If Conker’s Bad Fur Day taught me anything in my youth it’s that there’s no genre of videogame that cannot be improved by the addition of playable fox people. However, despite the excitement for – and the potential of – Vulpera being playable in World of Warcraft with the arrival of Battle for Azeroth, there is a vociferous sub-section of players on the WoW forums, YouTube, and Reddit that are against the the addition of the vulpine people.
Battle for Azeroth will also introduce bigger body representation to the MMO.
When the Vulpera were first discovered there were plenty of ‘aww isn’t it cute!’ reactions, but accompanying those were others decrying the direction the developers are taking the game. A recent blog post from Blizzard attempted to negate some of that chatter surrounding the Vulpera after further datamining suggested they would be announced as an Allied Race. The message is that “setting up certain races as though they were player characters can be highly advantageous for NPC customization in story content,” so that doesn’t mean what was discovered in the datamine means the Vulpera will be playable.
Once you push past the unwarranted concerns that furries will overrun the WoW community, there are a number of points made by the Vulpera sceptics worth considering, such as their unsuitability to WoW’s lore, and concerns that playable Vulpera will mean the game can no longer be taken seriously.
At a time where Void Elves have already caused a stir, seemingly thought up out of the blue to fill the elf-shaped spot on the Alliance Allied Race roster, Vulpera are a step too far for some players. “I don’t like Vulpera because [Blizzard] are straying further and further from historical lore of the game,” redditor Ronasty says. “Every other allied race has been seen or referenced in the Warcraft universe at some point. Vulpera are just some goofy ass off-race that someone at Blizzard thought they could make money off.”
The cynicism towards Blizzard’s motives, as showcased in Ronasty’s comment, is what currently leads discussions on the Vulpera. Most hold the idea that bringing in cute foxes as a playable race will be a very popular move – due to that, the suspicion is that Blizzard are playing to popularity in order to make the most money. That is not necessarily bad given that more cash should lead to new WoW content in the future. But the caveat being bandied about is that the introduction of this new race will lead to a sudden horde of fox people running around the world, which they fear will break the immersion for long-time players.
“My biggest gripe is that they’re basically a fad right now,” redditor E13ven says. “Once the hype dies down, people have to realise that if they became an allied race they’d be in the game forever instead of just being contained to one expansion… Hozen were also cool during [Mists of Pandaria], but I sure as hell wouldn’t want to have to encounter them every single day.”
Pandarens, currently the least popular race in the game on both the Alliance and Horde side, get a lot of stick for contrasting heavily with the game’s aesthetic, but they at least have been rooted in the game’s lore since the Warcraft 3 era. The Vulpera have no such history to back them up. Still, WoW is an old game. If Blizzard had to stick with the themes and characters they came up with 16 or more years ago, they’d have never been able to evolve the game into what it is today. How else can Blizzard keep people interested in WoW if not by expanding the lore, which they can tailor to what the playerbase wants?
No matter what side you land on the foxy debate, no-one is forcing you to don a bushy tail and roll a Vulpera once Battle for Azeroth lands. Whether the new race is playable or not, all we can hope for is that Blizzard listen to both sides of the debate, as each camp is equally passionate about the future of the game. I personally hope that Blizzard listen to me and use real fox noises for the voices of the Vulpera. The ones outside my window at 4am. That should put off anyone wanting to try the Vulpera out purely for the ‘cutesy’ experience.
Images via Wowhead