I’ve read some rumblings about the story direction in Battle for Azeroth, specifically the return (again) to Alliance vs Horde or the “Horde as aggressors” way it’s being portrayed. There’s an article on Massively OP that I found interesting discussing beyond the obvious, looking at just how bad, strategically, the start to this war has been. This reminded me of an experience back in early Legion that made me wish most MMORPGs had a Star Wars The Old Republic approach to story.
SWTOR is pretty unique among MMORPGs in the extent to which a character can make choices while questing, most have very limited impact on the overall story or even that character’s experience of it, but some are important choices nevertheless.
Other MMORPGs have this to some degree, Elder Scrolls Online presents you with choices on occasion, although I can’t remember any choices that made a big impact to my character’s experience of the world thereafter – the decision may have been impactful within that narrative, but I usually don’t notice a big effect on the world that is permanent for that character.
In World of Warcraft this kind of choice over change doesn’t really exist at all, which is a shame. The aforementioned incidence refers to a mini-quest chain in Stormheim, it starts with a Ravenbear NPC. Without going into details, I never played this on my Balance druid main, it was way too personal and ‘close to home’. It so happened we played different character pairs through zones in different orders at the start of Legion, and it was my Paladin who did these quests that first time – I’ve not repeated the, thankfully optional, quest chain again on any character. This has a noticeable impact on the world – the NPCs are still there in their original state, nothing bad has happened. So my choosing to not do quests I can, in a minor and insignificant way (from a zone or expansion story arc perspective), influence the world.
It’s hardly as impactful or interactive as making real dialogue choices in SWTOR, but it’s something. I only wish this were possible on a larger scale in WoW, my Troll priest is a healer, I can’t see she’d want anything to do with the mindless destruction set in motion by the current Warchief. But opting out on the whole story on my only level-capped Horde character would mean missing all the animations and smaller moments that actually I might want to see. Some options would be nice as the current WoW storytelling, a la Disney, is very pathos-soaked in a deliberate way, I’ve complained about this before. We haven’t gotten to the whole Teldrassil thing yet, but I am very much hoping I can just play through that on one character. Perhaps I can skip it on my main and keep his homeland phased to pre-BfA?