Warcraft III Lore retconning to match WoW is a terrible idea


Players ain’t no protagonists. They don’t make any history, they make progress in history. They help push the plot toward the end that is already written. It has always been this way since the opening of the Anqiraj gate, then the Shattered Sun Offensive in TBC, the Broken Isles in Legion, etc. You do what the NPCs tell you to do to “unlock new contents”. You’re not yourself, but an agent of the NPC factions. It is MMO, but also RPG - ROLEPLAY game.


A huge difference between those. You’re right about TBC, but since WoD player is a Champion Commander Epic Hero etc etc etc. You walk inside the paladins’ order hall in legion and see a crowd of goofy idiots with High Lord title all carrying a copy of legendary Ashbringer, what the hell…


I do think you make a valid argument by suggesting that the unit roster we see in WCIII doesn’t tell the whole story.

I would rather not further vilify Kael and his blood elves though.


The non-portrait model with no blue particles


Personally I think thats up for debate. There are instances of vague ambiguous elements being ‘explained’ after the fact which we can regard as retcons, especially if it somehow conflicts with other aspects of lore.

  • Garonas background was originally half orc half human, then changed to half draenei before WoW redefined the Draenei as blue skinned goat people with tentacle faces. Garona has none of those features. The explanation remains inconsistent to every other half-breed race we have seen.
  • Draenei look like Eredar. This was an inconsistent change to the Lost Ones and they had to create concept art of the Broken to bridge the two. Lost Ones have almost no shared features to Eredar, and both are Fel infused meaning they should not look so vastly different in physical form. I would view this as a retcon.
  • Naga serving Old Gods and Illidan not having a shared history with Aszhara. This was clarified in Chronicles but is nonetheless a retcon explanation for what should have been a shared history. Makes no sense why the Naga would answer Illidans call if they were written as enemies in War of the Ancients. The explanation that Vashj did so because Azshara and Old Gods told her still doesnt explain why Illidan would call on their help in the first place if he knew anything about them and their ties to Aszhara.
  • Old Gods becoming the mysterious masters of multiple factions, which ends up retroactively making some ally with the enemy (ie Vashj serving Illidan and the Legion) or fighting themselves (Black Dragonflight fighting Dark Irons and Ragnaros’ forces in Blackrock Spire).

These could all be considered explanations, but they are filled with inconsistent conflicts that they cant be regarded purely as expanded lore. They take lore into a new direction of canon that did not previously exist, and I consider that a retcon. Perhaps this is semantics, but the core idea is that WoWs lore is a different direction from Warcraft 3, and what they do now is try to ‘correct’ it all towards the new path. Effectively that is retconning.


I think many of the inconsistencies come down to the franchise having too many writers and not all of them either bothering to look closely enough what others have written or again that they think the old lore was somehow not good enough/written badly and thus something gets changed, but its still might not be consistent enough and gets changed again later (like how I feel exactly how they been throwing Garona’s storyline and her mind control aspect back and forth)

I noticed how some compared here the stuff how JRRT made changes later in his own LOTR/Hobbit lore, but good thing to keep in mind here is that especially after Chris Metzen retired, the lore seems now to be in multiple different hands, one of them ofc much hated (or loved, depending who you ask) Christie Golden.

Ofc one might correct me if im wrong, but it really used to be pretty much Metzen alone who used to wrote most of Warcraft’s lore in the games and that then was backed up with several different writers of the Warcraft novels, but even with them Metzen usually was in supervising role (and ofc one of the books, “of Blood and Honor” was written by the man himself.)


they are obviously retconning armor and weapons on units to fit really bad wow style. Armor thickness +4 times, footman even in campaign menu doesnt have so big shoulderpads in the old. Ingame, in WCIII it is actually flat. Meaning actually still realistic. New armors apart from the metal look are actually way downgraded. A shame. They dont look like armor even. Just piled up shiny metal looking overwweight pos.


