World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

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World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Bonetti » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:50 pm

It looks like they have a new book (and/or series) coming out: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1.

It details and unifies the history of Azeroth up to the events of Warcraft 1.

The two really cool bits, though, are: the pre-Sundering map, and the full cosmology. (The wowpedia article also mentions a map with Kul Tiras on it, but it's not in the sample images at MMO Champion.)

The former shows where everything once was in a Pangaea-like setting (interesting for both history and for the possibility of running a game set back then), the latter unifies and fleshes out the bits and pieces of cosmology that have been specified to this point.
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Arrius Nideal » Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:05 pm

Negatives: Say it with me now: Time for some r-r-r-retcons!!!

Positives: Azeroth gets a fleshed out cosmology? Finally! Shadowlands (or a shadow realm/shadowfell/etc.) was something never addressed--neither was the Law-Chaos or Good-Evil axis--but here it is: Order vs. Disorder, Life vs. Death, and Light vs. Shadow. No Good vs. Evil is strange, as is no reference to the Lower Planes of Warcraft I (which seems to be gone for good).
I am also very interested in seeing what the Guardians did other than Medivh and his mother, and how the Sargaras debate is settled. This--this looks like magi-tech.
Dragons might be more relevant--I never liked how they ended in Cataclysm.
Quel'Thalas looks gorgeous, and so does Azshari.
The evolution from trolls to Night Elves seemed to be propelled by the Dark Trolls--whom in the RPG had +11 to strength and massive modifiers (starting at Large).
I am probably dreaming, but this 'chronicles' effort is quite a first for Blizzard--could they possibly be intending to test the waters of the tabletop RPG market once more?

Probably not...
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Bonetti » Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:42 pm

I knew someone who was on the WoW dev team when they were first building the MMO a decade and a half ago. He said that the primary source they had for a lot of the lore was the Warcraft RPG, because that's where a lot of info was consolidated. (I think it also fed Warcraft 3.)

My guess is that the lore has gotten so scattered that they decided it was time to get everyone back on the same page, and in the process they're producing a very, very nice looking fan service book. (They may also be setting up additional xpac story, since they supposedly have the rough story arcs mapped out for the next 2-3 expansions.)

...and I second everything you said about the art :-)

Edit: Actually, it occurs to me that they may also be setting up a history/lore "bible" for the movie franchise, or that this is the fan-accessible version of same.
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Arrius Nideal » Sun Apr 03, 2016 12:17 pm

I managed to get a glimpse of the book, and it is mostly as how I expected.
The book is about 150 pages, and without spoilers, Sargaras's Burning Crusade makes much more sense. Some things are blatant retcons or confirm older statements, such as how long Medivh remained unconscious (it was years before, retconned into days, and now retconned back into years again), some are facts that are now blurred (Elune's actual origin, and Cenarius being a Wild God instead of an offspring of Elune). Worgen are not from another dimension (unless the Emerald Dream, their prison, is the dimension in question), etc.

Overall, I like the book. If you ever read Marvel's Earth X, you'll feel that some ideas are echoing strongly here.
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Big Mac » Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:15 am

Bonetti wrote:It looks like they have a new book (and/or series) coming out: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1.

It details and unifies the history of Azeroth up to the events of Warcraft 1.


Thanks for the heads-up Bonetti.

I'm definitely seeing this as a systemless book that could help tabletop gaming in the World of Warcraft setting, so I'll be putting this on my WoW: RPG setting, but Amazon UK's page for World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 has this down as being priced at £21.99 (with bandits already trying to sell second-hand copies at over £35.00 :evil: ). I don't "need" this book, so I'm going to hold out and hope that they overprint it and that there is a price drop. (Amazon US has World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 at $23.99, and the price for second-hand copies over there has dropped to $19.95, so I think that the price will drop here too, at some point.)

