For a game to be compelling, at least on my end, there has to be a backstory to the story of the story.
Did I make sense? No? It only applies to roleplaying games (RPGs)? Yeah?
Okay, let me get a do over. For a videogame to be compelling, specifically RPGs, a back story is needed to tell the story of the game's main story. It is stories stacked on stories, myths that make the game's main storyline factual, at least in that universe.
There's just something about learning more of a character's story: what made him/her who he/she is. Or what made the current world that way. It is like that there's a believable history that you know to be true and anything that diverges from it is either blasphemous or erroneous or a downright insult to your knowledge.
Loremaking is one of the best dimensions of Blizzard. You can see it in their games, although for one franchise, it hasn't been that good, you can see the effort to create a myth out of it. A legend.
World of Warcraft's (WoW) lore is probably one of the best mythos for a game lying about. There's just something in the way it was fleshed out that makes the blood burn and wants you to pick up a mouse and explore the worlds of Azeroth, Draenor, and Outland.
Diablo? Oh boy, the stories of the first and second instalments were grand. As in "Grand." The third one looks to be a bit hurried for me even if they expanded it to one more act. Maybe there aren't more quests to flesh out a third beating of Diablo? I don't know. Everything felt so fast to me.
Comparing it to WoW, Diablo's quests in the latest game seems to be less wrapped in the lore. WoW banks on heavy lore linkage to make the game work while you are grinding away your levels. It was pretty evident during one of their best expansions of course, which remains to be my favorite overall, Wrath of the Lich King.
There's just something that you felt while questing in Northrend, how everything progresses to the big meeting with Arthas inside his Citadel. Cataclysm wasn't that much big on lore with the exception of the legendary dagger quests and the whole Firelands patch.
For StarCraft, I am totally at a loss. I don't know what the flow of the story was even if I've done more research after actually going on the campaign trail. It's weird, it's disparate, and yeah, seeing Kerrigan in her Jean Grey glory was kind of a letdown. There was just a large disconnect in the story of StarCraft, at least to me, especially the death of a long time, beloved central character, to be a plot vehicle. Why would you do that man (this isn't the last time I will say it apparently)!
Going back to WoW, I just saw the gameplay videos of the artifacts and I must say, Blizzard really loves this franchise to infuse it with that much lore than my brain has gone haywire trying to process each and every Warcraft, the RTS, character that appeared. I've seen the Frost Death Knight artefact questline and that was so heavy on Reign of Chaos and Frozen Throne and I love it...
...there are new ones like the Ashbringer for the paladins who obtain it after %$^& dies and installs the player as the leader of the Argent Crusade and Highlord of the Silver Hand. WAIT, WHAT?! Who dies?! Yes, someone big did, much to my dismay. Why Blizzard, why? Why make the awesomest, coolest Paladin in Azeroth die as a plot vehicle? I hope to get Turalyon out of all of this, Mr. Metzen. I'm kinda sad I didn't have a Lothar-to-Turalyon change of the guard moment when the Ashbringer died.
But anyway, can we please have more of those epic stories that you publish, Blizzard? Maybe for the other franchises? It's too heavy on the WarCraft side and I only have what, three books for Diablo and StarCraft each.
But swell, Blizzard lore is actual game storytelling and I'm never going to exchange anything for that.