Warcraft Arclight Rumble seems to have avoided the level of outrage that Blizzard’s latest mobile game ad received. Perhaps that’s because, unlike Diablo Immortal, Arclight Rumble wasn’t announced during the same event as Blizzard’s other big games, and it’s not surprising fans as a replacement for another game we should have gotten. There was no exaggeration in its announcement: it would be a Warcraft mobile game. And that’s exactly what we have.
Out of places like the World of Warcraft Subreddit, which is surprisingly full of derision for a game that is seen as stealing mobile money, people seem willing to give Arclight Rumble a chance. Expectations were low and the game seems to have surpassed them, or at least enough for people to quickly understand its rather modest ambitions: Arclight Rumble isn’t really for PC gamers in the same way most Blizzard games are and have been. for decades.
“I can’t really bring my PC with me when I go for a sandwich for lunch. But I can absolutely play two or three games of this game, from Arclight, while we’re sitting around waiting for food, and it’s nice to be able to play wherever I want.” stand and then come back and play it on PC. I don’t see them as mutually exclusive. I think they can co-exist – and do – and it’s great,” Deputy Game Director Adam Kugler told me in an interview ahead of the game’s announcement.
For most of the world, this is how mobile games are played. That’s why they’re big business in Asia and continue to grow in North America. Mobile games brought the biggest revenue compared to PC and console games in 2020. Phones are the new PC for many people these days; is where you chat with your friends, watch Twitch streams, and read articles like this one. For Blizzard, creating a game that fits the lifestyles of billions of people makes sense, and the response outside of their most hardcore fans reflects that.
“This is basically what I expected,” wrote the Reddit user. MultiMarcus. “I will definitely give it a try and I appreciate the announcement being very clear that long before today they claimed this was a mobile game.”
“Honestly this can be fun. I know everyone loves being hypercritical of Blizzard these days, I’m willing to give it a fair chance,” another Reddit user, bagelsteinI wrote.
Blizzard’s ongoing miasma of lawsuits and allegations of workplace harassment makes it difficult for anyone to support anything they advertise now. One new WoW expansion it doesn’t alleviate the ways the company often harms its employees, and neither does Arclight Rumble. It’s probably intentional that the trailer is framed as two developers excitedly talking about the game as if you were walking past them in the office. It shows that despite everything, there are still people making games that they are genuinely excited about.
Monetization is the one thing that caused considerable concern in the ad reactions. It’s always a big question when it comes to mobile games. Arclight Rumble is as much about your mini RTS levels as it is about collecting Warcraft themed units, or ‘minis’, to deploy. The developers assured me that the campaign will provide you with a steady stream of experience and minis to use and that real money transactions are simply to skip the need to spend extra time finishing quests. But mobile games are constantly updated and it’s not uncommon for them to get more and more hungry for their money as they go along.
Many people were quick to point out that the game resembles Blizzard’s PvE-focused version of Clash Royale, which is particularly exploitative with its loot-box-style monetization system. While I haven’t asked the developers specifically about the similarities, they seem to be very aware of these concerns.
“We’re trying to make it the player’s choice possible,” said Kugler. “There are no loot box systems, for example. Every time you are gifted with something, there is a choice for what to choose, even in the quest system. When you go to fight something, you choose what you gain experience. So the every step of the way, we want to see if we can put in a way for players to have a choice instead of just a random sort of blind selection.”
There are a lot of people calling the game complete Clash Royale clonebut others accept a Blizzard version.
“I guess I’ll be the odd one out and say I’m actually very interested in this. I’ve wanted someone to make a PVE singleplayer/co-op Clash Royale copy for years,” Reddit user Kreeztoff I wrote.
I remember when Overwatch was announced and people kept calling it a ripoff of Team Fortress 2. It was and it wasn’t. That’s the Blizzard way. The developer built itself by taking the basic structure of other popular games and hammering it into something more accessible. World of Warcraft borrowed from EverQuest, Heroes of the Storm borrowed from Dota 2 and League of Legends, and Hearthstone borrowed from Magic: The Gathering.
Arclight Rumble is no different, and as someone who has been playing Blizzard games for years, it feels like more of a way for the developer to try and find players where they are.