I read a lot. As far as WoW goes, some of what I’m reading are excellent WoW blogs, but I also follow standards like WoW Insider and mmo-champion (whose coverage of Wrath has been amazing). I enjoy it all, but not all of the enjoyment I get is intentional. People who complain about lore in WoW make me smile.
I guess that having a steampunk motorcycle means that Blizzard has completely ruined… something. I mean, I don’t know what that is, but as you can see in this Massively article, it seems to be pretty bad. Read those comments!
For this group of people, I think that seeing a motorcycle in the game seems to have completely destroyed their suspension of disbelief, or serves as the last straw in the ongoing destruction of such. My question is, how have these people not been tripped up over any number of other points before this one?
- Characters carry around an entire armory’s worth of equipment in one bag. One light feather takes up exactly as much room as twenty feathers, while twenty-one feathers take up twice as much room as one feather. One feather also takes up as much room as a horse. Also: horses in backpacks. I mean, why does anyone have a stable? I would think that there’d just see be one small silk pack in the back of the rancher’s house. You buy a horse, he reaches into the bag o’ horses.
- Weather follows political boundaries. It is raining in Dustwallow Marsh, but not in the Barrens. Step left, rain. Step right, sunny. Rain. Sunny. Rain. Sunny. I’ll stick with the rain because honestly, I only visit the Barrens when I really need to.
- Too many pop culture references to list, most of it good for a groan or chuckle. For example: every last dance. (And I am disappointed that there hasn’t been a Rick Astley dance. Crossing my fingers.)
- Characterization is weak. Nobody has a last name. Or, you know, family. Well, NPCs sometimes do, but you don’t. Also, nobody’s named the same because there’s an invisible global naming committee. Oh, and your friends cease to exist frequently, but it’s cool because they’ll likely be back tomorrow, resuming the exact moment that they departed from. It’s also really easy to deduce someone’s guild affiliation, even if they’re not wearing a tabard… because it’s spelled out in text floating above their head, along with their name. At least you never have to worry about forgetting your one-night-stand’s name in the morning. “I had a great time last night… Silenceikeelyou. Call me!”
- You can whisper in anyone’s ear from across continents/dimensions. Wait, I hear whispers all the time in real life, too. Never mind.
- A new fantasy race was recently introduced when their spaceship crashed into the planet, and that spaceship grew a new island or something. Come on, people. On the fantasy whack-out scale spaceship > motorcycle.
- The world is static. A game experience where nothing you do in game leaves a mark on the environment. You’ve been able to attune and go kill Onyxia for four years. There was a time in the life of this game where you could see Onyxia’s head hanging on the gates of Stormwind every all day, every weekend. Because Onyxia died all the time, the heroes brought her monstrous head back to Stormwind all the time (in a backpack), and the city congratulated all the time by hanging her head outside the front gates… yes, all the time. And yet (ancient spoiler warning), there she was in Stormwind Keep! Glaring at you! Then being exposed as a dragon and whooshing off to her dragon lair, waiting to be slain and hung on the gates! But no wait, five minutes later in Stormwind keep: Glaring again! Also, not just Ony. Every enemy in the game. For this reason alone, I can’t imagine roleplaying in MMOs as anything but very, very difficult. “These troubled times remind me of when I killed the bandit lord Van Cleef, lo those many months ago–” “But Lordazurefox, I just killed him last night, what are–” “OOC SHUT UP YOU’RE RUINING MY STORY!”
None of this concerns me in the slightest–that list is not a dig on the game. Honestly, I smile. Because it’s a game. A game for the playing. It’s possible to have good stories in games, but MMOs in particular are difficult if not impossible to pull this off.
WoW happens to be a very fun game that’s storied as well as is reasonably possible. It’s cinematic at times, but never a story. It’s a game, and Blizzard will always choose a better game over story integrity, because people aren’t paying them a monthly fee for the story.