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My pointless thoughts on WoW's relation to Weapons of War.
I have a lot of opinions and speculations about WoW's warfare and weaponry, but then I'm a little bit strange like that. I often rp with folks who claim to be "Snipers," or other types of soldier that while common today, wouldn't have much usage or practicality in WoW's state of existance. Not to say that such characters are bad ideas, simply uninformed. I guess you could say that's the reason for this thread.

I feel like it would only be right to start on ranged weaponry, simply because that's the biggest issue that seems to come to mind first. I'm going to try and parse over Firearms, Bows, Possibly throwing weapons and Magic lastly. I will explain their advantages, disadvantages and why and how they'd be used. Let's start with guns, because they're the most interesting.

Alright, so Firearms. WoW's firearms are by and large, currently in the 17'th century. Flintlocks, Matchlocks and Doglocks are the firearms of choice, though Matchlocks could still be seen pretty commonly I'm sure. These guns are all single shot, and the average shooter took around fifteen seconds to load a new cartridge. 3 or 4 shots per minute is what you can expect for most infantry, though the fastest current reenactor can achieve six shots in a minute. The advantages of a rifle over older weaponry is fairly obvious. Rifles and pistols of this design fire a lead ball at around 500 to 750 feet per second. (800 is a pretty common FPS for current rifle cartridges.) You can generally expect that larger rounds will be on the slower end of the spectrum. These musket balls tend to penetrate the target and shatter against the flesh, rather than pass completly through. It wasn't uncommon for those who survived the shot to die of lead poisening, it's incredibly difficult to get every single sliver of lead out.

The advantages of the Rifle are that they are relativly easy to learn and use, and they can be devestating to infantry. Rifles are fairly cheap to make, use and maintain on a military level, vastly cheaper and quicker than training Battle Mages. With the proper leadership and coordination, a Rifles brigade can trump forces of melee oriented armies many times it's size. If firing by ranks and oriented in a strong defensive position with no flanking alternatives, most charges are defeated with ease. Rifles can also be fitted with bayonets to be used as short spears for melee combat, or they can be swung like a club.

The Disadvantages of the Rifle is that the lone rifleman is not very effective against large armies, and the rounds may break or shatter against well built armor rather than penetrate. Rifles take a considerable time to reload, (15 seconds is a lifetime on the battlefield) and a bayonet on a rifle is often at least a few feet shorter than the average spear. You won't be stopping any cavelry charges with it. Using the rifle as a club can also severely damage the rifle and even render it unusable. The usage of rifles is easy to pick up, but hard to master. They require a lot of discipline from the troops and sound leadership from the commanders to be completly effective. Cavelry can easily flank a Rifles platoon in the open, and their accuracy leaves something to be desired if hunting a single target.

then, I know you're all thinking: "Snuggley, what about Gnomish and Goblin weaponry, they're much more advanced!" Yes, that is very true. Goblin and Gnomish specialty rifles can be considered on par with early battle rifles, in that they seem to use Cartridges, have advanced firing mechanisms and can be presumed to have rifled barrells.
The upsides to these are quite obvious. A faster firing rate, faster reloading rate and an automatic firing system means you can easily land an accurate follow-up shot if your first misses, quickly reload if you run out of ammo and take are better suited for open battlefields, with the faster firing rate able to compensate against flanking maneuvers from the enemy.

The downsides to these advanced weapons? Well let's start with the big one: The Cost. I wager that you will never find these weapons commonplace on any battlefield, as advanced weapons of any kind can and will cost a small fortune to purchase. These rifles would need constant maintenance, lubrication and a deep understanding of it's workings as well as the tools for maintenance. Not to mention that cartridge shots are not commonplace, so we can assume that each shell will cost some amount to produce as well, as well as each bullet for the round. Were someone to field such a rifle, it may be prudent for them to know how to reload every shell fired as to save on upkeep of the weapon. If the weapon is broken, it's likely that only it's designer would know how to repair it.

That's all I've got for now, I plan on continuing my pointless musings when I have the time. I think my next topic will be on bows and crossbows, but we'll see. Until then, Goodbye forever.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Snuggley's post:
  • Jonoth
I think that with a topic like this, we need to take -everything- with a grain of salt. Essentially, 'ditch the realism, kids, this is war'.

The reason why nobody can play fulfilling snipers?... Because nobody that does has actually been a sniper. And if you're to tell me that snipers never existed way back in the 17'th-19'th centuries, then... This might change your mind. Specifically, the part involving General Ross. 'Sniping' is a very ambiguous term when referring to stuff that isn't modern day long-range rifles. It can be anything from mid-combat ranged fire to solitary target elimination, with anything from a musket to a flintlock pistol to a bow to a crossbow - as long as it flings something, and that something does its purpose. Technology in WoW has always seemed very bordering mid-to-late 19th century, despite racial boundaries.

... Realism ditch aside...

I think that you -slightly- underestimate the way Blizzard has thrown WoW. We have Submarines, A full-fledged Battleship in air, Forts with near-automatic cannons as the primary defense, Inter-dimensional spaceships, WoW Navy SEALs... And that's just a quick skim of the top of the barrel!

My point of that ramble is this: while realistically, gnomish tech would be extremely advanced and hard to get... This is Warcraft. It's a genre that is full of 'screw expenses, I want explosions' and scenarios like that. Anything within it has to be taken with a grain of salt if you're looking at it realistically. Where does Stormwind even get the iron and steel to -arm- their tens of thousands of soldiers? All of the mines we see in-game are occupied by hostile forces. How the heck do Ironforge dwarves actually forge stuff using -lava-? Where the heck do the gnomes even get all the tech and materials for all of their cities and buildings? A -single building- of theirs would take a massive quarry just to build!

So to answer the common concern that is 'WoW's tech isn't widely distributed', I think it pretty much is, in warfare's concerns. I mean, heck, other than the occasional archer, the Alliance has Riflemen all over the place (plus a Stormwind machine gunner). They're almost standard infantry now-a-times, and sure they might be musketeers... If Blizzard didn't already load (before Cata introduced BULLET-LESS GUNS) every single type of gun past level 30-40 with slugs and cartridges. Which is safe to say that any guns that don't specifically -look- like muskets could be bolt action. And honestly? I don't see how a bolt action rifle can be more expensive than a musket - they both are, literally, tubes with stuff that shoots out of them. They just are loaded differently, and the ammunition is fired differently.

... Wow. I spend too much time on wowpedia.

tl;dr WoW has so many examples of different technological marvels - and not all of them are just gnomish, goblin, or Naaru - that it's impossible to say that firearms are limited completely to muskets and weapons like them (like an arquebus) unless it's a gnomish battle rifle. Sure, muskets may have been a major thing for riflemen back in the First/Second/Third wars, but this is modern-day Warcraft, and modern-day Warcraft, despite any realism we might throw at it, says that technology along the lines of rifling and advanced artillery is completely commonplace and normal. If you don't believe me, play through any of the WoW expansions other than Burning Crusade. You will see cannons, rifles, and death machines on wings everywhere.

Disclaimer: if any of my wording sounds like it's attacking you, it's not. Promise <3. You're awesome, Snuggley.

*Zenethen has had his ramble and it probably sucks but he thinks his point is apparent*
[-] The following 7 users Like Zenethen's post:
  • CappnRob, c0rzilla, cartoonkarl, Terant, Scout, sunday12321, Krent

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