Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Today is the day that Blizzard starts revealing the new information about classes in the upcoming WOW expansion Cataclysm.  As is traditional for these things they communicate to the masses by posting their information on their forums and then nearly instantly it is transmitted to fansites across the interwebs and forum pandemonium ensues.  The excitement and intensity of the reactions and feelings almost reaches through the monitor to the reader.  Of course just as in politics, religion or anything else there is no consensus among the masses on what is right and what is wrong and the only constant is the utter certainty of the speaker.

There is an overwhelming noise of unnamed people screaming about how everything is awful and everything is great, so much so that we are tempted to forget that we know nearly nothing about what is coming.  For example:

Fel Flame (level 81): Quick-hitting spell dealing Shadowfire damage. This is similar to the mage ability Frostfire Bolt, in that the lower of the two resistances (in this case shadow and fire) on your target will be used for calculating its damage. Additionally, Fel Flame refreshes the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction. Our goal for Fel Flame is to provide a spell that's good for mobility and for use by Destruction and Demonology specs. Also, did we mention it uses green fire? Yep. Instant cast.

After reading this little blurb we have virtually no useful information about this spell and yet people go crazy posting about it.  We don't know its range, damage, or any other requirements there might be for casting it.  Without these pieces of information we literally have no reason whatever to approve or disapprove of this game change and yet the forums are aflame with speculation, recrimination, fear and exultation.

I suppose WOW players are really no different than anyone else in the same situation.  Imagine if the NHL and every hockey rink in the world announced that they were changing the rules of hockey and the information would not be released until a particular date.  All the hockey fans would be just as crazy as the WOW fanatics on the day that all the new changes were announced because they change everything from the professional leagues that people love to watch to the pickup groups played on weekend afternoons.

We all have tremendous emotional investiture in our hobbies and the knowledge that someone out there is going to be changing them without our approval is very exciting, particularly paired with the idea that those people read forums and you might get them to do what you want if you post in all caps.  Without that emotional investment the fun of the activity would be greatly diminished but too many people allow that excitement to overwhelm them and let out the poop hurling primate we normally try to keep caged up within ourselves. 


  1. Well, if that little innocuous bit sent people raving, I can only imagine what they are saying about the new priest spells. Reading that simultaneously made me glad that I play a priest and hope that I never have to play with any other priests again.

  2. This is not unlike the comments following most online news stories. Unfounded speculation, claimed with unknowing sincerity. I find it especially disgusting when victims are denigrated with "you reap what you sow" attitudes.