On May 3rd Blizzard Entertainment announced one of their new Warcraft mobile games titled – Warcraft Arclight Rumble. The overall reception to the game was not positive and reminded me of the same fiasco drama that occurred during the reveal of Diablo Immortal back at Blizzcon in 2018. It’s understandable why Diablo Immortal originally received such crazy backlash. The core audience did not get what they wanted, which was Diablo IV. Thankfully, at Blizzcon 2019, Diablo IV was revealed, and Diablo Immortal was forgiven, especially now that they announced the PC version alongside the mobile version.
With that said, why do fans of Blizzard and Warcraft hate Warcraft Arclight Rumble so much? For one, the majority of the people thought that the Warcraft mobile game was going to be tied to the Pet Battle system in World of Warcraft. While there is a rumored Pokemon-style game in the Warcraft universe for mobile, Blizzard has made it clear even before the announcement that none of the Warcraft mobile games are connected to World of Warcraft in any shape or form. The only way those titles are related is simply by being in Warcraft universe.
Those who were anticipating a more traditional return for the RTS Warcraft formula were also upset and responded with comments on the official YouTube video. Some comments included “My boy…Look how they massacred my boy,” followed by “Official announcement of the death of Blizzard,” and the icing on the cake: “Someone just put Blizzard out of their misery.”
While I can somewhat understand the disappointment, what I don’t understand is what they honestly and truly expect out of a Warcraft mobile game? A full-fledged World of Warcraft MMO? Good luck running dungeons and 20-man raids on your phone or doing 3v3 ranked arena using your hands and a single finger to tap your abilities. Did you want a Warcraft kart racer and race as Jaina against Thrall? Or some sort of FarmVille Warcraft style where you raise chickens in Westfall and protect them from coyotes and murlocs?
It baffles me what the majority of the fans are honestly expecting out of a mobile game. Yes, phones are powerful these days, but mobile gaming has never been anything super hardcore, graphically intensive, or seriously competitive. Mobile gaming has always been about quick and casual fun. Some of the most popular genres are tower defense and kingdom building games that have both PvE and PvP components. Then you have games like Idle Heroes that are well designed, have beautiful art style, and are just fun to watch. My other favorite claim that people make is that, according to them, Blizzard is purposely killing the Warcraft IP and destroying PC gaming forever.
Hearthstone came out in 2013, received a negative reaction, and is now regarded as one of the best digital trade card games ever made. The World of Warcraft team recently announced the World of Warcraft Dragonflight expansion, and the phenomenal-looking Diablo IV is being worked on. Yes, you guys cracked the code: PC gaming is 100 percent annihilated by Blizzard.
With that rant out of the way, let’s talk about how Warcraft Arclight Rumble looks like it’s going to be a ton of fun. First and foremost, I like the art style. I never thought that a blocky-looking orc or gnolls could look so good. I like the plastic-toy aesthetic that Blizzard has gone for. It feels familiar, yet different enough, and you can tell that it is a mobile game just by looking at its art style. It’s worth noting that I am not a big mobile gamer, but I do play some games on occasion if I am super bored, need to kill time, or on a plane ride.
The gameplay loop seems to be basic and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You get to choose and play the 5 different families that the game includes, such as the Alliance, Horde, Undead, Beasts, and Blackrock. Each of the families has different units that are good at doing certain things, and then there are the leaders that have their own builds and abilities. The goal is to kill the enemy boss before they get you or the timer runs out.
What I really like about the “Family” mechanic is that there are so many different cultures and creatures in the universe of Warcraft. Eventually, they’ll add additional families with their own units and new leaders including the Naga, Night Elves, and many more. I mean, what’s a Warcraft game without the Naga and Night Elves, right?
The strategy comes into play when it gets more challenging to defeat the boss. You must figure out the best combo against certain enemies and which leaders have the best abilities for a particular map and situation. Capturing towers and meeting stones in the game also add another strategic element because they allow you to deploy your units closer to the enemy boss. There are also treasure nodes to plunder across the map, and the more gold you have, the more units you can put down on the map. Players can also customize their leader’s builds as they see fit. Just because a game is simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy to master As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite.
World of Warcraft, for example, is a simple game on paper. You pick a race, and class and use their abilities and talents to conquer dungeons, raids, and enemy players. But to master it, you must truly understand the mechanics of your class and everything else that the game throws at you.
Blizzard has always been good at taking genres and game ideas that already exist and turning them into perfection. I also think the overall gameplay design idea for Warcraft Arclight Rumble is quite good. It’s easy to understand and get a good grasp on it, while hard to master at the same time. The game also looks like it will be a good time killer as well whether you are in the bathroom, a waiting room at a clinic, or just getting a ride home from school on a bus.
Mark my words, despite the negative reaction to Warcraft Arclight Rumble, I do believe that once it releases and people get to play it, it will be a good and fun little game to play casually, solo, with your friends, guild-mates, and of course against them as well. The point is fellas, try to have a bit more of an open mind and be a bit more accepting of the team’s decision on what they decided to create. Just because it’s not what you wanted or expected does not mean that the game will be bad or not fun to play. Sure, you have all the right to dislike it based on what’s been shown, but at least give it a shot when it becomes available. It is a free-2-play title after all.