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The War Back in Warcraft

William Murphy Posted:
Editorials All Things Warcraft 0

World of Warcraft may be getting old. But that doesn’t stop it from carrying the most relevance and weight in the industry, even well into its 7th year dominating the scene. It carries not only the most subscriptions, but is easily the highest selling western MMORPG of all time, and remains the most widely known game outside of our small sect of the videogame culture and fandom. So why then, as if I didn’t just state the answer, do we continue to knock it and act as though everything it has accomplished is terrible for the industry and the genre?  I just can’t seem to wrap my head around this notion. 

As we approach the launch of Mists of Pandaria (by all accounts due out this year in the minds of the optimistic, but with no real factual basis), one wonders whether World of Warcraft might see a renaissance as its subscription numbers falter and the dev team fights to keep their game on everyone’s lips. Perhaps it’s just the vocal minority decrying the death of WoW. Lord knows the game won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, and one can expect that should the subscription numbers one day dip below a million, Blizzard will have been onto bigger and better things for ages already.  Perhaps then, and yes I may be crazy, this expansion is a trial for Blizzard’s developers.  Perhaps Pandaria truly is their last chance to show they’ve still got fight in them, and the ability to adjust and impress the player base, else the focus of the almighty company may shift onto their “Next Big Thing” for good.

How do they plan to do this: by putting the WAR back in Warcraft.


Blizzard has flat out stated that Mists of Pandaria aims to return Azeroth to its former glory and focus: the war between the Horde and Alliance. Put the Pandas aside and put the many colorful and “goofy” bobbles the game has added over the years out the window.  Warcraft has always carried irreverent humor with its blend of war and drama.  But since 2006 or so, the World of Warcraft has been completely void of any real war.  When Pandaria was announced, Metzen said they’d be going back to this focus. At the recent press event, they even told us how it would first happen with the first post-launch patch to MoP.  But we still don’t know exactly what it will entail.  We’ve just been told that sure the Pandarens are peaceful, but that’s only until the Horde and Alliance show up and ruin everything.

Haven’t you always wanted Blizzard to get back to the focus on war in Warcraft? I’ve been saying this to all of my guild members for years: “I’ll take WoW seriously again, when they [Blizzard] take it seriously again.” But is it too late? With huge games like Guild Wars 2 around the corner already doing their best to market to the gamers looking for meaningful PVP, should WoW even bother?

Of course they should. The war between the Horde and Alliance need not be one purely based on PVP.  You can make the two sides fight each other in less direct ways just as well.  The point is: get the two sides back to bickering.  Enough of this hand-holding in shared cities.  The original game was about Orcs versus Humans.  Let’s get back to that.  In time, I hope we’ll learn that Blizzard really is serious about the war again.  I just can’t wait to see how.

My question for you this week is simple: is the notion of WoW getting back to the war between sides enough to perk your ears up again, or is the game dead to you after however many years you’ve spent loving and hating it?


William Murphy

Bill is the former Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.