Metzen was a driving force but all he could really do was direct the creative. If you read between the lines, a lot of what he actually wanted in the game was overturned by game design decisions.

He wanted Druids to be kept Night Elf only. The designers didn’t want Druids to be Alliance only, thus we got Tauren Druids. That means they had to have lore connections written in that never existed before. Blood Elves were added to Horde for game design reasons as well, namely to give them a ‘pretty’ race. During all of Vanilla, Horde population was incredibly low while most players played Humans, and secondly Night Elves. Humans alone almost equaled all Horde races combined.

Then we have Cataclysm’s race lore. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t a lore-driven decision to have Tauren Paladins and Gnome Priests and such.

The key thing to take away is game design takes precedence over lore. Regarding WoW, lore exists to explains game design direction. The story we have is driven by game design and the developers appealing to the audience on a year-to-year basis.



Even when people would talk of WarCraft 4 and say it will only happen after WoW ends, I was like “why”. These two games need to stay separate. WoW has an awful story, and lot of their story was influenced by multiplayer gameplay needs (Blood Elves being Horde for example).

Only reason I’m excited for Reforge is we will finally have active servers again and find games faster. The graphics look too much like WoW (big shoulder pads, ewwww). Every unit doesn’t need to look like a boss.

If a WarCraft 4 was made, it needs to take place right after WarCraft 3, so the story can be what it was supposed to be, not whatever it needed to be to get more monthly subscribers. Reforged just needs to be a remaster of the already perfect WarCraft 3.


Because a majority of Warcraft 4 players would be coming off of WoW as established lore.

Basing it on Warcraft 3 and diverging into alternate reality would only serve to piss off the devoted Warcraft fans (of which we all are regardless of what game) have invested into the lore of. No one wants their passion and investment in a universe written off as an elaborate dream sequence. Warhammer Fantasy tried that with Age of Sigmar, read up on how well the conclusion of the End Times was received.

Best thing is to set WC4 far into the future where all of WoW is concluded and a footnote in history. That’s exactly how every previous game in the series has been treated. WC2 only used WC1 as historic footnote and moved into a new land. WC3 only used WC2 as a historic footnote and moved into a new land. WC4 should follow the same, taking everything away from Azeroth and focusing on a new story elsewhere. We’re already introduced to new worlds, now it’s time to explore them.


So here’s the thing IMO, not all vague and ambiguous elements of the story are created equal. Some things are more innocuous and aren’t asserting much on existing lore, thus being something that we can understand as just being a small detail being elaborated on as opposed to a drastic change via significant information coming completely out of the blue. Other things are things blizzard writes into the game’s lore as having taken place in between games, where there was no already firmly established canon. The blood elves’ fel eye glow falls into both of these categories.

Then there’s the things you’re mentioning. Things where blizzard either introduces a ton of new information that really would have changed how we viewed past events, or worse outright changes established canon.

Garona heritage is an example of a change to already established canon and thus is “textbook example” of a true retcon.

Now as for the Draenei and Eredar matter. First of all, this isn’t a matter of vague or ambiguous elements being “explained”, but I will explain that in a moment.

The Draenei look like Eredar because they ARE former Eredar as according to lore as of The Burning Crusade. While the Draenei turning out to have been an off-shoot of the eredar wasn’t a change to established lore precisely, it is an example of Blizzard introducing a ton of new lore that changed the very identity of the Draenei, creating a connection between the Draenei and Eredar that just wasn’t there before, that blizzard came up with out of thin air or as I said before, out of the blue.

Even forsaking all of that however, as I already stated, the Draenei-Eredar link, as it was and is currently written, is a dramatic retcon that Metzen himself acknowledged as being an accident, and a massive trainwreck in the lore.

Why? Well, before TBC, there was lore already established both in the Warcraft III manual, as well as in World of Warcraft vanilla recorded in in-game documents (this particular document was in the Horde encampment in the Arathi Highlands if I recall) that stated that the Eredar had always been demons. In fact, they were the very first demons Sargeras encountered before his fall, and their inherent evil and malice deeply disturbed him, which along with his encounter with the Dreadlords, was what sent him spiraling into madness.

