Wednesday was a complete surprise to me.
My son and I have been eagerly anticipating the release of the Mega Bloks World of Warcraft sets.
Alex and I together watched videos and examined pictures of all of the sets in this first series, and debated the pros and cons of each against the revealed price points.
“Oh wow, that Zeppelin looks great, but for pure value how can you beat Sindragosa the Dragon and the Lich King for $35? Barrens Chase just gives you a couple of mounts and generic WoW characters, two each.”
“Yeah, but Dad, you get Horde and Alliance banners on poles with the Barrens Chase!”
“Two words: Frozen Throne.”
“Yeah, but I can’t have the rocket mount in game, this way I can have one outside.”
“Frostmourne! Teeny, tiny Frostmourne!”
“But what about the catapult on the Demolisher!”
“Well, yeah, that’s cool, but when do you actually drive one in game? The Alliance tower is sweet, though.”
“But look at the Warlock pet! That’s awesome!”
And on and on…
Alex has his favorite, and of course it’s the Deathwing Assault. His second favorite, and my first, was the Lich King and Sindragosa set.
I’ve also been excited, because one of the sets, the Alliance Worgen Death Knight on the Griffon mount, perfectly matches his main character, Hailsword.
The latest video we had seen, the review of the Deathwing Assault by The Brick Show, had said that they were due out in two months. I had extrapolated that to mean sometime around, oh, when the Mists of Pandaria expansion was released.
Alex loved that Brick Show review, by the way. Oh yes, he did.
So, we were settled in to a two month wait.
Imagine my shock this afternoon when I saw a tweet that someone had purchased a Mega Bloks set today. Like, right that minute. From Target.
I did a quick check, and sure as shit, Mega Bloks had a little blurb that went up July 31st saying, “Oh yeah and, like, the toys are in stores, like, today and stuff. Surprise!”
Oh, fiddlywinkers. Are they trying to give toy reselling scalpers all the breaks? Damnit!
I immediately took my lunch break to run to my local Target retailer, where I found… a big old empty set of shelves, with one set, the Demolisher, still on it.
Ah crap. Sinking chest feeling. Missed the release day, and now the chase is on.
I have been here before. A highly desired special toy, a lackadaisical walk to a store months after release, no sign of toy in existence. But resellers on eBay have it, oh my yes, for 300% of the original cost.
We aren’t made of money, far from it. We budget things tight, but we still have fun because Cassie budgets in fun, too. We just didn’t budget in buying a ton of toys this month. We budgeted about $300 for toys in two months time, and most of that was to go in a closet until Christmas. If you’ve got kids, you know what I mean. The secret closet, a hidden treasure trove representing a cumulative year of special sales, clearance racks, and sniped eBay auctions.
But… the shelves in Target were empty. EMPTY. Not even the Worgen on a mount! What if… what if the production did not anticipate final demand?
I bought the Demolisher. Last WoW Mega Bloks item in the store day after release? Yeah, um, no shit. I was NOT going to find out tomorrow that I had my one chance and blew it.
Then I went across the street to Walmart. Nothing, they were already stripped.
When I left work for the day, I stopped at two more Targets on the way home, and at each of them the story was the same. Stripped, empty shelves and a single, lone item still remaining.
At the first Target, the remaining item was a Worgen Death Knight on a Griffon. Score! No matter what else, we win. Alex gets his own character built of Mega Bloks.
At the second Target, double score! A single item, the Lich King and Sindragosa! Okay, Christmas is assured.
At this point, the Deathwing Assault on Stormwind is looking like a “wait for the second release” item. Seriously, the second day and stores are wiped clean? WTF?
Now, at this point I had to go home. This was a bad thing, because I had to tell Cassie I just spent $50 of her money on Mega Bloks. The Demolisher wiped out my own mad money account, so the rest of it was on the family dime, which means her dime.
So, I owe a lot of back rubs. And I’m in the doghouse.
I looked at Cassie, as she explained to me the simple math behind our current finances, in small words, and the reasons why spending $50, not to mention $95 right now, was a BAD THING.
I mentioned that I could go through my stuff and find what I can get rid of on eBay. I have to have SOME shit I could sell, right?
You’d think I would, but then I realize, all I have are books, my computer and phone, and some knickknacks like plush Looking For Group stuff on my desktop. No, I’m not selling Sooba.
Hey, wait! I’ve got an idea!
“What.” Man, she can look suspicious!
I can put a “Donate” button linking to my Paypal account on the sidebar of the website, saying ‘Donate to the Alex MegaBloks Christmas Toy Fund!”
but, no wait, think about…
“No. And yes, your readers are very nice, you’d probably get enough donations to buy Deathwing for Alex. Still no.”
Moments later, sanity returned. If you’re going to sell out, shit, go large, right? I’d better save the pimping for my first novel release!
That still left an issue unresolved.
So, I explained the whole “Deathwing for Christmas is looking as bleak as Barrens Chat” situation.
She checks the Target website, and sees there is supposedly one at a couple of local stores, including at one of the stores I knew had jack and squat. So, the website? Not to be trusted.