Interestingly, the Amazon UK description implies that this book is connected to the Warcraft Movie (which may or may not be correct):
Amazon UK wrote:PREPARE FOR THE JUNE 2016 FILM RELEASE WITH THIS HEFTY DOSE OF WARCRAFT HISTORY, BACKGROUND INFO AND ART

This must-read companion to the Warcraft series includes never-before-revealed secrets of the Warcraft universe.

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: CHRONICLE VOLUME 1 is a journey through an age of myth and legend, a time long before the Horde and the Alliance came to be. This definitive tome of Warcraft history reveals untold stories about the birth of the cosmos, the rise of ancient empires, and the forces that shaped the world of Azeroth and its people.

This beautiful hardcover book features over 20 full-page illustrations by World of Warcraft artist Peter Lee and marks the first in a multi-part series exploring the Warcraft universe; from the distant past to the modern era.


Bonetti wrote:The two really cool bits, though, are: the pre-Sundering map, and the full cosmology. (The wowpedia article also mentions a map with Kul Tiras on it, but it's not in the sample images at MMO Champion.)

The former shows where everything once was in a Pangaea-like setting (interesting for both history and for the possibility of running a game set back then), the latter unifies and fleshes out the bits and pieces of cosmology that have been specified to this point.


The pre-Sundering map is great. That could really work for an Arcane Age meets World of Warcraft game. :cool:

And the cosmology map makes it look like the cosmology information might help a Planescape meets World of Warcraft game (although it's more "art" than a "map of the planes" to me). :cool:
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Big Mac » Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:59 am

Arrius Nideal wrote:Negatives: Say it with me now: Time for some r-r-r-retcons!!!


Thanks for the heads up on this.

I'm not the biggest fan of retcons, but as I've never managed to get a WoW: RPG game off of the ground, and am still improving my Warcraft-fu, they are not really an issue for me at this stage.

Arrius Nideal wrote:Positives: Azeroth gets a fleshed out cosmology? Finally! Shadowlands (or a shadow realm/shadowfell/etc.) was something never addressed--neither was the Law-Chaos or Good-Evil axis--but here it is: Order vs. Disorder, Life vs. Death, and Light vs. Shadow. No Good vs. Evil is strange, as is no reference to the Lower Planes of Warcraft I (which seems to be gone for good).


That's good.

To be honest, aside from Manual of the Planes, for D&D, I've never really been too impressed with any attempt at cosmology in a roleplaying game. They generally give you enough information to let you know that something weird is out there (and that it is not the Planescape cosmology) but don't really give you enough to run a Planescape-like game.

Perhaps that will change, for World of Warcraft, if they ever start adding a lot of Planescape-like movement to their MMO and start creating different "rules of nature" for alternative planes. (However, I think that would radically change the feel of the game, so they are probably not going to have people using mental concentration and flying around in a plane like the Astral Plane.)

Arrius Nideal wrote:I am also very interested in seeing what the Guardians did other than Medivh and his mother, and how the Sargaras debate is settled. This--this looks like magi-tech.


That looks a bit like the planet in Star Wars: Episode III, where Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywaker fought to me.

Arrius Nideal wrote:Dragons might be more relevant--I never liked how they ended in Cataclysm.


Dragons are an important part of Dungeons & Dragons, but the problem with Warcraft, is that I don't think they work so well in a MMO environment. I think that dragons are possibly "too powerful" for the power levels of the MMO. But if they can ever figure out how to include dragons in the standard game (without having them fly around Stormwind blasting everything every five minutes) they might be fun.

One of the things that people use for dragon ecology, in a lot of settings, is the concept that they hybernate. Maybe someone could bring them back to the MMO, as dragons hybernating in caves inside instances. If you use that newer MMO mechanic where content unlocks and changes (sorry - I forget the name) players could wake up a dragon within an area of the game when they get to a high enough level to be able to deal with it. (In a tabletop game, dragons would be less of a problem, as the GM would wind them back if they got to be too disturbing to the campaign arc.)

Arrius Nideal wrote:Quel'Thalas looks gorgeous, and so does Azshari.


