Podzilla 1985

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

WoW Updates - Female Orc Art and Pay to be 90 (And don't bitch about it!)

What better way to christen the new MECHABLOGZILLA sister site than with an article about the MMO that is most near and dear to me very own heart? No, I'm not talking about Ultima Online.

But I will be in a few paragraphs.


The official World of Warcraft site released pictures of the new female Orc models that will be implemented some time around the new "Warlords of Draenor" expansion. Like the previous releases, this one is both familiar enough to the characters you've grown attached to over the past ten years, while being clearly superior to the point that you don't want to play as your avatar until they upgrade her.

Assuming anyone even plays as a female Orc. Seriously, do they? Male Orcs are impressive for their huge muscles and fearsome look that gives credence to the notion that they are war mongering beast men.

But female Orcs? Gussy that lass up all you want Blizzard, no one is buying it as beautiful or intimidating. To be fair, I feel the same way about female Worgen. Male Worgens are jacked and look like fearsome werewolves, while the female variety kind of look like something your douchebag high school girlfriend would carry in her purse. Seeing these races brings to mind a quote by our president Barrack Obama. Something about lipstick on a pig, which I think was referencing the election but might have just been about Rosie O'Donnell.

Actually, she kind of looks like an 80's punk rocker, but she certainly is not Linnea Quigley in Return of the Living Dead. My advice is to NOT Google that unless you're ready for a lot of nudity and awesomeness from one of the greatest zombie movies ever made.

However, this is all just based on my own prejudice against Horde races. I'm an Alliance player, not because I like losing or having RP sex in Goldshire, but because I'd rather play an honorable underdog knight than a power hungry monster who enrolled in a free course at the Kratos School of Character Development.

RAWR RAWR VIOLENCE ANGER BLOOD BLOOD!

So my own personal racism aside, it looks really good. It retains the overall look, but you can really see the improvements they're making to the aging client. The changes are great so far, and when you combine this with the new expansion dropping later this year and the increase in subscriptions, it looks like it will be a very big year for WoW.

And that brings us to the new elephant in the room.

I saw this leaked on WoWInsider.com first, but I'm pretty sure it's making the rounds on most of the major sites. When the servers went up recently someone noticed and snagged a picture of what appears to be a new service option that lets you instantly upgrade a character to level ninety for a staggering price tag of sixty dollars.

And soon, the darkness.

Players were livid. It didn't matter that this was an apparent accident that wasn't supposed to go live yet. When "Warlords of Draenor" releases, players will be able to upgrade one character to level ninety for free and it seems like this service goes hand in hand with that. I've gone incognegro in some of the forums and listened to an overwhelmingly negative response to the service. To be honest, I kind of jumped on the fury bandwagon at first but soon found myself conflicted and hungry.

On one hand, how dare Blizzard offer up a paid service that basically renders a players time and progress pointless when they can just click click click and become an insta-hero? It's bad enough that Blizzard offers microtransactions on top of being a strictly pay to play service, and as far as my memory goes I believe they're the one of the few companies with the hearthstones to do so. You can play for fifteen dollars a month, and for just ten to twenty five more you can purchase some great pets or uber mounts. It really gives off the impression of "why work yourself to death when you just swipe a card and receive instant gratification?"

That dog won't hunt, monsignor.

The very essence of an MMORPG is the time and love you put into your character. It may be an online game, and the player base of an online game may have devolved into an arena zergfest filled with entitled assholes with inferiority complexes, but it's still an RPG. The reason to play an RPG is to build your character, go on adventures, and create a memory of living as another person in another world far from the sad existence you call your life.

It's an escape, but now we're looking for shortcuts to help escape the escape. Do players really want to just upgrade instead of experience? What about when that player upgrades to level ninety on a class he's inexperienced with, and you're running a raid with him and he doesn't know what the hell he's doing.

Blizzard is running the risk of destroying all the positive attention they've been getting this year.

Once I started to think about it though, and ate some pizza, I reconsidered my stance. Yeah it does belittle the entire point of playing an online role playing game, but it won't change my life at all. In fact, if anything, it would greatly improve my lifespan as a player.

I'll tell you why. I'm going to let you in on a secret. I've been playing WoW since launch, and I don't even have one character at level cap. I did once, before Cataclysm came out, but once they raised it again and I had to drag my feet underwater for what felt like fucking forever I gave up and stopped playing. My warrior, who I've been going to war against the Horde with for years, sits at an embarrassing level 84 while day in and day out I hear the simplest idiots in gaming brag about how many level nineties they have. Rednecks, grandmas, meth addicts, douchebag college kids, you name the stereotype and I can tell you how often they dangle their superiority in WoW in front of my very unimpressed face.

The free level nineties I get from the new expansion will allow me to play the new content without devoting all of my busy time to leveling my proud warrior. Managing two game stores, a dying father, a fiancee, a violent cat, and the other trials and tribulations that always seem to pop up in my life leaves little time for hardcore gaming.

And there are WAY more people out there with rougher lives than me. Do you think parents, college students, religious snake handlers, and other like minded individuals have the time to devote to virtual characters when real life is so demanding? They shouldn't be punished for not having the same time to put into a game they love that your asshole friends who mooch off of their parents money and contribute nothing of their own to society do.

It isn't the first game to offer this kind of service, either. Even my beloved Ultima Online, now a hollow shell of its former self, offers the ability to buy an advanced character instead of, you know, earning one.

I'm going to try to reserve judgment on this service until I see how it plays out. I feel like it won't reflect me at all, and people are just looking for a reason to bitch because that's what gamers are conditioned to do now. It's really a reflection on the industry, where DLC and paid services are all the rage now. It's a sign of the times, and as long as the money is there so too will there be a market for it. I hate it, I always have, but I let go of that lie about one person making a difference a long time ago.

If you disagree with WoW's direction, you could always try FFXIV. It's a nice throwback to an old style with just enough new car smell to feel different. You could bore yourself to tears with Guild Wars 2, or try one of the upcoming titles - ESO, EQNext, Wildstar, and a plethora of Asian F2P titles that seem to come out despite the fact that no one cares.

Kind of like Michelle Rodriguez.

Keep your goddamn hands off of my sweet Cara.

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