Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pandas in "World of Warcraft?" Free Diablo III? What is Blizzard doing?

Pandas. The new World of Warcraft race is a panda.

Oops, I’m sorry, Pandaren.

I thought this was a joke. When my husband sent me the text message informing me of this new race, I didn’t want to believe him. That feeling disappeared fairly quickly. After all, this is Blizzard. WoW is full of movie rip-offs and bad jokes. Harrison Jones, anyone?

The new expansion, Mists of Pandaria, will bring radical changes like other expansions. It always happens. Some of these may help keep long-time players invested in the game, like new talent trees. Others seem stupid, like the new pet fighting system a la Pokemon. Players will rant how much better Cataclysm was, even though players say it’s awful and Wrath of the Lich King was better. Before that, during the WotLK days, Burning Crusade was considered superior (have to agree there).

None of these changes, however, is as stupid as the Pandaren.

The gameplay looks like an MMO of Kung Fu Panda. You know, the kids movie starring Jack Black featuring a fat panda learning Kung Fu. Is Jack Black going to do a voiceover? It’d be appropriate.

In addition to turning WoW into a kiddie playground, Blizzard is also giving Diablo III and an in-game WoW mount to players who subscribe to WoW for one year. While some type of cross promotion between games is logical, this move reeks of desperation. Back on Aug. 4, IGN published an article stating that the number of subscribers has dropped. It’s not a huge drop, but one large enough to grab attention. While this is expected, one could reason that Blizzard suspects a large drop with the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’d be a logical conclusion. Is this why they are making this offer, or is it an attempt to keep players around to the next expansion? Or is it something to do with Diablo III? Only time (or a nugget of leaked information) will tell.

With SWTOR coming out soon, I haven’t renewed my WoW account. I was thinking about maybe going back when a new expansion came out to take a break from TOR, but now I’m thinking not. I can’t take Pandas seriously. Yes, they appear in some small role in the lore, but come on. Image a Death Knight and a Panda in PVP. The only upside would be if I could wear their scalps over my Mage’s shoulder.

Seriously. I’d rather play Hello Kitty Island Adventure than Kung Fu Panda WoW.

(If you haven’t heard of the Hello Kitty Island Adventure bit, watch the Make Love, Not Warcraft episode of South Park. It’s the game Butters plays instead of WoW.)

1 comment:

  1. I want to wear that Panda's stomach lining as a leotard.