Really. A Motorcycle. Really?

Apparently a new type of mount is being added to WoW in Wrath of the Lich King: the Hog.

Frankly, this type of thing makes it increasingly less likely that I’ll be interested in playing much WoW after the expansion comes out.

Look, I understand that WoW is full of slapstick gags, puns, and real-world references. It’s part of the game’s style, and it certainly has an appeal to many gamers. As much as I hate knowing she’s in the world, I can ignore Haris Pilton pretty easily. But I won’t be able to ignore gangs of gnomes riding past me on motorcycles.

The helicopter flying mount made by engineers was pushing it for me. Once Azeroth has the motocycle, what’s next? When will I be able to get a Hummer to drive around in, or a Maserati? (Come on, just imagine the cross marketing potential!)

Am I the only person in the world who wants to play the game so mesmerizingly portrayed in Blizzard’s intro cinematics? Frankly, I much prefer that dramatic and awe-inspiring style over the game that actually gets installed on my hard drive. And it gets increasingly harder to pretend I’m playing that idealized Azeroth when I see stuff like this becoming more prevalent in the game.

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Steve Danuser, also known as Moorgard, is a a writer, editor, and game designer.

18 thoughts on “Really. A Motorcycle. Really?”

  1. The Hog I might give you as being overly silly.

    But flying machines are a staple of the Warcraft universe and have been since at least Warcraft 2, so you can hardly get too bent out of shape over those, I’d say.

    But I will say that I am sometimes suffocated by the silliness. The Zul’aman stuff and the DHETA/Nesingwary stuff, in paticular, is sort of annoying to me.

    Of course, what do you expect from a game that is designed in large part by Tigole and Furor?

  2. As much as I love motorcycles, I’ve got to agree with you. I can enjoy the occasional anachronism for entertainment sake, but if you want to keep these OCCASIONAL you have to keep them under the control of the developer, not the player. A single gnome inventor NPC you briefly encounter would be tolerable to me. A mob of players? less so.

  3. I couldn’t agree more. The motorcycle is ridiculous. Did you notice the license plate on the back says “PWN”? Maybe I just need a better sense of humor, but I find it fairly lame.

    On top of that there are the new quests that have you flying around in planes firing missiles and shooting machine guns at gargoyles. I mean, come on.

    Oh well, I’ll still be playing WotLK for awhile at least, there are some cool things – giants (that are actually giants…they’re huge!), dragons, undead, and hopefully the conclusion to the Ashbringer storyline – all of which make the expansion exciting for me and will hopefully be a welcome reprieve from the overly sci-fi zones and dungeons of TBC.

  4. I don’t know… as out of place as the motorcycle might seem, I don’t think it ruins the setting too much. Gnome technology has been part of the Warcraft World since WC2 (maybe 1, didn’t play it). Didn’t they have helicopters there too? If gnomes can make helicopters and mechanostriders, I don’t think a motorcycle is too much of a stretch. If anything, it should have come first: wheels are easier to engineer than moving mechanical chicken legs.

    Even if not, I also don’t think it’s implausible that the technology of Azeroth could be making strides forward. Why wouldn’t motorcycles see mass adoption after they were invented?

  5. Well, Warcraft 2 had off-shore oil platforms and zeppelins. That’s fairly high tech. They’ve had steam tanks scattered around WoW as well as various airplanes (there’s even an Alliance quest where you summon a pilot using a flare gun). The “steampunk” stuff is very much part of the lore. Not sure that a motorcycle is really any worse.

  6. I love it, since my main is an engineer for the niftiness, not the gear or awesome goggles. I don’t like how, well, ordinary it is. Everything that’s steampunk/mechanical in WoW has a certain level of “over the top”. The gyrocopter is an odd, unusual aircraft with it’s engine sparking and about to fall out. The Hog is a regular motorcycle. I’m really unimpressed. I think they could have done something a little more Azerothian than a regular motorcycle.

    However, I don’t think it’s out of place. We have airplanes, siege engines, robots, robotic vehicles/skeletons, an instance named Mechanar, etc… I just wish it were more over the top.

  7. I am willing to accept the fact that I am a grumpy old purist who hates having steampunk mixed up in his high fantasy. :p

    I realize Warcraft isn’t the ideal IP for me. I guess it’s frustrating because sometimes it gets >< this close to what I wish it was, then something like this comes along to yank me out of it.

  8. It’s like how I am with Star Wars Galaxies… it’s like, oh, you do this so well… oh, no other game has crafting like this… oh, but I love this IP… and then something has always managed to come and ruin the vibe, starting with the CU and ongoing.

  9. I think the problem is they didn’t “gnome” up the motorcycle enough. The Gryrocopters deffinitely look steampunk enough but the motorcycle is more like something used in WWII. Still I’ll probably get one, especially if I can rev the engines.

  10. I agree with you in the sence that it seems lout of place but so did mechostriders quite honestly. Truth told the flying ships of lore returns thus this is actually truer to the original concept of WoW then all previous attempts. Motorcycle needs more steam and clunkiness. Otherwise as another noted it’s far easier to make wheels then chicken legs that walks a machine.

  11. Actually planes have been in game since launch. There is an airport near Ironforge as well as unused planes in Gnomer if I remember right. There is also a quest to blow up a plane in the Barrens. Those don’t really bother me (I remember being intregued by them when I ran Gnomer in fact). I am also actually a huge fan of my epic rocket chicken (or I was when I played).

    My gut reaction to the Hog screenshots was pretty negative, on the other hand. It just doesn’t look “fantasy” enough to me somehow. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the idea, it just seems like the art direction is a little off. Or maybe I’m just crazy.

  12. Great article Steve! I saw a picture of that motorcycle a few weeks ago and I must admit it seems completely out of place in WoW. There’s such a thing as going too far and I believe Blizzard has done that. Other evidence of that is the LVL70ETC band that comes out once a year with a full blown rock band ensemble complete with microphones, amplifiers, instruments, etc.

    The pop culture references are also getting out of control and eroding the sense of immersion that is crucial for a MMO to succeed. I don’t mind the occasional reference but please don’t insult my intelligence with lame ones like Harris Pilton — c’mon Blizz even a child would get that one. At least make them challenging and somewhat cryptic. Hemut Nesingwary — now that’s one that I did enjoy!

    Pop culture references should be kept to a minimum if at all. We get it Blizzard — you guys are hip and cool and obviously spent a lot of your youth glued to the boob tube. In retrospect maybe you could have spent time more time reading timeless classics and myths that are the true foundation for modern fantasy. This is an attempt to be funny and clever on the part of the Blizzard designers. If I want that, I’ll turn on Comedy Central not WoW.

  13. wow was created for a young demographic. Im old. I never liked wow. does the addition of a motorcycle really surprise anyone?

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