The Burning Crusade, in a very embarrassing retcon which had that document I mentioned still in the game even as the retcon-born “EreDraenei” were added, changed this. In the Burning Crusade had the Eredar depicted as having been a mortal race until an already Legion aligned Sargeras contacted their leaders, and convinced two of them to join the Legion, with one of them refusing, and fleeing with the Naaru, naming themselves Draenei.

The Draenei are NOT fel-infused. The Broken and Lost Ones (in WCIII Akama and the other Draenei look like WoW’s Draenei Lost Ones) are both mutated to different degrees by second-hand fel corruption according to TBC lore, which is a retcon as well.

The naga serving the Old Gods is an example of a retcon via adding a integral new lore that redefines everything we knew about the naga.

Illidan DOES have shared history with Azshara. This is canon that has never changed. Illidan joined Azshara and her Highborne night elves in serving Sargeras temporarily 10,000 years ago during the War of the Ancients. The reason for him doing so has changed, but the idea of Illidan temporarily joining the Legion, and then betraying them has stayed the same. In the WotA trilogy, Azshara sits down with Illidan and flirts with him, recognizing his magical talent, as well as the power Sargeras had bestowed upon him, intending to infatuate him with herself (failing miserably).

It is never revealed whether Azshara ever found out about Illidan’s betrayal, but since she did end up sending Vashj to help him, she never found out, or forgave him. Or well, that’s what the lore seemed to be back then. In fact, the real retcon has come more recently in Chronicles, where it is revealed the Old Gods commanded Vashj to help him.

Yes, the Old Gods themselves are essentially a retcon both for the reason I stated, as well as because, as you said, they’ve been introduced in a way that has caused a lot more obvious retcons.

Taking the lore down new directions is not really a retcon. That’s normal writing. But I can say for a certainty that there is an opportunity here to influence Blizzard to head down a direction where they actually bother to focus on keeping things consistent, and expand on lore in a way fans appreciate rather than rewriting it or trying to be edgy by writing characters in utterly senseless ways, or killing them off entirely without using them in a way that pleases more of their audience, particularly the audience that is actually paying attention all the way through.

Hated. Hate hated HATE HATED!!!

He always had some input from other members of staff. But that staff changed after Activision entered the picture. Plus, the thing is Metzen changed over time, and as his tastes and interests changed, he lost sight of what people had originally liked about his story-telling. Then he seemed to almost give up entirely I think because he didn’t understand why he was receiving so much criticism.

It depends. But yes, they are overdoing it a bit.


Well in fact, the Draenei mutation is a result of a disease based on the Curse of Sethe that also mutated the Arakkoa, yet another retcon xD.

I consider myself a devoted Warcraft fan, and I would LOVE if they decide to retake the history from where TFT left and start telling a new history in the RTS format, WoW lore as it stands now its just… well, they got out of their way a long time ago. Like myself, a lot of people would love if the devs decide to retell the history, the surveys show that and I really hope they take into account what the community says, also, a diferent story on a different world? without humans? without orcs? that’s nonsense, it’s not warcraft.


We don’t know that.

And even if that were the case you’re making a big assumption in saying that the majority of Warcraft fans would be pissed off about WCIV having a brand new story picking up where WCIII left off.

You’re assuming that the majority of WoW players would be that upset about WoW ending as a separate tangential plot. Lot of WoW players don’t even care about Warcraft Lore. Others care but don’t like WoW’s lore.

WoW’s story has already pissed off TONS of Warcraft fans. And they were around first. People watched as not only was a lot of their lore retconned away, but also as game design decided where the story went and need for content decided who got killed off, instead of what they had enjoyed about the story, or well thought out, high quality story-telling that put Warcraft’s lore on the map to begin with.

