Tobold's Blog
Saturday, October 22, 2011
 
Kung Fu Panda

I don't want to write this post again, so here is the short version: There are millions and millions of people who would love to play a panda performing martial arts in a MMORPG. That you aren't one of them, and you consider that these millions and millions of people playing Kung Fu Pandas are probably much younger than you only proves that you aren't the target audience.
Comments:
If Blizzard manages to wash out some elitism from the game... I think WoW will last for a long time. Because let's face it: right now "old" players feel the absolute owners of the knowledge. They feel entitled to decide where the game should go and what developers should do.

Also, tagging a game as childish because it has pandas or "cute" stuff in it it's completely wrong, in my opinion.

Unless you think games like Farmville are serious, professional and "adult" products.

_
Loque
- 36 years old
- married
- 2 children
- ex wow players, waiting for Diablo3
 
I agree. There are millions also who would like to play lady gaga as a witch that slaps targets..

but my questions remains.. why World of Warcraft?I play this game from the beginning and also played the strategies before..and still ask, Why World of Warcraft?

I am not fan of star wars but what their fans done is a sad true.. http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/694/doublefacepalm1u.jpg/
 
Do you think that changing the target audience with a 6 year old game while under pressure of several high-prestige rivals is the right thing to do?
 
You are so right.

To reprise my comment over at Player vs Developer, Blizzard's account department probably pays more attention to trends in Club Penguin than how Guild Wars 2 is coming along.

If a side effect of Pandaria is to move much of the adult population of WoW to other activities, some of them possibly even to other MMOs, that won't necessarily be a bad thing.
 
Do you think that changing the target audience with a 6 year old game while under pressure of several high-prestige rivals is the right thing to do?

I think that you are mistaken in believing that this is a CHANGE. If you make random screenshots of 100 different MMORPGs and sort them in one category which is dark, brooding, adult versus another category which is bright, colorful, and child-friendly, World of Warcraft would always end up in the children category.

It is only by ignoring the looks of WoW and concentrating on a very minor part of the game that people can keep up the illusion that World of Warcraft ever was meant to be a "serious" game.
 
"That you aren't one of them, and you consider that these millions and millions of people playing Kung Fu Pandas are probably much younger than you only proves that you aren't the target audience."

"I think that you are mistaken in believing that this is a CHANGE."

You say that Pandas are for millions of people much younger than me. But it's not a change in target audience?

>> last comment *sigh* <<
 
I am closer to Loque; I don't see Pandas as pushing out adults as much as I see it pushing out the mostly toxic portion of the 1337 15-25 YO male crowd.

I think the annoyingly immature "raiding is srs bsns" crowd are much more likely to be offended by Pandas than older players.
 
We might not be the target audience after all:

http://massively.joystiq.com/2011/10/19/world-of-warcraft-makes-inroads-into-southeast-asia/

Maybe thats the first Asia expansion we see of many to come.
 
I'm not 100% certain it isn't a spoof... Monk Brewmaster??? I suppose it's not all that much of a departure for WoW, but it still seems a bit like... pandaring?

I'll get my coat.
 
Tobold I totally agree...most of my 40+ year old friends that have been playing Wow have done it because of the "cuteness". One of my female friends mainly plays because gnomes with pink ponytails giggling and dancing with lanky green haired night elves makes her giggle. This game has always been cheeky, cute and cloy. Sure, I enjoyed it for a while myself, but I think most of us 40ish folks are looking for something else now. But GenX has always been ignored. I don't know why we would expect that things would change and we'd be a target audience for anything as big as an MMO.
 
Even back in 2004, especially for players of other MMOs, WoW had always the reputation of the fluffy, happy, colorful easy mode game.
 
1) There have been actual, licensed Kung Fu Panda games in the past. One of them was actually pretty good. They sold well enough, but they weren't exactly chart-busters either. Is the addition of MMO mechanics somehow going to make Warcraft: Panda irresistible?

