|Giant Metal Scorpion: steampunky. Tail Mounted Laser: not so much.|
I was in the Mists of Pandaria beta testing phase and one of the things they frequently tested then were race and faction changes. As a result, I had turned a lot of my Alliance characters in beta into Hordes and gotten a chance to check out how the other side lives.
Early on in the adventure into the Jade Forest, A Horde gas bag is hanging in the sky dumping pain and misery on...somebody on the ground. I honestly can't remember if it was Hozen or Alliance or Jin'yu. But for one quest you are ordered to "man the guns" and kill X number of bad guys on the ground. So I ran off and did that, but as soon as I jumped into "the gun," my heart sank a little.
This was no ordinary gun.
This was a machine gun.
Y'see, machine guns are weaponry that quite definitely begin their existence in the 20th Century. In fact, the machine gun took its bow almost exactly 100 years ago this year as it was pulled up by troops in World War I. It shocked the world just how horribly lethal it was and how cheap a soldier's life had become. It was a triumph of mechanical engineering and one of the worst things to happen to the human race all at the same time.
And, as of the beginning of MoP, The Horde has these things on the decks of their navy.
Since that time, we see more and more futuristic robots, we have the Warlord's Deathwheel, which is a cross between a tank and a tricycle. The Iron Horde has rocked up on our world with artillery that looks like it Napoleon's cannons on a bit of steroids.
Warcraft has always embraced an element of steampunk, and I can't say I'm against that. But artillery, machine guns and huge, city-destroying bombs seem like they have gone a bit beyond steampunk. You must remember, when the real life calvary raised their swords against a machine gun nest, it was the calvary that lost-- badly. What place does a warrior's sword or mace serve in a world where Siegemaster Blackfuse is firing lasers at us? And maybe more importantly, how does this change the story?