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Discussion > WoWOct 17, 2023 8:00 am CT

How important are published books to your enjoyment of World of Warcraft?

The next five weeks are big for World of Warcraft fans who enjoy reading, as there are three publications being released starting with today’s Exploring Azeroth: Pandaria. Two weeks from now will see the release of War of the Scaleborn, a prequel of sorts to Dragonflight that takes place around 20,000 years ago. And then we’ll see the Dragonflight Codex arrive on bookshelves three weeks after that — it’s presumed to be similar to the Grimoire of the Shadowlands and providing modern details and some lore tidbits of the Dragonflights. While all three of the books approach the story of World of Warcraft from a different angle, their existence brings up the classic question of whether or not important lore should come from outside the game.

Of the three Exploring Azeroth: Pandaria is probably the most concerning. As our favorite Stormstout pair travel around Pandaria, we’ll be getting an update as to how the island’s inhabitants are faring after the events of the last several years — not just the Thunder King’s and Garrosh’s machinations, but also N’zoth’s assault on the Vale during Battle for Azeroth. As someone who played a part in those events, I think I would prefer to find out the changes on my own while adventuring rather than from a book. While it probably doesn’t make sense to build an entire patch around visiting Pandaria, a small series of quests that have us retrace the steps in the book could be quite illuminating for the player.

Dragonflight Codex I’m unsure of, but that’s mostly because I haven’t read it yet so I’m not quite sure all that it contains. If it is like Grimoire of the Shadowlands it’ll basically be a recapitulation of things we’ve learned while adventuring around the Dragon Isles, with the possibility of a few minor tidbits thrown in that may or may not be meaningful. Worst case scenario, it provides a ton of modern details and plot hooks that could’ve been inserted into the expansion; I don’t expect this to be the case, but it’s always a possibility with tie-ins.

In my opinion, War of the Scaleborn (for which Blizzard Watch received a review copy in advance of publication) is the perfect way of expanding the world of Azeroth outside the game without compromising the players’ enjoyment. Set between the events of the death of Galakrond and the imprisonment of the Primal Incarnates, it augments Dragonflight without requiring that you read it. Events that are covered in game — such as the creation of the Dracthyr (including the tidbits we learn in Aberrus) and Neltharion’s defeat of Raszageth — reveal additional details not able to be captured in quest text or cinematics. While my enjoyment of War of the Scaleborn was quite high, it also provides a perfect model of how content outside the game can be used to expand the events within it, or provide background to historical events that might otherwise not get an opportunity to be shown to the player. The perfect candidate for this of course is the War of the Three Hammers.

But what do you think? Do you get annoyed when important information is revealed outside the game? Do you like the Exploring Azeroth series for updating the events of the game, or resent them for telling instead of showing? And what historical event would you like to see receive the novel treatment?

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