Horde and Alliance fight each other. But worry not, they will band together against the common evil… the Pandas which will destroy them all. But hold on, Pandas are cute, so we are evil? I’m confused. Blizzaaaaaaard! Don’t do that to me! You know, your game should be accessible, not make me think and fail at it!
Anyway. Let me compose myself.
Going by the news, one of the topics of the next expansion supposedly is broader focus. Diversification. Alternate ways of advancement. I would’ve expected to see this focus on less focus in the trailer. Instead in the trailer for Mists of Pandaria, you see mists, and you see a panda. (I didn’t see a “ria”, but that might be because I don’t know what that is.) That’s about as much focus as you can put on one thing. It’s basically the title of the expansion in video form. The strong focus on one thing, the Big Bad at the end, was in line with the previous expansions, but that also means that by extrapolation, Mr. Panda suddenly gets cast into this weird role as big-bad-but-wait-not-really.
When I say, “it’s Kung Fu Panda after all”, that is not only because kung fu and pandas is all we really see in the trailer, except for the stock Horde and Alliance poster children. As an aside, why is none of them female? Maybe I shouldn’t ask, because all we’d get is a scantily clad woman with clothes ripped off in strategic places from her unfortunate boating accident. (Also, I guess she wouldn’t fit in, because women obviously can’t wear real weapons, so she would have to be a mage, like all important human women in MMOs always are, and how would a Kung Fu Panda be able to beat a mage? ) Note: WoW needs more female orcs! Rawr! In your face!
No, the reason I saw Kung Fu Panda in that trailer was a very specific scene. Remember the scene where unnamed Panda #1 returns the decorative headpiece to its original place… then realizes it’s slightly askew and adjusts it with his staff? Here.
The movement, the sound effects, the timing, the comical effect… I don’t know whether I’m imagining it, but this felt so evocative of Kung Fu Panda. Now, don’t get me wrong, Kung Fu Panda is an enjoyable movie. It just doesn’t seem to fit with the “even more inter-faction war” vibe that I heard Blizzard was trying to push. Instead of downplaying the Kung Fu Panda angle with “but there’s so many more cool things waiting!”, they embrace it.
Unfortunate Use of Rhetorical Device
The first statement by Mr. Panda was that the question “why do we fight?” is a stupid one. He then proceeds to smack the previously brawling human and orc until they band up, then smacks them a bit more, then stops. Then we realize it seems the question actually might be “why do we fight?” after all, because that is what we’re given the answer to. Huh? Is it OK to be confused by that? Maybe Mr. Panda had a bit too much to drink. The answer he gives is “to protect home and family and blabla something harmony”. Well, that’s nice, I guess. I assume that is also the answer to the “real question”, as Mr. Panda puts it, that he then rhetorically asks: “what is worth fighting for?” That must be the reason why six weeks from now, all those Pandas will randomly choose either Horde or Alliance as faction, so they can proceed to smash each other’s heads in. Wait, what? That doesn’t make any sense in light of that trailer! The sad thing is, this trailer projects a relationship between the factions that I would have enjoyed a lot more than what we will get. The pandas stay together, the Horde and Alliance band up, and all need to go after the Big Bads.
Unfortunate Target Group
Well, at least for me, in a sense. Because I’m not part of it. (Whether that’s unfortunate or not might be up for debate.) I knew that beforehand. I actually watched the trailer with very low hopes. That, funny enough, often works for me like a reverse prejudice: because I go in with low hopes, there’s a decent chance I might be pleasantly surprised because I’m at least not totally disappointed. Sadly, it didn’t work this time.
Oh well. There’s other games to play. I might check out MoP once it’s in the virtual bargain bin, just for the hell of it.