2) It's not a Kung Fu Panda game, it's World of Warcraft: Panda. Now yes, Warcraft has always been the most "cartoony" MMO, but serious/unserious is not binary, and I think we can all agree that on that spectrum of serious to unserious "Warcraft" - even if it's firmly on the "unserious" half of the spectrum - is somewhat more serious than "Kung Fu Panda." So there will be inevitable tensions between the two, and that tension will make it difficult to capitalize fully on either the "Kung Fu Panda" or the "Warcraft" appeal.
 
As someone who has only played WoW very occasionally, I'm going to be 'that guy', and mention gnomes. Gnomes who have existed since the launch of the games. Gnomes who ride pollution belching robot Ostriches, pick up their mail at mailboxes you can tell are mailboxes by the envelope that sits on a goofy spring and sways from side to side, and who rejoice in names like Mechagear and Thermaplugg.

So no, I just can't see what is so straw that breaks the camels back about martial arts Pandas. They make just as much sense as the shamanistic Cows, surely?

Pandas, Cows, Gnomes, Undead sporting beehive hairdos, whatever. It's all good.

My question is whether they're proposing to fix the by now completely broken, hyperspeed, mind-numbingly linear, sneeze and it dies, solo leveling game? Now that would be something.
 
With the subscription plummet in Cataclysm, if you didn't expect substantial changes for the next expansion you were living in denial.

Pandas (and the entire asian theme) are also clearly a nod to China, which I bet they expect to continue growing as a market for years.

For the record, I think they've announced measures to fix many of the problems I had with Cataclysm, and will likely be resubscribing when the new expansion releases. Until then, I have some rifts to close.
 
That you aren't one of them, and you consider that these millions and millions of people playing Kung Fu Pandas are probably much younger than you only proves that you aren't the target audience."

This may also be a good measuring stick for whether someone is "old" or not.
 
Personally, I just feel that it swings it heavily towards being way too... "casual gamey". I mean, I'm not trying to be a lore nut, but before, WoW was at least pretty invested itself as an actual world. It took its own lore and itself extremely seriously, and then added on the fun and childish bits for charm.

This just seems like they'll sacrifice anything for the subscription numbers, as if they were screaming for people to hopefully come back to the game. It reeks of desperation, and it's just a huge turnoff for me.
 
My question is whether they're proposing to fix the by now completely broken, hyperspeed, mind-numbingly linear, sneeze and it dies, solo leveling game? Now that would be something.
This 100%! I couldn't care less about hordes of bouncing pandas or pokemon mini-games. The big problem for me is they trivialised the leveling experience to over-emphasize endgame. I see nothing to fix that so far. Why level a panda only to grind heroics yet again?
 
You could have left out:

"and you consider that these millions and millions of people playing Kung Fu Pandas are probably much younger than you"

And make the same point I think. What were you trying to say with this?
 
Justin Bieber has 30 year old women going to his concert. My Little Pony? 30 year old men watch it. Given our culture's intriguing tendency to allow for people to enjoy content out of their traditional age restrictions, it would be erroneous to say that Pandas must discourage all people about 30 from playing this game.

Also, Blizzard has consistently drawn its humor from pop culture references. Star Trek to Twilight, it gladly breaks age barriers to find fun to add to its game. If Kung Fu Panda is present in our culture, it was only a matter of time for Blizzard to take a jab at it.
 
Don't you think that the average age of Kung Fu Panda fans is lower than the average age of fans of lets say Lord of the Rings?
 
I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion here, Tobold. And even though I liked Kung Fu Panda, the announcement certainly did feel like it killed my interest in ever returning to WoW.

You know, if Blizzard are planning to ever introduce that successor to WoW, it would be awfully convenient if WoW had transformed into something like Lego Universe (Ninjas! Pirates! Zombies!). That would mean less competition for their new coherent, consistent world. Who knows, perhaps they could even use that old world that used to be known as Azeroth. :)
 
Check out Athene's video about this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6upuh71CZ3k

So yeah, there are loads of people who want to play pandas and I'm happy for them. But like you said, I'm not the target audience and I won't be renewing my sub. Good thing there are other (hopefully decent) MMOs coming out soon! :)
 
Kung Fu Pandas in isolation, the average age of fans may be young, but Kung Fu Pandas in the Warcraft universe? I think the average age of those fans is higher than you think.

