I’d like to start by noting my underestimation of what “extensive narrative” truly meant. I was interested in “human” as the game defined it, but I quickly found that that was much too broad an interest. So I honed in on Stormwind City, which proved much too extensive also. This led me to Varian Wynn, the intriguing character whose life is defined “through tragedy and conflict”. The leader of the humans was definitely something I was interested in, wanting to find out who exactly is running things, who exactly I am doing all of this for in a sense.
As a very brief overview: Varian Wynn is the king of Stormwind city, commander of the Alliance military. He is the son of the late Kind Llane and is married to Tiffin Ellerian. The two have a son, Anduin, whom Varian considers his top priority. He was kidnapped and met the black dragon Onyxia, who severed him into two separate beings. The plan had been to destroy the king’s warrior traits while keeping the weaker version of him in power as a sort of puppet ruler. Varian was able to fight his way to freedom, and so gained the nickname “Lo’Gosh” meaning “ghost wolf”, apparently the name of a gladiator legend.
Even one single character has an extremely involved history, and the previous short very broad summary proves testament to this. I chose to try to hone in on one even smaller aspect of the character himself, the subcategory that the Wiki calls “Personality”. Though he was able to put his halves back together after Onyxia’s attack, they did not return seamlessly. One side held the knowledge, the brains, while the other possessed the skills for battle. It was even said that fighting him was like fighting two people at once. This was his greatest battle: balancing his battle instincts with his duties of power.
I personally saw this trait in Varian’s character to be specifically interesting. It seemed to almost mirror a question asked in the game, as players strategize and chose their skills, fighting just as Wynn between knowledge and ability. He exemplifying the impossibility of perfect harmony, the necessity of both, and the unending internal conflict that comes with it. This seems to hint to players that in order to succeed in the game, a split consciousness is essential. That gamers themselves will reflect Varian: being both the logical self as they exist in reality and the warrior that they exist as in the game. The depth represented in the character also speaks to the layers and vastness of the game itself.
I hate to say that we cannot judge a NCR by its code, yet it seems that there is a lot more to be discovered underneath the already convoluted path of existence in the game. Varian represented for me, the intention behind these games, the complexity of its characters, the connections they draw to others in the game. It displays that video gaming is more than simply an actionable experience, though we do make decisions, there is information and backstory provided for us to base them on, whether we realize that or not.