Published on April 14th, 2018 | by Hugh Mitchell
World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume III Review
Summary: World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume III follows the template laid out in volumes I and II before it by academically recounting the events of Warcraft III up to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm
Titans of industry Blizzard Entertainment and Darkhorse have once again teamed up to bring us the third instalment of their lore-focused, encyclopaedic recount of the history of the Warcraft universe with World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume III. Volume III canonically covers the events in the Warcraft universe from the end of Warcraft 2, all the way to the end of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. It’s written in the same style as the first and second volumes before it (read our review of World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume II here), which means that significant prior knowledge of the Warcraft universe is almost a prerequisite to enjoying the book.
For those unfamiliar with the World of Warcraft Chronicle series, each book covers a certain time period in the Warcraft universe with a writing style that lands more towards academic dissertation than fantasy storytelling. The books also employ incredible hand drawn art and fascinatingly realised maps to bring the information to life and to enhance the storytelling. Yet the series is more often praised for its lore revelations than for its narrative.
World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume I details the creation of the Warcraft universe, leading up to the events of the first game in the series, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. This book was revered by lore-obsessed fans as it revealed a bevy of new information about the Titans and the early days of Azeroth. Volume II covers the time period spanning Warcraft 1 and 2 and adds a degree of detail to the events that wasn’t possible to show with the relatively smaller scope of the games.
World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume 3 begins by recounting the events of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, which was a turning point for the series where Blizzard really put story to the forefront of the games with highly detailed cinematic cutscenes. As a result, a lot of the information will already be well known to those that followed the narrative in Warcraft III and the first three World of Warcraft expansions.
That’s not to say there isn’t any new information revealed in World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume III. Further details on the Old Gods and their influence on major events has been revealed, plus greater insight is provided into many characters motivations and emotions throughout the timeline.
For the right audience, World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume III will be an incredibly engaging read. That audience, however, is more than likely a rather narrow subsection of pre-existing Warcraft fans. If you’ve been keeping up with the Warcraft lore alongside the games, retracing these events through the lens provided in Chronicle Volume III is an enjoyable and fascinating experience. If, like me, you played through World of Warcraft without paying much attention to the story or characters, you might be surprised how interesting it is to learn why this raid boss is in this location for example, or why that zone looks the way it does. On the other hand, if you don’t have any prior knowledge of Warcraft lore, World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume III will quickly overwhelm you with pronouns. The gorgeous artwork and detailed maps may be able to provide some context to the events, however the writing style is likely to be too academic to keep you invested in the lengthy tale. I’m hoping World of Warcraft Chronicle: Volume IV is on the way to continue to catalogue the ever-expanding Warcraft universe.
CREATIVE TEAM: Chris Metzen, Matt Burns, Robert Brooks, Peter Lee, Joesph Lacroix
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
PUBLICATION DATE: 27/3/18
REVIEWER: Hugh Mitchell