World of Warcraft as a Television Show

The part of World of Warcraft that I find to be most interesting is that of the quest. Specifically in regards to the ways that quests are also narratives within the game itself. World of Warcraft is a very interesting MMORPG in that it deals with many different narratives that are extremely interesting to look into, however what I have found to be one of the most interesting is one that is not foreign to any player whatsoever. I am most interested in looking at quests, as they are small narratives in and of themselves. Specifically narratives that tend to resolve themselves within the world of the quest.

Quests are interesting in so many ways because they deal with many different portions of narratives all at once. The first part of a narrative that quests deal with is that of the plot. The reason quests deal with plots is because quests deal with the storyline that is created when a quest is created. When a quest is created, so is the story. So at the very heart of the quest are stories at heart. Also a quest explicitly determines who is the antagonist and who is the protagonist. When a quest is created, the protagonist is automatically the player of the game (you). Then—following this thought process—the antagonist is whoever you are “hunting.” This would be any of the creatures you have been sent to kill. Following this, the descriptions of the quest dictate what the story is going to be. In one quest a “quest giver” may tell you that you are trying to find and kill the creatures that have killed/taken another ally. In the description of the quest, you are automatically given the story that is going to precede the point in which you have taken upon the quest. In this aspect the quests are written as smaller narratives within the larger narrative of the game, because they have entire worlds within themselves, that are altered and affected by the rest of the game. In the quests the players are forced to exist within the narrative that has set forth in the quest, completely separating them from the larger narrative, all the while existed within the larger narrative of the game. It is precisely because of this that quests can be considered narratives.

In essence the quests within a game are often the shorter storylines within a film, television show, or novel. In World of Warcraft each quest could be considered an episode within a larger series of a television show. For instance, a quest right at the onset of the game could be considered the “pilot,” while a quest further on in the game could be considered an episode within a season further on in the series. The reason the first quest could be considered a “pilot” is because this quest requires no further knowledge—as does a pilot. Whereas a quest further on in the game could be an episode further on in the series could be considered a later quest, because this requires a bit more knowledge of the entire series itself, thus allowing for the episode to have greater detail.

In World of Warcraft the quests act as smaller narratives within the larger narratives, much in the same way episodes act within a series.

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2 Responses to World of Warcraft as a Television Show

  1. hamiltonjonesii says:

    This is a very interesting interpretation of quest. I have definitely never considered quests like this in my gameplay, but I definitely like this way of thinking about them. The one thing that bothers me is that you can have multiple quests going at the same time, so that could confuse some of the narratives within these “episodes”. I would be curious to see what your thoughts on have multiple quests at a time are and how that impacts your interpretation of quests as episodes.


  2. pittpanther22 says:

    I really like your interpretation of quests–I feel like if eventually there were a TV/Movie for WoW, it would be extremely popular. It is true, every time I come across a new quest, I often get a little story, which eventually adds up to the larger story of the game. I think it is interesting also how there are some characters who you can complete multiple quests for–I like to refer to these as mega-quests, which is when you complete multiple quests for one character, which leads to you finding out even more of the story behind WoW.


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