Warcraft Archive: Books Spawned by Video Games
Years ago, when Ultima Online was the leading MMORPG, you kept quiet about your play time. Playing UO was, to many people, still too similar to sitting in a dimly lit room, crowded around a table clutching fistfuls of multi-sided dice and roleplaying your favorite barbarian fighter through a session of D&D.
Games of it’s caliber were still viewed as “nerdy” and you weren’t as likely to find a group of real-life jocks fighting their way through a virtual world killing mythological creatures as you are today. Games like World of Warcraft, Ever Quest, and City of Heroes have changed the way we view mmorpg’s today.
World of Warcraft is now played by over 9 million people worldwide. In fact, VideoGamesBlogger has checked the CIA factbook and discovered if WoW were a country, it would be the 90th most populated country on Earth. With all those stereotypes of what makes someone a “gamer” being broken or changed, the industry has become one of the most successful in entertainment. Which brings me to my point: books spawned by video games.
They’re all over the place, from novels about Halo and Resident Evil to novels about Sonic the Hedgehog (Yes, they do exist.) Still, these books carry the stigma of being of a lower quality than what we might consider a traditional “novel.” It’s similar to books based on television shows, which rarely show any remarkable quality (though there definitely are exceptions!) They could almost be construed as books created solely for marketing purposes, just another way to make a few bucks for an already prosperous franchise.
Blizzard Entertainment has also sunk their claws into the publishing industry with titles for their Starcraft, Diablo, and of course, Warcraft games. I’ve not read anything for the first two series, although I loved playing Diablo. But I have read my fair share of books based on the lore surrounding Warcraft. If there’s anything to be said about Blizzard, there’s no doubt they recognize the value and importance of storytelling in a game. Their lore is as deep and rich as that of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (argue that point if you wish.)
The above pictured Warcraft Archives features four books, including one by the well-known author Richard A. Knaack , who has written for fantasy giants such as Dragonlance. Despite initially agreeing to read this book because I knew Knaack’s work to be well-received (though I hadn’t read any myself), it wasn’t his book that caught me. In fact, I read his last. Jeff Grubb (The Last Guardian) and Christie Golden (Lord of the Clans) had, by far, the most captivating stories. Knacck’s (Day of the Dragons) was also quite good, don’t get me wrong. But I simply couldn’t stop turning pages on Grubb and Golden’s.
The quality of this collection as a whole was a great surprise to me. I’m not sure why I expected mediocre writing and haphazard plotting but I received quite the opposite. There is a vast store of rich, vivid storytelling to be found here and if you’re a WoW player, like me, there’s a vast store of Azeroth lore to be discovered as well. Knowing the history of some of the places and people you encounter in-game gives an added level of depth to the game-play.
Don’t misjudge the books published under the Blizzard banner. Even in publishing, Blizzard produces the same high-quality products that you’ve come to expect from them. There’s no longer any reason to hide the fact that you play MMORPG’s or that you’re a WoWer. Chances are half the people in your class or several of your co-workers play and you just don’t know it yet. So take your Blizzard Entertainment books out in public and read, proudly display those iconic brand names – it may open up the door for new relationships with people you never imagined shared the same interests.
Gamers are everywhere now’a’days. They may look just like you and me.