It is no secret that Richard Knaak made himself known because of the Dragonlance series and the characters he brought in. It was his work and creativity that caught the eye of Blizzards, and they made a deal with him to write the lore for Warcraft and Diablo. Let us see focus on Warcraft, for now.
Day of the Dragon was the first book written by Knaak in the Warcraft series. It covers the events in Azeroth after the Second War. As fans already know, the Second War was featured in Warcraft II. It is interesting to point out that Richard Knaak played Warcraft II and a little bit of WoW in order to get acquainted with the lore.
Anyway, Alexstrasza the Life-Binder had been captured by the Dragonmaw, and the book follows Rhonin’s quest to set her free. We will find Rhonin in several of Knaak’s books. He received a bit of criticism for him, as well for some other characters, but more on that later. Night of the Dragon is a sequel to this book that fills a few blanks before the Wrath of the Lich King.
War of the Ancients Archive covers the events of the Burning Legion arriving on Kalimdor. Besides Rhonin, another of Knaak’s favorite characters makes an appearance – Krasus. The trilogy also features one of the biggest gambits made by Malfurion, as well as a little bit of spotlight for Illidan Stormrage.
Stormrage (the book), much to the dismay of the Illidan’s fans, follows Malfurion into the nightmares that arise from the corruption of the Emerald Dream. It is here that he will clash against an old foe.
Knaak contributed his craft to various manga, as well – like the Sunwell Trilogy, along with Warcraft: Legends, and Mage. One of the advantages in terms of writing for the manga is the ability to avoid overused tropes.
No writer is perfect, and fans will always find something to complain about – it is the internet after all. Still, there are one or two good points that the player community has made regarding Richard Knaak’s writing of the Warcraft lore.
One of the problems they point out is inconsistency, though I would point out that a) it happens to the best of us and it is nearly impossible to avoid the problem in epic sagas, simply due to the large volume of data to keep track of and b) it is still official Blizzard canon and the company is just as, if not more, responsible for keeping track of the timeline.
Another issue is picking favorites. Some players have argued on various message boards, including the battle.net, that Rhonin is integrated needlessly in certain events, just so he would get more book time. Furthermore, Rhonin has been described as a Mary Sue. If you’re unfamiliar with the trope, it is the character who can do no wrong and is perfect in every way. The criticism has reached the point where an occasional troll or player would claim the event in a game or book has been ‘Knaaked’.