Friday, February 21, 2014

Brace Yourself For the WoD Hype Train

Yesterday I was checking out some warlords beta stuff and decided not to post about it until it was posted some place else.  Now that a little bit of it is on MMO-C I can feel free to mention it.

Just as I said earlier this week, get ready for the beta it is so close you can hold your breath.  Hey, I do not lie about these things.  Now that we see footage off the beta making its way out there you can be sure that my guess was true.

So we will soon be flooded with posts about every little thing people see.  From rogues now carrying combo points on themselves instead of the target, to faction story balance.  Which brings me to another brace yourself. 

Brace yourself for the faction balance threads in terms of story telling once again.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 6 or so years you will know that warcraft is a horde game, has been for a long time.  While the original release of the game seemed to heavily favor the story of the alliance it has pushed itself further and further into a horde story only where the alliance just plays the role of the supporting character.  This expansion, just like the last two, seems to start off no different with the alliance starting off by fighting for their lives against the horde, true horde but still horde, and the horde starting their experience with learning the history of their faction.

As someone that plays both sides and likes to read the story from both sides I am looking forward to my experience being slightly different when I jump over the fence into the neighbors yard.  At least it will not be the same thing on both sides, but I am sure you will hear lots about horde favoritism again because it is quite clear their is some, as there has been for a very long time.

So brace yourself people, the hype train will be stopping soon and letting us jump on.  Good luck getting into the beta everyone.


  1. I too suspect beta is soon but only because if it isn't, then blizz are in deep trouble. If it's not soon then they better be planning on a short beta or no public beta at all. That being said all the signs are pointing to a year of Siege, which I think is ridiculous, especially given how well paced the rest of the expansion was. It was like a year of regular content, then a year of no content. I'd rather have had the content spread out better over the two years, than all in one half, and nothing in the other half.

    Sometimes I just want to knock blizz heads together. Like when they were talking about Mists and promised a big "fist punching" moment for the Alliance. Yes we did get a raid in Orgrimmar but it was a reaction. Garrosh went mad, we reacted, Vol'jin asked for our help, we reacted. Garrosh went down, Vol'jin became the new warchief and we walked away.

    Now I'm an Alliance player through and through. I don't want an Alliance victory. In fact I completely understand that for gameplay reasons the Alliance has to lose if we go on the offensive. The Horde got to keep their territory to balance the imbalance from Vanilla, I get it. I just want the Alliance to do something and the Horde to react. Like I said they can beat us hollow and send us packing, but at least we'll have done something.

    I mean it's always the Horde goes somewhere and the Alliance has to stop them. I want the Alliance to go somewhere and the Horde to stop them. I'm not asking for a victory, I'm just asking for action.

    Not going to get it though. I know that so I won't be bitching about the Horde bias, it is what it is.

    1. I agree, blizzard was doing so great this expansion in terms of content. To leave us with this long at the end without even a ruby sanctum or a filler patch like landfall or the barrens is just ridiculous. How could have have done so great and then screw it up so badly.

      There was no alliance fist pumping moment. Going in and "helping" your enemy take out a rogue leader and then getting absolutely nothing in return is not exactly fist pumping, if anything it is insulting.

      The horde starting area gives them some story line quests, the alliance starting area gives them some kill 10 orcs quests.

      So expect more of the same next expansion. All the story for the horde, none of the story for alliance.

  2. Have you seen the three videos with gameplay? Nothing terribly exciting, but I guess that's a start.

    1. I've seen a few of them, more than MMO-C has posted. I saw them yesterday. Nothing really exciting, seems the same as anything else. Questing there, questing in mists, questing in wrath, doesn't make a different, kill 10 X is still kill 10 X but just in a different zone.

      Things looks nice however but I am more concerned with game play, additions like garrisons, etc than I am about thinks looking pretty.

