Richard A. Knaak Launches a Kickstarter — What if Blizzard followed on his steps?
New York Times best selling author Richard A. Knaak launched a Kickstarter to develop a novel titled… Legends of the Dragonrealm: The Turning War.
According to Richard, this is a three-volume saga which answers many questions concerning the Legends of the Dragonrealm and the Dragon Masters that never got answered.
That truly sounds powerfully interesting.
Blizzard Entertainment, Pocket Books/Gallery Books have published in past years several novels based on Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft which tie-in with a Blizzard video game or expansion that’s in development.
That’s a great practice because it allows players to learn what happened in between one game and the next as a bridge to inform and draw the players into an immersive story.
However, a long time passes by between the release of these novels.
Warcraft, for example, is very rich in lore, spanning more than 10,000 years of life-changing events, but most of it is given to the player through an in-game book in a very brief medium.
Who hasn’t read about the Three Hammers War?… where the Bronzebeards, the Wildhammers, and the Dark Irons went into a civil war that culminated in the eruption of the Blackrock Mountains with the accidental summoning of Ragnaros 300 hundred years before the opening of the Dark Portal.
Who hasn’t read the fabled story Khadgar once read in the library of Karazhan — “Aegwynn and the Dragon Hunt“?
How about the story that led the Darkspear to flee from Stranglethorn Vale?
Or the story about the first humans led by Tyr to safety.
Or how the first Highborne arrived to Tirisfal Glades prior to the founding of Quel’thalas.
The TOKYOPOP Warcraft Legends manga filled a great niche to tell some of these stories, but a novel is longer than a manga. Better yet, novels can extend into trilogies. Or even an entire series of more than three.
Why, oh why–hasn’t Blizzard Entertainment not caved in to the pleas of lore fans?
That’s a question that will haunt me yet for several years. I know the answer down in my heart. Chris Metzen’s plate has been full these past years with multiple games currently in development and other games not yet announced. He’s also co-producer of the Warcraft film. Not to mention the countless meetings he must participate in at each team department. Plus leading a normal life at home with his children and wife.
Micky Neilson, Sean Copeland, Matt Burns and others are busy with other projects too, and the logistics to prepare those stories before it comes to reality on paper is mind-blowing.
Still … I dream. As any other Warcraft / StarCraft / Diablo lore fan out there, I dream. I have always dreamt of the community getting involved somehow in the initial development of Blizzard novels or graphic novels. Even if everyone involved needs to sign an NDA.
The community has been influencing in the past on the forums, or via Twitter. Even at BlizzCon. Heroes of the Storm has been forged and shaped through BlizzCon and by BlizzCon feedback. TheRedShirtGuy (Ian) was very influential with his lore ABCs. Got immortalized as the Fact-checker NPC in Iron Forge. I do have an anecdote that only some fans in the Scrolls of Lore forums know about. Back in 2009, a fan by the username Timolas pointed out the unnamed captain (Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos) who spoke with the emissary of King Terenas in the scene where he recalls Arthas’ troops to return immediately to Lordaeron is named Captain Luc Valonforth. At the time, I think World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was in beta testing. Pocket Star Books (Simon & Schuster, Inc. Division) had begun printing the novel titled World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King. I contacted really an awesome editor, Jaime Costas. We had been in contact for a few years. Some of our past giveaways, and interviews on and before 2009 came to happen through her. I infomed her that the captain in the quest titled: The Truth Shall Set Us Free had been given a name in-game: Captain Luc Valonforth. I had read a review copy two weeks before the novel went on sale. As soon as I told Jaime Costas, she edited the scene where the captain talked with the Lordaeron emissary. The novel then was printed with that name. As I was writing this article, I was double-checking some links and found my tale was added (without my knowledge) to the WoWpedia. See how the lore community works? It’s awesome. The original forum thread is here.
Back to the main topic… say some of the most influential lore fans around the community are picked, and invited to a Skype session or chat room with Chris Metzen, Micky Neilson, Sean Copeland or other members of the Creative Team. Prior to the meeting each is sent by mail an NDA that must be signed, notarized, and sent back. Whatever fancy or legal procedure is needed for such a thing.
Those fans then brainstorm with the creative team. Talk about the different stories, and choose one story. Everyone provides an idea, or ideas on what races or characters existed in that time-frame, what possible stories could exist within that sandbox and timeframe.
Then, Micky Neilson (Publishing Lead) posts a Kickstarter to fund the project. Here is where this dream gets interesting. The project is community-driven from concept to execution. We have seen the success of Blizzard novels.
Just an innocent examples: the Diablo III: Book of Cain reached # 1 Amazon’s best selling graphic novel before its release date. World of Warcraft: Pearl of Pandaria by Micky Neilson & Sean Galloway reached # 3 New York Times best selling graphic novel. The World of Warcraft: Stormrage was # 1 best seller too. How did all these lore books win then? Magic-word: Pre-orders.
Pre-Order and Kickstarter are basically the same thing. People commits to buy a product they are interested in, and enlist themselves. There is a slight difference, though. When you enlist to a pre-order in Amazon or another retailer you will get that item delivered on release date. On Kickstarter or other type of crowdsourcing the item isn’t shipped if the item doesn’t reach the targeted price goal when the kickstarter expires.
However, the lore fans are there. It has been proved once and again in Amazon and the New York Times best selling lists.
It would be nice for Blizzard to have a Kickstarter-like page on the Blizzard Store or even in the World of Warcraft in-game store, but Kickstarter is more abroad in terms that non-Blizzard fans can also jump in and participate.
It’s all a bunch of dreams. However, they say dreams do come true. Hope the right people read this, and I know they do.