So I've been talking with my BFF today about this bloody fanfiction and what it could become if I were to keep at it. I've found that I've had a lot of problems off the bat while thinking ahead and I was bouncing them off of him because for some reason when I explain these things to people who haven't had the context of the game to fall back on it helps me because I have to explain stuff and it helps me figure things out. So I send this wall of text to him like an asshole.
Well for starters a lot of the ideas about the Pandaren you kind of have to handwave. Apart from one panda in one of the old Warcraft games the Pandaren never show up until this latest expansion. They give a semi-decent explanation that the Pandaren tribe you play as lives on a floating island (it's actually a giant turtle) and for some reason the turtle just never hit any continents. The Horde and Alliance just happened to crash land on it by accident while dealing with the aftermath of the Cataclysm and the rising tensions between the factions.
Then you have Pandaria itself, which is where the turtle pandas originally came from 10,000 years ago. Up until now the entire continent has been shrouded by a protective mist this whole time and only just recently made an appearance. Obviously it's farfetched but we have to just roll with it because kung fu pandas.
But then we get to a new problem. Pandaren characters have to choose between Alliance or Horde early in the game. One of the game mechanics is that people of opposing factions can't talk to each other. Pandas get lumped into that mechanic too, which obviously makes no sense in real life. Garrosh (the Horde Warchief) makes it clear that any panda who joined the Alliance is now dead to you (which is something I want to explore in this fanfic) so I guess it kind of works as an explanation because treason will get you killed in Garrosh's eyes.
The next problem with the language barrier is between the Pandaren and their faction of choice. If the Pandaren haven't been seen for so long, a) how could the other races speak with them and b) how could they talk back? In the game you could understand what everyone was saying because the gameplay requires it but logically it makes no sense. I made a half-assed explanation about ancient scrolls with old dialects but I think I'm going to change that. I know for sure though that my protagonist has a limited understanding of orcish (Horde's primary language) but cannot read it (it's a combination of the alphabet and runes and a lot of it depends on context according to the game lore). This makes for more odd issues because obviously all the commands from Garrosh won't be understood by the Pandaren.
So then the next problem becomes a matter of 'when'. Because of the nature of an MMO a lot of the stuff remains static. They revamped the vanilla (i.e. original) World of Warcraft right before Cataclsym came out to reflect the changes (when Deathwing burst out from the underworld (that actually isn't it but that's the only way I can explain it without having to make 10 more messages). There were natural disasters and he would fly around torching places and yeah. One of the zones was completely submerged in water, another place got a giant chasm splitting it in two, the elementals went insane, etc. So from level 1-60 you're in a post-Cataclysm world.
But then when you hit the Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King levels you're basically going through a time capsule. Everything going on in them is pre-Cataclysm. If I want my protagonist to visit any of these places I'll have to write a lot of new stuff to reflect the actual passage of time, which is troublesome for me because apart from some brief mentions in the Warcraft novels and some of the late Cataclysm raids you don't know what's going on there after the expansions are finished.
Don't even get me started on the Caverns of Time, which is this place protected by the Bronze Dragons that basically has important key points in history through different portals that you can explore and redo (this is where they put old raids and dungeons that take place in the past (the dungeons are made under the idea that outside forces are trying to change that point in history and you have to stop them from screwing it up, even if it's a really horrible point))
So my problem here is when is this all happening? I'll have to check and see if there's an official timeline to work off of. It doesn't make much sense for a turtle with pandas living on it to appear followed immediately by their ancient homeland just appearing as well. I've decided that due to visual context during the early portion of the Pandaren campaign that Deathwing is still alive, and then I'll bring in Pandaria later when I'm ready for it.
Haha I just found an unofficial timeline and Deathwing is dead at this point; must fix that.
Finally one point I'll have to deal with is the treatment of the Pandarens by the Horde. I have no idea what's going on on Alliance side since I don't play it but Garrosh, scum that he is, is kind of an asshole about them. Given my ideas about the languages and stuff, and the fact that Pandarens/Pandaria is based around Asian (primarily Chinese) culture, I'm seeing parallels between Garrosh's putting the Pandarens to work/war and the history of Asian immigrants being used for cheap labour. If we bring real world context, like I'm doing with the language barriers, then basically the Pandaren have been lied to for the purpose of gaining the upper hand in a war that they have no part of to begin with. Hypothetically they've been promised a lot of stuff in order to get them to join a faction. In a case like the Horde, where the land they live on is tough and barren, and there's already a dwindling food supply due to the natural disasters, this is readily apparent. Game lore doesn't really explain where the Pandaren are expected to live; there's a small spot in the capital where you can find Pandaren in the game but no one lives in houses (there really aren't many houses in this game but eh). You don't see any Pandaren working on anything but fighting. In Garrosh's introductory speech to the Pandaren he tells them that at some point everyone will be called to war and be expected to answer, and then makes them prove their worth by slaying monsters in the arena because he wants to see their 'exotic fighting techniques' (i.e. barehanded martial arts combat). He only sees them as a means to an end, some lesser uneducated race (though he has low opinions of all non-orcs at this point in the lore as far as I can tell) that he can intimidate into fighting for him because as the lore dictates, anyone who crosses him doesn't live long.
All in all I would like to explore a lot of these things in writing but I don't know if I'll be able to do it effectively.
Clearly I'm thinking too hard.
Oh God Another WoW Addict.
- (no subject)