The Foundations of (wow) Lore

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The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Tuomas/Decurius on Sat May 04, 2013 12:33 pm

Yesterday I had a huge(well, huge considering the standards of a chat conversation) discussion with a fellow roleplayer about wow lore and the sources for it. In the specific case, I was arguing that lore has some main sources, which are primarily the quest text and novels, other than NPC talks, which often is part of the questing experience(and so of the story of wow). The other person instead was trying to argue, at least judging by the condescending way he talked about it when I pointed out my points, that instead roleplayers are free to ignore all of that and just roleplay by ‘common sense’, and so making up their own lore.

So, my question is this, what is to be considered lore source and canon. Most importantly, are more recent lore sources to be considered more valid as foundation for lore, and so, for roleplay in wow, than old outdated sources which explicitly contradict these new lore sources, especially considering the huge habit of Blizzard of retconning?

Word’s yours.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Vaell on Sat May 04, 2013 12:53 pm

Blizzard's world, we just RP in it. People can stand in a corner and RP MLP if they really want but I think the majority of the players like to role-play the WoW world as it is set up by Blizzard's lore.

Canon is the way forward. The key is to make lore up where canon leaves gaps - e.g. Chapter of Anethion, Tanarisian server made lore etc.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Drustai on Sat May 04, 2013 1:33 pm

It is standard protocol for newer lore to trump older lore when contradictions arise.

Roleplayers should not ignore lore, just because it doesn't support their idea of logic and common sense. If something is directly stated in lore, and it's not been retconned by newer lore, then it's fact, case closed.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by erwtenpeller on Sat May 04, 2013 2:35 pm

I've been playing warcraft games for almost two decades. I just do what feels right with the universe, and go with that. I find people saying "fuck" to be more of a style-breach then most twists and turns I've seen people make with the lore; blizzard themselves do that all the time.

What I'm trying to say is, I personally think it's more important to reflect the style and feel of the game then to know the precise events in lore.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Vaell on Sat May 04, 2013 2:39 pm

I would bet a bollock that Blizzard would use the word fuck if the game had a higher age rating. They use a lot of modern day profanity anyway.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by erwtenpeller on Sat May 04, 2013 2:41 pm

Vaell wrote:I would bet a bollock that Blizzard would use the word fuck if the game had a higher age rating.
But it doesn't.
So they don't.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Vaell on Sat May 04, 2013 3:04 pm

erwtenpeller wrote:
Vaell wrote:I would bet a bollock that Blizzard would use the word fuck if the game had a higher age rating.
But it doesn't.
So they don't.
That's stupid logic.

Ok humans in WoW don't have cocks because it doesn't show them. They have sandwiches there.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Thelos on Sat May 04, 2013 4:31 pm

Vaell wrote:
erwtenpeller wrote:
Vaell wrote:I would bet a bollock that Blizzard would use the word fuck if the game had a higher age rating.
But it doesn't.
So they don't.
That's stupid logic.

Ok humans in WoW don't have cocks because it doesn't show them. They have sandwiches there.

I don't know about you, but I'm not exactly in the habit of waving around cocks either.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Sohan on Sat May 04, 2013 4:54 pm

Vaell wrote:Ok humans in WoW don't have cocks because it doesn't show them. They have sandwiches there.
False. The model doesn't show sandwiches either, I think it's rather safe to assume that they don't have any genitalia at all. But that could also be false, because we can't see it.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Allonia_Miral on Sat May 04, 2013 5:08 pm

It's called reading between the lines!

Edit:
I remember the argument that humans in Azeroth don't have fingers, but meatslabs as hands, according to the models Razz

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Thelos on Sat May 04, 2013 5:24 pm

Common sense is a harsh and aloof mistress.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Amaryl on Sun May 05, 2013 1:14 pm

its always curious, how uncommon: "common" sense is.

we wouldn't even be needing to talk about it. if it was actually common.

i think that's just a stupid word.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Thelos on Sun May 05, 2013 2:01 pm

What stands in the way of common sense, Amaryl, is not how uncommon it is - but rather how readily people ignore it if it suits their argument. Nobody in their right minds is possibly going to argue that human males in Azeroth have no penis. That's ludicrous. Reducing your opponent's argument by making it into something ludicrous so happens to be a cheap and fast way to win the debate. If you can point out that the consequences of somebody's argument is that human males have no penisses, you are obviously in the right by opposing that mad line of thought.

