Well, well. Blizzard has really gone and done it this time. To make such a bold claim (in both intent and typeface), then to absolutely ignore it outright. To offer your players a slight glimmer of hope, then to wave it aside like bad breath. To say you’re going to do one thing and instead do exactly the opposite – there’s a word for that, I’m sure you know. Since there has yet to be an official response to the matter, we players can only presume your attitude towards us, and I gotta tell you, it ain’t pretty. Honestly, it’s not a surprise, either.
No, I’m not talking about the 3.0.8 patch fiasco, though that is certainly worth mention. About the only attention I normally pay the patches is to make sure I get them downloaded. However, with the lag and queue times and lag and even more lag, I have seen more than my share of the problems the new patch has caused. No, I am directing my attention and this column to the RP realm debacle that arose over Wyrmrest Accord.
For the sake of my fellow roleplayers who may have missed it, a new RP realm, Wyrmrest Accord, opened up on January 16th. Blizzard announced free moves to it, and I quickly moved three avatars over. This was the first time I’ve made use of free moves, and I must say they all transferred without a hitch. I went through the process with all three in about fifteen minutes, and when I checked almost exactly an hour later, all three were moved in complete fashion. I see on the forums that many many others are not having so fluid an experience. Wish I could help with that.
That’s not the problem I’m here to address. When the announcement was made, it seemed business as usual, just another free move offering like so many before, at least as far as I could tell. However, two items quickly came into sight, one being the source realms that were open to allowing characters to freely leave and move to Wyrmrest. As I undertand it, twenty-six realms were open to the free move to Wyrmrest (and Winterhoof). Of those, only nine were RP realms, with a total of sixteen non-RP realms accounting for much of the remaining number. Now, as I said, this was my first time taking Blizzard up on their free move offer, so maybe allowing characters from non-RP realms to move to an RP realm is standard operating procedure. In any case, it stank of being at best a faulty procedure, knowing that this fresh brand new RP realm was going to very quickly become simply another realm overrun with smacktard RP griefers and the like.
That was my initial thought, until I read further down the announcement and saw a sentence boldly standing out from the rest of the page that nearly caused me to jump out of my chair with glee. To paraphrase (I should’ve taken a screenshot!), it stated that players should be aware that Wrymrest Accord is an RP server, and that the RP rule set will be enforced there.
Whoa! Did Blizzard just say they are going to finally enforce one of their own WoW rules that was written when the game launched over four years ago? For a brief yet ecstatic moment, I thought Blizzard had surely implemented at least one of many ways to abide by their own rules to insure Wyrmrest Accord was the RP mecca that roleplayers desire.
Then my pragmatist brain cells kicked in and reminded me not to be a fool. After all, by this very announcement, they had already gone against their own proclamation, and yet again against their own rules, by allowing so many characters from non-RP realms to transfer to Wyrmrest. I mean, honestly, did they think no one would catch that? The fact that no mention was made about how they would enforce the RP rule set was another screaming clue that couldn’t be missed. It truly boggles the mind as to why such a claim was made in the face of allowing free moves from non-RP servers to an RP one. I am still awaiting answers on the forum thread that accompanied the free move announcement to these and other questions, and remorsefully admit I may be waiting for a long time to come.
By the way, that sentence has since been edited out of the initial announcement. Convenient, yes? If by chance you don’t believe me it was there, then check out how WoW Insider reported it. They noticed it also.
Maybe it was due to the overwhelming problems caused by patch 3.0.8 that caused all available Blizzard attention to turn toward fixing that and putting this issue on the back burner? Maybe it was an actual and bonafide human error? That ‘enforcing the rule set’ claim was not at all meant to be included with the announcement. I am willing to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt, knowing we are only human. Yet, without no official word from them, and with other recent evidence, like the removal of RP items and actions from in game (e.g., can no longer make poisons, tinder removed from play), I can only think that perhaps Blizzard really is trying to shove roleplayers out of their roleplaying game.
In an effort to be fair and balanced, let me share a couple of positive things about the new RP realm I’ve seen so far. As of this writing, the major cities are quite vacant of players, meaning no lag or queue times. My first walk through Stormwind netted me a nicely done guild invite in full high-quality RP style, one that I am thoughtfully considering. I was clearly able to see and use the one mailbox in Undercity without having to force my way through or around a mass of characters on mounts. There was nary a gold spammer in sight in any of the cities. I even conducted the RP litmus tests by visiting Silvermoon City and Goldshire to ascertain the state of the vampire and ERP society, and am glad to say I saw none. Then again, I may just be hoping against all hope still. It’s probably just a matter of time before such derision arrives.
I am quite certain Blizzard has an in-house team devoted to PvE, keeping an eye on NPC quests and balancing creature abilities with character abilities. I’m almost certain they have another team whose job is to help deal with PvP aspects, since those problems seems to get top priority on the repair list. However, I would bet cold cash that as of this article, they do not nor have ever had an RP team, or even one person, assigned to assist the Blizzard wizards with influencing game roleplaying with a bit of simple imagination. An increasing number of roleplayers are wise to above examples of Blizzard’s seeming lack of RP fondness, and many have already left WoW as an effect. So, what is their real reason for the apparant brushing off of their RP player base? I don’t know. I can only speculate, and role on.