So, pandas.

So, pandas.

The WoWophere is abuzz with release notes from Blizzcon, and reading commentary thereon has been super-interesting and completely overwhelming by turns (looking at you, insaneoactive twitter feed!), occasionally both at the same time. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and my perspective is colored by a couple of things: first, I’m a long-time player. I remember when we had to walk uphill in the swamp both ways to get from Darkshire to Booty Bay and when all priest gear was the same because by god if you’ve rolled that class you are HEALING and you are LIKING IT, and I also remember that fateful day eleventy million years ago when I turned to Mr. Aro and said “… how can you make an Everquest clone out of WARCRAFT?” So there’s that.

I am also a player and RPer nearing the close of the stories I wanted to tell; the end of Deathwing is the culmination of everything I have loved and played with since Warcraft 2, and none of the new plot threads that have been added to the interactive world have gripped me as much as the story of the Demon Soul — but there have been new additions to old stories. With this expansion, though, that’s changing. It’s only new stories, and I really do not care about the war between the Horde and the Alliance. I think it’s diplomatically ridiculous, particularly since that war has been over OVER AND OVER AND OVER again for twenty years worth of content, and I and many important people who actually do this kind of shit for a living who aren’t Henry Kissinger think it’s far more important for peoples at war facing, oh I dunno, EXTINCTION to band together against common threats, but hey, it’s a fantasy game, who gives a shit about logic?

On the Apoth forums, Dar said that while she wasn’t really a lore buff, she still felt kind of miffed about Pandaria because it felt like it just didn’t fit with the realm. I was going to reply there, but it ended up super long and with rather a lot of overly colorful metaphors so: QUICK, TO THE BLOGMOBILE. So, short form: speaking as a lore buff, the game’s been destroying its own lore for the last two expansions anyway, so for those of us who care about the little things like internal consistency and coherent narrative this is really nothing new and we’re kind of old hat at throwing our hands up and saying “fuck it” in sad, defeatist tones.

The funny thing about Pandaren is that they started out as a joke because Samwise is kind of a furry and he has this thing about pandas, so he doodled some and they got easter-egged in and now it’s this whole big fleshed-out thing and a lot of people have wanted them as a playable race for a while, so … I guess? I mean, whatever. It’ll have gorgeous environments and male Pandaren look outstanding so, sure, fine. Pandaria. Okay. If lady Pandaren end up looking like Minerva Mink I will seriously start punching some concept artists square in the nutsack over the internet, and I admit that I am kind of already bracing for it because what the hell bugs with boobs omfg but hey, models often change eleventy million times throughout the development cycle, which is how we got Minerva Mink Worgen in the first place.

And then there’s pokéwow, which: again, sure whatever, okay fine. It is probably not for me (who am I kidding I have perfect clears on every goddamn level of wowpeggle), but I’m sure someone will like it and it gives an entirely new dimension to Aro’s Dragonsworn Whelphome concept, but it is not, as it were, blowing my skirt up.

All of that is fine. Hell, if Malygos being a major villain was not a dealbreaker for me (THIS IS STILL SO WRONG, YOU GUYS, IT IS SO TOTALLY FUCKING WRONG), then AZURE WHELPLING I CHOOSE YOU sure as hell isn’t going to be.

However, and this is a big however, I have to give a big ol’ DO NOT WANT to the Duplo block talent trees. I am not cool with that, I do not enjoy that, that is not the game for me. I LIKE big complicated talent trees with a million different permutations. It makes me happy. It makes for infinite variation and countless fuckups and it’s interesting stuff to READ and it’s FUN and it’s AWESOME. Giving us six talents and treating them like glyphs is bullshit and I hate it. also all of the shadow stuff looks stupid and boring and it is totally not fun and this is my epic sadface: :(

Maybe it will turn out differently, and that’s fine. There’s plenty of time for it! Right now, though, I feel like I’m just moving on; they’re making what looks to be a fine game — it’s just not a game for me, and that makes me sad.