That requires a very keen and strategic mind, though. Only debaters in it to actually win an argument by humiliating their opponent, rather then to reach some sort of common understanding, would use such a reductio ad absurdum, precisely because it is an argument that relies there on being common sense in the first place: without the normal, nothing can be absurd - and you have to assume most people share this common sense, in order to accuse somebody of not having it.

Of course I have to re-iterate that nobody in their right minds would ever argue that human males in WoW do not have penisses, so it's a moot argument in the first place. I have noticed this to ridiculous degrees in this board: people love making their opponent's positions look like absurd extremes. There's next to no benevolent interpetations of what other people say. It's nearly always malicious and strategical.

I'm ranting again - I'll stop and try to say something about the original topic to get back on track.

In essence, I agree with Drustai, but I also want to defend this common sense argument. I'd like to look at WoW's lore as given by quest text, novels etc. as a conceptual space in which we are free to move around. It helps here to distinguish between two different entities in story-telling: narrative and the fictional world.

The fictional world is everything that exists in the world that is the object of our fiction. The narrative zooms in or select a handful of objects from this world and makes a selection in order to tell a focused story in this given world. For example, the fact that draenei have facial tendrils is given by the narrative: our models directly show them. It is shown. The fact that males have penisses, though, is not directly shown, but it can be inferred by persuming that the entities in the fictional world, unless contradicted, share most qualities with entities similar to them in the real world. In this case, males in our world have penisses, so we can safely assume that males in this fictional world have them as well, unless it is directly contradicted (which it isn't).

This is also sometimes called counterfactual truth: players being shown penisses in WoW in the narrative hasn't actually happened, but we can reasonably persume that it can happen under different conditions; for example, if WoW was a rated M game with the possibility of playing out sexual encounters.

Now the beauty of role-play lies exactly in the expanding of the narrative to cover that bits of the fictional world that are left untouched by Blizzard's narrative. We can role-play with our draenei penis, because we can counterfactually persume that they exist. We expand the narrative with our role-play and in doing so expand the scope of the story and the breadth of tales that can be told. And that's a marvelous, wonderous thing.

Most importantly, these counterfactual presuppositions about the fictional world done by players will almost always be valid, except when they are directly contradicted by Blizzard's narrative. If there was some obscure quest in which a NPC mentioned that dreanei don't have penisses, then obviously you can no longer play them as having penisses. But unless it is directly stated that they do not have penisses, it's a safe assumption to make: and argueing that it isn't is completely bonkers.

Sorry if I got a little too technical, but I wanted to be sure I could formulate my point as carefully as possible, since I think it's an important one to make and one often overlooked.


Last edited by Thelos on Sun May 05, 2013 3:22 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Amaryl on Sun May 05, 2013 2:42 pm

Thelos wrote:What stands in the way of common sense, Amaryl, is not how common it is - but rather how readily people ignore it if it suits their argument. Nobody in their right minds is possibly going to argue that human males in Azeroth have no penis. That's ludicrous. Reducing your opponent's argument by making it into something ludicrous so happens to be a cheap and fast way to win the debate. If you can point out that the consequences of somebody's argument is that human males have no penisses, you are obviously in the right by opposing that mad line of thought.

That requires a very keen and strategic mind, though. Only debaters in it to actually win an argument by humiliating their opponent, rather then to reach some sort of common understanding, would use such a reductio ad absurdum, precisely because it is an argument that relies there on being common sense in the first place: without the normal, nothing can be absurd - and you have to assume most people share this common sense, in order to accuse somebody of not having it.

Of course I have to re-iterate that nobody in their right minds would ever argue that human males in WoW do not have penisses, so it's a moot argument in the first place. I have noticed this to ridiculous degrees in this board: people love making their opponent's positions look like absurd extremes. There's next to no benevolent interpetations of what other people say. It's nearly always malicious and strategical.

