Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Talents and Flavor Text

So, there's something that's been on my mind lately. Early on in MoP development (around the time of the Press Release in the spring) observant players would have noticed that certain Warlock talents had flavor text attached to them on the talent pane. Generally, they were quotes from famous Warlocks (in lore or in the community) that said something fairly fitting for the talent it was attached to. I've included a more complete list below, but here's an example:

Sacrificial Pact - "Let someone else pay the price of your recklessness." - Zelfrax

Later on in the course of beta changes and talents being shuffled around, all of that flavor text was removed. Now, I can think of a few reasons for this. One might be that only having it for a few talents for one class made the text seem out of place rather than a special treat. It may also be be fairly difficult to come up with an appropriate quote or saying for every single talent for every class. That said, I miss it. It was fun and made picking a talent less about the "optimal" choice and more about picking something that was cool and interesting.

Not all players are tied down to a specific character. Every new tier or expansion fills trade chat with questions like "which class is the most OP now?" and other nonsense from people who change mains like underwear (all of those people rolled Hunters during T11 and are playing mages now). But for those who are, there's something to be said about class pride. When people who know that I play WoW ask what character I play, I'm pretty proud to tell them that my main is a Warlock. Not only are we a dying breed, but Destruction is currently one of the hardest specs in the game which pushes the less "dedicated" away from the class. The old school warlocks that stuck with the class through it's ups and downs are happy to tell you what they are. My experience is that people half-expect you to say that you play a Mage or a Paladin, just like how the default answer in Wrath was "Death Knight". When I say the "W" word and their eyebrow raises, I can't help but smile . . . just a little bit. Warlocks don't grin like idiots. It's one of those knowing smirks that resembles a predator who's cornered his prey.

The flavor text that we saw on those early talents really helped to push class pride. Some were cooler than others, but in general I would read them and puff up my chest a little bit, prouder to be purple than I was only a few minutes before. It was a small thing, but it's the little things that have always made this game worth playing.

To Blizzard:

There are several things that I still want to see changed before Mists of Pandaria goes live (I should probably pass those along to Blizzard in some form if I actually expect to see anything come of them). I would like the Glyph of Felguard to also apply to the Shivarra (give her 1H swords and axes) and for the Wrathguard to dual wield a weapon when there is only one in your bag instead of requiring two. I would like to see some tuning changes to certain scenarios and dungeons that are currently way too easy. Most of all, I would like to see a return of flavor text on talents. To keep things fair they would need to be present for all classes and not just Warlocks, but they don't necessarily need to be on every single talent. Maybe just all talents on two or three select tiers. How awesome would it be to pick a Warrior ability that sports a quote from Anduin Lothar or Grom Hellscream? What would Broll Bearmantle say about certain Shaman abilities? Thisalee Crow became fairly popular from her appearances in Hyjal, what does she think about abilities like Heart of the Wild or Force of Nature? What reference to the crushing power of the darkness would Gul'dan have for Shadowfury? As much as I hate the little poser, I'm curious to know what Wilfred Fizzlebang would say about Grimoire of Supremacy.

Can't come up with enough suitable lore characters? Reach out to the community and the established theorycrafters and bloggers (*cough*). We've already seen Indalamar, Ritssyn, Frostheim, Theck and others immortalized in items. Zinnin apparently had something to say about Burning Rush. Why not take that a step further? You could even hold a contest that allows people to provide their own quotes and then pick the best. It was an awesome little thing to have in the game. I would encourage the developers to bring it back.

Here's the most complete list of flavor text that I could find, taken from this thread over at the official forums:

Soul Link - "The strongest of bonds is one that shares pain and pleasure equally." - Kanrethad
Sacrificial Pact - "Let someone else pay the price of your recklessness." - Zelfrax
Dark Bargain - "All debts must be repaid . . . eventually." - Shinfel
Blood Fear - "If I'm bleeding, you'd better be running." - Jubeka
Burning Rush - "Run, run or you'll be well done!" - Zinnin
Unbound Will - "I will not be stopped - be it by Human, Dragon or Titan." - Ritssyn
Flames of Xoroth - "The flames can be unleashed to destroy life or reignite it." - Master Kwaa

Here's a few suggestions of my own. They're probably lame but I like them.
Howl of Terror - "Until the day that you foolishly make yourself my enemy, you know nothing of fear."
Gimoire of Service - "Serve, demon. Serve me or die. I promise that neither one will be a pleasant experience."
Dark Regeneration - "Power is fleeting and ends when death calls you. The key to true power lies in defeating death itself."

1 comment:

  1. Big fan of Flavor text! Coming from a CCG background these were often my favourite things about cards.

    To quote MtG - "Ach Hans Run! It's the Lhurgoyf!"