Trip Report: World of Warcraft!
By amusing coincidence, a small band of VB/CO adventurers was on a field trip to WoW as Philip Linden was speaking @SLCC in Boston. In his speech Philip promised deliverables on lag, and that is really my number one experience in visiting WoW: Frame Rate!!
There’s much more to be said about the rich world of WoW, but in a world like Second Life where people like NicoleX and I hide in skyboxes, afraid even to come down to the “real,” er… “real virtual” world and it’s bone-crushing lag, visiting WoW was like an asthmatic taking her first deep breath of fresh air. Going from Second Life to WoW was like an iron lung victim making a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Two words: Frame Rate.
While “VeeBee” was off in WoW I was in-world in SL waiting and helping peeps to get onto our EU/Argent Dawn WoW server. Although I didn’t look at numbers, I’d say that WoW on my slow machine had a 50x better frame rate than SL on my fast machine! The breath of fresh air analogy couldn’t be more true. Honestly, I’m a lot more interested in SL content, but when lag is so bad that you can’t move, overshoot, walk underground, rubberband, and worst of all, typing lag means that even a sentence on your keyboard is a virtual impossibility, you can’t help but feel a sense of freedom and empowerment at the simple ability to walk.
Although, in fact, not that many people in WoW do walk – they run!
For me, Second Life is like Hawaii, and WoW is like Hong Kong. Hawaii does have way better tradewinds, but otherwise, the climates and geographies of the two places are remarkably similar, yet the feel is so different.
In Hawaii you can stand on a beach and look across blue waters to the amazing leaps of green rolling hills on a sleepy mountainside. In Hong Kong you can get remarkably similar vistas, except that between you and the tropical mountain will always be a half-dozen container ships.
In Hawaii people are laid back.
In Hong Kong people are busy.
In Second Life peeps walk (if the lag lets them, ha ha)
In WoW peeps run.
Actually, our tour guide Ibi walked… but all us noobs ran our butts off. Of course, as these things tend to go, even walking Ibi was always ahead of the running noobs.
Our VB/CO Field Trip to WoW had four amazing “tour guides” that really made the whole thing possible. First was our own Young Miss Lyssa who got us rolling with the “Pick a Race” survey so we could all be together on the field trip.
Then our friend from Odyssey, Ama Ree dove in with tons of helpful info on the EU/USA server business and helped us figure out how to get everyone on EU / Argent Dawn.
And finally Ibi (Ironyca) and her partner Zenevieva, amazing, Level 80 uber-players saw the Field Trip announcement here on the blog and offered to be our tour guides to all things WoW.
I can’t thank Lyssa, Ama, Ibi, and Zenevieva enough, without you, we’d never have assembled our group in WoW, let alone seen so many amazing places.
VB/CO Field Trip to WoW
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Noon – 5pm Second Life Time (PDT)
9pm – 2am Paris Time (CEST) (WoW EU Time)
full-size and more images at:
Ibi / Ironyca
Agnes Sharple (Towanda)
Caestan (WoW name)
Cypher Taurus (Ransor)
Eos Akina (Crimilde)
Fross Maruti (Frossl)
Heathers Miles (Heathers)
Pennyroyal Calamity (Penyroyal)
SkyGirl Kline (Skygirlkline)
Trilby Minotaur (Trilbee)
Vaneeesa Blaylock (Veebee)
Young Thistle Boar (sadly killed by Penny in the 1st minutes of the Field Trip)
With our Free 10-day Trial Accounts there were many places we weren’t allowed to go, “WoW 2006″ as Ibi put it, still, Ibi & Zenevieva took us to SO many places we’d never have found, made it to, or survived otherwise. A couple days before the field trip I wandered off on my own and got killed by nasty spiders and other beasts at least a half-dozen times! The only way I could escape was to jump in the lake and hold my breath!
Here’s an amazing video Ibi / Ironyca made of some of the places we went, and others we didn’t:
Oh, and by the way, here’s Ibi’s blog:
While I am deeply overwhelmed at the richness of WoW and the generosity of peeps like Ibi & Zenevieva, Second Life, no matter how much it sucks, truly is the world for me. If Second Life’s downfall is two words: Frame Rate, then it’s promise is three words: User Generated Content… or… is that two words? User-Generated Content? ha ha. Anyway even though you can’t run SL in a browser, it is the Web2.0fulness of SL that is it’s magic.
Whether it’s Facebook or Flickr, Wikipedia or WordPress, the power of User Generated Content is the power to build our world. We’ve recently emerged from a century during which a half-dozen rich white guys controlled the bulk of global media. I don’t know about you, but they didn’t speak for me.
I’ve written before about the anti-democratic tendencies of Web2.0, my ideas on that subject are all over this category:
and most specifically in this post:
but in spite of those serious concerns, Web2.0, SL, and the realm of UGC, or as Lessig likes to call it, Read-Write Culture (as opposed to Read-Only Culture) is the way we build our world… and as Veeyawn Spoonhammer likes to say, “It’s our world now.”
