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Warcraft // Not Alpha Enough For Me

Alpha has landed, but I’m not invited. I suppose this post is a bit of an opportunity for me to say that my account expired in May anyway, and Rob Pardo’s comments were the final straw that finally killed my interest in exploring Garrisons and the Boy’s Own story of Warlords.

Those comments, offhand as they were, confirmed what I’d already felt for a long time, based on how certain characters are treated or ignored, and how there is nothing to balance the sort of marketing approach that they’re taking with projects like Azeroth Mopeds. It’s not that the Mopeds thing is bad as a concept. If I was Metzen and that was one of my interests I’d totally want to bring that to my work too. I get to work with some amazing brands in my day job, and I dream of uniting certain franchises or things that I love at work, with things I love in my personal life. It’s great that they have the pull to do something like that, no matter how poorly executed it was (in the end), but there is precious little that veers towards the other end of the spectrum (in terms of ways of crossing/combining genres as a way of celebrating the game, and expanding it’s appeal). This is not to say that women aren’t interested in bikes (I kind of have a thing for ‘build project’ shows myself), but what about a Bear Grylls survival tie-in, or WoW themed makeup ranges (sponsor the little indie guys, rather than trying to approach mac). There are many reasons, financially, not to do such projects, but then I’m not entirely sure about the financial returns of Azeroth Choppers either.

It’s the fact that there is a lack of anything in the ‘other’ direction, or any awareness that there’s a huge part of their playerbase that would appreciate being marketed to. You can appeal to what you believe is your core AND to those aren’t interested in Mopeds at the same time. It isn’t a zero sum thing.

(I call them mopeds, because by the time the show had  finished the bikes looked like they’d been sat on by an Orge. Also because calling something a ‘chopper’ as a brit just feels odd. The same feeling one gets when one says “y’all”.)


June 9th, 2014 at 7:21 pm

Sooner or later Blizzard may wisen up to their role as leaders. I think the way Pardo described their way of think as “childlike” was revealing. They haven’t matured as a company which is really a shame. They view games as a refuge for their youth and part of that means they believe that thinking of things the same way they did as a child is a good thing, something worth clinging to and a good way to approach the real world. Then again, they’re rich enough to be as childish as they like. It won’t cost them much in terms of money as far as we can tell.

June 11th, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Completely agreed! Not that there’s anything wrong with harking back to childhood and childishness. I think that’s the tension of games and gameplay being viewed as ‘toys for children’, you then end up defending the value of the so-called toys (and thus associate the term with a lot of positive things like freedom and imagination). Childhood and nostalgia and the ‘magic of play’ becomes a reason to ignore the lessons we learned as we grew up through ‘playing’ with others and our environment.

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