Those people were here BEFORE you got invested in a universe comprised of story-telling that doesn’t put the quality of the writing first. Why should it matter that others get PO’d when their lore gets dream sequenced away? They didn’t
even actually respect the lore in the first place. They were okay with it coming secondary to the game content and design for pete’s sake!

As is you yourself have already demonstrated that you didn’t even pay close enough attention to the lore to actually realize when you were posting something completely inaccurate or exactly why something is the way it is (i.e. why draenei look like eredar now or saying they were both fel-infused?!) Why should the lore cater someone like that?!

What do you expect? Have you read some of what he has said?

He doesn’t even pay enough attention to existing Lore to know what’s what and who’s who and why. Of course he is going to say that the story should turn Warcraft into some sort of Warhammer 40k Age of Sigmar hybrid in Warcraft 4.

He actually offends me.


We can safely assume that.

Namely because the Warcraft 3 player base is in much much lower than the World of Warcraft base. You can’t expect 4 to only market to the WC3 RTS players. It doesn’t make sense, logically, financially, whatever perspective you come from.

Let’s not pretend that Blizzard is some gods gift to gamers studio who aims to give you the best story continuation of a 15+ yr old game series because you didn’t like the rest of the story in between.

Doesn’t matter if you are pissed off. That’s emotion. Games aren’t designed for our feels. If that was the case, Teldrassil wouldn’t be burnt down, Sylvanas wouldn’t be Warchief, and they wouldn’t be doing whatever they’re doing in BFA that is pissing off the current generation of Expansion players (because let’s face it, every expansion has its haters).

Warcraft 4 is going to appeal to Warcraft fans, and by the whole, World of Warcraft is where the story is most familiar. Yeah, I get lore messed up sometimes. I’m human. You do it too. Blizzard does this too. We care about it more than they do about the lore because we personalize it to our tastes, we are enthusiasts. They are content creators who must continue to feed those needs, and it isn’t going to happen by disregarding 15+ years of told history because some players were pissed off at the choices. If it was really that bad, they can reboot the story as they please using any number of story elements, including alternate realities. But taking it back to Warcraft 3 and starting over from there? That’s just wishful thinking.

If Blizzard was honest to god giving us a WC4 that is a continuation of WC3 and not using WoW, then Reforged would not be doing what it’s doing.

I will also clarify what I meant by fel infused with the Draenei-

Eredar and Lost Ones are both Draenei that have come into contact with Fel Energies to become what they look like now. Eredar took it on as a gift, Lost Ones were ‘cursed’ by residual energies. From what we know, Fel is not discriminant in how it corrupts the same race. We see that all Orcs get green skin out of contact with Fel, only gaining their red look from a second dose (seemingly, still unexplained in lore). The inconsistency of how Fel energy affects Draenei came with retconning the Eredar and Lost Ones as being derived from the same race, both having been in contact with Fel energy. Every explanation we have on the matter is damage control on what is otherwise a massive inconsistency for both the origins of the race (Lost Ones having little-to-no shared features to Eredar) and to how Fel energy affects a race. Semantics aside, what I mean by ‘Fel-infused’ is ‘physically changed through contact with Fel Energy’. There should be no difference in ‘second hand fel energy’, and that explanation only exists to explain away a blatant inconsistency derived from a ‘new direction in lore’.

Lot of WoW players don’t even care about Warcraft Lore

It is a fact that more players play WoW and treat it as a singleplayer game and follow its story more than they care about the raiding or the PVP or whatnot. Traditionally, sales of Blizzard’s games are attributed to the singleplayer crowd, while multiplayer is a fraction of that base. This is why you see people frontload the expansions and seemingly die off. This is where the milliions of Diablo players come from, yet the sustained multiplayer is all-but-dying. We think and believe that no one cares about the story, but that’s far from the truth. The campaign and story is important. If it weren’t, Blizzard wouldn’t be putting a brunt of their effort back in remaking the campaign for Reforged. The majority of casual sales come from people who play for the story.

