World of Warcraft Cataclysm

World of Warcraft director admits the story has been a weakness: “Metzen and I chatted [about it] a bunch recently”

Game Director Ion Hazzikostas recently engaged in a conversation with World of Warcraft’s community council, recognizing the game’s ongoing struggle in effectively conveying its narratives — a topic he has recently discussed with Chris Metzen.

The complexity of WoW’s overarching story, extending across nine expansions and even into older titles like Warcraft III, is undeniably challenging for both new and veteran players.

In a recent interview with PC Gamer, the game director acknowledged the difficulty for newcomers to grasp the extensive storyline. However, he expressed uncertainty about whether gameplay serves as the most effective medium for narrative delivery, stating, “I don’t know that gameplay is always the best vehicle.”

Hazzikostas seems open to the idea that WoW can change how it tells its stories in the years to come: “I can completely acknowledge that is a weakness … Chris Metzen and I chatted [about it] a bunch recently.”

Ion Hazzikstas World of Warcraft

The game director notes that navigating through numerous expansions’ worth of backstory can be overwhelming for new players. He illustrates this point with Anduin Wrynn, a key character in the upcoming expansion, The War Within.

“What was his journey? Where did that start? … What has he lost? Gameplay isn’t fully the right way to get someone caught up there, but—in-game journals, the ability to view cinematics, things that don’t require you to go toYouTubeand watch cinematics there … [that’s] something we’re definitely discussing.”

Even seasoned players find it challenging to keep up with the narrative shifts, including retcons impacting established character motivations and alterations to canonical locations. The community, including streamers and fans, has actively discussed the wisdom behind some of WoW’s narrative choices in recent years.

Hazzikostas mentioned that the development team is exploring alternative strategies, such as incorporating in-game journals and cinematics.