I'm ranting again - I'll stop and try to say something about the original topic to get back on track.

Exactly, Don't use the word Common sense, because it doesn't exist.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by erwtenpeller on Sun May 05, 2013 2:42 pm

That was a most splendorous post, and I sir, I agree whole-heartily with anything written in it.

I might print it out and frame it.


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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Vaell on Sun May 05, 2013 4:35 pm

The penis example was meaningful as ridiculous as saying the word 'fuck' shouldn't be used by mature players. We know that the game is held back by its age range. That wasn't my attempt at "winning" anything, it was to show how that train of logic is to ignore common sense.

Blizzard have plenty of examples of using insults such as bitch, bastard, crap etc in the slang terms they're used in our RL world. They consistently reference RL so it's not outworldy to use 'Fuck' etc.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Gor'Thrak Frosthowl on Sun May 05, 2013 4:43 pm

On that note, 'fuck' isn't a 'modern' word, it's quite old.
wikipedia wrote:It is usually considered to be first attested to around 1475, but it may be considerably older.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Raene on Sun May 05, 2013 4:53 pm

On the topic of 'words' making sense or not making sense in WoW, I ignore the ramblings of people who outlaw certain words.

English (region dependent) is just a borrowed language in Warcraft for the Trade language "Common", and if we started outlawing certain words because they don't appear in Warcraft History, then I want to find this dictionary that keeps track of words used in Warcraft speech.

Unless that specific person had the Loremaster achievement, and can reasonably say they've looked everywhere for the use of certain words, then I will continue to accept the use of the word Faggot, Gay, Nigger, Bitch, and all the other horrible IRL words that we detest.

I think a guy called Voltaire once said something that would be relevant here. Something about disliking something someone had said, but then defending their right to say it.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Thelos on Sun May 05, 2013 5:21 pm

Vaell wrote:The penis example was meaningful as ridiculous as saying the word 'fuck' shouldn't be used by mature players. We know that the game is held back by its age range. That wasn't my attempt at "winning" anything, it was to show how that train of logic is to ignore common sense.

Blizzard have plenty of examples of using insults such as bitch, bastard, crap etc in the slang terms they're used in our RL world. They consistently reference RL so it's not outworldy to use 'Fuck' etc.

For the hunderth time, erwtenpeller and I are fine with people using the word 'fuck'. We're not trying to forbid anyone from doing it. People are fine to take liberties within the fictional world given to us by blizzard: that is the whole point I was trying to make.

We just consider it to be in poor taste and will never be found doing it ourselves, because our preferences are different: but they are just that, preferences. Our immersion is broken when people use the word 'fuck' like the immersion of somebdoy who has embraced NPC talk and quests as valid lore sources are condradicted by the play of others. We all have different preferences and evluate this or that source more or less.

erwtenpeller was just pointing out the hypocrisy of finding it okay when people take liberties in using cursewords, but condeming people who take small liberties with the lore (for example: ignoring certain sources, such as Blue posts and messages from CMs on Twitter, like the Tanarasi role-players who play humans who originate from Tanaris, even though a Blue explicitly stated they were pirates from the Eastern Kingdoms; or accepting other non-canon sources as canon, like the RPG sourcebooks, when Blizzard has explicitly stated them to be non-canonical).We argue that it's the same thing: it's expanding the narrative over that Blizzard has given us, and as long as it isn't directly contradicted by the lore, it's fine. Drustai accepts the RPG sourcebooks as canon and I don't, but we can role-play together just fine. It doesn't have to lead to conflict: it's fine.

It's fine.

Live and let live. Let us judge cussing in role-play to be distasteful, and allow the lorebenders to bend the lore. Let anyone pick and choose what they want to accept. Yeah, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and role-play with somebody who accepts other sources than you, uses words you find in distaste, or role-play out certain things you'd rather see unplayed in a PG-13 game, but that's called making compromises. I am what you might call an extreme Blizzardian: every single statement Blizzard makes on the lore I consider to be the highest canon, so when Blizzard states that the Humans in Tanaris are actually supposed to be pirates, I accepted this; however, I still role-play just fine with the Tanarasi and 'shift' to their canon whenever I interact with them: I make a temporary compromise to accept their play, even though it doesn't agree with my personal canon.