Your greater point is awesome though: if you don't find this appealing, perhaps you're not the target market (regardless of age). It's sad to see something you once loved changed to the point where you don't recognize it anymore. But life is like that sometimes (and this is a byproduct of a free market system).
 
I actually quite like Asian culture, and pandaren aside, that seems to be the underlying theme aswell.

It's also likely to drop before Guild Wars 2, you would hope, and probably a little after most SWTOR players are waiting for a big content patch. As far as it goes, around that time, I'll be looking for something to do and will definately enjoy it - even if I dont stick around.

And when you think about it, thats how WoW has survived as of late, luring people back in with big content patches at the right time, then hooking them back in when other stuff has been just exhausted.
 
After witnessing some of the nerd rage and negativity in reaction to the Pandaren, I'm beginning to think
that we can only hope that such people will be alienated from the game and not poison the game environment.
I'm 45 with 2 children and I'm not too old for pandas!
I say if your too serious for Pandas, you might just be too serious.
 
1) I dont mind the pandaren so if I have the chance I will resub to WoW to try it out
2) I fail to see how Panda Monks are any worse than blood elves for the horde. If however you are saying it is equally bad, at least you are consistent and I will support you in your right to say that, even though I don't agree.
3) Blood Elves and Night Elves and Pandas and everything else cute or whatever that you dont like about the game; why exactly do you not like it to the point that you have to make it into an issue? I get that each person will have his own likes/dislikes, but I dont think it should matter to people that much as to actually say they will cancel their sub because some people will have the option to play a panda monk character. If you dont like panda monks, dont play one, what exactly is the big deal?

It is just weird for me to understand the rage-like emotions an addition to a game provokes when it does not "break" the game (like the dancing mechanics for example, which "breaks" the game for some people).
 
"Kung Fu Pandas in isolation, the average age of fans may be young, but Kung Fu Pandas in the Warcraft universe? I think the average age of those fans is higher than you think."

Indeed. My experience in talking to a mix of older and younger WoW players over the past two days is that it's primarily the under 25 crowd who roll their eyes and are annoyed at the idea of "kung fu panda" in WoW.

Older players? Enthusiasm and agreement that the ideas behind the expansion give it tremendous potential, tempered by a worry that Blizzard might not be able to pull it off.

Anecdotal evidence, sure. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard was aware of this, though, and went with MoP in order to appeal to their more mature player-base.
 
I am surprised at the number of people who think Pandaren are new to warcraft lore.
 
General reaction from our guild (age range ~20-45) was "PANDAS!!!! We can play them now!!?"
 
"General reaction from our guild (age range ~20-45) was "PANDAS!!!! We can play them now!!?""

My guild 20-35 had more or less the same reaction.
 
One thing that most people seem to be forgetting or don't actually know when commenting on this is the Pandaren are NOT new.

The Pandaren have been part of Warcraft since Warcraft III.
 
i keep reading so much rage about pandaren, but people seem to be missing the bigger features. challenge modes and scenarios and , yes, even pet battles are really going to add lots of content to wow.

people already try to run dungeons as fast as they can, now you will be able to q for a group of others that are all of like mind, instead of getting that stuffy old priest that refuses to move on to the next pull until his mana is at 101%.

also, scenarios are designed as such that blizzard can quickly produce new ones because they are set in already in game locals and aren't designed to be very long.

same thing with pet battles, there is a huge library of pets already. once the infrastructure is in place it will be very easy for devs to add new pets with minimal effort.

this expansion is music to my ears. now instead of running the same old heroics every day there will be quite a bit of options on how to spend my play time.
 