  3. Eh. I've done enough educational software testing in my time when I had to, doing it voluntarily for a company making Blizzard-type money? No thanks. I'll wait to experience the content once it's released. :)

    For the sake of discussion, let's say that Blizzard wants the next post-WoD expansion to be Alliance-focused in some way that's not exclusive of Horde but, to any casual observer, is the first Alliance-centric expansion, plot-wise. What would it be?

    I'm having trouble coming up with any... the Alliance isn't really having any sort of leadership issue, aside from Jaina's recent actions. It might be interesting to have a Lordaeron experience similar to what we'll get with Draenor but while I'd be fine with another "time travel"-type expansion, I'm probably in the minority on that. An expansion of taking things back that the Horde have taken back recently would be boring and I think some of that is happening off-screen anyway. Wrynn could go nuts but... kinda just went through the Horde version of that.

    I really have no ideas and I can't recall seeing anyone else coming up with good ideas, either. Not that there aren't any... just not seeing any being discussed.

    1. If the next expansion was alliance focused it would look like the game favors alliance, which would be bad too. Just because vanilla favored the alliance does not mean that everything after needs to favor the horde to make up for it. How about designing for both? Designing for one is over compensating for no reason.

      As for how they could make an alliance centric expansion, not sure. One of those don't know don't care things really. I just want a story that gives some meat to both sides. Did you do landfall from both alliance and horde? Do you see any of the horde quests where we see what is going on and why they are seeking the alliances help? Do you even know whos idea it was to recruit the alliance? Did you know that the blood elves almost left the horde to join the alliance?

      See all that meat right there, stuff important to the story. If you were alliance you saw none of that. You did not even hear any of that, not even a whisper of it as rumor. Alliance had no story this expansion. Too bad you can not do the barrens quest any longer. Doing the horde version you feel like a hero. Doing the alliance version you feel like the hordes butler getting them supplies.

      I can't think of any way you could make an alliance centric expansion and not because they lack the means to do so, but because there should never be one to begin with.

    2. Alright, the question may have been a bit too broad... what Alliance storylines would you want to see, either that you didn't see in MoP or that you'd want to see going forward? What's on the verge of happening that you'd like to see followed through on? That's what I was musing about and not coming up with much.

      Regarding the 5.1 content, yeah, I did both sides to a point (finished Alliance, did most of Horde). I did Alliance first, though, and I definitely caught the "Blood Elves might be friendlier than I thought" reaction in the Jaina/Ponytail conversation after one of the IoT scenarios. It was there, subtly at least.

    3. The council of three, moira is planning something, something big, the way she has been playing to the king proves it and she is one hell of a smart lady. She wants the throne for her son when he grows up. Will she kill off the other two? Will she get so deeply in bed with the king that he sort of phases them out and appoints her because he is the high king? Will the dwarven king ever come out of the diamond?

      One of the greatest living (we think) heroes of the alliance is still sitting on the frozen throne. He can't just stay there forever, will he turn into another bad guy, will be ask for assistance to destroy whatever it is that makes it so there must always be a lich king. Better yes, all burnt and scared and beaten when we left him, if he is still alive, when will he ever be allowed to rest a heroes rest like he deserves.

      When will the worgen even attempt to take back their home? How can a team of gnomes completely CC every orc in Org but they can not rid their city of a few level 30 elites? Even if they are only back stories, lets at least attempt to clean up some lose ends here and explain how two races can be so hopelessly inept and why their own faction mates do not help them.

      There are 100s of alliance stories that could be told, one that could even include the horde unlike this expansion where you only got the whole story if you were horde.

      Most people did not pick that up in the solo scenario. When I saw that I thought it was cool. Horde side has a much more fleshed out bit about it.

    4. Those are all reasonable ideas but the Dwarf situation has always felt odd to me... I'm sure if I'd read a book or two I'd understand it better but in-game at least it hasn't felt particularly important and all I take out of the Blood on the Snow scenario is just how much I hate doing it.

