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World of Warcraft #1 and 2 Review

I do not know enough about the World of Warcraft game to know if this is the target audience, but after reading the first two issues of the World of Warcraft comic book, it appears as though the target audience for this comic, at least, is kids and/or dumb people.

I really feel for writer Walt Simonson on this book. We all know how good of a storyteller Simonson is, and I bet he could craft a decent comic story in his sleep, but that, ultimately, is all these two issues of World of Warcraft are at best – a decent comic story. Simonson is undone by an all too familiar plot, cliched characters and more expositionary dialogue than you could shake a stick at (why you would want to shake a stick at expositionary dialogue is beyond me, but if you were so inclined, you would be unable to, as there is too much expositionary dialogue), but not just expositionary dialogue, but expositionary dialogue that read like the intended audience could not pick up on simple ideas. This is, of course, somewhat of an exaggeration, but often, the dialogue sounded to me like, “Tomorrow, we will travel to the red house, which is painted red.” “True, and the other group is also traveling to the red house, which, as you might not have already pointed out, is the color red, which is why it is called the red house, because it is painted red – on the outside of the house, making people see it and say, ‘Hey, that house is red.'”

The gist of the plot is that a human suffering from amnesia finds himself working as part of a three-person gladiator crew, and while none of them know each other very well (and the other 2/3rds of the group, in fact, pretty much hate each other), they have to bond together if they are going to survive against other gladiators. The human, meanwhile, is hiding a secret, as well as some awesome fighting skills.

The dialogue comes in in how Simonson delivers the plot to the reader – a lot of tertiary characters reciting lines like, “Yeah, they’re good, but they’ll never defeat _____ (then proceeds to detail ____’s background” and “They might have beaten _____, but they’ll never defeat _____ (again, with the new person’s background).”

The owner of the gladiator crew is guilty of it himself. The story is really quite simple, and yet Simonson still seems to think he needs to explain it repeatedly, which may be accurate if he is writing for dumb people and/or kids, but it sure doesn’t help the story much.

Meanwhile, with such a straightforward story, you’d like to see some extra little flourishes, and there is not much to be had in the comic. Simonson does a fine job developing standard enough relationships between the various characters, but it’s practically “write-by-numbers” character development. “Character A will dislike Character B, until such times as Character B saves Character A’s life, and then they are buddies.”

Again, for kids, this might be fresh material, so that’s something, at least.

Artist Ludo Lullabi uses a style very reminiscent of Joe Madureira (and Sandra Hope does a nice job inking the book in that style), and it is pretty effective for this book, which really is a lot like Battle Chasers, only with a stronger story (a statement that really says more about Battle Chaser’s story than it does World of Warcraft’s).

So if you really just get a kick out of seeing stuff from the World of Warcraft games, and you like a really simple, straightforward gladiator story, then you might enjoy this comic, but I think it spends too much time appealing to the slower readers, and such attempts at placating those readers probably led to the comic being low on the whole “intriguing conflicts” and “fascinating character” side, so all in all, I have to say…

Not Recommended.

17 Comments

I’m tempted to get it just to compare it to the novels.

The novels, unfortunately, are too obviously written by people who don’t know the game world history or the game mechanics. The main character of one of them is a character who changes class (adventuring type) twice in the course of the novel — something that is impossible by the game mechanics. And, the plot is so out of character for the game world it makes Drizzt and Elminster’s backgrounds look reasonable.

So, I think it would be cool if it were a poorly written story that actually reflected the setting, rather than a decent story that was obviously shoehorned in.

Is there anyone who both knows the game and has read the comics who can chime in? Because if it fails both to be well written and to reflect the setting, I’d rather pass.

Theno

Thenodrin, you make my soul hurt.

As for the target audience, I don’t play WoW, but from what I’ve heard, “kids and dumb people” sounds like a fair assessment of the majority of the population.

I see what Theno is saying, although I’d rather have both a well written story and one that agrees with the setting. Of the two novels I read they didn’t seem to be from a players perspective at all. I’d like to see one written from the perspective of a starting adventurer and their hardships through a familiar world. I haven’t read the comic yet, I’ll stop by my local shop and browse through it. Although the game as of late has been attracting more of both kinds of those people who could care less about the story anyway and just want to pwn newbs. :(

Jason (aka Thaloss)

Hmm. As a college-educated, professional 31-year-old, I don’t find much validity in the “kids or dumb people” comment. I will say that the first issue of the comic grasped about .01% of the fantasy/adventure lore of the franchise.