Cassie shocked me by suggesting that some employees at the Target stores might have taken stock and hid it in the back, planning on paying for it when they get their paychecks.
So cynical! No teen Target or Walmart employee would ever do such a thing!
Then she checked Amazon… who went from having four left in stock to zero as we watched and refreshed. Followed by someone relisting it for $145. Ugh!
Cassie looked at me, and pointed her finger like a General unleashing the first armored bear assault. “Get to Target. Right now. Get. that. set!”
So of I went. And lo and behold, a different Target DID have the Deathwing set, and more money was spent (but this time authorized) and there will be much rejoicing at Christmas time, and there had better be, because that pretty much wraps up Christmas. $100 for a single toy? Dear lord.
We gave Alex the Sindaragosa/Lich King set, and his Worgen Death Knight.
The Demolisher and Deathwing are going into storage, and he’ll probably see the Demolisher as a very special treat sometime before Christmas.
Alex has built the sets he has now, and I’ve got a few things to say.
First, the quality is top notch. Alex has a few of the Mega Bloks Halo sets, and my own opinion of their character figures are, they’re pretty crappy. Small, poor detail.
The Mega Bloks WoW figures, on the other hand, seem quite large in comparison, and are very nicely detailed.
There is something else that I haven’t seen talked about much, though, and this is huge.
The armor pieces for the shoulders and chest are removable, and replaceable.
The arms and shoulder joints are solid. The shoulder armor is a softer rubber that slide over the shoulder joints, and are VERY well fitted. The chest armor is also removeable and interchangeable.
The Sindragosa/Lich King set comes with a small baggie of Mystery Loot. There are a range of armor pieces and weapons that can be in this bag. It really is a random loot drop in a sealed bag, and Alex got a new set of red plate shoulder armor.
The fact that you can get extra ‘loot’ armor and weapon drops and actually equip them is awesome. I really can’t emphasize that enough, this first series of characters and sets has raised the bar, and Alex noted right away that his character in game has transmogged the exact shoulders that came on the Worgen figure. All the loot is based on in game models.
Think about that, and ponder multiple series of this toy set. Or more interesting, the trend now is to release booster packs of weapons amid the smaller Halo figures. So you could indeed someday buy weapon or armor set booster packs, hoping for that lucky drop.
The craftsmanship on the Lich King is just absurd, and the Dragon? Seriously, I am extremely happy with Sindragosa. If there was any one set I would recommend buying, it would be the Sindragosa/Lich King set. It is a masterpiece. It is “pose on my desk and make my geek friends exclaim in delight” levels of awesome.
I do have one issue with the overall release, and it is simply that the only characters released were men of the various races.
Now, hold on! Don’t get all mob and pitchforky on me! Give me a sec to explain!
I am not accusing anyone of anything, and I’m not being an activist here. In this case I don’t think the situation calls for it.
I personally would have preferred an even mix of male and female characters, but with all of the variations possible, I think they probably decided to focus on one series of male characters with armor pieces to nail down the possibilities in everyone’s mind, and then take advantage of the greater demand later.
Face it. There is no way all possibilities could be released in the same series.
And that is a point to reiterate. Mega Bloks does not tool up to do a single series and then dump the property. They release an initial line to explore the market response and expand it in follow-on series afterwards.
Just because most of my characters are female is no reason for me to get upset yet. I can be patient, especially now that I’ve seen the quality they’re coming out with. This is not your Dora the Explorer Mega Bloks set. Once they do release females of each race, with the way armor sets are interchangeable, you’ll be able to make your own unique look easy enough.
And if they don’t, well, the company I work for sells tools in wholesale quantities. I can outfit a WHOLE lot of mobs with pitchforks and blowtorches. No sweat.
What I’m wondering, now that I’ve seen these, is what dramatic moments in the history of World of Warcraft lend themselves to the iconic Mega Bloks treatment?
They’ve got to come out with new sets, so what is in the pipeline right now?
The first one that I would like to see that comes to mind is the Onyxia raid scenario.
A boxed set with Onyxia, a Dragonoid warrior, and perhaps three or four Black Whelps. I would pay very good money for expansion packs of four whelps too, so I could eventually have MANY WHELPS! HANDLE IT!
The expansion pack of whelps also goes nicely with building your own Leroy Jenkins action diorama.
But what other dramatic moments in WoW history can you think of for future Mega Bloks sets?
When you look at what they’ve released, there are individual characters and mount packs (character and mount). We can discount those, they will assuredly release more interesting combinations over the upcoming series, and can anyone say they lack mount, armor or weapon designs to choose from?
But then there are small scenes and moments, medium raid boss encounters, and then the large war diorama treatment.
So, three sizes of toy. The Onyxia one I think would fit solidly in the middle, a raid boss encounter with extra knickknacks.
I think a Warsong Gulch flag room would be a ROCKIN’ small diorama to build, with Cat druid and flag that can be carried in it’s mouth.
What are your ideas? Can you think of a special moment or dramatic WoW event that you’d think lends itself to being recreated in Mega Bloks? I’d love to see your ideas, so once things are released, I can go back and see who came closest to predicting the future.