I've taken thousands of screenshots since I started playing WoW six years ago. And the one above, of Westfall in flames during the conclusion the zone's Post-Shattering questline, remains one of my favorites.
Its composition is nice, good vibrant colors, rule-of-thirds and all that. But I think what I like most about it is the in-game and in-character story behind it.
You see, at the end of the zone, Vanessa Van Cleef reveals herself to be the mastermind and driving force behind all the uprisings and rebellions that you've been investigating. And in a really cool moment, she and her lieutenants subdue Marshal Gryan Stoutmantle, Horatio Laine and the other Alliance / Westfall Brigade soldiers, before proceeding to raze Sentinel Hill to the ground. Meanwhile, Stoutmantle desperately yells at you to hurry and travel to Stormwind and warn them that the Defias Brotherhood has risen once again.
Well, I did nothing of the sort. I stood around, redid the quest a few times for more screenshots, and just relaxed, enjoying the scene.
Why? Because the Alliance deserved it. Stoutmantle, Laine, Varian, they brought this entirely upon themselves. Screw you guys, I'm done, YOU'RE the ones at fault here, I quit. Time to sit back and watch the sky burn.
Post-Northrend Westfall is in sorry shape following the war against the Lich King. The farmlands are barren and full of homeless refugees, people are starving and reduced to eating dirt, and morale (and faith in the government) is at an all-time low.
And what's the response from Varian? How does the King of Stormwind react, hearing of the plight of his people? Well, let me first add that when you do eventually go to deliver the message to Varian, you have to run right past the city's BRAND NEW GIANT VARIAN STATUE that they constructed after Northrend. But the nation has no funds and that's why Westfall civilians have to squat in deserted homes and starve. Okay.
Statue aside, even after all this, when the ignored, unheard people of Westfall are driven to rebellion because they have no alternative, Varian...well, he ignores their issues and dismisses them as "a ruthless organization of criminals."
With treatment like that, is it really any wonder the people of Westfall rebelled? That you finally pushed them so far that they put their feet down and said "No. No, you arrogant, selfish children. You only care about your own egos, you don't listen to our concerns, and when you are FORCED to notice, you have the gall to not take responsibility?"
wouldn't you know it... go on a vacation and my twitter blows up with some controversy— Rob Pardo (@Rob_Pardo) May 28, 2014
Hey, I guess that's cool. You already got their money, so who needs to actually LISTEN to those bums, right? May as well just ignore their reasons for being angry and place the blame right on their shoulders, not yours.
But maybe, just maybe you underestimate how hurt, upset and above all else, how tired of this crap people are. How maybe people would be willing to overlook a single offense and chalk it up to an accident or mistake. But when it keeps happening over1 and over2 and over3 and over4 and over5 and over6 and over7 and over8 again? Um, no.
(1The absence of Aggra in WoD. 2Female Draenei April Fool's joke. 3One-dimensional female lore characters. 4Lack of Hearthstone Hero equality. 5Tyrande's leader story featuring Malfurion. 6Malgrim Stormhand's "real man" line. 7Dustin Browder on hypersexualized female designs. 8Rob Pardo on diversity in Blizzard games.)
Eventually, you're going to push them away. You will lose them by offending them. By not representing them. By dismissing and refusing to acknowledge the times you screwed up, and trying to just pretend those times never happened via deafening, overwhelming silence.
Even the most loyal, dedicated supporter, who absolutely LOVES all the good things you DO do, reaches a point where they have to say to themselves "How can I continue to support these people when they clearly do not care about me?"
And I guess the answer is, you don't have to.
Warlords is probably half a year away. And I fully admit it, I am dying - DYING - to see what happens with the lore. Come on, Blizz. Six months to put your money where Pardo's mouth is and prove that you really do want diversity in your games. There's plenty of testosterone, musclehead games out there for the dudebro crowd. Warcraft (and Blizzard's other games) could be so much better than this.
Anyway. From Draenor With Love will be unaffected, and I hope readers enjoy where our story goes, and who it involves!
This won't be the last post here, though it'll be the last one for a while. But just in case, thank you for reading. If you've ever enjoyed anything, anything at all posted on this blog, know that your enjoyment makes me incredibly happy. Thanks. :)
It's funny. Predictions have always been one of my favorite blog topics. Sure didn't see this coming, though.