      I wouldn't rule out an eventual return of the LK but ... that isn't happening anytime soon. I could see that being the last expansion before the game goes into maintenance, though, whenever that is. I can't think of a topic that would bring back more old players for one last hurrah than that.

      They forgot about the Worgen about 3 minutes after they added them to the game. :) And yeah, I was really damned disappointed that we never finished off the Gnome story before so I'll give you points for that one, I'd forgotten about that whole event.

      I don't mind that story was primarily horde-only... we got enough horde in our alliance as it was. :)

    5. I would not be surprised if they found a way to bring back arthas somehow. He was their baby, the best moment the game ever had.

      I do not mind it being a horde dominated story, just believe that there should be some outlet for the alliance to see the part of the story that is only told to the horde. That is where my issue lies.

  4. Anon, Grumpy's former GL:

    I play mostly alliance toons, though I do have a very few horde ones. I think it fair to say my faction allegiance belongs to the alliance overall. Even so, I also think the game is by nature almost a horde centric game.

    They are the protagonists who began the original war. The second game could fairly be called a Alliance centric game as the Dark Portal was breached by the alliance, going on the offensive. The horde are the protagonists who started the uprising of the containment camps under Thralls leadership which opens Warcraft 3.

    As WoW opened in vanilla, the alliance and horde were in an uneasy time of peace, marked by many small skirmishes but no open hostilities that pitted armies against armies. NPC characters dominated the field with allegiances beyond the horde/alliance conflict.

    This uneasy peace turned into a defacto state of even uneasier alliance in the Burning Crusade as both horde and alliance forces moved back through the Dark Portal, with NPC foes providing the backdrop of the enemy forces.

    In theory, Wrath was a continuation of this same uneasy peace/defacto allies, with the Lich King providing the opposition. In practice, with the betrayal of the undead, and the subsequent events that followed, the Horde storyline was more prominent.

    Cata with it's huge emphasis on Thrall became another storyline that was dominated by the horde. Mists saw the return of outright conflict between horde and alliance forces, culminating in a horde civil war with alliance forces intervening. Again a storyline dominated by the horde.

    Now the next expansion is already looking to be another horde storyline just by the nature of the thing. Perhaps it will have some surprises that make it wind up being more alliance favored and flavored, but I have my doubts about it.

    After all, there have been multiple story lines in which the horde had the preponderance of the lead role or significant enough presence to call it a horde dominated theme. To my count, only Warcraft 2 could legitimately be classed as an alliance dominated one. So yes, Blizzard does so much favor horde story lines, that I have doubts about them remembering how to write an alliance dominated story.

    Are there stories they could write about the alliance that would be as completely effective as their horde based ones? Yes, obviously. There is one side effect that will keep them from even attempting such very much in that almost any alliance dominated story is going to wind up hurting the horde as a power.

    Let's be honest, the military situation as well as the effective populations and economic strength of the two factions are such that the alliance can defeat the horde pretty much like the union defeated the confederacy. Cut it up and strangle the individual sections.

    So any alliance dominated stories are likely going to be ones of betrayal, deceit, ruin and wreckage. Not ones to inspire a lot of interest in a population of players who generally think of their side as the "good" side in this conflict.

    Almost any story that would involve an alliance leader being successful would harm the horde greatly--to the point of breaking the horde as a viable foe. That is unlikely to happen for I don't think Blizzard can come up with such stories anymore. Not that such is not theoretically possible but...

    1. You make a good point. The alliance do not need much of a story because they are the only real power. They could dismantle the horde at any given time. Even more so at the end of the this expansion.

      But there still should be some sort of reason to feel as if they are that strong instead of them feeling like the whipping boy. Take the barrens quest alone.

      As an alliance you do some scenarios, you gather some resources for the horde, not even yourself, then you see some panda in the mountains.

