Level and Lore: Time Travel part 2

| Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Today's post was scheduled to be about how time travel between zones justifies me being annoyed with remaking Onyxia for level 80. Unfortunately the logic gets a little bit twisted. It ends up looking like cause->effect is going the wrong way. By that I mean ideally time travel would be what makes me dislike the revamp, but it's far more likely that I disliked it and time travel is a convenient justification to dislike it.

I'm also left with another problem: level. How much can we use level as a lore mechanic? Blizzard has said that level is not a reflection of power in lore, so Arugal is actually quite powerful, even if he does not seem to being only level 21 or 75. I generally interpreted that as meaning that his power would be expressed within the relevant context; so for level 21 he's powerful and for requiring 5 people to kill he's powerful. If he were a raid boss that wouldn't actually change his power since power is in the given context, so of course he'll be stronger in-game if he's a raid boss, but in relative terms he is unchanged.

The other meaning I added was that I felt that level didn't exist in lore. So we're not level 1 or 50 or 80, we just are, and we grow more powerful over time. But with the revamp of Onyxia, it got me thinking, does level have lore relevance? Here's the idea: Onyxia was killed before the expedition to Northrend. But we players did not become level 80 until after the expedition. If Onyxia is a level 80 raid, wouldn't that imply that it came into existence after the expedition?

Maybe that is just stretching it. She could have been level 80 back at 60 and we'd not really know, since bosses adjust to raid level. Besides, levels aren't lore. But there has been a pattern: lower level places are earlier in the timeline. So level 60 Naxxramas took place at a time before level 80 Naxxramas. We fight to weaken the ramparts (level 60) before we launch a direct attack on Kargath (level 70). Levels might not exist in lore, but in-game they appear to be an approximate calender, at least being able to say "this came after that" and so far that calender seems to be accurate.

I think I've figured out the solution: Go back and remove Varian Wrynn. He's ruining everything. If he'd not killed Onyxia, we'd not have a problem with the timeline because then there wouldn't be a definite date of her death.

I suppose after all that I pretty much rewrote the original post, but in a less convoluted manner. And I've been able to give up my dislike for the revamp. Now I don't mind, instead I blame Varian. Damn him.


Christian said...

Isn't the Onyxia revamp supposed to be lore-free? As in the devs are literally saying "When you fight Onyxia, you're not doing it in the real game, it's just for fun."

G-Rebel said...

Just think of it as a Soap Opera. She died, but not really. She was "nearly dead". But thankgs to Billy Crystal she was able to be revived. Now the Dread-Pirate Roberts is back to reveal the new and improved Onyxia. Bam! Problem solved. Good ol' soap opera writing merged with world of warcraft. No lore necessary.

Oliver said...

In this same context, how can there be Worgen/Goblin Death Knights, as those races were not introduced until, presumably, after Arthas' inevitable defeat. For the purpose of game mechanics, some things you just have to roll with.

Klepsacovic said...

@Christian: I don't much like the sound of that, but I suppose it works.

@G-Rebel: I refuse to play a loreless soap opera!

@Oliver: Presumably the goblins and worgen came in contact with the Scourge before they joined the Horde and Alliance. Maybe they were just slow to be accepted in. I would hope that there is some modification to their introductions to reflect the slight time difference.

Kaziel said...

You may not like it, Klepsacovic, but Christian is right. The Devs have expressly stated that the Onyxia revamp is just there as a thank you to the playerbase for 5 years of making WoW. It's there for nostalgia for the players who were raiding back in vanilla WoW and for those who joined after tBC or weren't in guild big enough to raid back then.

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