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Breakfast Topic > Warcraft > WoWDec 20, 2019 8:00 am CT

What game genre would you like to see Warcraft explore?

The Warcraft franchise has always pushed boundaries in the genres it inhabits. Warcraft: Orcs and Humans wasn’t the first PC real-time strategy game, but with it, Blizzard helped pioneer the foundation for Battle.net as a methodology (and later a full-scale platform) to enable multiplayer games. Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos and its expansion The Frozen Throne both edged away from the massive army strategies of WC1/WC2 and genre spinoff StarCraft and focused instead on smaller, hero-centered parties of units to accomplish map objectives. And World of Warcraft went full MMORPG, leveraging a degree of approachability and a vast, virtually seamless world that most other MMOs couldn’t match. Finally, Hearthstone, inasmuch as it’s a game set in the Warcraft universe, brings a level of whimsy and charm to the field of collectible card games that’s rarely seen.

All of this makes me wonder where Warcraft could go next?

Lately, my non-Warcraft exploits have been in games that aren’t your typical fantasy RPG faire — to single out one in particular, it’s longtime indie darling Stardew Valley. You take on the role of a new farmer in a fantasy-adjacent world, but instead of being embroiled in some epic quest to save the world, your main objective is to just grow crops to sell, which in turn gives you the resources to get the tools you need to make more stuff. If that gameplay loop sounds similar to the “get gear, raid with that gear to get better gear to get into the better raid with the better gear” loop, then yeah, it’s pretty similar.

The key difference is that you aren’t out slaying monsters… okay, so there’s a mine where you can kill slimes and skeletons to get certain materials you need for making certain things, but you also don’t NEED those particular crafts in order to reach a successful harvest. WoW‘s loops, with the exception of most professions, typically center on combat, but not so in Stardew. Plant crops, keep them watered, make sure your livestock has feed, harvest as needed — it’s a peaceful, harmonious experience, and one you share with your fellow villagers by currying their favor with gifts made of stuff you grew or foraged.

One space in Warcraft that similarly moved away from the “war” part was Sunsong Ranch in Mists of Pandaria. To a certain extent, the farm’s focus on building relationships with your neighbors and raising crops provided a nice break from the existential crisis of battling giant manifestations of negative emotions, and it really could have been a game unto itself. It’s not hard to imagine a Stardew-like game where your whole operation is just that balance of keeping yourself fed, saving up to afford that next big sprinkler upgrade, and making friends with some Pandaren.

Can you imagine a game that lets you have a whole experience that’s oriented around crafting and making stuff, while also having the breadth and depth of a world like Azeroth? Don’t limit yourself to that, though: what would a Warcraft fighting game look like? Warcraft: Civilizations of Azeroth? Tell us about it.

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