Over the weekend, BellularGaming, one of the larger YouTube channels focused on World of Warcraft, announced the ambitious mod Warcraft Tales. The mod was planned as a zone-by-zone revamp of World of Warcraft's 1-60 quests, making them more narratively compelling and bringing them in line with Blizzard's current storytelling. The plan was to release episodes covering a different zone in the Human questing experience every six weeks, starting with Elywnn Forest. The first episode was scheduled for release on April 6.
Unfortunately, we fast-forward to yesterday and Blizzard has summarily killed the mod.
"Warcraft Tales is not going to work out on Blizzard's end," said BellularGaming's host yesterday. "Essentially, their legal department does not see the project as just an addon as governed by the addon policy, rather it's seen as a third-party expansion set. I suspect that a project like ours is something that they never thought was possible through an in-game addon and therefore it's something that policy was not designed to handle."
That might be because BellularGaming originally described it as "kinda like DLC". The channel hoped that Warcraft Tales would be allowed under the same exemption as Starcraft Universe, another expansive mod that turned Starcraft II into a fully-functioning online RPG. Starcraft Universe was actually released with Blizzard's blessing, following Kickstarter and IndieGogo funding campaigns.
"As we told Bellular directly, we really appreciate his passion for the game," a Blizzard rep told PCGamer. "But what it comes down to is that we need to protect the integrity and experience of the game for all of our players. WoW is very much a living world-anything that can change actual in-game content has the possibility of affecting the experience for all players on a technical side, even if they choose not to use the addon, besides materially changing the lore that binds the universe together."
"Fan fiction is awesome (and it takes place out of game), addons that modify the way quests are displayed are fine since they don't modify the in-game content, but addons that alter [or] replace the actual in-game content and story are not since this has far-reaching implications on the player experience."
BellularGaming is working with Blizzard to see if there's some way to release Warcraft Tales as intended. Until then though, the project is dormant.