WarCraft Storms the Tabletop Niche

World of WarCraft has taken over the fantasy world. It reigns supreme in the MMO world, its collectible card game has become successful and now they are in the process of developing a World of WarCraft tabletop miniatures game, due in the fall of 2008. Blizzard has so far managed to obliterate the MMO competition, taking all the aspects of EverQuest that players loved and hated and produced an MMO that is both friendly to newcomers, casual players, veterans, and hardcore players alike. They followed behind Wizard’s of the Coast’s Magic: the Gathering and released a collectible card game, which captivated the players interested in that market. Now, they are tackling a niche that Warhammer and Warhammer 40K has ruled.

Blizzard is working with Upper Deck Entertainment, the same company they worked with to create the collectible card game, to produce this WoW minis game. The figures will not only be game pieces, but Blizzard states that they will be mounted on a “uniquely engineered base” so that it will serve also as a collectible. This isn’t the first time Blizzard has offered action figures or figurines coming from their StarCraft, WarCraft, and Diablo universes, but it is the first time they have offered them with a game in mind.

According to the website, the game will be playable cooperatively against others, or you can take on “fully automated dungeons,” which is kind of odd. Playing a tabletop miniatures game by yourself versus an automated dungeon? This may play out like a solo adventure in a tabletop pencil and paper roleplaying game where the player has to turn to numbered entries based on his decisions, though there’s no information yet on how the automated dungeons will actually be played out.

The only mistake Blizzard and Upper Deck Entertainment are making is that the figures will come pre-painted. Many players of these tabletop games enjoy painting their figurines as much as they do playing them, and not offering unpainted figures may be a turn off for some players who especially like that aspect of the hobby, though it will surely cater to newer players who don’t want to spend hours painting.

More information and a mailing list can be found at WoWMinis.com