World of Warcraft’s design choices get a lot of side-eye these days — some of which is justified — but let’s not be too hasty to toss everything that genuinely works in this MMO on the dungheap of enthusiastic criticism. This past week on the MOP podcast, we got into a discussion regarding game features that should be made more universal than they are, and the example I came up with was WoW’s calendar.
I don’t think many people ever talk about this feature, despite it being in place since Wrath of the Lich King and being fairly unique to the genre. It doesn’t get much in the way of praise or recognition, but the more I think about it, it totally should.
World of Warcraft’s calendar is an amazing tool that pulls together communication, planning, and social guilds into a single attractive panel. For starters, it lays out the month (and subsequent ones at the click of a button) where you can quickly see everything that’s happening in the game right now. Events and festivals are at the forefront of this, with longer holiday celebrations being treated to a themed banner that stretches across multiple days.
By looking at this calendar, I know right away how to structure my month of play. How long do I have for a festival? When is a particular timewalking week? What about those microholidays? It’s all there.
And beyond Blizzard communicating the game’s quite extensive library of special events, the calendar also allows guilds to post their own events — and allow members to sign up for them. That’s what takes this calendar to the next level, in my opinion. It now becomes a one-stop kiosk that tells me what both my guild and game are doing, and it does so in an attractive and easy-to-read way.
The calendar used to have a lot more functionality when it was tied into the (now defunct) WoW Armory app. Players back then could access and interact with the calendar on their mobile devices instead of just in-game.
So why aren’t more MMOs or live service games stealing this calendar feature? I have no idea, but I’d love to see it become a lot more ubiquitous than it is.