Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dear Blizzard

Dear Blizzard,

A new forum thread popped up today on the subject of favorite lore characters.  Posters were invited to name a favorite lore character of each playable race.

The thread was only four pages long when I saw it, with only 24 forms filled out, but I thought that you might find the results interesting.

The most popular choices?
Pandaren - Chen Stormstout (6 votes), Taran Zhu (4 votes)
Dwarf - Moira Bronzebeard (10 votes)
Orc - Thrall (5 votes), Varok Saurfang (6 votes)
Undead - Sylvanas Windrunner (11 votes)
Troll - Vol'jin (8 votes), Zul'jin (6 votes)
Blood Elf - Kael'thas Sunstrider (8 votes), Lor'themar Theron (9 votes)
Tauren - Cairne Bloodhoof (13 votes)
Human - Anduin Lothar (3 votes), Anduin Wrynn (3 votes)
Night Elf - Illidan Stormrage (8 votes)
Worgen - Darius Crowley (8 votes)
Draenei - Akama (4 votes), Miskha (5 votes), Velen (5 votes)
Goblin - Boss Mida (4 votes), Grizzle Gearslip (4 votes), Sassy Hardwrench (5 votes)
Gnome - Mekkatorque (2 votes), Thermaplugg (2 votes)
As you can see, in some categories one major lore figure dominated; in others, the votes were split in all directions.  Most people love Cairne Bloodhoof, you'll notice, but when it comes to humans, they like Anduin Lother, Anduin Wrynn, Arthas Menethil, Jaina, Thassarian, Uther, and more.

Looking over that list, seeing that Mekkatorque and Thermaplugg were the most popular gnomes with only 2 votes apiece, you'd guess that there are so many popular gnomes that there must be loads of other gnomes being named.

You'd be wrong.

The original poster forgot to include the Pandaren at first, and some of the posters replying directly to that post also left off Pandaren from their lists.  As a result, of 24 posts, 5 skipped Pandaren.

Some people didn't exactly forget about categories, they simply couldn't think of anyone to vote for.  They wrote in answers like "?" or left the space blank.  That should concern you.  Are players so ill-informed and so apathetic that they don't care about lore figures?  Or are your writers failing to create interesting, memorable characters?

The good news: everyone named a dwarf.  I didn't come across one person who skipped the "dwarf" category.  Orcs, too, are doing well; only one person didn't name at least one favorite orc.

How many times did someone enter a joke response ("seriously?") or skip the category altogether?
0 - dwarf
1 - orc
2 - undead, troll
3 - blood elf, tauren, human
4 - night elf
5 - worgen
7 - draenei
8 - goblin
12 - gnome
Yes, that's right.  Out of 24 questionnaires, 12 people gave either a joke answer or no answer at all on the question of "favorite gnome."  One person's favorite gnome is a forum poster, not a lore figure; if you discount that reply, only 11 out of 24 people listed a favorite gnome.

Eleven out of twenty-four.

That is not a good statistic.

Both of the people who named Thermaplugg spelled his name wrong.

Overall, the Horde looks good.  For orcs, undead, trolls, blood elves, and tauren, most posters seem pretty enthusiastic or at least can name a favorite character.  For the Alliance, it's not so great; around the worgen and draenei categories, things start to fall apart.  Goblins aren't doing very well, but that's understandable, since they've only been playable since the last expansion and don't have the rich history some of the older races enjoy.  Unfortunately, I can't use that excuse for gnomes.

Gnomes are considered a joke race, but they aren't even a very popular joke.  If your plan was to make them a laughingstock, I'd have expected you to make more memorable, funny characters.  Instead, there's nothing.  Where you could create smart, creative, inventive, witty characters, there's only an apathetic void.  You don't seem to care, and that lack of caring comes across very clearly.

On the first page of the thread alone, only four people could list a favorite gnome.  Of those four, not everyone could remember the gnome's actual name.  The other replies?
The dead ones 
Your writing team needs help.

With love,
Frank Lee

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