Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Review: World of Warcraft Mega Bloks!

As a long-time player of fantasy time-suck World of Warcraft and an avid fan of construction toys in general, the long-anticipated marriage of the two has really got me excited. Mega Bloks has picked up the Warcraft license and are looking to dig extremely deep with it (if you’ve seen their omnipresent Halo offerings then you know what to expect). The first sets are now available to purchase, and thanks to the generosity of our good friends at Big Bad Toy Store, I have in my clammy, gnarled-from-hot-key-pressing hands the four recently released packs, each containing a rider and his mount!

To find out what I made of all this... join me after the jump!

First the elephant (elek?) in the room. I know that, historically, embittered Lego enthusiasts, have sneered at the late-to-the-party Mega Bloks, and there’s no doubt that Lego, with its rich history, is king. But Mega Bloks has far more versatility as a brand and can tap into styles and sources that the perpetually family friendly Lego just wouldn’t approach. I think that the Mega Blok aesthetic really suits the Warcraft franchise. There’s a bulky, candy-coloured look to these figures that perfectly captures Azeroth. Try as you might you just couldn’t put bulky shoulder armour on a Lego minifig. Mega Bloks are the right match for this one.

These are actually packed in far bigger boxes than I expected and with some wonderful Warcraft character paintings on the side. They'd be even more wonderful if I had remembered to photograph them. But the front of the box is nice too...

And while we’ve got the gnome rogue, let’s open him up. His mount is the flying machine, a personal favourite of mine as I play an engineer in the game. That said, I refuse to refer to it as anything other than the ROFLcopter from now on.

There are far more pieces to this set than I would have ever have guessed from the box art...

And the instructions took a little bit of getting used to. This is by far the most difficult to assemble, possibly requiring a few points in aforementioned engineering skill. The Mega Bloks blocks aren’t as robust as Lego either and don’t always have that solid, satisfying connection that we’d expect from our Danish friends. That said, once you do manage to piece it all together, it is reasonably sturdy.

Here’s our pilot - he’s the smallest and least impressive of the four figures we’ll be looking at today, mostly due to a less than memorable head sculpt. I dig his rogue armour though, especially those sweet shoulders...

And the assembled ROFLcopter is pretty impressive. 

I’m biased because I’ve flown around in this thing for a gazillion hours, which is why it feels so iconic to me. There’s also a nice added touch of a peg that sticks out of the seat area and slides into the gnome’s back to keep him secure in the cockpit.

I have no idea yet as to what else - if anything - you could construct with these pieces, but I’m very satisfied with the ROFLcopter as a whole. We’re off to a good start!

Let’s stick with the mechanical mounts and look at the goblin warrior with his goblin trike. 

This is another small statured figure, but I think he’s a vast improvement on the gnome. He has a strong head sculpt, kickass armour and a mighty hammer.

Assembly wasn’t a problem this time, and although there’s still a fair few pieces included, they came together quite easily this time. The “wooden” panel pieces are obviously uniquely sculpted for this vehicle and they have a weird weathered effect that look like there’s been a paint mishap, or they were bleached by the sun.

Again, the goblin pegs into his racing seat to keep him secure. I don’t love it as much as the ROFLcopter but it still looks pretty great.

Now we’ll finish up with creature mounts. You can throw the instructions for these in a deep ravine because they are so simple you won’t need them. It will take you less time to assemble the creatures than it did to read this sentence.

Here’s a Tauren hunter - sans pet sadly - but he does have an awesome bow.

I far prefer these full size figures to their smaller gnome/goblin companions. The bodies also appear to be unique to each specific race, with the tauren lower body having hooves and tail, and the headpiece having a large mane that flows onto his back.

He’ll be riding Horde faction mount - the wyvern, which is some kind of bitchin' flying lion.

As I said, the assembly is very simple here but you could mix and match the armour parts or switch out the wings if you wanted to construct hellish Frankenstein abominations.

No peg system here - he just clamps his hefty thighs around the saddle and hangs on for dear life.

And finally our last rider is the fearsome worgen deathknight. You think Lego is going to ever have the balls to make something called a “deathknight”? Think again!

He also has a mane that runs down his back and specially sculpted dog legs. But he won’t need them because he’s being chauffeured around by the classic Stormwind Griffin!

Again, it’s probably my bias shining through, but this is such an iconic creature to me. Might even be my favourite of the set. 

Here’s the four pilots/riders together for scale...

And the thing that I think I like most about these is that you can pull them apart and switch around all their pieces. And there are A LOT of pieces...

All of the shoulder armour is interchangeable, and the chest plates can be switched between characters of the same size. The only thing that can’t be swapped out easily at this stage are the bracers and boots, but once they release a variety of each race that won’t really be a problem...

What I love about this is that you can really start to customise these figures. Once you have a large batch of them you will be able to construct characters by choosing the race/class combination yourself as well as kitting them out with armour and weapons. I hope they really do go deep with the figure releases and produce army builder sets and blind-packaged singles like they do for the Halo line. Ultimately my goal would be to be able to build my own in-game character, and I’m sure there are millions of subscribers who would like to do the same.

So I have hope for these. I can’t justify the space for the larger building sets, but I would definitely pick up more figures for the aforementioned purposes. Warcraft plus Mega Bloks is a good match and I hope these at least manage to indoctrinate some children. Now why are there no Mega Blok pandas?....

Give it time.

Don't forget you can pick up these at Big Bad Toy Store!

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