Enter the Shadowlands
I have seen beyond the bounds of infinity and drawn down daemons from the stars. . . . I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and madness. . . .(H.P. Lovecraft, “From Beyond”, 16 November 1920)
This year at Blizzcon 2019, Blizzard announced the next expansion for World of Warcraft – Shadowlands, coming sometime in 2020. Given the number of features they’re still working on, estimating a release date of December 2020 is not out of the realm of possibilities.
After watching the cinematic, I bought the preorder. Yes, it was that good.
BfA – Bad Freakin Attitude
When the very first Battle for Azeroth trailer came out, the leaders of both factions flexed their muscles and people lost their minds. Sylvanas unleashing her battle cry gave folks “the chills”, and watching the young lion Anduin flexing his holy might gave others “the feels”. Social media ate it up, and people lined up behind the badass Horde Warchief, while ruthlessly mocking poor Anduin.
I feel bad for the Alliance. Actually, what I feel bad for is the Stormwind PR department who, after a number of expansions, still can’t get the hook that the Horde did. It’s what they call in professional wrestling, “being over” or having the fans buying into, and supporting, a character. In this case, the Horde has been “over” for years. “For The Horde” is a catchphrase that has been money, and the Alliance could never come up with a suitable rallying cry. “For the Alliance” seemed like a knockoff of the more popular phrase, and the brief “Alliance Roar” that Chris Metzen tried to get over one year at Blizzcon never caught on.
That probably has nothing to do with the rest of this post. I just felt it needed to be said because, over the past few weeks, catchphrases have been the least of the WoW Community’s concerns.
Sylvanas went and committed genocide of a sort by burning down Teldrassil, the World Tree. She just straight up wiped out an entire population of Night Elves. Because reasons.
That had the interesting reaction of Alliance supporters wanted her burned at the stake and Horde players tugging uncomfortably at their collars. Some fired back with “you don’t know the whole story, there’s probably a good reason for Sylvanas doing it”. Others felt the Warchief lost her mind and decided to remove their shoulder pads in protest.
As soon as I saw the cinematic, I just assumed that she was being manipulated by the Old Gods. Get rid of the World Tree, build their strength, promote a war between the two factions with enough power combined that could stop them. You know, that old song and dance.
But that’s me, and this all may be moot because there have been events after this that I just lost interest in. Not because Sylvanas did a Very Bad Thing, but people online are really taking this personally. And that really doesn’t engage me at all.
Tomorrow, Battle for Azeroth will officially launch. For days and possibly weeks after, I’ll be doing two things – avoiding the toxicity of social media while people lose their shit over this, and leveling my Monk character through old content. Hopefully, by the time he reachest Current Content, people will have calmed down somewhat and I can enjoy the game as it was meant to – as a game.