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Posts with tag interactive

Facebook vs. World of Warcraft

They both have millions of users across the world. They both have made and broken friendships and relationships, and they both have raised millions if not billions of dollars for their respective companies. And chances are that they're both so popular even your grandma knows about them. Gamasutra has written an interesting post comparing both World of Warcraft and Facebook of all things, and they say that the two are more alike than you might think: both enable you to create an identity, and use that identity to interact with others, and both give you a wide variety of options to do so (in WoW, you can slay dragons together, and on Facebook, you can tag pictures or post on walls). Gamasutra wants to get to the center of where exactly the interactivity lies, and in doing so, figure out what makes Warcraft a game, and Facebook a network.

One major difference is in the interface -- obviously, WoW is wrapped in a fantasy world, so that in between all of the socializing, you're also fighting the Scourge or the Burning Crusade. Facebook has games, but it doesn't have that overarching narrative. WoW also rewards group teamwork and coordination, while Facebook leaves collaboration to its own rewards. And of course the cost is another big difference: WoW is still a subscription game, while Facebook pays in other ways. But the amount of similarities between the two are pretty fascinating. And comparing the two, as Gamasutra does, really makes you think about just what interactivity means, and how two apparently very different types of interactive media aren't that far apart after all.

Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Forums

Blizzard launches Ulduar Bosstiary


Although this comes a little late for a few players, not everybody is raiding Ulduar yet, and those that are haven't necessarily cleared it. To help appease your curiosity about what creatures lurk within the latest raid, or if you simply want to know a bit about the background of the guys that have been handing you purples recently, check out Blizzard's latest web feature, the Bosstiary.

It's an interactive map of Ulduar (same graphics as the in-game map), and if you click on any of the boss icons, it pops up a little paragraph about the boss. For instance, did you know that Auriaya is Ulduar's archivist? Makes sense - librarians love cats. Also, apparently Kologarn was created by Ignis. I guess Iggy must have been a big Monty Python fan.

I think this is a neat way to learn a little more about the story behind the bosses. I hope they continue doing this for raids to come.

Filed under: Blizzard, Raiding, Lore, Bosses

Ulduar maps aplenty

Haven't loaded up the PTR and gone to check out Ulduar for yourself yet? The good news is you've got lots of ways to see it online -- in map form. Reader Evan B sent us the version in the picture to the right (click it for the full version, and it's big) -- he cut and pasted together the in-game map screenshots to make up a to-scale version of what the instance looks like. Our friend Stompalina also has a version, cut together from what looks like the minimap ingame, so you can get a little clearer idea of what the textures look like in each section of the instance.

And StratFu sent us an interactive map of the Titan city, with hover-over tooltips on each boss and click-through information for what we'll face inside. Strategies are still being fleshed out completely (and remember, this is the PTR, so everything is subject to change). But if you're looking for as much info as possible on what's waiting for you inside the brand new raid of Ulduar in patch 3.1, there's lots of places for you to find it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

WoW Crossword: January 20th, 2009


It's a new week, and that means a new crossword. If you don't remember from last Tuesday, this little project is an experiment of ours. Some time ago, Amanda Dean started this Crossword activity which was posted on Sunday mornings. It's been awhile since we've done them, so we're going to give them a whirl on Tuesdays instead, with Tuesday being the WoW player's lazy Sunday. Considering today is patch day, you probably have plenty of time to do this thing.

Last week I asked for feedback on the crossword, and you all supplied a lot of helpful advice that we attempted to put into play. We'll see how it turned out. The details on that are below the cut, along with the clues for this week's puzzle.

Read more →

Filed under: Fan stuff, Lore, WoW Crossword

WoW Crossword: January 13th, 2009


Some of you may remember that some months ago, we tried out these WoW Crosswords on Sunday mornings to go along with Sunday Morning Funnies, to give your lazy-day a slight newspaper feel. Open up the blog, read your comics, fill out the crossword, and then read the stories. Really, though, what WoW player does that on a Sunday? If you're at home, you're probably killing boars or whatever and not trying to fill in some blanks. Tuesday is more likely the WoW player's Sunday, isn't it? Kind of a slow day, you catch up on the news, you don't have to worry about tending to the crops, so you find other entertainment, right? So let's try this crossword thing again, but with feeling.

Here's how this works: Below the cut will be your hints/questions. There is only one correct answer for each blank. Some answers are two words, and if that's the case, leave the space out of your answer. Pretend the space between them does not exist. Most of those ones are obvious, and usually marked.

