I called it

Not really.  Turns out, it wasn’t a smoke screen. What seemed too ridiculous to be real, was real.

Okay, I still think Pandaren are a silly, goofy thing. And they come from outer space. On the back of a giant space turtle, apparently.  But then I remember the Eredar Draenai were basically space goats that arrived when their spaceship stolen space fortress crash landed dematerialized on the one uninhabited island in the whole ocean, and I guess it’s no worse than what I’ve swallowed before.

Still, I know one blogger already who has decided that they’ve jumped the shark, and I can’t say I blame him. "Past expansions have been sooo dark!"  Well, duh. *WAR*craft, yo. It’s what we do.

Having said that, let’s pretend to take it serious for a second and make some observations.

  1. Newbie area is open for playing at Blizzcon. So they’ve been putting in some significant work already, and this probably explains a few things in other areas, such as why they suddenly decided against that undersea raid in 4.2. Bob, you’re needed in Room 12. No, I’ll take care of this, just go!
  2. Looks like the zones and some instances are ready for fly-throughs already. Again, they’ve had people on this for a while. This is where Cata was at twelve months after the reveal.  They really are at it, aren’t they?
  3. The upshot of 1 and 2 is that I think the trends in subscriptions really has gotten some attention, and they really have committed to iterate faster and harder to level that out.
  4. To further pander to the "subs are falling" crowd, there’s the fact that they are now offering Diablo III for free with a full year subscription ((No, I won’t be. I want to get D3 for my kid, but any copy attached to my account will be unplayable when I’m logged in, and, ya know …)). If you’re from "that" crowd, then this is proof positive that they’re worried sick over subscriptions.  Either way, this truly is an amazingly potent loyalty reward.

There is a crowd that is disparaging this expansion as the marker of when Blizz officially gave up caring about keeping WoW fresh, and focusing on Titan. I’m not so sure. It sounds like some of the new features – such as "challenge dungeons" – aren’t the kind of thing you see in an abandoned property.

What DOES concern me is the movement away from the darker, gothic setting that is the foundation of the franchise. It’s really starting to look like they’re shooting for a less mature demographic.  Kung Fu Pandas ((Enjoy the lawsuit, by the way, Blizz. In Disney there be dragons.)) really appeal more to the child inside, and, while I see nothing wrong with that, I didn’t come to Azeroth for that sort of gratification.

There is far more to this expansion than the Pandaren, tough, and there’s a lot to digest. The talent tree is either far more complex than it looks, or has become disappointingly simplified. Battle pets seems like a cross between Pokemon and Rappelz, which may be instant gratification for pet collectors. As long as Flora’s oozling can grow horns or something she’s happy.

Sadly, this may end up being a guild-breaker for some considering the near-violent reactions I’ve seen in some of my guildies. I think a lot of people were looking for an excuse to ditch WoW for SWTOR (or whatever it is)  and its Ewoks, and you gotta admit that this is a fairly polarizing choice on Blizzard’s part. 

ONE thing for sure – regardless of how many emails you got from Bioware yesterday, you probably weren’t paying a lot of attention to them.


Posted on October 22, 2011, in Blizzard, Expansions, Meta, O teh dramaz!, What is this I don't even. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Agreed at the hatred or love people have for MoP…its surprising. It is nice to see that there are things being put in besides raiding onry 🙂

    What I am shocked at is why do people hate pandas so much? It is bad timing cause we have Kung Fu panda images in our heads? if this had comeo ut before it…would there have been as much hate? I think it is safe to assume no.

    Just because it is pandas and rolling green pastures and landscapes? Why does that make it childish? Again it is Pixar’s Kung Fu panda interfereing with our perspective?

    Take a look at the D&D cartoon, thundercats, He-man etc, The orig hobbit animated movie, the last unicorn, or any other fantasy styled movies from back when, why are we not upset when it comes to any fantasy type game or even WoW for that matter and why don’t we rage when something is similar to those shows. OMG the mage has invis…that is so cliche etc? Or OMG that rogue is using daggers and looks like Batman!


  2. I think you are incorrect about one thing: I am pretty sure that two games on the same account are able to be logged in at the same time. Multiboxers do this all the time with duplicate subscriptions to WoW.


    • @Tyben – I don’t have much experience in that realm, so definitely nice to know. Since I’ll probably dip my beak into D3 at some point anyway, I might consider it; nothing to lose, right?


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