saurfang cinematics were AMAZING! Even when I don't necessarily connect with the story being told, Blizzard's cinematics are always a treat. I just figure, well, maybe in-game models are a bit more practical, for something that can move the story along every few months?
Just my two cents, obviously. My personal pick would still be going with animated shorts, like "The Tales of Warcraft", and just exploring all kinds of stories, maybe even occasionally hinting at future stuff for WoW. I could totally see that getting me "pumped" for playing WoW a lot more, and I imagine that sort of thing also being pretty broadly appealing even for non-active players.
What about you guys, though? Any thoughts on the idea? Feedback on what you'd like to see?
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