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WoW's undercurrent at PAX East

World of Warcraft has transcended the traditional mores of gaming culture, injecting itself into every genre, most conversations, and almost every discussion. After one day of PAX East, I've talked about World of Warcraft for a longer period of time and with more people since BlizzCon. This is because WoW is not just a game to a majority of the people attending this show, participating in this industry, and fans -- it is now a lifestyle. When I walk the halls, I always find myself caught up in listening to multiple conversations that have their roots in a WoW discussion or eventually make it to WoW.

Our game of choice has become a punctuation mark. When standing in line to see The Old Republic, WoW was on everybody's mind. While moving from booth to booth, learning about the MMO components of games like Firefall and Brink, images and fanciful thoughts of WoW's success danced in the minds of developers. When people ask developers questions, WoW is always there as an example, accompanying every "this game AND WoW..." And the accessibility features of such a widely accepted game is on every game maker's mind as to how to breach new markets and bring new players into the fold.

It is cliché to say that WoW is the elephant in the room, but I hate the connotation of said elephant. WoW represents a set of ideals and rules that a good number of gamers relate to. The number of WoW shirts and hoodies, guild names added to their badges, and cries of faction pride shocked me. Here at PAX, after one day, it is readily apparent that Blizzard doesn't have to have a formal presence to make its presence known. WoW exists, in some way, in almost every game we play. Whether for good or for bad, our vocabulary is one of the most mainstream undercurrents in the history of gaming.

What do you think about WoW's presence in gaming's vocabulary? Are you at PAX and talking to people about WoW, even though WoW is almost nowhere to be seen?

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