I’m comfortable with the inclusion of pandas, however if their immersion into the world is as poor as Worgen/Goblins (ie: mostly forgotten after 1-20), then this is definitely bad news.

I don’t take WoW lore very seriously, but in WoTLK, there was definitely a feeling of being a part of an epic story arc which had latest several years. You encounter Arthas frequently on the journey from 70-80 (as well as in the excellent DK start zone) and Yogg-Saron’s evil corrupting influence is strongly felt in the Storm Peaks zone, among others.
I met Deathwing once from 1-85 and it was in a joke quest. Apparently he also hands out achievements (never got one). In MoP, they have dropped the ‘Big Bad’ trope altogether (but are bringing Illidan back?!)

Again, I don’t see myself as being hugely fussy with regards to lore, but I need something to distract me from the gear/rep/achievements/fluff grind. It feels like Blizzard are actively rejecting the ‘4th pillar’ and are pushing me towards SWTOR.
 
I'm 48, no problem with the Pandaren concept, but they will have to be careful. Motorcycles and rockets were an issue with me.

What I'm excited about is the monk class. That has real "adult" player possibilities if they really plan to incorporate Asian culture.

Not sure I could really level again without some more interesting shortcuts than just enhanced XP.
 
Pandas seem to be the only thing noteworthy in the expansion. If you look past Pandas, what do we have? Not much:

Pet-dueling (Pokemon anyone?), dumbed-down talent trees, PVE scenarios (getting rid of raids now?), new level cap aka gear- reset and future-empty-content, and a monk class (if ten alts wasn't enough for you!).

All told, there is precious little to be excited about.
 
Loque is right. MoP is not 'childish', no more than the space aliens from Burning Crusade. If WoW can return to its fun roots and become enjoyable to play again, then bravo! I may even come back for that.
 
I strongly disagree Shawno.

Raid content is still there and obviously not changing but Pet-dueling (Pokemon) could be fun. have you ever played Pokemon? There's a reason just about ever incarnation sells so well, and its not just kids playing them. Its easy to dismiss things as being childish. For example saying comic books are only for kids, or the fantasy genre is so childish.

PVE scenarios - there are a lot of players who prefer playing the leveling game or playing solo for the most part. This is giving them a new game avenue. Very well received by this population.

Monk class - I think its a pretty good class. For sure I want to try it out for the healing build, and you can also spec tank as well.

You can't expect every expansion to appeal to you. And I for one am super happy they are giving us a new landmass. I HATE Cataclysm's overuse of the old world, and using the new areas only for leveling. Honestly once you've completed all the quests and rep for an area there's absolutely no reason to revisit it. At least the other expansions like Burning Crusade and Wrath you wanted to spend all your time in that land mass.
 
I honestly don't know why this expansion is the rallying banner for "WoW is terrible". It seems like people are just using the Panda's as an excuse to criticize Blizzard. The Pandarian’s have been in the Warcraft Lore longer than the Draenei and yet this is the “jump the shark” moment?

I can’t help but think that most of the negative comments are coming from people already burnt out or tired of WoW. There are a lot of interesting features that were announced with this expansion and I think people are failing to see how fun it could be. AS Emyln said Pokemon games aren’t just for little kids. I’m in the army and when we go out to the field for weeks at a time guess what game people bring for their DS, Pokemon.

Blizzard is marketing WoW for the gamer with a few hours a night or week to play. Not the person with an abundance of spare time. I think Blizzard is more in tune with their target audience then their audience is even aware of. The MMO gaming community is aging and as you get older you often have less time to spend on things such as games. Panda’s are no more childish than any other previous artistic direction WoW has gone. I would like to add though that this is something I would consider letting my daughter play.
 
I'm afraid that this is just a taste of things to come.

What if Titan features talking cars? Pandas are one thing but did you see Blizzard introducing pets fighting? Is that a return to POKEMON?

No, it's a vector. Blizzard is moving away from hardcore gamers to add the unwashed masses.
 
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