Blizzard was kind enough to send out some “Recruit a Friend” emails to long-time players recently, invites that allowed you to give someone else 30 days of full free gameplay, unrestricted, in World of Warcraft with Burning Crusade.

I was quite pleased to get one, because with this invite, you can give someone else the full experience, with trading, chat, grouping, all that sort of thing.

I created an account for my son, who is eight years old, and got his computer set up to play.

Today, he played, and I mean truly played, World of Warcraft for the first time. He’s dabbled on my account before, but this time he was on his own personal computer, and I was able to be online in the game at the same time.

He created a Draenei Warrior, tried that for a bit, and decided that the Rage mechanic sucks. Hey, I didn’t influence him at all.

Then he created a Dwarf Rogue, with flaming orange beard, and gave that a go.

Around about level 3, I flew down to the dwarven starter area in dragon form, and took him for a ride around the frosty dwarven homeland.

I brought him up the valley, and I let him get off the dragon and chase a little boy down, and purchase his own pet bunny rabbit. Cassie taught him how to make the pet bunny his friend, and bring him out into the world to hop around and follow him everywhere he goes.

I gave him some gold, taught him how to buy upgrades from the vendors, train skills, and then set him loose once again on the starting area. I’m in the same room with him as he plays, his computer is in my office.

He reached level 5 before the evening was done, and as we tucked him into bed, he had some very revealing things to say about the game. He had few preconceived ideas, nothing to get in the way of his imagination, he had played for a bit, but he knew nothing of what was possible or what limitations the game held. Everything was possible to him, or could be, and he had no way of knowing unless he asked.

This is what he asked us and told us as we tucked him into bed tonight;

“My pet bunny is level 1, does that mean I can teach him to do tricks, and level him up? Can I teach him to attack? That would be so cool!”

We explained that the cute little pets like the bunny don’t fight, or ever level up. They’re friends to travel with you, and they can never be hurt like your character can. But, we said, there is another class where you can have your own pet that fights with you, and that class is a Hunter. And you can have cats, and bears, and wolves, and when you get even more powerful, you can tame dinosaurs to be your pets!

“Can you have a moose as a pet?”

Sigh. No, I’m afraid you can’t have a moose, sweetie. Ghostcrawler promised us a moose, but we still don’t have one yet. I’m sorry.

“Oh.”

“Well, if I go in the water, can I have a shark for a pet?”

No, I’m afraid not. You’re right, that’s a brilliant idea, whoever would have come up with that idea when Vash’jir was released was a genius, but no, you can’t have a shark for a pet underwater. But Hunters CAN have your normal pets, and they will swim along with you and fight underwater just fine.

“Well, what about a goldfish?”

A goldfish? What, as a friend or as a pet that fights for you?

“A goldfish to fight with you! He could be in a fishbowl and everything.”

Okay, the goldfish would be in a fishbowl. I guess the fishbowl would protect him like armor, I can see that… How would he move around?

“The fishbowl would have legs! And the goldfish could charge forward in the fishbowl and attack things!”

O.o

Okay, Blizzard, here’s the deal.

I haven’t asked you for much, but this time, it’s for reals. I challenge you to match the imagination of a child.

We don’t have moose combat pets, and we don’t have water-combat pets like sharks, but this…. this you can do. You know you can do eet.

You can make an Engineering-crafted Goldfish Assault Bowl on little mechanical legs, with little external saw blade and arc-welder waldo arms. The goldfish, genetically enhanced of course, can ride inside the little fishbowl with his head sticking out the top to see, and drive the bowl into battle.

When I imagine a Gnome Hunter, that’s now what I’m seeing for his pet.

I beg of you, at least think about making a Bad Guy Gnome boss that is like this. You’ve got Gnomeregan, the Gnomes are going to truly assault that place and wrap that storyline up some day, give the players a boss that will truly scare the hell out of them with the horror of a gnome mind unleashed.

Failing that, you’ve got the engineering goggles, you’ve got all this awesome Hunter stuff built into the engineering profession… just let your mind run riot, man. Let the Hunter Engineers make their own combat pets.

Now, I know it may seem over the top, maybe you’d be tempted to let it go with something sensible, like a mechanical dino-raptor. Don’t give in. Unleash your inner Steve Martin. Be some wild and crazy guys and gals, and give us the Goldfish Assault Bowl. Something about it just sings in my head and won’t let go.

The only way this could be better, would be if some great artist like Tish Tosh Tesh* drew up some stylized sketch of it poised for action.

I can see it now, walking into BlizzCon wearing a shirt showing the crazed face of a goldfish driving this over-the-top goldfish bowl war machine, shit-eating grin on his (or her) fishy face, with the words “Hunter + Mad Science = I Don’t Know What It Is, But It’s Got Aggro” written around it.

I can see it, I swear I can. It’s right there. And someday, in some role playing game somewhere, I am going to USE that idea. See if I don’t.

33 Responses to “Out of the Mouths of, well, You Know”
  1. bigbearbutt says:

    I don’t know why, when I was thinking Tesh, I wrote Dechion in the original post. Dechion may indeed be an incredibly gifted artist, but the only skills I really know he has are that of Hunter, camper, jeep mechanic, BBQ pulled pork cook, and totally postal dude.

