Movie

Now that we are only a few days out from the premier of the Warcraft movie in some parts of the world, I suppose it is time for me to write a bit about it. Honestly, I haven’t written on it before this because, well, I have no interest in spending money to go to a theater to see it. I might possibly shell out $5-$6 for it when it comes around on Pay Per View, but even that is iffy.

There. I said it. Try as I might, I just cannot work up anything more than passing interest in the “Warcraft story”, the lore supposedly behind the game. I have tried to read about it — lore summaries on third party sites, official Blizz lore histories, even some of the fanfic stuff — but it all leaves me cold. If you had a cartoon picture of me after reading about it after just a few minutes, it would be one of those where a stick figure is lying on its back with tongue hanging out and X’s for eyes. My first thought after a page or two is “Just kill me now, don’t I have some laundry to do or a root canal appointment I can make?”

This is strange, because I am an avid history reader as well as a lifelong fan of the science fiction and fantasy genres. But with WoW lore, it just all seems far too contrived to be interesting. I feel like the game mechanics and expansion code drive the lore rather than the other way around. I can’t shake the feeling that every new raid tier gets developed, then someone goes back and patches the lore to give the raid some sort of thin pseudo-historical basis.

As a result, there is no real overriding theme to the lore, in my opinion. Yeah, I know about the Titans wanting to save the universe and failing miserably because of the treachery/madness of Sargeras (here’s a tip for next time, Titans: get regular psych evals for your major commanders). Then they set their sights a bit lower and tried to terraform Azeroth, but they ran up against the Old Gods and couldn’t figure out how to deal with them, so they put a few dragons in charge, and hauled ass out.

The only other thing I know is that Azshara was in charge of the greatest power source on Azeroth, and when Sargeras showed up and asked for access she said, sure what could go wrong. This gave rise to all the problems we now find on Azeroth. Idiot, what the hell was she thinking? (I think she eventually got turned into a Naga, so haha Azshara, that’s what you get, not going to get into those sexy skinny jeans now, are you, huh?) Anyway, after this it all gets far too wonky and ridiculous for me to follow.

But even though I have close to zero interest in the movie, I know there are a lot of people who will stand in line for hours or days at theaters to get a good seat for the opening. Some will see the movie because they already play the game and love the story, others will do it because it they have heard of WoW and want to see what it is all about, and some just because it is a cool date night movie, or because their kid or their bf/gf or spouse play the game and they are being dragged along.

Which, finally, brings me to my point today: What if any real lasting effect will the movie have on the game? No one knows, of course, so that allows me to do what I do best — speculate with no factual basis.

GAAAAAAAHHHHH! I had about another 1000 words that finished off this post, was just getting ready to hit the Publish button, and WordPress had a glitch that caused it to revert to this initial draft. It’s Friday, I have a ton of stuff to do, and I am not going to recreate it in its entirety. What follows is a quick reconstituted summary.

  • The movie, assuming it is not a total failure, will have a better and more lasting effect on ATVI than on WoW in particular. It is a gigantic infomercial that will generate interest in ATVI’s other franchises and may bring viewers to eSports.
  • The WoW effect will to bring a significant number of new players, but the effect will be temporary, as most will not become long time players.
  • The reasons they will not stay are many, but include:
    • The game is extraordinarily complex and can be intimidating to brand new players. Blizz rather stubbornly continues to rely on third party sites to explain the game to players.
    • Certain aspects of the game — chat and pugs — are often very toxic and can easily scare new people away, or convince them they do not need to pay out money to be continually humiliated.
    • WoW is still basically an aging genre, and many will decide that newer franchises such as Hearthstone are more engaging for their gaming preferences.
  • I am going to do my best to help defray impressions of toxicity in the game, by coming to the assistance of new players every chance I get. I hope to set an example that may spread through my server. The more of us that do this, the better chance we have of improving our game, no matter how many new players stay or leave.
  • Guilds may yet have a major role to play in helping out the influx of new players — check out yours to see if there is a way to organize this.
  • Blizz might do new players a favor by setting up specific new player servers for those who might be a bit timid about jumping in to the more established community.

Enough. Everyone have a great weekend.

About Fiannor
I have a day job but escape by playing WoW. I love playing a hunter, and my Lake Wobegonian goal is to become "above average" at it.

2 Responses to Movie

  1. Ouch: wordpress can be a brutal journey.
    I remember when I watched Avatar, I thought “there is my WoW movie!”. It was beautiful and they took the time to show the beauty of this fantasy land. I hope the Warcraft movie is as good.