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rough draft of full dialog

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 1 month ago

The setting: Picture, if you will, two individuals of different backgrounds, sitting in a cyber café discussing one of the internet’s biggest hits in the world of role playing games, World of Warcraft, mentioned many times simply as WoW. Jillian an ex player of the game and Kevin a current player. We will be flies on the wall and listen into their conversation as they both discuss their lives in, The Twilight..umm no, the WoW zone.

 

Throughout the dialog the two participants might use various terms that one that is not, shall I say, “In the loop”, one may not truly grasp exactly what the speakers are saying. For instance when the term “IRL” is mentioned, they are not talking about someone’s uncle, that’s spelled different. IRL is actually a term used to mean In Real Life. When the letters RPG are used, in today’s political environment one might think of the Rocket Propelled Grenade, but if someone used one of those indoors, it could very well put a damper into one’s day by really messing up that nice hardwood floor tiles you put in that last summer. RPG in this case stands for Role Playing Game. These came into prominence with those of us in the geek world with Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) back in the early eighties. These games that were governed by books and pure imagination have been, in large, mainly replaced by computers and a realm that has been generated by the computer programmers of Blizzard, the makers of WoW.

The guilds that are brought up are just like they sound, groups of people working together towards a common goal. These guilds are on both sides of the war, the Alliance and the Horde.

In the alternate universe that is known as the World of Warcraft, characters, (or toons as they are known to those, erm..ummm, in the know), of the same faction can test their mettle against one of their own in a contest of skill and strength, known as a duel. In this contest it is a fight to not quite the death, just until one of the participant’s lives is almost gone.

Let me explain that a little better, you see a toon has basic scores such as hit points (life points if you will) which tell how much damage you can take, and the basic characteristics, strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity and armor. All these are given a number and the higher the number the better.

Let’s sit and listen to these two discuss this game that has taken over so many people’s lives.

 

Jillian: Ahhh, World of Warcraft. Boy, if ever three words could evoke more feelings of anxiety for me. WOW was like an entity, a culture really, I was immersed in for, oh.. Like 3 years. I made it out alive about six months ago. Somehow, though, I realized I'd never actually distance myself from WOW.

Blizzard really had it right, you know, with the name for their epic RPG. It truly is a world. One with its own races, form of currency, rules, laws, infrastructure... I sometimes wondered how people can lose themselves for hours in it. Having personally done it once or twice...okay, jeez, a few more times than that, I've come to think of playing WOW as a vicarious, digital undertaking. And if you try to argue that you, as a human in irl (wow speak), play detached as merely a player, you're kidding yourself and fooling no one. Once you've played WOW for an extended period of time your character becomes an extension of yourself. You begin to talk about it in 1st person and the separation between you and your character becomes less evident. And eventually, as I've been present for, the World of Warcraft and the real world are the same, perhaps on different planes, if you want to think like that. Whattya say?

 

Kevin: I guess I could be considered a unique in that case, that fact that when I play WoW, I just saw it as a vacation from the tedium of reality, after all where else could you go around killing giant spiders and other creatures of the fantastic? Although I have heard of and actually have known people that have completely lost themselves in that world of fantasy, I have had the opportunity to play with a few characters, or "toons" as they are called that have let the game take over their lives. (I mean , come on, when the game it self starts it has a little blurb which states "Take all things in moderation, including World of Warcraft.", how many games have actual warnings on them saying don't play me constantly?) And it is a little unnerving when a player says that he has been up for twenty four hours plus playing because he is trying to level.

I do agree with you when you said that it is a world unto itself. Blizzard had it smack on when they came up with this game, yes I know that the basic framework was there with games like Everquest and the like, but Blizzard took the whole genre through the roof, I can not think of any other games that has spawned as many secondary companies that do nothing but sell gold, power level (albeit illegally), and actually sell characters. You can actually go on E bay and buy high level characters, and they are not cheap. This game an entity in its own right. There has been two upgrades since the original came out and each one had its line of people waiting, at midnight to buy it. I wasn't in that big of a hurry, (yes, I still play) I didn't buy the newest one until almost a month had past since it came out. I just got tired of being killed by all of the newest character class.

Admittedly, I too have gotten lost in the gossamer world on the other side of the computer screen, but never spoken about my character in the first person outside of the realm. But then again, I never got lost in it for anytime over a few hours, and I don't go through DT's if I don't play for a while. I do have people, or at least "toons" that I guess I could consider friends, but if I ever saw that person IRL, I don't think that I would even recognize them, even from their speech patterns.

But as I said before... to me it has always been a vacation from the real world and a chance to cause mayhem without the ramifications of somebody wearing a police uniform, knocking on my door, and asking why the hell was I in the middle of the road, swinging a sword, screaming, "Have at thee!" at the top of my lungs.

 

Jillian: I hope no one gets the wrong impression from me. I don't believe that everyone who plays this game will get sucked in and their lives will forever revolve around it. I personally never had a problem differentiating the two. I just mean that sometimes it's so great to take the game into the real word and, well make a RPG in irl. For instance, when my friends and I go to Islands of Adventure, we joke while on the Dueling Dragons, saying we'll go on the fire coaster and take on Onyxia. It's quite amusing.

