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Posts with tag Skitch

Breakfast Topic: Is WoW science fiction?

Yesterday we talked about similarities between World of Warcraft and other fantasy franchises. Commenting on that post, Baluki noted that "Warcraft is also somewhat unique in mixing some sci-fi elements into its fantasy universe." But not everyone thinks that's a good thing: back around the time that Burning Crusade previews were coming out, the draenei and the naaru caused quite a bit of stir among lore fans who felt that "space pallies" and "interdimensional ships" like Tempest Keep were going too far.

One poster to the forums linked to this screenshot and said, "When did this turn into a friggin space game... Draenei, Exodar... hell this battleground feels more like UT Facing Worlds map than an RPG..."

Drysc replied: "I believe you may be creating your own idea of what Warcraft is and has been, while it's been anything but a traditional medieval fantasy setting. The lore and history is full of interstellar travel and themes one may consider 'sci-fi'. There are warp gates that link various worlds together, planets blowing up, space traveling demons who enslave entire planets, inter dimensional ships, time travel, etc.

"You say '[this] feels more like UT Facing Worlds map than an RPG... ', when RPG simply stands for Roleplaying Game. Warcraft has and always will be beyond a singular tolkienesque world, and I think those who know and understand the lore and history are more apt to recognize and accept how the story is progressing as 'clearly Warcraft'."

What do you think? Are the "sci-fi" elements minimal enough that WoW still doesn't count as "science fiction" or even "science fantasy?" Or do World of Warcraft and The Burning Crusade launch the lore off the Tolkienenque fantasy homeworld and into the anomalous nebulae of Stargate, Alien, or even Transformers?

Personally, I think WoW gets the balance right -- I'm happy to see some creative mixing of different themes that breaks the traditional fantasy molds. I'd like to see more sci-fi elements in future expansions too, though I doubt that's likely. WTB more WoW Lightsabers!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Humor, Lore

Is this guide the answer to the leveling problem?

Lately, we've had some good discussion about the possible drop in WoW players lately, as well as one important reason for some players' frustration with the game: 1 - 60 leveling boredom.

Michael over at MMOG Nation struggled a lot with the same issues many of us have been having, including the leveling bottleneck in "Stranglethorn Hole," but he seems to have found the answer that works for him -- and it isn't new content, new features, or "new" anything from Blizzard! He just follows Jame's Alliance Leveling Guide. (There's a Horde one too)

In his post, Michael writes:
With my laptop open and my game running on my main machine, I don't even have to alt-tab. I just turn my head, reference the guide, and then do what it says to do. By chaining myself to this experience as written down by Jame ... I've found it to be incredibly freeing. Don't get me wrong; I completely [think] the first time through a Massive game [like WoW] should be a period of exploration. But ... I've quested in STV with three different characters now. I've braved the deserts of Tanaris before; having someone tell me where i should be and what I should be doing is actually exactly what I need right now.

I feel stupid saying this, but it's the most fun I've had playing WoW in a long time. I only pick up groups when they're running the same quests I am, and I just generally plow ahead with the well-laid-out instructions. It's like having a tour guide to Azeroth in some ways, and I'm really enjoying playing Tourist.

Is such a guide the answer to all our alt-leveling woes? Have any of you had a similar experience?

Filed under: Leveling, Guides, Alts

The ridable flightless bird boss


Attention mount collectors! In the process of completing the quests involved in acquiring his or her Swift flight form, any dedicated druid friend of yours will get an item that allows access to a special boss, called Anzu, the Raven God. It behooves you to make this druid like you very very much, and take you to fight this Raven God many many times. Rarely, this boss will drop a very very special mount: itself.

That's right! One of the items a lucky few will be able to loot from this dead bird's corpse is the dead bird itself, raised to life as a ridable mount. This may be the only item in the game where you can summon a boss and ride around on him to your hearts content, and look pretty spiffy while you're at it, too.

The only odd thing about this bird is that it can't fly; this is a land mount only. At least it doesn't look anything like a penguin. If one wants a real flying raven mount, the only option is to level a night elf druid up and learn how to shapeshift into a raven form. But in the meantime for all other classes (as well as greedy druids who want this mount to go with the theme of their Flight Form), this is the next best thing, or even better, depending on your point of view.

This is the indisputable number one top right answer for today's breakfast topic, "Neatest Land Mount." Discuss.

Filed under: Druid, Quests, Bosses, Mounts

World Wide WoW: The "Blood Bar"

Can you imagine if every time someone talked about healing, they called it "adding blood" instead? In China, the word people use for "health" is "xue," which means "blood" (and is pronounced a bit like "shweh"). Traditionally in Chinese role-playing games, the health bar (or "blood bar") is red, instead of green.

Now when you think about it, having a "blood bar" does make a certain sort of sense. After all, when you get hit by monsters, you lose blood, and any healing you take from others would have to somehow restore your blood to your body as well as sealing up all the holes in your flesh. Of course without healing, all those holes in the flesh would also prevent a warrior from swinging his sword around so freely, or at least make him limp a bit. But realism isn't really the issue here -- the idea of "blood" or "health" as a measurable quantity is just something we need as a symbol to represent the video game mechanics in an emotionally meaningful way.

A game like WoW can't possibly be as complicated as real life; it would hardly be as fun as it is if it were. Instead, it needs to use real life metaphors as an access point to get you involved in the game, while in the end it's still all about numbers. Stripped of metaphorical words like "health" (or "blood"), playing World of Warcraft might look a bit like this:
Player 4837 says, "I'll reduce your unit's primary points with my unit's special 'large-scale point reduction ability!' Pwned you!! haha!" only to be countered with Player 7490's response: "Oho! but my unit can use my secondary points to exchange for primary points, and make up for this loss! Noob!"
Talk about boring! But underneath all the "fireballs" and "greater heals," this shifting of numbers around is exactly what we're doing when we play, no matter where we are or what language we speak.

In China, of course, the points and numbers are exactly the same, but it makes sense that the underlying metaphor would be somewhat different. For them, "adding blood" to a wounded teammate feels just as natural as when we say we are "healing" them -- but when you translate their "blood" metaphor into our language, it gets pretty weird!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, World Wide WoW

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