Stop the World: I Want To Get Off

    [Author’s Note: Warning, this article may contain some Diablo/Warcraft storyline spoilers. If you?re concerned, chances are you need another hobby (and chances are equal that I need some new material)]

    World of Diablo is inevitable. And though that?s unlikely to be the exact title, the statement is no less factual because of it. World of Warcraft will be upon us soon enough, and millions are going to buy it and love it. Even though it?s going to suck.

    As you?ve no doubt already guessed, it?s a day for flippancy. I?m not pulling any punches (mostly because I?m not entirely sure as to how one actually goes about pulling a punch), and I?m certainly not beating around any shrubbery.

    But I suppose I?d better lend some support to these sweeping judgments of mine. Poor buggers aren?t going to stand a chance otherwise. So off we hop:

    Worlds Not-So-Apart ? a few reasons why Blizzard?s future MMORPG offerings are probably going to suck

    Ye Gods, it?s another one of those list-thingummies! Just like in the column before this one, and in the column before that, and in the column before that, and that?s probably enough space-filling for the moment.  Looks like I?m nothing more than a one-trick pony. Well, a pony with opposable thumbs that happens to write for a website, at any rate. Neigh.

    I?m going to begin the list now, before the Poetic Justice Fairy starts switching about my orifices for real.

    Fact: World of Warcraft is not a ?prequel?.
    Note the semi-erroneous usage of quote marks, which I suppose I?ve included to signify my utter lack of faith when it comes to Blizzard?s storytelling ability. I mean, while I?m sure they did their best when it came to the Warcraft III storyline, there?s no denying that the end result was ? if nothing else ? a tad messy. Good thing the next installment of the series is an MMORPG, and as such needs nothing more than a nice background for the players to stand in front of, whereby they may trade items and insults at their leisure. Cynicism on Blizzard?s part, perhaps, foreseeing that they could write themselves into a hole and still come out on top? I wouldn?t put it past them. They have more money than I do; stands to reason that they have at least some idea of what they?re doing.

    Conclusion: World of Diablo probably won?t be a prequel.
    Not that it was even possible to begin with, what with there being no roman numeral for zero (take that Resident Evil!). Alas, too many sequels can spoil what was once a nice recipe (don?t believe me? Check out Final Fantasy X-2). Diablo will be blessed/cursed with yet another implausible resurrection, allowing for maximum franchise-milking and proving once and for all that Blizzard never really cared about Baal anyway. Asmodan and Belial will be relegated to the Pit of Forgotten Characters, where they?ll reside alongside Kel?Thuzad and all those Beyond the Dark Portal heroes for eternity. Obviously this is all worst-case-scenario stuff; but then, I?ve never been known for my optimism. Or anything else, really.

    Fact: Like it or lump it; you?re a good guy.
    Maybe it?s some weak anti-PK pseudo-measure. Or perhaps not. The introduction of the pathetically contrived ?Dark Lady? Sylvanas and her band of Forsaken sees the addition of some free-thinking Undead to the whole melting pot that is Azeroth (gotta love all this food-related imagery). I suppose it does make a little sense, in that Undead creatures under the firm control of the Scourge would be unlikely to wander around shouting ?ITAMZ PLZ?. But at the same time, it leaves more questions unanswered and pisses off the 90% of us (I?m embellishing) that hate Sylvanas. What the hell is the Lich King doing, for one thing? And where did Kel?Thuzad go? If Blizzard?s plot holes were the WTC then poor old Usama wouldn?t have stood a chance.

    Yay for alienating half my readership. Let?s see if I can lose the other guy before I?m through?

    Conclusion: You probably won?t be fighting Tyrael anytime soon.
    Unless that delightful ?Misguided/Evil Tyrael? suggestion somehow leaks into Blizzard?s hive mind, that is. I believe I once read somewhere that it?s more-or-less obligatory for the writer(s) of a game to designate the player(s) as the good guy(s) (now you know what happens to all those little parentheses who don?t say their prayers before bedtime. Welcome to Hell, kiddies). Something to do with moralistic issues, and the fact that by nature a person isn?t going to willingly slip into the shoes of a villain. Nobody sees themselves as the bad guy, after all.

    Now, apparently, if the audience can sympathise with the villain then the author has failed in his task of making the character undesirably evil.  Personally I think this is a load of ********, as it shows little more than a lack of depth of character on the writer?s behalf. Not to mention an utter contempt for the reader?s ability to react to a piece of text in a unique manner. Black and White is a phrase which should pertain only to one of the most over-hyped pieces of crap in existence, and it should not be a staple of any world, literary or otherwise. In my magnificently humble opinion, of course. Manipulating the reader isn?t everything, and I do wish more people would understand that (or maybe I?m just bitter because I?m no good at it).

    Still, trends will be trends, and Independent films aren?t always masterpieces. I can abide by formula if done well. But if I have to kill that blasted Lord of Terror one more time, I?m gonna?bloody well sit down, shut up and do it. I need my Blizzard fix as much as you do, my fellow junkies.

    Fact: The current Battle.net community is about as warm and close-knit as that iceberg that sunk the Titanic and ate Jaws.
    You know those guys who spam the public channels with their ?I hate gays/Goths/Blizzard? monologues? You know those guys who justify the use of Maphack and Chickenhack by stating in no uncertain terms that ?Hardcore is too difficult?? You know those level 5 guys who follow you around begging for items, or failing that smear your monitor with cries of ?TP? and ?PP??

    Say hi to your adventuring companions. And may I welcome you to the World of Warcraft. Monsters to your left, cyanide to your right.

    Conclusion: Live or die with it; there?s not a damned thing you can do.
    These idiots are Blizzard?s fans (despite what they sometimes claim), and they will buy each new game as it is released. You cannot escape their tiny, self-important wrath. And as long as they keep buying, Blizzard will continue to pander to their faults and desires. The only way to put an end to this vicious cycle would be some sort of mass genocide, and seeing as how the little beggars appear to possess all the characteristics of that broomstick from Fantasia, this just isn?t feasible. Also I don?t have an axe.

    Fact: I know virtually nothing about World of Warcraft, and it almost certainly shows through my writing. Conclusion: I can?t afford to spend time and money on an MMORPG. This is my way of airing my sour grapes without getting arrested.

    I think that?s enough. I know right now you?re probably considering running out and grabbing a copy of World of Warcraft just to spite me. In which case there?s a fair chance I can score a job with Blizzard?s marketing department (or failing that, I can beat up somebody in the car park outside their HQ). See, in the end everybody wins, so it?s all good. Bring on World of Baal!

    Disclaimer: The Lion’s Toes was written by Leon (Robert McGrath-Kerr) and hosted by Diabloii.net. The opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.

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