Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Light, Dark, Serious, Funny, etc

Five days now and while I'm slowly working through the Blizzcon announcements I haven't even reached the one feature that might very well change everything. Tomorrow perhaps. First, I'll write about the announcement to make MoP feel more 'light'.

My mood while playing Cataclysm is almost exclusively determined by the colors of the environment and the sounds. And looking at these, Cataclysm had light and dark zones; just like all other expansions. That's a good and balanced design. But it really has little to do with 'seriousness'. You can absolutely make a dark zone that is completely silly. Just like you can make a light zone that is very, very serious. For example a temple. A serious zone can, by the way, include funny elements. If they are used in moderation they can add to the experience without making the rest of the zone look silly. Using “concentrated coolness” in moderation has, of course, not exactly been Blizzard's strength in recent expansions.

I don't really understand in detail what Blizzard means when they say that MoP is going to be more light. I understand it superficially, but if you ask me what that actually means, I just don't know. Is dying disabled on Pandaria? Do Pandas kill you and then drink a beer on your corpse, while the Undead kill you and then spit on you? Sorry, now I am being silly. World of Warcraft is fundamentally about killing things with your character. And death is not light. You can make it silly, but not 'light'.

My conclusion on this topic is that these are words that sound like they mean a lot, but are ultimately empty. But if you think that you understood exactly what it means that MoP is going to be more 'light' and how that translates into my actual gaming experience, please let me know.


  1. I don't really understand in detail what Blizzard means when they say that MoP is going to be more light.

    Did they say that? Do you remember where?

  2. "[..] They aren't a joke, they aren't silly, just a little bit lighter. They are relaxed, [..]"


  3. Thanks for the link. I didn't remember them saying that because what they actually said was:

    The Pandaren had some nice artwork for a long time, we have been thinking about them forever. They aren't a joke, they aren't silly, just a little bit lighter. They are relaxed, but this is part of the growing war between Horde and Alliance. The Pandaren are going to be part of this story.

    I read that as the race was a little bit lighter, rather than the expansion itself. And by "lighter," I think they mean less like gnomes (100% joke race) and more like Tauren (/seriousface). Indeed, if you reference the 2nd half of an earlier question:

    What is the motivation that the Pandaren have for fighting each other?

    [...] When the Pandaren meet eachother on the field they are more of WHATS UP instead of being pissed at eachother. They would probably be drinking beer right after. All the sort of anger, hatred and other negative energies become the Sha. It literally can come and bite you in the butt. They dont want to bring all that bad bagage into a fight. When a Pandaren fights he fights to reach a conclusion. When things are settled you take a beer.

    Have you ever watched Braveheart? Remember the scene with the Irish? That is what I'm imagining the intent to be vis-a-vis "lighter." Less fel orc and more draenei.

  4. I probably relied on some unreliable source when I picked up the idea that the expansion is going to be lighter. Thanks for the help in clarifying this Azuriel.

  5. @Azuriel: No. I think it was pretty clear from the following explanation that this will be an expansion about bringing peace to the alliance vs horde conflict. That is, in fact, why I'm kinda looking forward to it. I've been hoping for a long time to see more peaceful gameplay. Here's a clip:

    This is supposed to be an expansion in which the A v H goes and begins to destroy something good and the Pandarens come in as mediators basically.

    Now key things here that we shouldn't leave out of this discussion: 1) This expansion will focus ALOT on bringing us the Pandaren story line; 2) Pandaren begin as faction neutral, which tells us right there the nature of the story (these are peace makers); 3) There is NO prime villain; and 4) all other features being introduced focus on diversifying player activities. Hell, for the first time in the history of the game we're getting PVE content that doesn't require tanks!

    No, this expansion *is* supposed to be light with little more than a serious story and I happen to believe that's actually a good thing. I'd go into more detail but I already made a blog talking about Pandarens and the direction of this expansion. If we're being honest, based on the information we currently know and comparing that to what previous expansions did, this is light as a feather.

  6. @Doone

    I have zero inclination to believe that any sort of resolution will come to the conflict at the heart of the Warcraft franchise, in this expansion. What I imagine will occur is that the conflict heats up (Theramore is confirmed to be getting sacked), the Alliance & Horde war comes to fantasy Vietnam aka Pandaria, the unhappy thoughts trigger the Sha, and the ultimate end result is NOT peace but the moving of the conflict back off the island once the big demon or whatever is unleashed is defeated.

    The Aesopian moral at the end may be light (as is always the case when bad guys lose), but I am honestly expecting more of a Pyrrhic victory vibe by the end. If for no other reason than Blizzard wanting to specifically avoid the expansion falling into the easy stereotype.

  7. I agree, Azur. I don't believe there's actually going to be peace. What I do believe is that there won't be all out war against some great evil as we've had in every expansion until now. It will be light by all appearances and it should be interesting.