It’s the beginning of my college spring break and my current vacation plans are to go back home and watch a whole lot of Doctor Who while playing with the family’s dog.
For all of you who do not know what Doctor Who is about, it first aired in the 1960s, and it is about an alien who can change his face and goes traveling through time and space with a human girl in a spaceship that looks like a blue box that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.
As I was re-reading the information for Mist of Pandaria, I began to think of what can Blizzard learn from the British Sci-Fi show. Both franchises are remarkably old for their genres (WoW is reaching 7 years old while the Doctor Who show is 48) Being such an old television program, one of the challenges Doctor Who faces is finding new ways for viewers to continue watching and supporting the show. This is the same problem that Blizzard is currently facing with their recent drop in subscribers and with more and more MMOs entering into the market. I found three solid rules from the Doctor Who show that Blizzard may be able to learn when creating this expansion.
((I was planning on covering all three rules today, but its was going to be too long of a blog post, so I will be separating them and spreading them out through out the week.))
The first rule that Blizzard can learn from Doctor Who is: Don’t be afraid to make your character completely bad ass.
One of the reasons why the British television show can be almost half a century old, while still be focused on the same character is that the Doctor can regenerate into a completely new new person when every he feels like it.
When William Hartnell, the first actor to play the Doctor, could not continue his role for health reasons the writers of the show created the idea keeping the same character while changing the actor, thus regeneration was created. Regeneration allows the Doctor to go through a metamorphosis, to switch out the the current actor for a new one. The Doctor was always written as an alien, so why wouldn’t he have some alien genetic traits? The regeneration process happens whenever an actor does not want to continue his role, or if the writers want to change the tone of the show, so far there have been a total of ten regenerations of the Doctor, and each actor brought something different to the program.
Between the 1990 American made-for-television Doctor Who movie and the 2005 British continuation of the show, a regeneration happened off screen and the Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston) that greeted us in on the television screen has changed into a certified, leather coat wearing bad ass.
In the doctor’s previous reincarnations all of them were intellectuals and would be a bit more understanding to the antagonists, but Eccleston’s Doctor was a completely new take on the charater. This time he was a war hardened soilder and if you were bad, you would be punished. he very black and white view of the universe and this turned out to be a surprising good character change, even if it lasted for only one season.
I think that Blizzard is trying to do the same thing with the Alliance. In Cataclysm, many players were not happy on how the Alliance acted in the expansion. In fact they did not act at all, they mostly REacted to everything, while the Horde was seizing every opportunity they could (The invasion of Hillsbrad, Ashenvale and Azshara) the Alliance did not make any of their own advances, they were just defending against the Horde’s invasions, never really bringing the battle to the Horde’s area.
With the rekindling of the Alliance-Horde war in Pandaria, Blizzard needs to change what it means to be a member of the Alliance. I, and many players, want them to be more aggressive in potential land grab, we want to see the Alliance take the initiative in a battle zone and destroying some of the Horde’s outposts. We want to see the Alliance no longer needs to be taking the high ground in every encounter, to see them use some dirty tactics for them to win the day. I think that what Blizzard wants them to do as well.
I am very interested in how the Alliance will develop with this new chapter of Warcraft, and if they will cross any of the lines that they have made in the time of War.
Be MOP focuses on the lead up to the next World of Warcraft expansion with my own reflections about the last dying moments of the Catalysm’s Twilight Hour as we look into the Mist of the new day. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays