It occurs to me that the title of this post would better suit a diatribe on more concerning issues regarding World of Warcraft (WoW), but there are reflections of such concerns in two less monolithic issues, which recently caught mine eyes.
Firstly was the bit about Warcraft lore master Chris Metzen at Blizzard admitting that the lore contradicts itself again. This time around, it’s an issue concerning the new Alliance race, the Draenei, whose new backstory contradicts what Blizzard published in the Warcraft III manual.
Right To be totally up-front with you guys, it’s my bad, straight up. The obvious lore contradiction with Sargeras and his encounter with the eredar was clearly documented in the Warcraft III manual. I wrote those bits about four years ago, and to be totally honest, I simply forgot.
I don’t know if a dated post on 05/12/2006 is being straight up, or if Metzen simply wasn’t made aware of the issue until then. Nonetheless, I’ll forgive the bugger, since I know how difficult it can be developing mythos for a fictional world, particularly when that mythos is broken up into chapters, with no foresight into just how important that development will become down the road. Still, one would think that before Metzen’s new lore was signed off on, someone else at Blizzard would have caught the mistake. If aything, the error hints at some level of disorganization, or at least, lack of quality reviews at Blizzard in the lore department. Then again, I’m assuminng Metzen is the lore department at Blizzard, and like most companies, they feel no need to pay more employees to do what they think one can handle effectively. Hey, it’s not as bad of a screw-up as that whole Star Wars things turned out to be, right?
Second on the list of development brouhaha is the issue of the Shaman class review, which we spoke of earlier. The complaints are still going strong over in the Shaman forums at worldofwarcraft.com, what with the purported nerf and fact that Shaman class problems were wholly unaddressed. The only thing newsworthy on the topic is that a post over at the European WoW forums by a Community Manager (CM) shed some surprising light on the issue. In short, the CM indicated that opinions and suggestions posted to the forums were supposed to be compiled by the appropriate CM. In the case, of the Shaman review, a CM was supposed to compile feedback on what needed to be fixed for the Shaman class, and then pass that info on to the developers. Unfortunately, the CM failed to do this, and the developers went ahead and made the much-talked-about changes to the Shaman class without getting a chance to see what the player community wanted.
The whole thing sounds a bit worse than it likely is, since we’re talking about the European CM not passing on the European community feedback, which likely mirrored what U.S. players said. Nonetheless, one could argue that the developers weren’t influenced by community feedback enough, resulting in class changes that were not appropriate for such a long-awaited review.
Supposedly, once the current review’s changes go live on the test server, the European CM will begin compiling new feedback from the players (along with the U.S. CM for the respective forum) to pass off to the developers, meaning that it’s possible that Shamans will get their more serious issues looked at prior to the 1.11 patch going live.
While these two issues may be minor compared to issues WoW had in the past, they are telling clues of how quickly certain aspects of world design can get out of control, especially when everything Blizzard does is under heavy public scrutiny. At least Blizzard is attempting to make amends, which is always a good sign, and one I continue to expect to see from the legendary development house that has brought us entertainment for so many years.