World of Warcraft studies

After almost a year of hearing about of World of Warcraft, and snippets of jargon popping up in conversations everywhere – at the sea, in the bar, at the coffee table – I finally got the opportunity to try the game in question, thanks to Calle and his 10-day gift certificate. Not having played multiplayer adventures since the days of mudding and mooing via telnet back in ’93 this was a totally new experience. Not that I have really looked into the multiplayer interaction part so far.
Anyway. WoW being the social phenomenon that it is (about 5 million players so far), I felt that it was necessary to check it out sooner or later. The first impression is that it is actually surprisingly lush and good looking, to the extent of it being just as much of an “immersive environment” as the Myst series. In fact, it is much more immersive due to its total freeness of movement where you can literally run around for hours and hours without seeing repeat scenery. I guess many, if not most, of the Lvl60s (the highest level currently available in the game) have stopped feeling the awe I actually felt my first evening of playing, and instead focus on hoarding, finding rare items and being all-mighty in general.
As a game, the idea is brilliant, especially economy-wise (the game costs about €12 per month to play, in addition to buying the game), but also from a technological aspect:

  • It was made available for the Mac and Windows platforms simultaneously (like all of Blizzard‘s games since the company started).
  • It can be constantly updated, both storywise and gameplay-wise due to its smart adaptation of the BitTorrent p2p protocol.
  • Its use of geographically distributed servers result in a close to non-existant lag for most parts

Not only is WoW a game, but it is also a community in the truest meaning of the world. It acts as a basis for interaction via mail, forums, chat, talk, video, and it is becoming a society of its own. It has become, for good or bad, the preferred way of social interaction for millions of people. Geeky or not, they might be well on their way of moving from the status of sub culture to a real culture with the citizenship to rival a smaller European country…