Does the War(craft) mean anything anymore?April 23, 2010 at 7:30 am | Posted in General | 2 Comments
Tags: game design, memories, World of Warcraft
I’m beginning to wonder whether the War in World of Warcraft actually means anything any more.
It meant something in Warcrafts 1 and 2; an RTS works better when there’s combat to Real Time Strategy about, so that was lucky. And I must admit, my enjoyment of Warcraft 2 was vastly enhanced by the whole “beating up the other side” element.
I didn’t get to play much of Warcraft 3 (I got annoyed by the whole Arthas’ fall plot; when you’re the only person on the planet thinking you’re doing the right thing, but everyone else says it’s a really dumb thing, maybe it’s time for a little introspection. Rather than throwing a tantrum about it), but I do remember that when World of Warcraft launched it was set during a sort of cold war at the end of outright hostilities.
I also heard a rumour that the language divide was not originally in place. That in Closed Beta members of the Horde and Alliance could communicate with each other freely and easily over the same chat channels.
However, people being people and players being players, this communication just descended into insults, bullying and name-calling to the point where it was just switched off.
Rumours being rumours, that might well be pure toss, and that Blizzard always planned to have a language divide but it did make me wonder if that was one of the reasons why there were so many areas where the two sides could mix, and quest-givers that could communicate with both sides.
There is a part of me that’s nostalgic for those early days. Shouting; “For the Horde!” and having it mean something. The various and numerous battles fought over Tarren Mill. A few fantastic barneys in Ashenvale. Deciding that Undercity and Orgrimmar were better than Stormwind and Ironforge, and the arguments to prove or disprove it.
Of course, even Original Warcraft had portents of what was to come; the Argent Dawn was horribly ecumenical, and the “race” to open the gates of An’Qiraj seemed like far too much of a joint effort to me.
This was both sides working together for a common goal, and such plots seem to have been a theme for expansions; the Aldor and Scryers were a personal choice in the free city of Shattrath. The Argent Dawn and the Ebon Blade are both equal opportunities employers, and Wrath of the Liche King provided a rather effective and strident reason for the cold war to end:
The Scourge is coming back. Let’s go and get our retaliation in first.
What will the future hold? Well there’s the Cataclysm. In the event of the world being torn asunder, would there be much point in continuing hostilities?
I wonder if the war will ever return. World of Warcraft has become easier and easier to play in recent times, and I’m wondering if one day Blizzard will just get rid of the language divide, and allow players to group up regardless of whether they’re Horde or Alliance.