Wow! That does make me wonder if this art was concept art for the movie...or if it is concept art for the MMO to have the locations beautified.

Arrius Nideal wrote:The evolution from trolls to Night Elves seemed to be propelled by the Dark Trolls--whom in the RPG had +11 to strength and massive modifiers (starting at Large).


I would love to see more on this sort of thing.

Arrius Nideal wrote:I am probably dreaming, but this 'chronicles' effort is quite a first for Blizzard--could they possibly be intending to test the waters of the tabletop RPG market once more?

Probably not...


You never know. They might do another tabletop version.

I think that the "problem" with the previous tabletop version was that they did a deal to make it a Dungeons & Dragons thing, but it then got changed into something that was not-quite-D&D...but still not the same thing as the MMO.

As far as I am concerned, if they are not going to make the game 100 percent compatible with 5e D&D or Pathfinder, or some other RPG system with a large enough fanbase, I think they would be better off using the actual system that they use in the MMO.

A straight conversion of MMO mechancs, would give you the exact same character levels in the MMO, and ability ranges and durations in the MMO. There would probably be some problems (what with the tabletop game being a lot slower in pace, than a MMO) but if they created a bespoke RPG system, that was as close to the MMO mechanics, as possible, it would be a lot easier to create conversion guidelines, than a system where you have to crunch down 60-80 levels into a 20 level system.

I would bet that, if they got the right game designers onboard, they could run a Kickstarter and pull in a lot of cash.

But, I think it would be logistically better, for them to do something like a Warcraft wargame system first, and sell large numbers of 1-inch minis, that could later be bought by people playing tabletop games. Maybe they should be doing a deal with the likes of Games Workshop.
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Big Mac » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:10 am

Bonetti wrote:I knew someone who was on the WoW dev team when they were first building the MMO a decade and a half ago. He said that the primary source they had for a lot of the lore was the Warcraft RPG, because that's where a lot of info was consolidated. (I think it also fed Warcraft 3.)

My guess is that the lore has gotten so scattered that they decided it was time to get everyone back on the same page, and in the process they're producing a very, very nice looking fan service book. (They may also be setting up additional xpac story, since they supposedly have the rough story arcs mapped out for the next 2-3 expansions.)


That sounds about right. I think that the tabletop game designers also probably needed to "read between the lines" to create a fully working system, for tabletop gamers, and that they looked back on their working out and decided that it didn't fit in with what Blizzard wanted to do. (I think this is possibly why we saw statements that the RPG was canon and then later saw statements that it was not canon, but that it was one possible expression...or whatever the two wordings were.)

Bonetti wrote:Edit: Actually, it occurs to me that they may also be setting up a history/lore "bible" for the movie franchise, or that this is the fan-accessible version of same.


The Amazon UK description seems to back that up, but I'm not totally sure. I guess that, if they do too much of a "movie tie-in" thing, that the book might "belong" to the people with the movie licence, rather than to Blizzard. By keeping the thing in-house, they can keep selling it to MMO players, for years to come.
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Zeromaru X » Wed Apr 06, 2016 8:57 pm

By the Sunwell! I need this book on my life. Thanks for the links... tho, yeah, is a bit expensive.
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Arrius Nideal » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:31 am

Big Mac wrote:
Arrius Nideal wrote:Negatives: Say it with me now: Time for some r-r-r-retcons!!!


I'm not the biggest fan of retcons, but as I've never managed to get a WoW: RPG game off of the ground, and am still improving my Warcraft-fu, they are not really an issue for me at this stage.


