05 December 2010

World of Warcraft has a Potty Mouth

Cataclysm is coming, so a lot of folks I know and work with are going back to World of Warcraft to see what's new and different. The pre-expansion quests are slick in a lot of cases. I've only tried out one of the revamped starter areas so far (the Undead one; it's been a while since I've played anything Horde-flavored), but I plan to try the rest. Call it market research if you want to.

One thing I've noticed as I've brought my Undead priest from 1st to 16th level is that the amount of potty humor in WoW has increased. I mean, sure... we had a good number of what I like to call "poop quests" in the old WoW (specifically in Burning Crusade, though there was some poop happening in Lich King as well), where the player has to (usually) sift through poop to complete the quest.

Though I haven't seen any poop quests yet (I'm sure I will), I've noticed that the language in these newer quests is a bit courser than I'm used to with WoW. In one instance, an Orc calls Silvanas Windrunner a bitch; in another case, an orc (who you've awakened from a drunken stupor) comments that he may or may not have pissed himself. In a third example, an undead apothecary explains to you that he's placed a stick of laced dynamite up a chicken's butt.

Those are just a few examples, but WoW always seemed to aim for a more accessible, family-friendly tone. Profanity was the exception to the rule. Heck, they rarely even mentioned the word "poop" in relation to the aforementioned poop quests. That's not to say that I'm offended by profanity, far from it. I curse like a sailor on a near-daily basis, and I work with people who could make George Carlin blush (okay, maybe not).

I guess my point is that this new-found vulgarity seems outright juvenile to me now. WoW was never very serious (or, at least, I could never take it seriously), but it rarely stooped to the level of juvenile, scatological humor. Just going from 1 to 16 on my priest has revealed a number of instances where this kind of content is pretty much front and center now. I can hardly wait to read what the quest text says next.

Incidentally, the Undead starter area isn't much more impressive than it used to be. The storyline has moved along a little bit, and they do try to get you into the role of your race a bit more, but overall... it's just lipstick on a hellboar. I have yet to try the gnome and troll areas out, and I hear that these are where the lion's share of big changes and innovation can be seen. Time will tell.

1 comment:

Mike said...

While I agree that there has always been a small scatological streak to Blizzard's humor, it didn't seem all that more pronounced in Cataclysm than in previous expansions. I submit that it's mostly the freshness of the new poop references that seems odd and out of place to you, whereas the familiar brown humor of old has lost its former pungency. ;)

The "bitch" remark only caught my attention for two reasons: (1) It was the incident I had read about in your blog, and (2) it was surprising that someone would say that to a head of state, even a puppet head of state. Still, it served to establish (from the Undead end of things) the arrogance and low Q rating of the new Warchief, and also fill out the motivation for the Undead queen to ignore orders and go her own way.

And motivation seems to be a big part of Cataclysm. As you've said, there's more storyline woven into the quests. This didn't constitute much of a change for you, but from what I saw, the Silverpine quests were all completely different, and gave one the illusion that the actions of one's toon had more meaningful impact on the larger scheme of things than in pre-Cataclysm expansions. It may be "lipstick on a hellboar", but only if it was Mr. Wiggles before the lipstick.

Anyway, if you haven't already, roll yourself up a Goblin character. I was a wee disappointed with the Worgens (fish in wolf's clothing, insofar as their animations seem hamfistedly taken from the Murloc costume animations), but the Goblins — in whom I had the least amount of interest at first — are probably the most fun race in the game.

Oh, and write more. A hypocritical order from someone who doesn't write much himself, I'm aware, but I do enjoy reading your blogs. ;)