In regards to Blizzard's older games, I've noticed the same thing. None of those games, not even Warcraft I & II and Diablo I, get mentioned much other than as a simple reference. What are they gaining in forgetting their older titles? Nothing.
In Warcraft 3 you get the whole Warcraft 2 intro remade in W3 enginge during the ending credits. If you finish last mission on hard difficulty you get to see funny "behind the scenes" of many Warcraft 2 cinematics (like catapult shooting down goblin aircraft). Plus the map of Quel'Thalas in Warcraft 3 is almost the same like in Warcraft 2 in regard to terrain. Isn't that reference enough? I probably haven't mentioned everything. There's a lot of easter egg type of references.
Oh, for example here you have a list of references to Lost Vikings: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Vikings#Cameo_appearances
After the travesty of Diablo III,
Diablo 3, which from what I've heard may have been kind of bad, is made by different team than sc and wc. Me, I don't care about it. My love goes for WC and SC.
I didn't think anybody would remember Blackthorne and the Lost Vikings. Glad to see someone who does.
We are on the site devoted mostly to older games. I do remember them too, fondly.
I love how you cut up parts of the post to pinpoint the problem, while leaving out parts you can't argument yourself out of.
You're beggining to sound aggresive. I answer to what i think is most important, or so that I don't repeat myself (or I may kind of agree with some points you made). I think that's natural. Instead of trying to insult my way of replying you should try to steer me in the right direction. I sincerely apologise if you think I may have ignored something you see as important. Let's try to stay friendly, shall we?
Other things you just won't let go of like the manual, while I'm talking about how the story is handled IN GAME (because whatever the back story is war is handled very different in War2 and War3, again IN GAME).
And how it is handled in War3 is a huge improvement for me. Actually though, Starcraft is the game that should get the credit for that improvement, like including dialogues and cripted events in the game, adding personality and stuff.
Maybe someone will explain to me: what EXACTLY they have destroyed. Becouse all i keep hearing is just general "strayed", "destroyed"...
Just off the top of my head:
-In Warcraft 3, Night Elves were presented as a fierce and savage race with a matriarchal society. Women were warriors and priestess, males were druids. After WoW they are nothing like that, more like a bunch of hippies and bouncy cheerleaders, and the gender-class division was scrapped.
-Thrall accepting warlocks into the Horde. I mean really? After annihilating the orc homeworld and threatening countless others? Sounds like a plan.
-Forsakens in the Horde. With Sylvanas' main advisor being a demon.
-Illidan and Kael'thas going mad for no apparent reason, except the charm of making them raid bosses, I suppose. Kael'thas even betrayed Illidan to ally himself with the very same demons he was fighting in Wc3.
-The million retcons about Sargeras and Draenei. I reccomend you to look this up, but as a recap: first Sargeras was corrupted by 'demons'. Then the demons weren't demons anymore, they were Eredar and in fact it's they who were corrupted by Sargeras. Some of them didn't want to be evil, so they fled on a giant crystal spaceship (YAY SPACESHIPS!) with the help of a benevolent race of giant crystal snowflakes. They landed on Draenor and called themselves Draenei.
Not the same draenei seen before WoW, mind you (wich the manual said were mutated by demonic energies when Draenor exploded). Nope, in truth those were mutated by the giant mushrooms from Zangamarsh. Don't ask.
-Blood Elves allying themselves with the Horde out of spite to the Alliance. Yeah, it's not like orcs and undeads didn't do even worse to their land and race in the previous wars... oh wait.
-In Wc2 high elves were mentioned to be druids, and their empathy with nature was a pretty strong trait of their race. In WoW there's no trace of that at all, except for (supposedly) a corrupted druid in Tempest Keep.
Gender-class division you assumed to be lore may have just been the fact that a single unit had a single model... so you want warriors to be men only (footmen, knights)? C'mon. Again, an RTS can show only a limited portion of a universe.
Things change, WOW takes place few years from WC3, Tauren learned to be Paladins, what's wrong with that? Most of the things you mentioned are minor compromises, or advances in a story I can live with. And i LOVE the spaceship thing. All those strange sci-fi things like radiation, mutations, it's actually what I love in WOW. I was a part of a Forsaken RP guild, nobody there complained about, we were arguing though if Forsaken are to be considered evil, opportunist, or good - it was really cool. There's a lot of mentioning of tension between the Horde and Forsaken.
Again, your vision of the future of Azeroth may have been different, but it's always an issue in sequels. WHy not open your mind to different visions. Some of the things you pointed do indeed seem illogical but this are minor details for me that don't spoil the charm in the whole. Some things are indeed retconned (like the high-elf thing), but the end result is satisfactory for me, so why not.