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The rise of the Failoc, Blizzard's unwanted mascot

Lesley Smith

This morning, while the US slept, I sat trying to figure out something fun I could write to help keep the site going during the inevitable BlizzCon ticket chaos. Browsing for ideas, I stumbled across Blizzard's unofficial mascot, the harbringer of chaos and mrgl-misery: the Failoc.

An ugly, unwanted child spawned from last year's nightmare, the Failoc has quietly assumed his place as the herald of doom. From the first time he appeared on the official website during the great ticket sale crash of 2008, he was become as much a part of WoW lore as anything in-game. Wearing his BlizzCon 2007 suit and waving a banner reading 'oops!', whichever bright spark at Blizzard came up with his creation must be regretting it.

Murlocs themselves have always been Blizzard's unofficial mascot. Loved and reviled in equal measure by players and devs, they have been a staple (in one form or another) non-combat pet given away to BlizzCon attendees and have inspired plushies and music videos. However anyone who wandered around Elwynn Forest only to hear that terrible noise too late, only to be swarmed and slaughtered by hundreds of the little buggers will understand the feeling of dread associated with these creatures. Indeed, so insidious is this feeling of revulsion that by the time you hit level 70 it has become almost a phobia. Then Blizzard asks you to save Greengill murlocs, well it's just wrong!

But I digress.

Like all of us, Blizzard is by no means perfect. It's a massive company who consistantly tries hard but under-anticipates user demand when it comes to WoW and real word events like last year's Worldwide Invitational. Rather than talking about problems, they batten down the hatches and try to work on fixing whatever is broken. This is obvious by repeated problems when buying WWI and BlizzCon tickets but also with the post patch 3.1 hotfixes and other server instabilities. Indeed, just last night, the website servers went boom as if in anticipation of the hammering to come. Honestly I really hope that someone at Blizzard took ten minutes to read Mike Schramm's enlightening editorial, written in the aftermath of last year's ticket sales.

It's is because of all of this that the Failoc has become such a potent figure of things gone south. He symbolises everything that can go wrong and feeds that innate sense of fear that we all experience from the earliest levels of the game, regardless of class or faction. Yet being a mascot, he is also kind of cute and just a little lovable, reminding us that Blizzard might not get it right but we don't abandon them for it. Problems always have solutions, even if it takes a little while to find them.

So if we do indeed get a visit from the Failoc at some point today, just remember our own Michael Gray's seldom-repeated haiku about this unloved denizen of the lowest circle of hell:

Oh, the fail Murloc:
You innocent harbinger
of Blizzard's errors.

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