Monday, October 24, 2011

Random Shots: Are Pandas The Apples Or Oranges In This Metaphor?

  • I want to link a couple of posts here, both because they are interesting and because they illustrate a point that everyone in the debate seems to be missing.

  • Werewolves in top hats, gnomes performing the dance moves from Bloodhound Gang’s Bad Touch, steampunk motorcycles and planes, Murlocs, escorting orphaned children through the Dark Portal in Hellfire Peninsula, ridiculous sexual dimorphism in PC races, non-combat pets, Haris Pilton, giant cow-men riding on chocobos[...]

    And you’re worried about pandas?

    - Melmoth, Killed In A Smiling Accident

    Somehow I don’t think pre-teens were running around knocking out elite mobs in the open-world, organizing town raids, playing the first version of the PvP system, min/maxing the second system, or sitting around with 39 of their closest pre-teen friends to knock out Rag after a five hour raid. And to suggest that this was just a ‘very minor’ part of the game, well, guess Blizzard disagreed when they expanded that ‘very minor’ part for well over a year straight, while at the same time picking up millions of new subs. Naw, total coincidence.

    - Syncaine, Hardcore Casual

  • I don't think that there has been greater instance of two sides of an argument talking past one another. (Hyperbole alert!) When people argue that World of Warcraft is a silly game, they are talking about the world. When people argue that it is a serious game, they are talking about the systems. So when you look at their seperate arguments, they are both right.

  • Just a reminder: an argument where both sides are right is a stupid argument. Now go play some video games, for goodness' sake.

© 2011 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. My reaction to the whole Panda's thing was pretty much exactly like Melmoths. Once they put in space goats, there's really nothing much more they could do to the game to further bone my sense of immersion in the world. Cartoon Panda's is certainly no worse.

    I'm also always a bit puzzled by players that get upset when WoW is "dumbed down." Apart from having to memorize raid boss strategies, it's always been one of the simpler MMOs on the market. Look at the crafting system for example. It's one of the simplest and least flexible crafting systems of any MMO I've played.

  2. The lore itself has fallen off as well (it was the Warhammer IP originally, and look at it now), but that is a minor point.

    Pet battles are not lore. They are game mechanics that use the non-Warhammer-like pets in WoW. Before MoP, pets were an ignored aspect of the game. Now they are not. And that's just one example.

    The point is that Panda's highlight what has been going on with each WoW expansion; turning the gameplay and game focus from an MMO to a pre-teen cartoon show. The Panda is just the next cover-page for that transition.

  3. Great post that succinctly points out two of the big viewpoints in response to this expansion.

    It is important, however, to keep in mind that a lot of the silliness from previous versions of the game could be relatively easily ignored.

    An entire race of Panda characters running around will be harder to ignore.

    That doesn't mean WoW has ever been a non-silly game. I am just saying that this expansion takes that to a whole new level.

  4. This is actually talked about by game designers as the "dressing" and the "system," which are often at odds. Games that cause players to do bad things that they'd never do in real life can be successful because players ignore the dressing and focus on the system. The core of the issue here is simply another collision of the two; is the dressing going to make the system undesirable. I'm sure it will for some, but for most, we'll just look at the system and move on. Nice post!