Werewolves in top hats, gnomes performing the dance moves from Bloodhound Gang’s Bad Touch, steampunk motorcycles and planes, Murlocs, escorting orphaned children through the Dark Portal in Hellfire Peninsula, ridiculous sexual dimorphism in PC races, non-combat pets, Haris Pilton, giant cow-men riding on chocobos, polymorph, Quilboar, dressing up in an ogre suit, shoulder pads you could hide a small village under, remote-controlled fighting robots, Santa Claus and the Grinch, Big Love Rocket, blue space demons, wibbley-wobbly timey-wimey, mechanostriders, transforming into a furblog, parachutes, escorting mechanical chickens, ludicrous retcons, kobold candles, Forsaken Death Knights, teleporters, steam car vs rocket car racetrack, Thunderfury, jet packs, Tuskarr, dressing up in a murloc suit, orbital death satellites, pink elekks, Engineering, Gnomish Nutritional Effervescent Remarkably Delicious Sweets…
And you’re worried about pandas?
however: yes, but.
there’s a line where it gets too silly/weird/over the top/whatever the complaint is.
And everyone has to – and gets to – decide for themselves where that line is.
Whining about the game focus changing enough that you are falling out of love with it – well, understandable, at least to a certain extent.
While it is true that everyone gets to decide for themselves where the line rests, if pandas are what did it for someone then I submit that WoW had probably already crossed the line and this is just the moment he or she took to look back and notice how far away it had already gotten.
It’ll take a couple of weeks to adapt, then you won’t even notice pandas anymore. Seriously, do you worry when a pink gnome warrior girl is tanking? Of course not, at full camera zoom-out, it’s impossible to see it’s a pink gnome warrior girl. And if you zoom in the mental filter kicks in and you see a TANK, and not a pink gnome warrior girl.
Anyway I agree. Anyone thinking that pandas are “too silly” has been playing WoW looking at raid frames and not at character models. Which have always been silly/weird and, especially, totally and completely horrible.
If you don’t believe me do the following experiment:
step 1: log into lotro, go to bree at the prancing pony inn, look at characters, take screenshots.
step 2: log into WoW, go anywhere in stormwind (AH and banks are good candidates), look at characters, take screenshots.
step 3: compare.
step 4: realize that WoW’s character/armor design is weird/silly/horrible.
step 5: ignore pandas. Which, BTW look quite good compared so some other races….
Then there are those who embraced WoW with all those things and space goats even (Oh, I guess that’s the “blue space demons”?), but thought the Pandas were too much, but just needed someone to point out that they were being ridiculous.
Not that I play MMOs anymore :_( but thank you Melmoth. Pandaren are okay by me.
I’m not worried at all, but I do think it’s the most overt action WoW’s taken at marketing the game to a younger audience. That plus the Pokemon additions are both clearly kid-oriented. I’m not worried about the weirdness, but I am worried about the marketing direction.
@yonari: Absolutely, my time came a little earlier in the year, and I’m certainly not saying that this expansion isn’t contentious. But is it really the pandas?
@Tanek: Yes, indeed.
@Helistar: It’s definitely the case that LotRO made me realise why I wanted a slightly more believable world than that which WoW could provide, which admittedly still isn’t saying much in the context of the current crop of fantasy MMOs.
@Boris: It’s a matter of taste, obviously, but to let that alone colour one’s impression of an entire expansion? Perhaps that’s an avoidance of a more inconvenient truth; ‘they’re no longer aiming this at the original generation of MMO players’? Now there’s a basis for concern, if you’re still a WoW fan.
As J-Shin might have sung if he were a WoW fan:
@Stubborn: Bingo. I just don’t find that people are articulating such concerns as well as you did in those two sentences; perhaps it’s the rage, but ‘Wah! Pandas!’ is not going to focus Blizzard’s attention on the real concerns.
I’m honestly intrigued by the new expansion simply because it’s a new continent to explore and Blizz has always done a wonderful job with such places.
Cata was so fragmented…a cut and paste expansion. While WoW is pursuing a younger audience than I it’s nice to see the game return to its strengths.
Thanks Melmoth for bringing some perspective to the blogosphere. Some of the reactions have been so inane and dramatic that I think they’ve forgotten that Blizzard and WoW have always been tongue-in-cheek with their lore. Asserting or complaining that Blizzard needs to be hard-core or consistent or serious with their lore is pretty bizarre considering that they’ve always been pretty loose with the IP.
@Jim: I like to think that at some point in the past I would have been really rather excited about this expansion, but alas I just can’t find any enthusiasm for WoW these days.
I hope for those who still remain in the game, that MoP is indeed a return to form and plays to WoW’s old strengths, as you say.
@Stormtrail: I just think there’s plenty to discuss with regards to the new expansion, good and bad, and I find it a bit sad (you might say I’m a sad panda) that many people seem to be focussing on something which really should be a non-issue when one takes an impartial look at it from within the context of the entire game to date.
Of course if the new race had been groundhogs then I could understand all the fuss, those guys need a punch on the nose.
It’s really the pandas for me. A fantasy game with silly stuff in it became a silly game with fantasy stuff in it. It’s about saturation.
Today’s capcha is bicuitotron which is dangerously close to silly. You have been warned.
Aha! You are Graham Chapman (dressed in Colonel’s uniform) and I claim my five pounds. :)
@Stabs: You’re certainly not alone in that point of view, so there must be something to it. I wonder if it’s a matter of perspective, how close one is to the game?
Having been away from WoW for a while, and having played a game such as LotRO (which still has silly elements, but I would suggest is generally far more ‘srs fantasy bsns’), I have trouble seeing pandas as a major diversion from the general theme of WoW: it’s cartoon with bloom, it’s hyper fantasy, it’s light hearted and tongue-in-cheek much of the time, and I’m sure that these are significant contributing factors to why the concept was so accessible to a huge number of subscribers who would otherwise have given a wide berth to an online game with swords and dragons in it.
Then again, I primarily played Alliance, and we’ve always had to contend with Gnomes; perhaps things were a bit more straight-laced on the Horde side in the early days.
@SKapusniak: He’s not the Colonel, he’s a very naughty boy.
Stubborn’s point about Panda’s and pokemon being an overt attempt to market WoW to kids is a very interesting one.
For some time now I have had an uncomfortable feeling that there were no new mmorpg players. It felt as if each new game was just struggling to grab some of the existing cohort of aging players. And we the players are getting older and crankier with each new title.
In that context is is actually a good thing that Blizzard is trying to expand the market once more by going after a new cohort of players.
I think it just shows that there’s still plenty of evolution left in the genre: evolving the target market, evolving what it means to be an MMO, evolving the payment schemes; it’s certainly interesting to witness, even if those of us from earlier days are, perhaps, feeling a little left behind.