Hunka hunka burning sameness

If Elvis were talking about burning love, you’d be thinking “Wow, he’s talking about something remarkable. Something worth singing about. Something he thinks we’d all be interested in knowing about.”

Ooh-hoo-hoo, I feel my temp’rature rising
Help me I’m flamin’, I must be a hundred and nine
Burnin’, burnin’, burnin’ and nothing can cool me, yeh
I just might turn to smoke but I feel fine

Wow, Dude. Something’s rocking his world.

But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about something remarkably average. That’s to say, something with utter sameness, just the paper mask over the face is all there is to set folks apart.

I’m taking about the races in World of Warcraft.

This thought occured to me as I, Honorus, Human Paladin, astride a charger, facing off against this gigantic Tauren astride his massive, armor plated, kodo. And I was thinking “Who are we kidding. In ‘real life’ he’d squash me like a bug.” Comparing mass, he and his mount were like six of me and mine.

But in World of Warcraft, sparring in the tournament, we are 100% identical, this Tauren and I, and our disparate mounts. We have identical health, identical abilities, identical response times. If I were a Gnome, it would be no different. If he were some 30′ tall Titan, riding on two M1A1 Abrams strapped to his feet, it would be no different. Our differences amount to nothing more than a paper mask we wear for Halloween.

If I was going to picture fantasy battles, I’d picture a group of Humans surrounding one Tauren and he’d be swinging a tree trunk side to side blowing them all away. That’s just the level 1 noobs mind you. Because a Tauren is like four times the mass of a human. Give them some advantage due to their stature.

But in World of Warcraft Tauren = Orc = Human = Gnome. I.e. 10 = 8 = 6 = 4.

So it doesn’t matter whatsoever what race you play, they’re all pretty much identical except for certain “flavor style” racial abilities. (Have you noticed how they seriously toned down racials so we’re all the same? Fear Ward anyone?) In the end it’s just a mask you wear.

If I rolled a Tauren, it’s because I wanted to be a Juggernaut. A powerhouse. A force of Nature. But noooo. In effect I’m just a Gnome that can’t squeeze into unusually small hidey holes.

And with the Worgen and Goblins able to become Death Knights (RETCON MOR!) I mean, c’mon. The Worgen are humans who escaped the Scourge behind the Graymane wall, no? Yes, yes, they succumbed to the disease that turned them into werewolf like creatures, but they were never minions of the Lich King. They were in Gilneas, and the Goblins we’ll get to play soon were on some jungle island, and yet, all of a sudden, the Lich King had actually made some of them Death Knights already, once upon a time, too?

So, pretty much, everyone is identical except for class. It is, pretty much (Tauren Paladin anyone??) irrelevant what race you want to play. It’s nothing more than a paper mask you wear. Only the classes are differentiated.

And what a shame. That’s something I think Warhammer got right. And with the introduction of the Slayer, they too have started down the road of everyone can be anything. (The Slayer is the Dwarf equivalent of an Orc unit.)

You know what I’d like? I’d like for Race to matter as much as Class.

Is that too tough to balance for Blizzard? I think the game would be better if they could make the effort and make it work so that race mattered. Instead they’re going the other direction towards homogeneous sameness in everyone and everthing. (Stat consolidation on future gear is only part of the symptoms of this.)

Are we headed to a Hello Kitty Island Adventure kind of game? Suitable for all ages, sexes, cultures, and pulse rates?

Butters: I don’t play World of Warcraft.
Cartman: Butters you said you’re on your computer all the time.
Butters: Ya, but I’m playing “Hello Kitty Island Adventure”
(All stare at Butters)
Cartman: (calmly) Butters go buy World of Warcraft, install it on your computer, and join the online sensation before we all murder you.
Butters: (nervously) Oh alright then.

Or not.

About Kinless

Gamer. Engineer. Lived lots of places.
This entry was posted in Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Hunka hunka burning sameness

  1. Gravity says:

    I’m quite happy with race being largely a flavour mechanic, with some small differences between them (ie. nelfs are great tanks).

    I will enjoy custom dance moves though, that’ll be cool.

  2. jorani says:

    i am hesitant to head down a road of races being too different. At the moment the difference between 2200 arena and 2400 pally can be having another interupt. Blood elves have a way more potent racial, for pvp. Unless you want everyone who pvps as pally to play a blood elf pally you need to balance then. Same with mages, or any other class. You should not ‘have to be x race’ to be competitive. We already wear the same gear and have the same specs, can we leave some cosmetics in so we are not just pixel clones? I am hoping that there is enough variety to be interesting, but not enough to be critical.

    Cheers
    J

    p.s. nice blog

  3. Gravity says:

    I think the belf racial is too good, really. The Tauren racial should at least have no cast time, and alliance should get an interrupt racial too for balance.

  4. Kinless says:

    True about the Tauren racial. It served me well so long ago when I started out on a PvP server. Being a Shaman I had the double advantage of having Ghost Wolf form as well. This was when level 40’s got slow mounts, and 60’s with gold got the fast mounts. It was an advantage leveling up in a dangerous world. (And even after playing two Night Elves, once I created my Tauren, and I started encountering them in PvP in Ashenvale, those Night Elves looked really creepy and feral. As if Horde saw them one way graphically, not noble, but enemies, and Alliance saw them another.)

  5. Whatsmymain says:

    Yes it would be too hard to balance. On the other hand though it seems like next expansion that they are going out of their way to give every race some form of interesting racial. As it is certain classes have certain advantages over others… throw in powerful racials and you have to start balancing class and race combo’s.

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