      A a horde you do those same scenarios, you gather some resources for your own people, you then meet with your people, do some jobs for your people, see how your people begin to rise up against the oppression, battle against the progression, and watch as they bind together to fight against their wayward leader, then you go up to the panda to complete the quest.

      Who has the better story line?

      It is not just about needing to give the horde more because the alliance really does have the upper hand to begin with, it is about disrespecting the alliance player but making them miss out on story, miss out on content, and basically be like we are watching a move where we are only allowed to watch the first 15 minutes and the last 15 and nothing in between.

      It was a horrible showing from blizzard and proved once and for all beyond a shadow of a doubt the game is meant as a horde only game.

    2. Anon, Grumpy's former GL:

      Yep, the stories are generally favorable to the horde as opposed to the alliance. Could they write differently? I would surely hope so for it doesn't take much of a talented writer to see some possibilities but Blizzard seldom seems to take the chance to do so.

      I suppose that is partly why I stopped paying a lot of attention to the grand stories of each expansion and lost my interest in the raiding endgame.

      Now I make my own storyline by stopping in Westfall before Sentinel Hill is set afire, putting out the fires in Astrannar, not seeing Theramore exploded and in general telling my own story without much regard to the party line. May not be exactly kosher, but it is a lot better looking alliance story when so much of the alliance is not reeling from yet another blow.

    3. They have been pretty burtal to poor alliance lately. Makes you wonder why anyone that liked the story of the game even still plays.

  5. ok, brilliant thinkres, explain to me this - if this new wabbits of death is a time travel horde what ever how in the heck does it fit in with old world, Outlands, RotLK, Cata, then Mists and now time backwards Wabbits of Death?

    I mean one can't be doing outlands now and have an add-on that goes back got 90 to 100. thats kinda cool, but pretty stupid to me.


    1. It does not fit into our world at all. It has nothing to do with time travel. Do not listen to anyone that says that.

      It is about an alternate reality. A world where dreanor was never destroyed and became the outlands we know. Where the orcs never drank the blood. It is not rime travel. Nothing in our world changes in any way, shape or form. This is just an alternate reality.

    2. so really, if it has nothing to do with our world, why do it? Why not add more content to the world as we know it, such as fixing up all the damage in all the world done by that black dragon? Surely there is more areas that can have land placed in it (besides a stupid alternate reality that screws with everything).

      Thanks for the explaination.


    3. Why do it? I can make some up BS answers if you want, but the truth it I really don't know why they decided to do it.

      1) They wanted another orc centric expansion for the 3rd expansion in a row and playing around with all the orc heroes from the past was the best way to do it.

      2) The guy who makes the decisions has an unhealthy obsession with orcs and it is beginning to show with all the orc love.

      3) The writers of the game our flat out of ideas or just plain horrible or have all had a recent full frontal lobotomy (pick one, or all).

      4) The last two expansions were not horde centric enough so they had to try something even more horde centric, an expansion with two horde factions.

      5) But the one that is probably true is that they are so out of touch with the current state of the game and their player base that they actually think this is an awesome idea.

  6. "A new quest type is available: the "Bonus Objectives". When you walk around a zone, new objectives might appear randomly in your quest list. Completing the objectives will reward you with extra experience, leaving the area will drop the quest."

    Am I the only one reading that and immediately thinking that they may actually be planning to integrate something into the game to replace spammy chat requests for mob spawn timers? Imagine if a minute before Dreadship spawns a ! shows up for you indicating that it's about to happen.

    (won't stop people from asking how long it'll be but they can get around that by making the timing random rather than relatively consistent)

    If I never see any trace of Raretimer in the future I'll be a much happier guy...

    1. Sounds exactly like that to me. If you saw the game play vidoes there were some rare skulls on the screen that were not part of the quests they were doing, would not surprise me if those guys where bonus quest objectives.

      People will still ask, because they will want to know how long they need to wait around for the bonus quest to pop up again. They will still announce it because if they are not a hunter or a tank they will need help beating it.