A Blog Azeroth Inspired Post
I don’t visit Blog Azeroth very often, but I’m thinking that needs to change. While I don’t usually have trouble thinking up stuff to blather on about, I do sometimes have trouble finding a cohesive topic amidst my own rambling. I like to yammer about all things WoW-related, which is kind of a pain in the butt when it comes to knuckling down and actually producing interesting content. All my best laid plans for this blog aside, I still like to wax idyllic about WoW.
So this week’s shared topic is about your favorite class, and what you wish you could add to that class to make it better. It got me thinking about something that had occurred to me earlier today, so in order for this to make sense I have to backtrack a little bit. Forgive my “old person telling a story” waffling. There’s a point at the end…I think.
I was playing my worgen druid (I have four druids who were at max level in Cataclysm, and in true druid-junkie form I am in the process of getting them all to 90) and I was playing in the Jade Forest. I was in the little wooded area north of the Terrace of Ten Thunders, where you pick mushrooms and release animal spirits into the wild. Out of laziness I cast stag form instead of just mounting up between mushrooms, and it made me remember another MMO I played a long while back. A friend introduced it to me as the most pointless and entertaining independent game ever. Basically, your character is a deer, and you run around an enchanted wood. The end. No, seriously, that’s it. There is no plot, no story, no quests. You can’t even talk to other players. You don’t get a name. You can sort of communicate via emotes, but it’s very limited. You start as a fawn and after a set amount of time, you mature into a stag. And then you run around some more and do deer things in the trees. The deer have a kind of vaguely unsettling humanoid face. I think there are a few spots in this pretty woodland where you may interact with objects like flowers and tree stumps. There are no monsters to kill, no items to collect. It’s purely a “run around and hop up and down” kind of game. And it was actually mildly entertaining. Especially once I found out that certain areas of the wood would change your physical appearance.
If you licked this stump, you got flowers on your horns. Find this shining flower and you would sparkle. Some interactions changed your coat color, gave you neat designs on your fur, or put a mask on your face. This is the kind of utterly pointless stuff I actually fall head over heels for. I love this kind of thing. And I realized, as I pranced around the Jade Forest as a stag, that it would be a neat thing to see in WoW, too.
The point I’m making here is that even though every new deer starts out looking exactly alike, with a little exploration and some luck every deer can look unique and distinct. WoW’s character creation is laughably lacking in customization, and regardless of how you randomize your features everyone looks exactly alike anyway unless you get way, way too close to someone. The minor details you picked out for facial features and skin color get lost almost immediately with armor covering 90% of your character’s body. In addition to updating the character creation options (which I feel is absolutely necessary to be competitive in today’s game market), a little in-game customization that goes beyond what was available at creation could be really fun.
Back to the original shared blog topic. What would I love to see added to my class? Well, the answer is more customization. Druids sadly all end up looking alike, more so than any other class in my opinion. In Wrath we saw the different colors in the different druid forms, and that was a major step in the right direction. I don’t personally care to see my armor on my bear. I think it would look stupid. But I would love a way to customize my druid so that he stood out a bit from every other bear, cat or moonkin running amok in Azeroth. So my answer to this blog topic isn’t actually druid specific, because if druids get it I think every other class should too.
In keeping with the idea from the strangely fascinating deer MMO, I think the heart and soul of my suggestion is that these things that make your character aesthetically unique should be found out in the wide world of Azeroth. I think it would be serious fun to have a ton of different items scattered about the world, hidden in inconspicuous places which change frequently (so you can’t camp or memorize them) with long respawns. The idea isn’t “I am setting out purposefully now to hunt down X item”. It’s more like “Oh hey! I found something under this tree! Ooooh neat!”
There could be a tab, similar to the glyph tab, to keep track and activate them. In the deer MMO, the effects are permanent until you find a new tree/stump/mushroom to interact with which then applies its effect and overrides the other one, which is lost. It would be better in keeping with WoW to have them be permanent, however, and allow you to switch between the ones you collected. The possibilities are endless: change the color of your stag form’s hooves, apply tattoos to your characters arms or face, exclusive hair colors, different antlers (like moose or horns like kudu!), or maybe even different types of bear or cat models. The items could be class specific (but you’d never find one for another class) or general. They could even be race-specific, such as an item that gives you a Dark Iron or Wildhammer skins for dwarves or shaggy fur for tauren or a true to life timber wolf skin for worgen.
What would I personally love to have? I would kill for a wreathe of small, brightly colored flowers strewn through my travel form antlers.
Maybe this is the worst idea in the world and maybe I’ve struck gold. But I would love, above all else, to make my little bear druid stand out. Just a little bit.
And if anyone is interested, the deer MMO I keep references is called the Endless Forest, and is a long-abandoned indy game found here.