Blizzard Shuts Down Mod Aiming To Make World Of Warcraft's Story Better

Questing in World of Warcraft can be a slog. This is especially true during the game's early levels, before you reach recent expansion content. Warcraft Tales is a mod that would have improved that with voice acting and more elaborate stories. I say "would have", because well...

Blizzard recently shut down the still-early project, as it would have changed a few too many things for their liking. See, Warcraft Tales was ambitious to a fault, skirting the lines of what's acceptable according to Blizzard's add-on policy. In a nutshell, the mod, headed up by YouTuber BellularGaming, would have remixed WoW's level 1-60 quests, altering the way they were presented but — and this is crucial — not changing how they'd play or what you'd earn from them.

So, for instance, there's an early quest that sends you into a mine to see the sights and wonder why video games are so obsessed with mines. With Warcraft Tales installed, you'd still do that, but instead of getting the whole story as a wall of text, you'd receive a voice-acted intro to the quest and then, once you entered the mine, overhear a conversation involving the entire zone's villain that would fill in some blanks. "Our goal is to create a more narratively compelling and immersive experience for you to play through," Bellular explained in an announcement video. The overhaul would have been released episodically, zone-by-zone, and funded out of pocket for the first three, then by Patreon.

Speaking to PC Gamer, Blizzard explained why they put the kibosh on the project.

"As we told Bellular directly, we really appreciate his passion for the game," a Blizzard rep said. "But what it comes down to is that we need to protect the integrity and experience of the game for all of our players. WoW is very much a living world — anything that can change actual in-game content has the possibility of affecting the experience for all players on a technical side, even if they choose not to use the addon, besides materially changing the lore that binds the universe together. Fan fiction is awesome (and it takes place out of game), addons that modify the way quests are displayed are fine since they don't modify the in-game content, but addons that alter [or] replace the actual in-game content and story are not since this has far-reaching implications on the player experience."

So basically, WoW is a massive, complicated series of intertwining systems, and if you yank on one thread, no matter how small or innocuous, you risk unravelling the whole darn thing. While it's unlikely that a mod like Warcraft Tales would have wrecked WoW or even done a notable amount of damage, I can understand Blizzard's caution. As is, Blizzard allows certain kinds of interface mods in WoW. Anything beyond that is where they draw the line.

Warcraft Tales is likely gone for good, but Bellular says he's working "behind the scenes" to negotiate with Blizzard. I don't love his chances, but you can't fault him for trying. As is, sure, I know the game tells me I'm searching for goblin ears, but what I'm really searching for is a purpose.


    i believe the issue here is not copyright, but trademark issues and its a case od the devs being cool with it, but legal saying no

      More likely they want to leave the door open for themselves to do something like that in the future without inviting competition from paid-for mods.

    The issue is if it becomes popular, fans with will demand all the quests get rewritten and voiced over... just cause someone started doing it zone by zone.

    Patreon? Yeah, paid mods are going to send up red flags.

      Exactly what I was thinking. As soon as money gets involved it gets dubious. Though they haven't stomped lots of other addons that ask for donations (eg: Auctioneer) so *shrugs* maybe it's a bit of both.

        I suspect they regard them differently because Patreon does subscriptions rather than recurring donations, despite how they market themselves. The seller offers a good or service in exchange for a price (ie. the reward tiers), the buyer accepts the offer with the option to pay more than the asking price, the exchange goes ahead. In pretty much any legal jurisdiction that's considered a normal sales transaction.

    Good thing Blizzard put a stop to this, it might help the game become interesting again, can't have that.

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