You would be amazed at the amount of people who buy Blizzard games, play them for the story, and never touch the message boards or multiplayer. You simply aren’t aware of the number of them because they have no online footprint. They exist as statistics on sales report which we observably abstract as people who are also playing the game the way we play it - online. It is also a large reason why Blizzard has been ‘casualizing’ WoW with more linear storylines and easy-challenge raid modes. They want to bridge those casual players into staying online rather than simply questing and unsubbing until the next content. This is why current WoW is criticized for lack of challenge and difficulty over the years - because those who want hardcore challenges are the minority of the entire fanbase. The majority simply wants to see the story unfold.

It’s hypocritical to say that WoW players don’t care about story and believe that only Warcraft 3 players should be appealed to because so many people on a Warcraft 3 forum agree that the story be used. You know what it really is? An echo chamber.


So W4 is gonna be a RTS version of TBC? With Draenei and Belf taking the center stage in Outland? 'Cause there ain’t much lore in Classic. It was a foundation for future expansions. There were zones, quests, cities, dungeons, factions, one bug invasion, one undead invasion, and that’s it. You can see that in the first cinematics, which was just a showcase of all the races and features and stuff. Not much storytelling. Real progression of lore started in TBC where Illidan and Kael became the main villains. I can imagine a Draenei campaign and a Belf campaign to lay out the background, then both had an expedition in Outland to deal with Illidan and his minions, and at last they were united by A’dal and gathered at sunwell to stop Kael’thus in the final battle.


Irrelevant. Because we know more WC3 players cared about the story than WoW players cared about WoW’s story simply based on the very nature of how WoW’s story is written.

Thanks for arguing against yourself for me.

… except that’s exactly what they are designed for. Literally, entertainment is about feelings and appealing to them.

I’d like to see you prove that.

Not sure what you are trying to say but I don’t think we “personalize the story to our tastes” … that is not what makes someone a lore enthusiast.

Doesn’t matter where it is most familiar. It’s about quality. If the opportunity presents itself to tell the story in a way that actually can focus on the quality of the story instead of needing to make it adhere to rigid game design limitations, that is what should be done.


The hell it isn’t. This isn’t about the choices. It’s about the motivation behind them. As I already stated.

Says who?

I disagree.

Gonna provide evidence for this alleged fact, or…?

Until you back that up, I’m not buying that BS. The fact is anyone who truly cares about the story as something other than the setting for a game to take place in, is not okay with the game design and need for content deciding the story. Because that means they care more about those things than the story itself. It’s fundamental and unavoidable.

Do you know what hypocritical even means? If you did you would know you just used it incorrectly. Holy hell I’m getting sick.

Again, you’re assuming that only warcraft 3 players would be appealed to without any real basis. People who play WoW would already be used to retcons and the story not making sense. You are also assuming that all the players expressing interest in the story starting where TFT leaving off are only wc3 players. Which so happens to be an inaccurate one in my case.

You also don’t know what an echo chamber is clearly. You’re just looking for ways to deflect from that fact that your opinion is not a popular one.

Not necessarily.

I strongly disagree.

Of course the designer’s ability to convey the story got better with each expansion, as did their ability to animate, balance, and code. They got more experience. However to say there was no lore in classic is quite erroneous IMO.

They introduced so much backstory in WoW. And what you are failing to either consider or mention is that almost ever zone had story in it, no matter how poorly portrayed or accessible it was, and some zones had more lore in them than others. There was quite a bit of story in Vanilla. It just wasn’t well organized or well animated/portrayed for us.

All of that lore could be used as basis and inspiration for different parts of WCIV’s plot and story, in addition to anything conceived unique to WCIV.

For instance, with the Alliance, there could be a narrative/campaign revolving around a still recovering Stormwind, its prince Anduin and Regent Bolvar as they tackle the many issues players had to deal with in WoW like the Defias, and the problems that occured , except in WCIV we could actually have the story progressing to involve them heading north at some point, intending to retake Lordaeron, unaware of the Forsaken having supplanted the scourge there, perhaps having received a request for help from a messenger sent by a now already dead Garithos…

Who knows, in Warcraft 4 Dwarves and humans could be separate races with their own tech unit and building trees, and thus separate but eventually interconnecting campaigns… The night elves would of course not be part of the Alliance, and would have their own campaign as in Warcraft III… so many possibilities. I would write the story for Blizzard myself if they would let me despite my lack of qualifications.

