A pair of interesting interviews about World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth have cropped up, one with Game Director Ion Hazzikostas and John Hight about the drama and issues around the expansion pre-event. The other is with former Blizzard developer Chris Metzen on the issue of nerd toxicity.
I noticed is how many people felt like the Burning of Teldrassil was supposed to be this big mystery. People expected a twist and felt like Blizzard set it up that way. Going back and watching some older developer Q&As, though, I couldn't find much evidence of that. What happened there, from your perspective?
Hazzikostaks: On the internet, as this giant game of telephone to some extent, things can definitely take on a life of their own. At Blizzcon 2017, I remember Alex Afrasiabi teed up the question of who struck first: The Burning of [Teldrassil] or the assault on Lordaeron? But that was before alpha. That was at the very initial announcement of Battle for Azeroth. From the time the game was in alpha, beta, and beyond, the order of events was manifestly clear through the contents within the game.
At the same time, it ties back to a little bit of potential cognitive dissonance. People have an emotional attachment and you don't want to think the worst. You want to think there might be some other explanation than one that you find personally unappealing because it's uncomfortable. But sometimes storytelling is uncomfortable.
Chris Metzen sat down with Scott Johnson to talk about toxicity in geek culture (from WoWhead's summary):
Overall, Metzen doesn't shy away from stern language, expressing embarassment for the behavior of the nerd community. He's concerned with the community's mentality to throw stones online, and worries that some players cannot differentiate between being mad at an upsetting character within a work of fiction, and being mad at creators tasked to bring a story to life. He also pointed out the hypocrisy of people losing their minds over Teldrassil, completely writing the story off, and then a few days later gushing about how Saurfang's cinematic and story are absolutely perfect.