I hope you had a wonderful Christmas day, if it's a thing for you! We had a pretty good one 'round these parts. Nice and snowy outside, little kids excited about all their presents, and I had a copy of the Arthas book in my stocking. I've never actually read any of the WoW licensed fiction before, but I've heard good things about Christie Golden's books in the universe, so I was excited to take a peek.
It took me about 4-ish hours to get through, so it was pretty light. That's of course one of the usual pleasures of licensed fiction, it's very like having a couple puff pastries as opposed to the thick, textured richness of cheesecake or more challenging literature. It was generally pretty enjoyable, although having played so much of the game my mental imagery was somewhat damaged by seeing a lot of the action taking the form of the in-game models. Sylvanas' banshee self is a bit less intimidating when you're seeing the sort of cartoony banshee models and animations instead of whatever your imagination can come up with. That's certainly not the fault of the author, however.
The end of the book felt a bit deadliney, I think. The time around the acquisition of Frostmourne especially just didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. Faceless rafts of non-characters appear from nowhere, serve their purpose, and are killed. Muradin's actions seem decidedly out of character. Time and distance dilate and contract in ways that frankly break the suspension of disbelief. But again, I feel that it's likely that these issues grow out of substantial deadline pressure, and the majority of the book progresses pleasantly enough.
And anyway, the real fun of license fiction like this, especially for an MMO, is exploring a different angle of the places we've seen in-game. I've been inside Frostmourne cavern with my character, so seeing the scene she set there was fun. I also never played Warcraft III, so getting a solid sense of its backstory was handy as well. On the other hand, it gave me some pause when considering the future of the game. I mean, the interaction between the Scourge and the Burning Legion and the races of Azeroth is foundational to so much of the game as it was first released. Now that Arthas is dead, do the Forsaken see any advantage to belonging to the Horde? Shouldn't the Horde be more than a little bit suspicious of the Forsaken? I mean I know that Garrosh is suspicious of Sylvanas, but shouldn't there be like Horde weapons inspectors touring Undercity?
Furthermore, why are the Blood Elves still interested in being in the Horde? They joined in their fury following Arthas' destruction of the Sunwell, defecting from the Alliance. I can understand the Alliance not being interested in their re-integration into the Alliance, but the elves have grievances with the Orcs nearly as severe as their grievances with the Scourge. Speaking of which, really, are the elves ever going to sincerely be friends with the Forsaken? I just don't see it happening.
None of these thoughts are new, of course. All of this has been said many times before. Even so, I hadn't really realized before now how big a deal Arthas' death was. Opposition to the Scourge was pretty much The Big Reason for the political organization of WoW at the time of its release. I'll be pretty disappointed if they don't do anything to address that.