One of my favorite phrases is "ludonarrative dissonance" and I often find myself musing on it.
Fiction has tropes, and a lot of games are an avenue of storytelling -- World of Warcraft has told a lot of stories over the years.
One thing the Diablo series has always been hit or miss on is story -- there are some amazing moments in all three of the current games, but some real clunkers too, and I'm still mad that Leah just gets her body stolen and presumably her soul sent to the Burning Hells and we never do anything to help her or even find out for sure if there's anything left of her.
The takeaway I have from playing World of Warcraft and experiencing its story over the past decade -- from Cataclysm to Mists and then the Warlords/Legion/Battle for Azeroth years, and finally exploring the content of Shadowlands -- is that in many ways WoW feels to me much like a season of a streamed TV series like The Witcher or The Boys, not in terms of the story it is telling, but in how that story is told.
I've been slamming my head against the WoW Classic beta for a while now, scraping those levels and otherwise doing my level best to see as much of the story as possible.
The lore of any game is there to help the game be fun and engaging.
Every game has to think about its ludonarrative options -- the way its gameplay is used to tell a story vs.
This was originally published just for our supporters, but is now available for everyone.
Alex Afrasiabi is Lead World Designer and Creative Director for World of Warcraft.
Before I get started, no, I have heard nothing about a Diablo 4.