Unlike a lot of forum posters, I actually think WoW's writers are pretty good. There are a lot really well done small stories and small moments in BfA. For example, I loved the work they did with Jaina, at least until the aftermath of attack on Ogrimmar. However, the writers also have a tendency to make really big, bone-headed mistakes. These mistakes are so huge, that they wipe out all the good that has been done, has been built up. This series of posts is a discussion of what I see as the major mistakes in Battle for Azeroth.
The Burning of Teldrassil
I actually liked the Burning of Teldrassil as the initial move in the story. I thought to myself, "Well, the writers promised that this wouldn't be Garrosh 2.0, and now they certainly can't do a Garrosh 2.0 story." The joke was on me, I guess, as BfA soon became Garrosh 2.0.
The Burning of Teldrassil would have been an excellent opener for a story where the war between Horde and Alliance becomes hot, and stays hot for several expansions.
For the type of story BfA wanted to be, it actually would have worked much better without burning Teldrassil. The Horde pre-emptively sweeps through and conquers Ashenvale and Darkshore. The Alliance retaliates by attacking Undercity. After Undercity gets destroyed, both sides pull back and look for allies. Then the Horde attacks Brennadan. Next the Alliance escalates with the raid on Daz'alor and killing Rastakhan. Sylvanas then starts looking to weaponize Derek Proudmoore, and Baine intervenes.
In that story, you actually have an escalating cycle of violence, where breaking it makes sense. However, by starting with Teldrassil, there is no escalation. Everything the Alliance does pales in comparison. The story starts too big, and there's no place for it to go.
The writers clearly want to have Sylvanas to have a plan. To be a mastermind working towards some hidden goal. Unfortunately none of this is coming across. Instead, Sylvanas seems to whiplashing between good and evil, and it is really hurting both her character and the story.
Back when I played D&D, it was really common for me as a DM to construct this intricate plot and world in my head. It took me a long while to truly understand that the players couldn't see that plot. The channel between the DM and player is "lossy". If you're lucky, maybe 25% of what you want to convey will actually make it to the players. In this situation, you're better off being blunt and explicit, and repeating yourself several times. Especially when your story takes place over a long period of time, as players will forget the fine details of events which happened several months ago.
FFXIV is really good at this. If they want the players to know something about a villain or a villain's plans, they'll start hinting at it a couple patches in advance. Then they'll end up explicitly saying it in a few different ways. Maybe they'll show you the villain discussing things with a subordinate. And maybe you and your allies will discuss the villain. Sometimes it can feel like they're being overly blunt, but better too blunt than too subtle.To Be Continued...