Either eventually in the original game, or in an expac we would obviously get campaigns that take place at least in part on outland, but that certainly would not need to be the biggest focus for the whole game by any means if the writers do their job.


So Dwarf/Gnome and Tauren will be the new races, huh? Matching the six major cities in WoW? That’s interesting. But there gotta be horde and alliance, which has been the theme of WoW, or there’ll be no backstory. There could be an Alliance campaign with interconnected chapters and a Horde one. However, night elves WOULD be a part of the Alliance, because they are at war with the warsong clan in Ashenvale. I have no idea why the forsaken joined the horde though … because of the conflict at Arathi Basin? Or some clash between Tarren Mill and the other human town in Hillsbrad? Or attempt by Alliance to reach Lordaeron and retake the capital as you suggested? For now the lore about all three battlegrounds are lack of depth. They’re all about dispute over territory/resources. None of them can compare with the Rexxar campaign.


Oh, of course there’d be horde and Alliance. That’s a given. I would suggest however that be more of a story element and not a game mechanic. Certainly the Alliance and Horde could each have their own campaigns listed in the menu, while there could also be campaigns listed as being independent of the two.

I personally don’t think the Night Elves would need to be part of the Alliance simply because of their conflicts with the Horde. The enemy of my enemy is NOT always my friend. For that matter the Night Elves wouldn’t need to be at war with the Warsong Clan… and if they would end up fighting, it at the very least would not be at first. That could be something that ends up happening in the game. Instead of the conflict between the Warsong and the NE’s just being backstory, it would be something we’d get to witness being kicked off as we play through the game.

Well I wouldn’t want to do the writers’ work for them but the territorial and resource disputes would naturally give way as they always due to larger issues, like, say the Old Gods via the Twilight’s Hammer, Ahn’Qiraj, and the Naga, among others. There’s also the possibility of the lore on the three battlegrounds could be expanded upon. There could be attempts to make peace by both sides, which would either be sabotaged by forces either externally, for instance by the Twilights hammer, and/or by members within one of or in both of the warring factions, who have personal vendettas that make them want the conflicts to continue.

Like really who knows? Maybe agents of the Cult of the Damned end up at least attempting to manipulate the different factions into direct conflict as Arthas seeks to keep them divided, weak, and constantly creating more corpses for him and his necromancers to animate.

The conflict between the Forsaken and the Alliance could at the very least be due to wanting to take vengeance on their living brethren more than territory or resources.

Perhaps the conflict between the night elves and the Horde is almost resolved at some point, even with us playing as two characters in their own campaigns who end up dying trying to facilitate peace after having found out external forces are trying to pit the Horde and the Night Elves into a war, but those external forces frame either or both sides as having killed them, thus setting off the conflicts into high gear. Like, maybe Shandris or whoever and some popular member of the Horde like uh… idk, Eitrigg? They could end up befriending each other or something.


well good luck with your headcanon fanfic. wc4 will only disappoint you.


I don’t think they can have peace due to their opposite values over the forest. Night elves are environmentalist treehuggers, while the orcs have a vigorous logging business for their city construction. Humans need lumbers too, but since they’re on the other continent, it’s not the elves’ concern. Whatever wildlife they have disturbed won’t affect them, but no way can they tolerate that kind of behavior in Ashenvale. Actually they got it wrong though, because the furbolgs and other animals were corrupted by the burning legion first and foremost. They don’t allow any active forest management, and what did they get? Deathwing’s fiery breath that burnt everything to the ground! Just like that in California. Guess Trump will cut their funding until they have properly raked the forest floor to prevent fire. OK I’m just trolling.