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.