Yes, this a Warcraft post. You’ll see why in a bit.
It is no secret that part of ActiBlizz’s modus operandi in terms of customer interaction is to keep its audience continually invested in the Blizzard ‘Universe’: by recycling elements of one title into another, the ability emerges to retain interest across IP’s. Except, with the release of Overwatch, the fourth wall has now been comprehensively dismantled. It is now perfectly acceptable to not simply pastiche themselves but to create the existence of Blizzard games inside the world of another Blizzard game, in order (presumably) to allow further legitimate and acceptable reinforcement of the Company’s history.
Therefore, it is with some interest that I saw this Twitter post appear on my timeline this morning:
Heroes is the poor relation of the Company, it must be said. It certainly doesn’t seem to get prominence in Blizzardworld’s promotional material, for starters. One assumes someone has pointed this out and we can now expect to see the Nexus gain a prominence across other IP’s… but how do you create acceptable ‘lore’ for a title which already exists outside the remit of all the other Universes? Suddenly this one hour at Pax East has become something that I (for one) am quite interested in hearing.
One, I think, may be directly related to Warcraft.
In nine days the ‘final’ volume of Warcraft Lore makes it into the hands of the general public. I suspect the book will be subject to considerable scrutiny, as is often the case, and that some interesting new paths forward for the franchise will be finally available for dissection. This is significant because the Warcraft lore has a direct influence on Hearthstone releases… and with BlizzardWorld we see that influence as a part of a ‘wider’ set of what can now legitimately be considered as alternate universes. Once the Nexus is added as a ‘canon’ source one assumes it will allow the movement of characters between IP’s with less of a sense of those worlds being stuck on. After all, the Nexus itself began existence as a means for disparate heroes to come together and fight.
What’s to say those fights or the characters created within can’t be taken into other titles?
The plethora of Allied Races now available as Battle for Azeroth ‘extras’ is considerable, and leads me to wonder how this new form of customisation may affect game play moving forward. Having already pegged the Kul Tiras race as a human hybrid option many people would really want to experience, those characters will undoubtedly (at some point) make their way into the Nexus… but is it possible that the door could swing the other way?
What if that’s already taken place?
I did the Lost Mail questline at the weekend and met this guy in Icecrown Citadel. His name? Nexus Lord Ashaal. The Nexus is already established in Warcraft canon, folks. The Void Lords have clearly been stealing echoes of Warcraft characters for years, and if they’re moving people out then what’s to stop other stuff moving in? If I was a smart marketeer I’d be making the Void this year’s must-have fashion accessory; there’d be dark forces popping up all over the shop. Has anyone ever asked why the Nexus was built in Heroes of the Storm, to begin with?
If the Void Lords are responsible, we’re all in a LOT of trouble…
Whatever happens, you can guarantee there’s more than just establishing canon at work here. After all, there are a number of ActiBlizz IP’s ‘in development’ that nobody as yet knows any details about… and who’s to say all of this isn’t a clever, long term plan to introduce some new games in to the Blizzardworld Theme Park…?