|Ready to play 'Spot the Prominent Female NPC in this Expansion?'|
AWAY YOU GO ^^
Well, yesterday was interesting: and when I say that I'm not being sarcastic or controversial, despite these being default states I often return to when confused. It was the closest I've ever been to actually being there, and the most isolated I've ever felt when interacting socially for quite some time. I must thank EVERYONE who sat with me and discussed stuff in #TBLIZ, which as a last-minute ad-hoc experiment worked incredibly well, far better than even I could have anticipated (even if I managed to exceed my Tweet limit halfway through and do a quick account swap!) On reflection, I should have realised when Direct TV used a portion of the new Expansion logo last night before it had been 'formally' announced: sometimes, rushing things isn't the answer. A bit more thought goes a long way to making people happy. Not saying the first thing that comes into your head when someone asks you a question? Really sensible to consider your position.
Sometimes, being on time isn't as important as doing a good job.
I'd been warned we'd been getting Time Travel, but I didn't want to listen, and now it is apparent that the Warlords of Draenor is, in fact, the Mother of all Big Red Reset Buttons (although clearly it will have NO EFFECT on the existing timeline because, you know, we don't remake old content) I'm really not sure what to think. Genuinely, I woke up and the two things that had made it into my subconscious were my improved Dwarven Female model and the Garrison Feature. There had been concern when all I saw on the main page were blokes to examine, but it's okay, I was pulled out of bed last night to witness Gnome females. The fact that's been retweeted to death overnight should give the Devs at least SOME idea that the women in game get noticed when you lavish attention on them. Many, many of the ones outside however aren't as easily fooled: you can play the 'Community' card to death, but if this is really a 'boys trip' to Draenor as a certain Mr Metzen remarked to a packed hall of con-goers yesterday, someone's going to eventually see through your modus operandi.
I really hope that the hints of some strong female NPC's that I saw before I turned in last night aren't simply that: after all, how am I supposed to inspire my eight year old daughter to ravage the beautiful new continent we're beings sent to explore/conquer/save (delete where applicable) without some appropriate female role models? Remember, Blizzard guys, the Community Card covers both sexes.
What was probably of biggest interest, quite apart from the fact that everyone wants to play HoTS and that I suspect the Warcraft Movie's a lot higher in many people's thoughts than it was yesterday (new logo as well), is when all this happens. There is a PHENOMENAL amount of stuff on the table currently, across the entire family of games. There's currently no dates attached to ANYTHING actually releasing, as far as I can tell. In fact, it was a bit of a standing joke in the Opening Ceremony. There's no timeframes here for reference, and that says to me that there's SO much going on, they're not sure what they're doing. There's a lot missing too that people will be used to from previous expansions: no new race or classes to drool over, only one level of talents for 100, an implicit understanding that as you level you won't get anything new, just a consolidation/improvement of existing abilities. Also, we have hints of stats vanishing (hit, expertise) that cause headaches and new ones replacing them which I assume you just need a lot of to make them awesome?
Mostly, at least right now, all we have is the POSSIBILITY of much new stuff. Remember Path of the Titans: it can be introduced here, but it may not make it to live. However, I think we can bullet point what we can expect to make it to the end box without too much difficulty:
- Models. Eventually, though looking at the effort being put in (and that is apparent) I think people will be prepared to wait. In fact, at least here, that one is a given. DWARF FEMALES FTW.
- Garrisons: I'll do a separate post on this later. Player Housing's one of those Holy Grails Blizz said they'd not do but realise if they put effort into it, everyone will use it. GIEF GUILD GARRISONS KKTHXBAIBAI.
- Quality of Life Improvements. CROSS REALM HEIRLOOMS. BAG SPACE. ALL OF THE CAPSLOCK LOVE.
- A Better Questing path. Solo immersion from the get-go. Sensible use of the technology. Still, YOU COLD USE IT ON OLD CONTENT *cough*
- The Raiding changes are already causing people to QQ and cancel their accounts, of that I am sure, or just make every Twitter post a 'end of all things I'll go play HoTS.' Hey, haters, Blizzard will still be taking your money! They still win, so maybe STOP COMPLAINING?
- PvP Timeless Isle is, I have to say, a stroke of UTTER GENIUS. Maybe you could put all the strong female NPC's in there and we can all practice butt whupping in a safe and controlled environment whilst the Boy's Trip pretend they're being real men /sarcasm
I'm lying if I don't say, that having spent a month deciding what I'd LIKE to see in game to have so little of it actually come to pass, that I'm disappointed with the overall plan. This is not enough to make me throw my toys out the pram, or become a Blizzard Hater (TM) overnight, but I have may things to pause and think about. It is very clear that the people making my game are listening to criticism, but what is now apparent is that where they think and what I want are pretty much in different places. I'm fine with that, because if I didn't want to keep discussing the game as I do, there's a very simple solution, and I'm not ready to give up yet. This is the key to all of this: when you love a game, you take everything, bad and good in your personal perception. You make informed judgements, value choices and only when you have ALL the facts do you settle down and form an opinion. Right now, we've got what Blizzard decided we wanted to hear. I wonder, now they realise that's not strictly true, some things might appear that haven't. Time will tell if that is the case.
I think now is the time to start discussing some of these new things, and see where that dialogue takes us. After that, I feel I might be forced to reassess my feelings on Beta tests. I'd kill for a Garrioson to play with right now, no word of a lie. Blizzard knew that part of me all to well. I have no doubt as a result this Expansion's going to be very interesting indeed...