So while WoW has SO many beautiful and amazing places, they’re all “What Blizzard Entertainment has made for us.” It’s Blizzard’s world, we get to walk thru. No matter how much that internet dweeb mugs his webcam and tells us it’s SL’s fault because he’s too stupid to click the “stand-up” button… er… I mean, no matter how right he is about low frame rates in SL, it is still the world that we, that so many “we’s” have created.
Have you seen Sledge’s new creation?
Oh, I love Bryn’s world!
Hey, let’s see what the latest from AM is!
And it’s not just the superstars, it’s everyone who drags their butt over to Haiku Speedbuild on Thursday and tries to assemble a few prims in search of meaning.
WoW is more beautiful and more fun than I expected. And it was like being let out of my iron lung, yet in the end, it reminded me why I love Second Life and why no other world I know of compares.
Another big difference between SL & WoW is, as we discovered with the whole “EU / Argent Dawn server” business, is the nature of a “sim.”
SL has 80 bazillion regions, and with a little pain, you can cross in and out of almost all of them, except the ones that peeps put up those ugly red ban lines on — gawd knows what they do in there! Apparently, there are “copies” (is that right?) of WoW on different servers, but you can’t cross from one sever to another. Your character lives (and dies, quite often in my case!) on a single server. In SL you can talk to absolutely any resident who’s willing to talk to you, but in WoW you can only access peeps on your server. Of course your one account can create FIFTY avatars!
While a lot of SL peeps do create alts for various reasons, I think a lot of SL peeps also powerfully identify with a “main avatar.” That may also be true in WoW, but it seems like multiple avatars there is much more encouraged. Multiplicity has some advantages, but it certainly leads to fragmentation of persona. Or to less developed persona.
While SL lag is a nightmare, if that lag is partly because you can go anywhere and talk to anyone, that’s a hard choice to make. When we performed VB06 – Golden / Red at St. Leo University, our avatars stood side by side on a university campus in virtual Florida, even as our typists sat on 4 different continents. That’s an extraordinarily beautiful thing, and apparently not really possible in WoW.
Another thing we appear to get for all our lag is amazing avatars. I posted all the Field Trip images to Flickr first and am now writing this text for this blog post… which means that… as I’m writing this, Ze Moo is going thru the flickr stream and posting comments like:
I thought WoW avatars would be higher rez? SL avatars can be much better quality!
Ha ha ha – according to Flickr, he already posted that 2 hours ago and I’m still typing — with no SL typing lag even — gawd!!! Vaneeesa is the world’s slowest documentation producer!! Somebody PLEASE take over for her! Put the poor girl out of her misery! It’s so painful to have to watch!
Uh… I may have digressed… anyway… Anyone who can give us more / better info on avatars & avatar customization in WoW please CHIME IN ON THE COMMENTS BELOW, but yes, as Ze says, I thought the avatars would be higher rez, more customizable, better detailed. Perhaps if we got to higher levels we’d have more choices, I’m not certain.
Now that SL is going to allow peeps to have any name, peeps, myself included, are starting to wax poetically about the “freedom” of name “restrictions.” I’m not totally clear on which classes in WoW can teleport when, but as I understand it, most peeps, like all of us noobs, just don’t have that ability.
This means that every time someone new came over from SL, or every time VeeBee got lost, you don’t just “TP me over”… the group has to chill out while somebody runs off to fetch the lost soul. While a bit of a nuisance, this made land and space much more real, much more tangible. You really were in a place, and other places and distances had real meaning. TP-ing in SL is very convenient and very powerful and IDK if I’d give it up, but it really does diminish the experience.
WoW reminded me, unexpectedly, of MGandhi Chakrabarti’s Salt March of 1930 / 2008.
Most of the SL:WoW differences were, for me anyway, on the side of making SL more deeply immersive, but on TP, the “limitations” of WoW were quite immersive.
Lastly, I have a great idea! As you see in all these photos — and BTW, apologies to those who’d rather see what’s going on without the interface all over the image, but I chose to show the interface to give a fuller picture of who was there, the info and controls we had, and what we saw — over your head is your Avatar Name and a Number. For most of us noobs the number was 1 or 2 and for Ibi and Zenevieva, or course, it was 80. That number is your player level based on completing quests.
Second Life, as Dwight Schrute famously pointed out, doesn’t have quests. But as that internet dweeb with the webcam can tell you, “Second Life is overrun by cybersex.” So, maybe SL can have a number next to your name just like WoW, but… ouch… I know you’re already groaning… sowii… but… instead of the number of young thistle boars you’ve killed… it’d be your number of cyber-sex partners.
Thanks to everyone who joined us, thanks so much to all of our amazing tour guides! And do click the comments and chime in on where you’d like our next field trip to be to.
full-size and more images at: