Daily Archives: February 27, 2014

Warcraft III – In Search of the Pre-History of WoW

My relationship with Blizzard and its games is odd in that Warcraft has never been all that interesting to me.

Well, I suppose that, in and of itself isn’t odd.  Warcraft doesn’t interest a lot of people I am sure.

But that fact that World of Warcraft has ended up being my MMORPG of choice for most of the last decade is what makes it strange.  It means that I haven’t really felt as connected to the game through its lore as I have in other similar games.

I certainly care about the lore in Lord of the Rings Online.  As many interesting little features as Turbine has in LOTRO, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have played it a tenth as much as I have if it wasn’t grounded in the works of Tolkien.

I also came to care about the lore in EverQuest.  While it was something new, the games connection to TorilMUD (itself rooted in Forgotten Realms, which gives me a lore erection just saying the name), along with its newness and nature at launch, set my expectations and ideas about Norrath.  I have a pretty solid notion of what Norrath should be like based on that, something that has not always served me well.  Part of my problem with EverQuest II early on was the movement away from the lore of the original in the first couple of expansions.  And the whole crazy mounts thing irks to this day in EQII in a way that doesn’t bother me at all in WoW.

The setup to a "frog in a blender" joke

The setup to a “frog in a blender” joke

Hover disks in Norrath annoy me because that isn’t 1999.  In Azeroth they don’t even register because didn’t they always have stupid techno gadgets in their games?

Basically, in WoW, in Azeroth, my take on the lore is pretty much whatever has been handed to me piecemeal over the years, without me having ever managed to get invested in it.

Which brings us back to strange.

Strange because I have actually owned all of the Warcraft RTS games, the source of the lore for WoW.

I have just never gone through the single player campaigns on any of them.  Ever.

This was because I never had any enthusiasm for them other than as games to play with friends.  To my mind they were in the RTS genre to be played against other people, not single player games to be explored.  And even then, of Blizzard games, StarCraft and the Diablo games were far more popular in my group of friends.  I only picked up the Warcraft games over the years because they were the game of the moment for people at the office.  I think Warcraft II may have literally only been installed at the office and not at home.

So, before WoW, I played the Warcraft series for a few minor moments in between Total Annihilation, StarCraft, and Age of Empires (I and II, but not III).  Somehow that little bit inoculated me against caring about the lore.

Not that I haven’t had my moments with the lore in Azeroth now and again.  I was involved with the story surrounding Wrath of the Lich King, and have played through as much of Mists of Pandaria as I have in part to finish stories.  In fact, the return to the end of WotLK got me thinking about story and lore and what came before WoW, so I decided to dig out my Warcraft III CD.

Well, my Warcraft III CD case.  I have no idea where the actual CD is at this point.  But the case had the serial number on it, which was enough to activate it in Battle.net so I could download the game.  So I was set to get myself updated on some Warcraft lore.

Time to play the Warcraft III campaign!

How that played out after the cut where, if you played through and remember well the Warcraft III single player campaign, the punchline you are probably expecting, given what I have said above, does arrive.  We ask that you please hold your “Well, duh!” moments until the end of the performance.

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$10 Gets Your Character’s Name on the EVE Online Monument

The cut-off date for character names to make it onto the EVE Online monument thing is fast approaching.  From the original announcement:

The monument will stand atop a half meter tall metal-plated concrete platform that will have the names of all the “main characters” of all active EVE Online players etched upon it. This list of active, paying players will be captured on March 1st, 2014—no exceptions. In addition, CCP will be honoring EVE Online players who have passed away by adding their names to the monument, as described in the following section.

Fortunately, if you are on the fence about coming back to have your semi-obscene or pop-culture based character name engraved in a tiny font on something which will be placed somewhere around Reykjavik harbor, CCP has a deal for you.  For just $10 (for those who pay in US currency) you can reactivate you account for 30 days.

For you, $9.99

For you, $9.99

Clicking on that screen shot will get you nowhere.  But if you go to the EVE Online site and go to the account management section (somewhere off the EVE Universe menu at the top right) you’ll see the offer.

While there is has been some controversy about CCP spending money on such a thing… shocking, I know… I have to wonder if there isn’t really some evil genius in this.  They haven’t said how they are paying for this monument, or even who is actually paying for it.   They are essentially putting it on public land, which I bet will get them a big tax break.  And I am sure that this will lead to at least some boost in subscriptions.  Are they essentially mixing crowd funding and tax breaks to cover any costs here?

Monument, pictured in a temperate marsh

Monument, pictured in a temperate marsh

Between this and the pop in new trial accounts after the battle at B-R5RB made the news, I suspect we’ll see a press release or some other announcement about subscriptions reaching a new peak.

If only CCP can hold on to them over the long term.