Some retcons are unbearable, while others are tolerable.
For example, the Arthas: Rise of the Lich King novel book had a terrible retcon, wherein Arthas destroyed Ner'Zhul's spirit and took over his powers. Yet in WotLK, the Lich King says that he was a Shaman once. That retcon only served to break the symbolism of the Lich King embodying the worst of the Horde (Ner'Zhul) and the Alliance (Arthas).
There were also retcons on Ner'Zhul to make him more noble, which are somewhat tolerable, though they weaken the above symbolism.
A terrible retcon was that the Forsaken are not harmed by the Light, and can be in fact healed by it.
An OK retcon is reverting Illidan's motivation in War of the Ancients back to its original motivation, and retconning (so far) Rhonin's role in the War of the Ancients.

Big Mac wrote:Perhaps that will change, for World of Warcraft, if they ever start adding a lot of Planescape-like movement to their MMO and start creating different "rules of nature" for alternative planes. (However, I think that would radically change the feel of the game, so they are probably not going to have people using mental concentration and flying around in a plane like the Astral Plane.)


Unfortunately, Warcraft has always had a greater focus on the material plane than any other RPG setting: The Emerald Dream was barely mentioned and detailed in one novel only, while the Shadowlands are a completely new addition that was always there in previous settings (Shadowfell/Shadow Plane).

Big Mac wrote:Dragons are an important part of Dungeons & Dragons, but the problem with Warcraft, is that I don't think they work so well in a MMO environment. I think that dragons are possibly "too powerful" for the power levels of the MMO. But if they can ever figure out how to include dragons in the standard game (without having them fly around Stormwind blasting everything every five minutes) they might be fun.

One of the things that people use for dragon ecology, in a lot of settings, is the concept that they hybernate. Maybe someone could bring them back to the MMO, as dragons hybernating in caves inside instances. If you use that newer MMO mechanic where content unlocks and changes (sorry - I forget the name) players could wake up a dragon within an area of the game when they get to a high enough level to be able to deal with it. (In a tabletop game, dragons would be less of a problem, as the GM would wind them back if they got to be too disturbing to the campaign arc.)


That is a good idea overall, since it's difficult to keep them relevant. Even in Chronicles, when they are given their powers, they only act when they are approached by mortals (Ancients, Shifting Sands, etc.). They too often fade into obscurity when made into protectors, and act better as mindless beasts except in rare novel cases (such as the Sunwell Trilogy).

Big Mac wrote:You never know. They might do another tabletop version. I think that the "problem" with the previous tabletop version was that they did a deal to make it a Dungeons & Dragons thing, but it then got changed into something that was not-quite-D&D...but still not the same thing as the MMO.


WOWRPG was close enough to D&D. It was even actually good and very innovative in several cases, such as with the Engineering system, and being the first RPG I know of to introduce racial-only variant classes or archetypes.
What would be a pleasant surprise is making a conversion to 5e. I'll be thrilled if they can use my work as an overall framework.

Big Mac wrote:But, I think it would be logistically better, for them to do something like a Warcraft wargame system first, and sell large numbers of 1-inch minis, that could later be bought by people playing tabletop games. Maybe they should be doing a deal with the likes of Games Workshop.

Since D&D spawned from Wargames, I'm sure this would be a prelude to a complete TTRPG if they pursue this line of thought--which is awesome.
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Big Mac » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:53 am

Zeromaru X wrote:By the Sunwell! I need this book on my life. Thanks for the links... tho, yeah, is a bit expensive.


Waiting might help (especially if you don't mind a second-hand copy). But, having said that, I waited for the tabletop books and some have shot up above my price range (for reasons I don't entirely understand).
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Re: World of Warcraft: Chronicle: Volume 1

Postby Big Mac » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:21 pm

Arrius Nideal wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Arrius Nideal wrote:Negatives: Say it with me now: Time for some r-r-r-retcons!!!


I'm not the biggest fan of retcons, but as I've never managed to get a WoW: RPG game off of the ground, and am still improving my Warcraft-fu, they are not really an issue for me at this stage.