    Tesh, on the other hand, is a freaking genius at art, and in writing insightful articles about video game design in particular and the games industry in general.

    I make mistakes when I’ve raided all night, what can I say?

  2. Ursa says:

    The goldfish would even be a great on-use trinket! Or a hunter 4pc gear proc! They did it for balance druids with the burning treant. This is totally doable!

  3. Tsudrats says:

    I want a goldfish in a bowl with legs and the mechanical stuff :D

    I love your son’s imagination

    I also want the blue tree form from Winterspring for my druid

    Can you ask Bliz for that too?

    Please :)

  4. Hugh Hancock says:

    I am so making that T-Shirt.

  5. Klepsacovic says:

    I can see the Internally Aqueous Assault Walker in my mind and it is glorious.

  6. TP says:

    Guild Wars 2 is promising shark pets. Whenever that makes it out. :p

  7. Kemonojin says:

    I love the text. The fishbowl would rock, but I love ‘I don’t know what it is…’

    Would be even better if you could put different fish in it, like the big orange and blue bassids that chew on you in the river outside Zul’Gurub or one of the hammerhead sharks from around that one alliance town northwest of the Shadow Vault… would be an easy way to use an aquatic pet in a non aquatic fight. Could win duels with the WTFery of it alone!

    Jousting Assault Weapon System
    Non-aquatic Excursionary Mobile Orb.
    Grappling Hostile Terrestrial Outing Instrumentality.

  8. sayling says:

    Best. Pet. Ever.

    You, Sirrah, win nothing. Your son wins the internet, for life.

  9. Edenvale says:

    I love it. I’ve often thought hunters that are engineers should be able to make their own robotic pets. A lethal goldfish in a robotic bowl is brilliant. I couldn’t imagine the surprise at engaging the boss that has that as an add. I would laugh harder then the first time I heard the child-like voice say “New toys! For me! I promise I won’t break them this time.”

  10. Arita says:

    The goldfish in a walking bowl makes me think of Minion from the movie “Megamind”

  11. Granolin says:

    Ever watched the animated movie “Megamind”? His best friend in the whole world is a fish in a combat suit

  12. Pyar says:

    They SO must do this! Heck, just a little damage pet on cool down, call it up once every 10 minutes. Guardian type, no controls (would a goldfish listen? Nah). I would work up an engineer just to make it!

  13. Osi says:

    Yeah .. blizzard gives those at random to random people, not for longtime players as they advertise … <.<

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I dunno, it was in my spam folder. Only reason I went looking for it is because they said they sent them to long time players, and I thought, “Well, ain’t I one of those?” If I didn’t make all my email accounts forcibly save spam until I went through it in case someone sent me something that didn’t get through, it woulda been long gone.

  14. cowsareus says:

    Hahahaha, best post ever!
    How about a portable back-mounted catapult, that throws piranha filled fishbowls at the enemy?

  15. Tirienne says:

    Brilliant! Blizz should start scouting your 8 year old now– I’m salivating thinking about that xp!

  16. Tesh says:

    Hunter + Mad Science? BBB, you’re scratching my Girl Genius itch again…

    • Tesh says:

      Oh, and game devs totally need to look up to the imagination of children. Even in basic gameplay expectations; my daughter wanted to pick up the apples in Stormwind and eat them, but alas, you can only pick them up if you have the quest for it, and you still can’t eat them. She was so disappointed that we went back to Minecraft where she could do almost anything she wanted.

      • bigbearbutt says:

        I remember the psot you did about your daughter and minecraft, how interactive she expected things to be, and how dissappointed she was to find that she was being channeled into what was and was not permissable.

        • bigbearbutt says:

          Minecraft versus WoW, that is. Is was WoW that came out second best. Sorry that my comment implied the reverse. I think it’s great to see what a kid just assumes they would be able to do in a game… that right there are the parts you should try to make happen.

          • Tesh says:

            Indeed. She actually still likes both of them, but yeah, for pure interactivity, Minecraft wins, even with a smaller palette. Bringing a bit of that into WoW could make the game world a LOT more interesting. Kids make for great feedback, as they are all too often brutally honest, as well as simple and clean. They see things that grown-ups have learned to ignore.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I still remember your last mad science artistic endeavor with glee….

      And in retropect, the hunter + mad science part is superfluous… “I don’t know what it is, but it’s got aggro” pretty much says it all.

  17. Mhorgrim says:

    Gotta say this is the best post ever. I think that gaming mmo giants could take a lot of input from youngsters and come out on top. Fun and enjoyable read BBB, thanks for making my day!

  18. Brownbear says:

    Two fish are in a tank…one says, “You drive, I’ll man the gun.”

  19. Asenath says:

    It would be so incredibly awesome that no one would want to ever play another class again! I can’t wait for Flintlocke’s Woodchucker http://www.wowhead.com/item=70139 and I don’t see how this could be any harder to implement. :D

  20. Animalfarm says:

    Do eet Blizzard, I will totally buy that pet! Your son has a wonderful imagination.

  21. Titleist says:

    These have to be some of the greatest (and most fun sounding) ideas I’ve heard for WoW in a long time.

    I often talk nostalgically about when I first started playing this game, when it was full of wonder and awe – much like the mind of a child. Perhaps Blizzard would do well to heed the voice of youth to breath more life into this game we’ve all dedicated so much time too.

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