World of Warcraft vs Your Venti Quad Mocha.

One of the plethora(!) of cool things about Mozilla is it's user-friendliness… and how much of an enabler it is.  For example if you're feeling lazy, which you most likely are, and don't want to type a whole URL, you can put the main section of the domain and it will still redirect.  It seems most likely based on Google's search results but that's alright.  [Example: type 'vox' without the quotes in your address bar. It will take you to vox.com. Classy!]

My goal for the moment, maybe even for all of 2007, is to figure out The Power of WoW.  My friend Don (yes, a real-life friend/guildmate/boyfriend's coworker) were discussing the potential subliminal powers.  That portion of our conversation went like this:

D: WoW, though i'm addicted like everyone else. it's way too easy to get involved in. 12-14 hrs a day on the weekends?  christ, that's insane but we still do it. i think there's subliminal shit…
Me: there has to be. it's all very "oh just ..one more quest. then i have to turn it in and then i have to just kill these two dudes. and get this. and turn it in here. and then … oh shit i have to level, im only 2 bubbles away!"

It's true. Having like mindsets is one thing, but almost Eight Million People?!  World of Warcraft is like the Starbucks of the gaming industry.  If that hasn't been said before, let me be the first to make the quote.  There's just something compelling about the whole thing.  The graphics are great, you don't have to be a D&D guru (or even a gaming guru) to play, and there's a storyline for everyone.  Want something a little more heroic?  Roll a toon on the Alliance's side.  Want a nice helping of sarcasm and dark humour?  Horde's waiting for you. 

One of the major problems now though is the whole "WoW-nnui" phase.  An article over on Terra Nova sums it up fairly well:  No one I've talked to *dislikes* the game; there's no sense of
having been spurned or that the experience has curdled.  But in even
the best parties there seems to sometimes come a moment when, amidst
the music and noise you and your friends silently agree "great party;
we're outta here."   For some people that moment has come with WoW. 

And I'm guessing that trend is only going to accelerate. Here's hoping the long-awaited expansion can outdo itself… but what then?  I can't find the pie chart but it looks like Blizzard has 52.7% of the MMOG market filled up (www.mmogchart.com for more details).  I'm also not sure if this is Total World Numbers or US Market Only Numbers, but it's a goddamn lot.  I'm sure I can figure out the actual numbers later, but now is not that time.

I do love WoW though.  It's a good game; coming from someone who played the SiMS primarily all of her gaming career.  MYST got played for awhile but I think I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Riven.  For anyone wondering where the name for my first car (Ryven) came from, now you know.  I almost had the big vinyl stickers put on the windshield in Old English text, don't hate.  Diablo2 brought me into the MMORPG realm, Neverwinter Nights was in there for a few weeks, Icewind Dale (mmm), and Baldur's Gate II was the last thing I played for a long time.  Jason was hooked on StarWars Galaxies for quite awhile but I hated that.  I hated looking at it, and had no interest in having an account.  Same thing for EverQuest. 

Then suddenly… along came World of Warcraft.  I don't know what happened, or how we even got to thinking of buying it.  Perhaps it was the graphics, perhaps it was the first character I made was a warlock (oh the glee!!!!!).  Somewhere along the line we were both staving off sleep to hit that next level, giving up weekends to finish quests, and loving every minute of it.  It wasn't the South Park effect but it was just… fun.  Now, almost two years later we both have a handful of characters on multiple servers, both factions.  He's got three 60's and I'm about to have two.  We joined a guild (now disbanded), we bonded with locals who played.  Millions and millions of people are playing RIGHT NOW.  (Luckily they're not farming the area I want to be in, thank goodness.)  It's all just madness, and I can't understand why but I love it.

It's one of the first games that has crossed the border into the physical world as well, at least at such enormous volume.  The shirts are everywhere, you hear people discussing raid plans on their breaks at work.  Some are lucky enough to be able to play at work.  Two or three weekends ago my friend Alicia and I were out having coffee and catching up on old times.  Out of nowhere, I hear someone slaughtering a murloc.  For those who know that noise, well, it's unique to say the least… and if I can make it into my ringtone, I will.  Common courtesy be damned, I need something wonderful to replace the loss of my beloved "Nothin' But A G Thang" midi.

Anyway, the burbling came out of nowhere during this a.m. coffee excursion, and I was completely thrown off guard.  Rare are the times when a total stun happens to my conversations, but there you have it.  Alicia was confused, I was in hysterics.  Then came the curiousity factor: "Okay – who's playing WoW and what kind of system is running it?" Someone with a souped up laptop in the corner no doubt, but I didn't go searching.

Ahh, the life of a WoW-addict.

One of the other things (amidst the plethora(!) o' stuff) that keeps me logged on until the wee hours is the random interesting new things that happen.  For example, purple drops from a bat two levels lower than you who aggro'd on you randomly… that may have been my defining moment so far.  Somewhere in my mid-50's on my first character (Evissick, the aforementioned warlock), I was running through Eastern Plaugelands, not even intent on killing bats at the moment, when one aggro'd on me.  More XP, sure, why not.  It crumpled to the ground, I looted. 

Me, yelling from the bedroom, in a confused voice: "So, is purple good?"
J, in the living room makes a strangled choking noise.
Me: Is that a yes, then?

Purple, by the way, is better than blue, better than green, way the hell better than grey, but not as good as orange.  Feel free to see this handy chart, which contained some info I did not know until just now.  As far as orange items go, I've seen one during my entire play time in the past two years – some character in one of the major cities happened to be holding one, but I don't think I got a screenshot.  It really wasn't even all that spectacular, but it was kind of cool to see that 'orange' isn't just a myth.

Also apparently that staff could have sold for roughly 1500G, but I made a tough decision and kept it to equip my 'lock with.  It's served her well so far.  (G = Gold, S = Silver, C = Copper. Nice & easy currency system.)  To put things in a better perspective, I currently have about 500G between ALL my characters.  J perhaps has 1000.  He's much better at making money than I, but neither of us are gold farmers by any means.

I started writing this on my flight from UC to EP, and didn't realize it would turn into something so lengthy.  However I've got just under 10k XP to go before Level 58, so wish me luck… I'm supposed to meet friends for brunch at 1030, so let's hope I can function on six hours of sleep.  Huzzah for three-day weekends, especially after a five-day weekend that just passed. 

…and what's this Echoes of Lordaeron buff I just got? New buff!! Yay!!

(!) Hot Word Alert.

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