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Posts with tag realworld

The BBC examines love in Azeroth

There's an interesting piece up over at the BBC's State of Play blog about how online games are becoming more and more social places, not just for friendly relationships, but for romantic ones as well. While meeting online used to be an embarassing thing for couples, nowadays it's much, much more common, and what better place to meet online than in a social MMORPG like World of Warcraft?

Unfortunately, the idea doesn't quite fly with me. In an online situation like, say Facebook, you're more or less playing yourself-- odds are you've posted your own picture, your own opinions, and your own favorite music. But in World of Warcraft, you're playing a character. And even if that character isn't completely different from your real-life persona (most people actually are themselves in the game, unlike hardcore roleplayers), it's still different enough, in my opinion, to be a significant barrier to actually judging someone as a relationship partner.

But that's just me-- lots of people have found significant others in online games, and even more have met lots of people in MMOs, and then actually become better friends or partners after meeting them in real life. But while an online space like Myspace or Facebook might be very conducive to getting a real sense of new people, an online game set in a fictional universe like WoW is still too separate from the real world to allow for a real love connection on its own.

Filed under: Virtual selves, News items, RP

Real reactions to virtual environments

The always-interesting Terra Nova has a piece up about Nick Yee's the Proteus Effect, which is based around how we relate to (and interact with) stimuli in virtual worlds, specifically our and others' avatars.

Basically, almost all of the research so far shows that we react to virtual stimuli exactly the same way as if it were real stimuli-- we don't want our characters standing too close to other characters, because it's a social convention in the real world that we all have our own individual space. But we still react positively to attractive avatars, whether we know it or not. No matter how much we're supposed to be roleplaying, or how much we realize consciously that the virtual world is different from the real world, we still react in a real way to virtual stimuli. It's heady stuff, but here's Terra Nova's soundbite, by Dmitri Williams: "You can take the person out of the real, but not the real out of the person."

And Williams closes with an extremely interesting proposition, considering how the interaction works: what if, by making many parts of Outland dark and gloomy, Blizzard has caused us to react realistically and feel depressed? TN's informal survey says that players' favorite zone is Nagrand-- is that because it's sunny and green there? And if so, what does that say about our reaction to the expected upcoming expansion-- should Blizzard reconsider the dark, cold stretches of Northrend for a more tropical locale?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard

Breakfast topic: WoW in the world

It's been a while since we last did this, so let's do it again: Where have you seen WoW in your real life world?

Umi on WoW Ladies sees BOP, and automatically thinks Bind on Pickup. I was once driving around looking for a party, and had been playing WoW so much lately that when I realized I was lost, my first thought was to type /1 (without a computer in the car, mind you), and ask where the party was in General chat. No one was in the car, but I felt pretty stupid after having a thought like that.

And my favorite lately came from that post on boss quotes the other day. Here's what happened to commenter Thingy at work:

Person 1: "How about we get that stuff in next week?"
Person 2: "Too soon"
Me: "You have awakened me too soon, Executus."
*odd looks from the rest*
Me: *finally realises what I just said*

Funny. Where have you seen WoW in the world?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Breakfast Topics, Humor

A near-death experience? WoW!

We may have had plenty of brushes with death ingame, but this real-world story is something else. Livejournal user antiotter was calmly playing WoW one evening when:

My neighbor accidentally put a .44 Magnum round though my wall. It missed my head by three inches. It started in his bathroom, went through the mirror, went through the closet on the other side, blew through that closet door, traveled across his hallway, blew through our common wall, richocheted upward off my computer desk, and lodged in the doorframe.

[Via Wonderland]

Filed under: Odds and ends

Breakfast Topic: Virtual achievements

A topic of contention, which neatly fits in with yesterday's topic of spouses who don't play WoW, is the value of WoW when compared to "real" hobbies. The argument is one that many gamers are familiar with: why spend time achieving greatness in a virtual world, when at the end of the day you will have nothing tangible to show for it?

Of course, as the recent story of Stephen Gillett shows, many of the things we learn in WoW carry on into the real world. Leadership and dealing with people are two of the most transferable skills around, and WoW also teaches many things from multitasking to hand-eye co-ordination. However, after putting in hours of work, a few skills seem to pale in comparison to the physical rewards other hobbies produce -- a work of art is something people can relate to, even if they didn't create it themselves, whereas "level 60" or "rank 14" mean very little outside of a specific circle.

The circle, however, is widening. As MMOs like WoW become more and more popular, more people will understand the lure of achievement in a digital dimension. Have you had trouble convincing people your hobby is worthwhile and important? Or have you found a killer argument to win sceptics over?

[Thanks to Mike for the suggestion.]

Filed under: Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics

Orgrimmar and Stormwind on a par with real cities?

Seattle, New York, LA, London... Azeroth? The latest addition to city-specific blog site Metroblogs' line-up is none other than our favourite virtual destination. Although there's not much on the site at the moment (watch out for NSFW language in the first link), it's an interesting move to consider.

Only a few of Metroblogs' other locales -- including London, New York and Istanbul -- have a higher population than Azeroth, although some would say there are big differences between a real urban population and an online game's subscriber base. We, of course, welcome those who think WoW is diverse enough to merit a dedicated blog, but it's going to be interesting to see how "metroblogging" a virtual world controlled by a single entity compares to a real live city.

Filed under: Fan stuff

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