November 2006

World of Warcraft Discovered By Mainstream Media: “Like Second Life, But With Orcs”

OK, it’s not THAT bad. Quite a bit actually to hit on.

Two clueless mainstream news stories, take your pick. From Slate: World of Warcraft is lame, because it’s not more like Second Life.

The most obvious thing to add is customization. The MySpace generation expects a personalized experience, yet Warcraft’s avatars come in only a few stock models. The men are brawny, the women are lithe. Although you can choose the details, you can never change your look once you’ve made your initial decision\’e2\’80\rdblquote you can’t even get a new haircut. You can’t post a profile or write a bio and, unlike in online worlds like Second Life, you can’t own land or even rent your own space. Adding personalization would reinforce the game’s raison d’\’c3\’aatre: addictiveness. Plus, giving players an ownership stake and a unique-looking character would keep them coming back for more.

The writer goes on to explain that its story and gameplay is boring, too.

New wars should break out, cities should rise and fall, and all hell should break loose at least once a month\’e2\’80\rdblquote and the players should be the ones to make it happen. After all, in a world that never changes, you can never make your mark.

Oh, if only someone would make games like that. Why has no one ever thought of this.

And then, from a Canadian newspaper: Can one find romantic fulfillment in Stormwind?

World of Warcraft is the granddaddy of online communities. On one hand, it\’e2\’80\’99s a sprawling, seamless fantasy, where you choose an avatar \’e2\’80\rdblquote a rogue, fighter, Mage \’e2\’80\rdblquote and go forth in this virtual world to hack, slash and maim your way to glory.

On the other hand, it\’e2\’80\’99s supremely social. Players band together, chatting incessantly. They hook up for virtual drinks at the inn, share a slab of wild boar meat. They dance, they have picnics in the woods, they even share a bed on occasion.

But do they love?

That\’e2\’80\’99s exactly what I aimed to find out in my social experiment.

I hope I’m not spoiling anything when I reveal: it failed.

Speaking of failing, people who insist on running World of Warcraft on Linux using a Windows emulator are getting banz0red.

And the folks who make WoWGlider (the program most often used to bot World of Warcraft) are totally getting sued, and are totally suing back. In SPACE COURT.

Someone’s Been Reading Again

Lore Sj\’c3\’b6berg has posted one of the best analyses of MMO message boards. Ever. I mean, I’m done now, he nailed it.

If you play an online game that you enjoy, there’s one surefire way to spoil the experience: read the forums on the official site. There you will find a vast underworld of lost souls keening their misery onto your screen. A game you thought was entertaining, well-balanced and attractive will be torn apart before your very eyes and pronounced lacking in every conceivable way.

It doesn’t matter that the complainers spend as much time on the game as you do, and probably more. While they may disagree on the nature of the flaws, they are united in agreement that whatever those flaws may be, they are unforgivable.

Second Life Found To Actually Be A Series Of Tubes

Raph Koster, in commenting on Second Life News Story 4.6 x 109, states that “the MMO community” resents the amount of publicity Second Life is getting, possibly out of jealousy.

In response, I give you ABC, which apparently has confused Second Life with the entire Internet.

Meanwhile, some clever exploiter has figured out how to dupe in-game items, which has the potential of effectively destroying Second Life’s in-game economy, since it’s based on trading real-life money for virtual-life clothing and other associated things. Whoops, sorry, Metaverse! (Linden Lab’s response? Don’t do that.)