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WORLD OF EXPLORECRAFT

27 April 2005

I just wanted to say I've rediscovered World of Warcraft, but that could just be a temporary thing. Not that I was ever not playing, but right now The Urge is back again, like it was in the beginning. This has all to do with my mindset.

When I began with playing back in februari everything was new and exciting, and of course then you're having a ball experiencing all those groovy things. Then, inevitably, in any timeline, comes the point where you look around and try to measure up if it's all what you were expecting from it. It was at this point that I got disappointed. Not in World of Warcraft itself, but in the flaws and impossibilities of the genre, something no one is to blame for but that is there nonetheless. I could have known of course, because what I speak of is inherent to the MMORPG. It's world interactivity. And I mean interactivity which extends beyond the flowers you pick and the animated lumps of polygon you attack. I mean interactivity that goes to a point where it effectively changes the world around you. Politically, geographically, socially, whatever-ally.

But I was a fool to expect this. How could you possibly have any real influence on the world of a multiplayer RPG? If you change anything, it would affect the other players, possibly putting them in impossible or unfavourable situations. Some MMORPG's feature this, but it is unfair and unbalanced. One person can become king and rule the world -but then you're giving this unique experience to only one player, invoking jealousy and pithy anger into thousands of others. It doesn't work. Therefore, World of Warcraft does what it should do: it gives everyone the same opportunities and the same possibilities. In some ways, the opportunities and possibilities to do really nothing substantial at all. The questgiver may state upon your return that you've successfully razed the enemy town and that your faction has conquered the region -it takes only a few minutes for your foes to respawn to give others the chance to do the same. And no matter how many people execute the quest, nothing will ever change.

It was this -amongst other, external things such as work pressure- that made my interest in the game lapse for some time. It also led me to the controversial realization that the future of engaging RPG's lies in the singleplayer persuasion, going against the current fad that multiplayer is the Holy Grail of the RPG. Disregarding that for now, I reinvigorated my interest in World of Warcraft by changing the reasons I play the game. At first I played to get stronger and come out on top, expecting far too much of it. I changed this to become the 'explorer' archetype gamer. I'm far more interested in seeking out all those wonderful landscapes now than I am in grinding to become stronger. And it opened the game again for me because if anything, WoW offers some of the most diverse and rewarding vistas ever seen in any digital realm. I already can't wait for the inevitable expansions, when we'll be likely treated to the frostsmitten continent of Northrend. Seeking out the Frozen Throne is sure to send shivers down my spine.

Roderick.