I don't like people using the word 'fuck', but I role-play with them all the same. Just like I would role-play with somebody who doesn't accept the same sources as canon as I do - hell, I just gave an example of that. That's the point we are trying to make. Not that this or that should be banned and this or that should be the guiding principle: but that there are many different standards and approaches as there are people and you better be prepared to make compromises if you want to get any role-play done.


Last edited by Thelos on Sun May 05, 2013 5:31 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by erwtenpeller on Sun May 05, 2013 5:24 pm

What he said.
Thelos wrote:It's fine

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Raene on Sun May 05, 2013 5:27 pm

Just so you two are aware, I didn't even know you guys had 'issues' (for lack of a better term) with the use of fuck. I was more harking back to a previous conversation about people not believing in Homophobia or Skin-Colour Racism.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Thelos on Sun May 05, 2013 5:32 pm

I updated my post with some more examples to illustrate my point.

I personally have issues with both swearing and ERP, yeah, and would never indulge in these particular aspects of role-play. But like I said, I don't mind other people doing it, as long as they respect me not wanting to swear or ERP.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Lexgrad on Mon May 06, 2013 4:13 am

I dont mind swearing but I dont really use it too much, I dont know who the other char is really. At least a good old fuck or bastard has some class behind it. Fag or retard and such like just no imo.

As for Lore... errr im not surre what order really. I think Blizz conciser the books to be cannon verson (God I hate that phrase) of stuff and the ultimate authority. Off the top of my head I can think of one big divergion, The DK who goes to the king/warchief is not your DK, it is Thessarian and his bit of stuff. I would guess in many places the game diverges subtly for game play reasons. Never read an account of ICC but I doubt the 25 adventurers get such a big billing.

Then again as RPers there is no need to go anywhere near such things imo, play it humble and look to roleplay and character develop with other peoiple, share a joint narrative and such like. That is much more important than lore smithing.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by Guest on Tue May 07, 2013 9:48 am

Drustai wrote:It is standard protocol for newer lore to trump older lore when contradictions arise.

Roleplayers should not ignore lore, just because it doesn't support their idea of logic and common sense. If something is directly stated in lore, and it's not been retconned by newer lore, then it's fact, case closed.

Pretty much this, to add to it, Thelos explained quiet well the 'layers' of lore in another thread, though I can't really remember where from nor the direct quote. But the way he described it was relatively simple:

Physical interpretation is layer one, being the most 'direct' lore we have, this includes what you both see and the quests/explanations associated to what you see.

Layer two would be the WoWpedia/WoWikki pages which add to the information and tend to amalgamate both canon lore and RPG book lore to what "fits", these also include the World of Warcraft books.

Layer three would be the RPG books which are non-canon but can still be used for inspiration or context.

Layer four would be player interpretation.

It's something I can find myself agreeing with and how things work in terms of what you'd accept first and foremost. Your own lore should come completely last when there is nothing to contradict what you're trying to do.

A player example would be when for a time the Kingdom of Arathor roleplayed that Stromgarde was a rebuilt city that was guarded, and while I see the merit in wanting your own roleplay to be somehow rewarded after spending lots of time there, it was simply the 'wrong' way about it as it directly contradicted lore. Though this is something that has been remedied and the disagreements on it buried, merely an example!


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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

Post by erwtenpeller on Tue May 07, 2013 10:42 am

Something like this?

http://www.defiasrp.com/t6421p165-draenei-role-play#192310
erwtenpeller wrote:I am someone that uses references to game mechanics as the ultimate truth, in-game fluff and quest text as secondary, and books and such as tertiary. Why? It makes things a whole lot easier. Game mechanics provide you with definitive answers.

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Re: The Foundations of (wow) Lore

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