All of the questions are related to WoW, WoW Insider, or the greater community around the MMO, such as machinima, fan content, or simply related nerdity. For example, one day you may run into a question in which the answer is Kevin Werbach. He plays WoW and has been mentioned on our site, so he is fair game. You will not, however, get a question like "What is Batman's true identity" because as far as I know, that has nothing to do with what we do, unless Bruce Wayne is the next Lich King. If that becomes the case, we're just screwed then, aren't we?

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Filed under: Fan stuff, WoW Crossword

WotLKWiki offers interactive Northrend map


The folks at WotLK Wiki sent us a note that they've got an interactive Northrend map up and running. It's nothing too surprising (they basically just put all of the map screen maps from the beta together), but it is in a nifty Google maps interface, so you can drag, click, and zoom around the new landscape at will. And of course, the pictures don't mean too much at this point -- of course big landmarks like The Nexus and Ulduar stand out, but it's assured that actually seeing these places will be much more amazing than just seeing their flat representations on the map.

What's really interesting, though, is going way back to the beginning and comparing this map to all the different versions from Blizzard's planning stages. Though a lot of things have been added in to fill in all the space, they've really been faithful to the overall design since the beginning. Even the Warcraft III maps match up pretty well. Blizzard really sticks to their mythology, and that's probably at least one reason why fans enjoy exploring it so much.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Quests, Expansions, Screenshots, Lore, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King

The console interactivity I wish WoW could have

As a teenager, I loved console games. I grew up with Nintendo game images, tactics and ideas rolling through my mind. For various reasons, however, I've never really had a chance to pick up any console system since then, and I have often wondered how many changes have taken place in those sorts of games over the years.

So recently one of my friends treated me to a few evenings where he just showed me a few of his console games, so that I could get a sense of what they're like these days. The experience made me wish that it were possible for World of Warcraft to incorporate a few of the features I saw in those games.

The biggest one was a sense of interacting more with the in-game environment that your character lives in. Especially in this game God of War, I loved how the main character was able to do special moves in special situations, such as jump on top of a monster and rip its head off, or pin it to the ground, or even climb inside its giant mouth. He can also sometimes climb walls or use special items to solve interesting environmental puzzles. Many other games have this sort of experience where there seems to be less of a barrier between your character and the other entities in the game's world.

WoW just doesn't have that interactive feeling. Whenever you swing your sword, you swing it in pretty much the same way, even if your target is so huge that you're actually just swinging at the empty space between its massive legs. Whenever you run along up hills or mountains, you do just fine until you come to that magical angle at which your character cannot climb, cannot crawl -- only runs in place against an invisible barrier, even though visually it seems like he should be able to just use his hands.

I have no idea how Blizzard would manage it, but I really wish my WoW character could climb up walls (or at least ladders!), flip enemies around, or climb up on top of giants' shoulders and stab them in the head. Even if all these things are an impossibility, I still hope there's something significant they could do to help foster a more cohesive and interactive feel between our characters and everything else in Azeroth.

Do you ever wish for some console game features in WoW? Or are they totally apples vs. oranges for you?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends

Breakfast Topic: What if WoW were more interactively social and lifelike?

Yesterday we talked about all those things we that strike us as unrealistic or odd in World of Warcraft. Your discussion of these different things got me thinking: what if Blizzard decided to make the game more interactively social? After all, players have often said that they want guild and player housing -- why stop there? Why have a house if you couldn't have more interactivity with your friends' characters, such as cooking various meals together, talking, hugging, playing music, or even playing a Warcraft version of chess or something -- all with new animations that looked right? Honestly, the way things look in WoW now, social interaction mostly involves standing there, repeating the same "talk" animation over and over as you chat. Imagine if there were a great deal more variety in what your characters could do together, just like -- and bear with me on this -- certain elements of The Sims.

Some of you hate The Sims with a passion, and I respect that. And to be clear, I'm not really talking about making WoW into a "people simulator" like The Sims is. You and I both would play The Sims if we wanted to simulate people -- we play WoW for adventure! No, I'm talking about adding some optional elements to WoW, similar to roleplaying, which would add a sense of life and actual living to the game and don't get the way of your killing things at the same time, so that it doesn't feel like killing computer-generated mobs is all there is.

If you do support adding more non-combative, socializing elements to the game, what sort of elements do you think would work? Mini-games such as WoW Chess, perhaps? Additional interactive animations, such as hugging, handshaking or even kissing? Perhaps even the ability to pick up objects and move them to a different location, such as moving chairs about or kicking a ball around? Would you even go to the extreme of including things like toilets, basic hunger and thirst needs, or other elements that we have in real life? Where would you draw the line where the similarity to real life should stop?

Filed under: Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics, RP

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