Some retcons are unbearable, while others are tolerable.
For example, the Arthas: Rise of the Lich King novel book had a terrible retcon, wherein Arthas destroyed Ner'Zhul's spirit and took over his powers. Yet in WotLK, the Lich King says that he was a Shaman once. That retcon only served to break the symbolism of the Lich King embodying the worst of the Horde (Ner'Zhul) and the Alliance (Arthas).
There were also retcons on Ner'Zhul to make him more noble, which are somewhat tolerable, though they weaken the above symbolism.
A terrible retcon was that the Forsaken are not harmed by the Light, and can be in fact healed by it.
An OK retcon is reverting Illidan's motivation in War of the Ancients back to its original motivation, and retconning (so far) Rhonin's role in the War of the Ancients.


Thanks for the overview.

I think I'm too ignorant of the canon to spot the differences there (unless someone explains it). That means that if I'm mixing this book with other books, I suppose there is a risk I could use both versions of the canon (and cause a continuity error).

I suppose I could say that one thing was a false rumour that had been spread around.

Arrius Nideal wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Perhaps that will change, for World of Warcraft, if they ever start adding a lot of Planescape-like movement to their MMO and start creating different "rules of nature" for alternative planes. (However, I think that would radically change the feel of the game, so they are probably not going to have people using mental concentration and flying around in a plane like the Astral Plane.)


Unfortunately, Warcraft has always had a greater focus on the material plane than any other RPG setting: The Emerald Dream was barely mentioned and detailed in one novel only, while the Shadowlands are a completely new addition that was always there in previous settings (Shadowfell/Shadow Plane).


I think that travel onto other planes is a specialist sort of thing. A lot of people are not into it (or actively dislike it). So I can see how, unless it was a unique selling point, someone might downplay it or drop it entirely. (The same thing happens with references to space in fantasy games.)h)

Arrius Nideal wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Dragons are an important part of Dungeons & Dragons, but the problem with Warcraft, is that I don't think they work so well in a MMO environment. I think that dragons are possibly "too powerful" for the power levels of the MMO. But if they can ever figure out how to include dragons in the standard game (without having them fly around Stormwind blasting everything every five minutes) they might be fun.

One of the things that people use for dragon ecology, in a lot of settings, is the concept that they hybernate. Maybe someone could bring them back to the MMO, as dragons hybernating in caves inside instances. If you use that newer MMO mechanic where content unlocks and changes (sorry - I forget the name) players could wake up a dragon within an area of the game when they get to a high enough level to be able to deal with it. (In a tabletop game, dragons would be less of a problem, as the GM would wind them back if they got to be too disturbing to the campaign arc.)


That is a good idea overall, since it's difficult to keep them relevant. Even in Chronicles, when they are given their powers, they only act when they are approached by mortals (Ancients, Shifting Sands, etc.). They too often fade into obscurity when made into protectors, and act better as mindless beasts except in rare novel cases (such as the Sunwell Trilogy).


I think I'll have a better idea of how to treat Warcraft dragons after I've read some novels. :)

Arrius Nideal wrote:
Big Mac wrote:You never know. They might do another tabletop version. I think that the "problem" with the previous tabletop version was that they did a deal to make it a Dungeons & Dragons thing, but it then got changed into something that was not-quite-D&D...but still not the same thing as the MMO.


WOWRPG was close enough to D&D. It was even actually good and very innovative in several cases, such as with the Engineering system, and being the first RPG I know of to introduce racial-only variant classes or archetypes.
What would be a pleasant surprise is making a conversion to 5e. I'll be thrilled if they can use my work as an overall framework.


The way that some other specialist worlds have gone, I kind of suspect that someone would try to build a bespoke RPG system to go with World of Warcraft (rather than use D&D).

Arrius Nideal wrote:
Big Mac wrote:But, I think it would be logistically better, for them to do something like a Warcraft wargame system first, and sell large numbers of 1-inch minis, that could later be bought by people playing tabletop games. Maybe they should be doing a deal with the likes of Games Workshop.

Since D&D spawned from Wargames, I'm sure this would be a prelude to a complete TTRPG if they pursue this line of thought--which is awesome.
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