Monday, January 27, 2014

Will 10 Years of WoW Be Notable Enough?

Catching up on some weekend WoW news, I came across WowInsider's article on WoW's anniversary. Can you believe that we'll be celebrating the mmo's 10th anniversary and the overall franchise's 20th anniversary in November? It blows my mind to think that WoW and Warcraft have been around for such a long time. For some players, that's half their entire lifetime.

Besides the amazingness that is the longevity of this game, WowInsider made me aware of something that had slipped my mind. Since this year is such a significant year, will we be receiving some in-game goodie?

Celebrating the game's anniversary by sending players an in-game gift isn't a new practice. For WoW's 4th anniversary we received the Baby Blizzard Bear, which matched the mount from Blizzcon 2008, Big Blizzard Bear.

For the 5th we found an Onyxian Whelpling (that even had a fun and unique idle animation!) hiding in our mailboxes.

After two consecutive years of anniversary pets, we started to expect a gift in the mail come November.

However, for the 6th anniversary Blizzard changed its stance on special bonuses and announced that pets and mounts would be reserved for only "notable milestones or events" from there on out. Talk about a shocking change of heart. While it was understandable, 2010 being the year Cataclysm was released, it was still disappointing news.

Now that years have passed without seeing a new anniversary goodie, we're fast approaching WoW's decennial which is undoubtedly a VERY "notable milestone".

Yet with Warlords of Draenor in development, I can't help but wonder if Blizzard will eat their words and forgo the pet/gift for this year (again). Is this year going to be a repeat of their 6th anniversary? I certainly hope not.

Don't get me wrong, Blizzard is entitled to decide when something is notable enough for a special in-game event or bonus, as well as determine when and for what they can spare the time and assets. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if they skip this year's anniversary in favor of using any extra energy on developing WoD. I would be devastated, but so long as they made it clear that it's not intentionally overlooked without good reason, I think I would get over it with time.

Still, celebrating 10 years of this game would feel somewhat empty without something unique to accompany it. Be it mount, pet or vanity item, such an occasion deserves a bonus to commemorate it. A small token of thanks to the player base, especially those that have remained loyal for a decade+, for the many, many years of continued support? It would be an honorable gesture of appreciation.

What pet would go best with WoW's 10th anniversary, though? Something fresh and new would be ideal, of course, but I'd be happy with any type of pet, even if it's an older, re-skinned, re-used model.

MANY players have been dying to get their hands on Murky or Gurky or Lurky or Murki, and as Blizzard's unofficial mascot, a baby murloc is very appropriate for such a remarkable milestone in this game's history.

There's the argument that it would "diminish" the pet's original value, but I find it a difficult argument to get behind. I completely understand that point of view, but at the same time this game has undergone so many changes and reiterations of itself over the years, it's not unusual to see something from the past brought to the present (lol Warlords of Draenor theme?). What was once unique is now more common place. To balance that, Blizzard has continued to implement exclusive pets (albeit less frequently) which will likely remain special snowflakes until a lengthy amount of time has passed at which point they too will become the norm.

IF there's an anniversary pet waiting for us in November, my vote would have to go towards one of the "original" baby murlocs, hands down. I really can't think of anything more fitting. ANY special goodie would be appreciated, though, regardless of what it is. I hope Blizzard feels the same way, and we'll find ourselves celebrating WoW's 10th anniversary with a little buddy rather than alone.

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