Go large, or go home
Hi, how ya been? It’s been weeks, I know! But it’s for a really good reasnon … see, Grimmtooth Actual done went and got himself a job, and it’s been keeping him as busy as a Goblin at a bank vault explosion site. It’s been pretty crazy, is what I’m saying. So time to think, compose, write, and otherwise participate in all things bloggy has been in short supply. There’s also the fact that with my WoW time somewhat reduced, I’ve had a bit less inspiration to write anything, anyway.
SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT, HIGGLEY PIGGLEY WITHOUT CONSIDERATION FOR ORDER OR PROPRIETY.
FAIRLY WARNED BE YE, SAY I.
There’s this amazing screed from Matt Rossi at WoW Insider. Subtitled "Jaina Proudmoore was right", it was a long and detailed manifesto on why it might be in the interests of the Alliance to follow through on Jaina’s judgment of the Horde and dismantle it, eradicate Orgrimmar from the face of Azeroth, and disperse the Orcs to the four corners of the world.
I thought it was sensible. Some among the clan here thought it was inspirational. Night Elves especially have many reasons to want to see the Orcs removed as a force on the planet, but in my mind it was at least a sensible approach to handle a warlike and disruptive force that is, more likely than not, going to cause more trouble in the future.
And then he posted this – more or less – retraction of the piece.
(Probably not me IRL)
In it, he explains how he was originally being satirical (which, yes, I caught from his association with a certain piece of famous literature) and was being completely misunderstood. He then made a grand case for how it was simply impossible, infeasible, dare I say, inconceivable that such a thing take place, lest our game fall to pieces.
(May not be an actual image of Matt Rossi)
I was shocked, yes, shocked that he’d do such a thing. That was a great screed, and if anyone took it as anything other than the satire it was, that was on them. The fact that he had to walk it back is either a sign of how bad people misunderstood the piece, or a welcome opportunity to crank out 3000 or so words without having to think too hard on it. I don’t judge.
I personally feel that it undermines one’s ability to post a strong opinion piece like this if one feels the need to back down in the face of a clamoring throng of opposition, but maybe there are forces of evil at work here that I’ve no inkling of.
At any rate, if he’s to be taken at his word, he didn’t grasp that so many people would agree with the original premise. I’m guessing he’s well past the point of thinking "in character", or maybe his "characters" might be all Horde. But thinking "in character" here, all I can say is that I and all my clan support fully the idea that the Horde should be dismantled for the good of all Azeroth.
There are many ways to tell the story of Azeroth. Keeping the Horde around is simply the easiest. You want epic? Let’s see the story of the New Orgrimmar Liberation Front as it harasses the Trolls, Tauren, and Alliance alike. Let’s see Sylvanas without any constraints. Let’s see what happens when the Blood Elves find themselves caught between
Scourge Forsaken and Alliance interests in the area. Conflict? A two-sided conflict is so simplistic in contrast.
Do I feel that Blizz is up to that level of storytelling? Not really, of course. I think we’re all used to the idea that the Blizzard story telling and dialog writing is a literary blunt instrument that makes Scooby Doo look deep in contrast.
But that is not ever a good reason not to ask for it, or accept a lesser effort without comment. We should never not push for better.
Therein lies my disappointment with Rossi’s second article. His first article was brilliant as it was, and challenged Blizzard’s choices in storytelling. He was in some way pushing for something better from our storytelling overlords. And thus his second article is disappointing in that it basically sighs with resignation and accepts the same torpid level of storytelling that we’ve been getting in the past. Yes, people, it’ll still be Alliance versus Horde in the next expansion, and that’s that. Siiiiiigh.
(Pretty sure that WAS how I looked.)
The only real conflict here, actually, is the conflict between the money tenders, the program designers, and the story tellers. The story tellers probably want to push the envelope, as far as that goes, but the money and management factions keep them focused on what the product is that they’re selling. They CAN’T, for example, entertain reunification of the Elves. Not because it wouldn’t be a good story. Not that at all. Because that would mean the Alliance had more factions than the Horde. And they can’t do that and give the Horde a new replacement to even things out, because that would mean that the Horde had a new race, and the Alliance did not.
Story tellers shouldn’t worry about "game balance". They should be the dreamers and schemers and trouble makers. Rossi … for a brief moment, was a rabble-rouser. But Corporate got to him. I hate those guys.
If you have that little devil sitting on your shoulder saying HIT PUBLISH, DO EEEET on such a piece, consider going along with it. Raise a little hell. Because here’s the thing. People admire those Captains of Industry, those competent managers, those well-to-do bean counters. But when Rossi let his inner rebel out to play, I fell a little bit in love with him.
Because we love our rabble rousers.
And it’s good to be loved.