I have yet to pick up #2, but I expect it to be entertaining … nothing more.

As someone who played WoW and found the Warcraft storyline interesting, I’ve been pretty disappointed with what I’ve seen of the comics so far. The basic storyline of Warcraft, as I see it, is that the various races each have their weaknesses and that some are willing to give into their addictions while some are willing to resist. Maybe not the most original of storylines, and certainly owing alot to Tolkien, but not bad for a computer game.

As for the comic, its a gladiator comic. It could be in any setting. Although it does agree with the setting, gladitorial contests are only a tiny part of the setting. Part of the comic storyline is working out who the amnesiac human is (which is farely obvious becuase there’s only one missing human) and waiting to see when he works it out. All in all, it just makes for a lot of lost potential. Ah well, there’s still hope for the movie.

In a related note, as someone who visits WoW websites at the same time as Comics Should Be Good, it pretty weird to see Samwise Dider’s name on this site.

I grow weary of comics written but not drawn by Walt Simonson. More art please!

“Kids and dumb people” are, unfortunately, the majority of WoW players. But, to be fair, I find that “dumb people” also applies to the majority of people, and when you figure the play numbers that WoW has you find that you really can’t escape that average.

That, and the annoying ones are the ones who get noticed after all. No one talks about the PC gnome warriour who is traveling to other lands to learn their fighting styles so as to better reclaim the homeland. No one talks about the human paladin who was found abandoned on the steps of the abbey as a child. Everyone talks about the annoying gold farmer who ninjas gathering materials and the lvl 70 tauren shaman who kills everything in Westfall (the human lvl 15-20 zone) just because he can.

That’s why I have characters across a dozen different servers. I kept looking for a more mature community. I found Sentinels (in case others are looking to get away from annoyance) where the community is kinda rough on those kinds of players. Ninjas (people who steal loot) find themselves alienated and unable to get help with the more difficult quests. Annoying players get ignored in chat, which also makes it impossible to find groups.

I guess what I’m getting at is that the overall WoW experience can be that it is loaded with kids and dumb people, but that you can get away from them if you look hard enough.

And, on the topic of story, I would of course prefer a good novel or comic book written by someone who knows the game. But, given the choices of a good book shoehorned in with names and locations that don’t resemble the in game setting, and a plot that makes no sense in the context of the setting; or, a formulaic disappointing attempt at a book that displays knowledge of the source material — I’ll take the latter every time.

You know, the recent WoW commercials with William Shatner, Verne “Mini-Me”, and Mr. T don’t have the paid celebrity disclaimer. This means that they actually play the game. If celebrities like these are playing WoW, is it so impossible to find a decent writer also playing WoW to write their merchandise?

Can we get Peter David or Neil Gaiman’s kids hooked on it? Or maybe Mark Waid, I bet he plays computer games. ;-)

Theno

Thanks for the dire warning, the amusing comparisons, and again, the dire warning. I am typing this, but I am only 2 years old and my dad keeps trying to put me to sleep with beer. I tried to tell him WOW was the way to go, but, though I can type, I cannot speak out loud quite yet except to say “Dire warning WoW comic is bad” He looks confused when I say that. Ah, a good life.

As a current player of WoW, i can safety say in any online game we will always find kids and dumb people u find those things everywhere you go. For the lvl 70 shaman, that a waste of time for some people but for others its fun
WoW is very diverse like that, which is why i have come to like the game, sure i hate the ninjas, the noobs and the people that make the game really un-joyable for new players and players looking to immerse themselves in
the storyline. But its a online game, u have to expect people like that, and thats why it annoys me when ppl trash on WoW becuz of that
for the comic, its a interesting topic, gives some back story to what really happened to the king of stormwind, in case u never played Wow, everytime an alliance player visited the palace, only his son stood on the throne, with the expansion the real king is there for all alliance to see

by the way, for the record im not a kid nor am i dumb, i just have alot of time on my hands lol

Most of wow players work hard to get virtual money, power and level to let them forget their real life.

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adults

haven’t read one of those, but the game isn’t that bad, lots of kids though, sometimes just too annoying when you raid with some of those

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