Sunday, 18 April 2010

WoW: Once were warriors

I first played Warcraft in 1994. It was a brutal head to head contest between Orcs and Humans, portrayed as a rugged tough looking man facing off a ferocious orc.

I continued to play the series as it continued through several evolutions, the world became more complex and more races were added.

In 1995 the series produced Warcraft 2, thematically and graphically very similar to Warcraft 1.

Warcraft 3, released in 2002, stressed the grimmer aspects of the game with the tormented Prince Arthas going on a genocidal rampage against his own people. The storyline is dark as was the box art:

This was swiftly followed by an expansion. Warcraft 3: the Frozen Throne, the box art of which restored the orc: human ratio while supporting the theme of a darker, grimmer, game world.

World of Warcraft took the series in a new direction. The box art for the original game was the first to contain a female and she is prominent.

However the Horde faction remained defiantly unpretty with putrescent deliquescent undead, brutal orcs, monstrous minotaurs and cruel trolls available as character races.

Burning Crusade, the first expansion, introduced two new races, both rather pretty.

Wrath of the Lich King slightly reversed the trend by basing its image on iconic Elric-clone, Arthas:

However there was substantial prettification of Warcraft going on. The bleak and desolate atmosphere of the Icecrown region was bizarrely undermined by a jousting tournament. You can almost imagine them saying "I say old chap, would you mind awfully not stealing anyone's souls for the next half an hour, we're having tiffin."

Seasonal quests that are totally out of tune with a grim relentless conflict have come to pervade the game. They look ridiculous:

And daily quests share the theme:

Now finally with the addition of My Little Pony mounts we've come all the way from the boy's game Warcraft started out as to the girl's game it is today:

Warcraft players once were warriors. What have we become?


  1. Were you also offended by the rainbow in Diablo II?

  2. Confirming videogame playing nerds are warriors.

  3. A few girly elements doesn't make a game girly :) Although it's never going to be Modern Warfare.

    Do you not think that girly and boy elements (ie. badass orcish armour, motorbikes, et al) can mix?

  4. @ Spinks They can mix. The love story in Terminator was touching and tender.

    In WoW they make as much sense as a lich in a Santa hat. It sometimes feels as if someone took a story of horror and war and randomly dispersed clips from My Little Pony throughout.

    I think the real issue is the lack of continuity. One moment you're deep in a story that's setting one mood then you jump to a story element that seems completely out of place.
    It doesn't work. People accept it because it's crept up on us but if you step back and look at it with perspective it's ridiculous and stupid.

  5. Blizzard has never taken WoW very seriously. They throw jokes in at any chance. Actually that started before WoW.

    I said bow strong not g... never mind.

    I like having the jokes and nonsense and sparkles. It's the final stand against srs bns.

  6. @Kleps Sure, it started in Warcraft 1 with little easter eggs. If you spam clicked an orc he'd grumble "stop touching me" and there were different easter eggs for most troop types.

    But I don't agree they didn't take WoW seriously. The easter eggs and pop culture references were subtle, allusions that pointed outside the Magic Circle without breaking it. You could raid Molten Core or BWL and get immersed in the story, in the why of the game.

    Now this stuff is the game. It's too in your face.

  7. Thank you sir for saying clearly what I've been trying to say for a long long time. I could not agree more. Maybe it only affect those of us who played the old warcraft games but it does feel like Warcraft has lost its soul.

  8. "What have we become?"

    The mass market?