I completely agree with your elaboration on Blizzard's success. They have embraced RPG's with a finesse and perfection that will be envied by others in the industry for years to come. Of course, they have had practice in the game department, what with starcraft and that other game whose name is escaping me due to the fact that there is a child behind me crying for her mother. And with that my thoughts are forced to stand-down. I will be back soon.

I'm back, but not for long. Friday is two job day. So, where was I? Oh, right. Something about Blizzard and their ingenuity with RPG's. That 'other game' I couldn't think of was Diablo btw. Back to WOW though. Though the game, which btw is the biggest RPG, and probably game, ever, there is so much more to it than just playing. It almost takes schooling to master it. The attention to details and facts is astonishing. For instance, there are books, no not just guides, but books based off of WOW lore. It gives you histories and character development and explanations for understanding the game you play. I tried reading one once. I think it was about the history of Theramore and its alliance with some horde. Unfortunately, I never finished it, but just the fact that there are books is awesome. It's great because kids who play the game can also satisfy their parents and/or teachers by reading while at the same time staying connected to the game.

One of my favorite parts of WOW is the online community. With millions of people playing at any given time, the WOW is never a dull moment and chats are always a buzz with everything and nothing at the same time. It's fantastic. Crap, work beckons. Until next time.

 

Kevin: Although we can go on for a very long time about the overwhelming success of WoW in the business world, we can not begin to overlook the relationship dynamics that surface in the game. The anonymity of the whole game lets the players act as they would in their own fantasies. After all, that is exactly what WoW is, a fantasy. You can act in any fashion that you want, even taking on the opposite sex or a different race.

The most interesting thing about WoW is, at least in my opinion is the fact that there isn’t a set Good vs. Evil. It is basically an “Us vs. Them” mentality. Alliance vs. Horde. Although there is, by just the naming, a preconceived notion of good and evil gives each faction an “air”. The interesting part being that each side has a reason for viewing the other as evil. The horde view the alliance as an overbearing slaving faction, while the alliance view the horde as an evil, violent, and domineering faction. Which is true? That is one thing that will never be fully understood, at least by me.

As for the books, that is something that has been done since the time of RPG games that used books, paper, and dice. Dungeons and Dragons had a whole series of books that described the life and times of the heroes that lived in the world of Greyhawk. Forgotten Realms was the series and they still can be found in the bookstores today. Hell, even D&D has evolved with the times, becoming more involved and intricate. The number of books has also grown; it started with three basic ones, the Dungeon Master Guide, Player’s handbook, and the Monster Manual. These gave each player what they needed to play, but then the game evolved into a multiple book, multiple charts and just plain confusing. But, even though D&D was a RPG, it did not and does not hold a candle to the community of WoW.

OK, I'm back, I got a little time to play WoW for a bit, and when I logged on? My character was kicked out of the guild for not playing. This goes to prove that some people do take that game too far. This is a game but it does seem that there are many out there that get so involved that it usurps their life from the real world and kind of' traps them in the alluring world of WoW. I can see the attraction, you be anyone or almost anything you like, you can do stuff that you definitely could never do in the real world,(see paragraph above for enticing but highly illegal example).

 

Jillian: You bring up another excellent aspect of the World of Warcraft: The politics. The terms factions, races, classes, and guilds have actual purposes in the game. Your whole game play- where you play, with whom, etc.- is different whether you're alliance or horde. Each faction then has their own 'leaders' 'strongholds' and specific territories. There are even neutral territories where the two factions come and go at the same time. On a more 'player' level guilds can kind of make or break your gaming experience. When I played I had the good fortune of being part of a guild lead by and filled with people I knew in real life. Most were very good friends of mine. At the beginning of my playing my boyfriend and I played together in this guild. A good guild doesn't mean most of the players know each other though. I just mean it helped. For players who take WOW really seriously, having the right people in your guild means more raid success, arena success, and the like. Guild leaders and class officers get really elitist when it comes to choosing the people to raid. It's all very political. I will also say, knowing guildies irl can be negative as well. Many a time I've seen arguments break out because someone less geared was selected for a raid or something like that, simply because the guild leader or decision-maker wanted them there. Even more hardcore guilds, like yours apparently, will remove you for inactivity, ineptness, or merely because they want to.

Switching ideas, I like your use of the term 'usurp', it fits. For some WOW overtakes their sense of reality, putting them in a world where they can be whoever or whatever they want. It gives socially awkward people irl the chance to be leaders, warriors, the elite. It provides an escape, if you will, from the real world. I sometimes wonder if that is why some players, like crazy guild leaders lol, are so hardcore. It's like they're trying so hard to stay in control or power in WOW because it's not an option for them out of game. I mean, really, who doesn't want to be a bad-ass warrior with a freaking huge sword leading a whole mess of people into battle? (That’s just an example, I, for one, prefer casters lol).

You know, I was thinking today: I'll be damned if this project makes me start playing again! Ha-ha, how funny would that be?

 

Kevin: A little off the subject but yesterday was a slight pain in the butt, the wiki sight evidently ran into a little bit of trouble and would not accept uploads...all this at the only time that I would been able to write. Ah well...OK, back to the dialog........

For a video game WoW is full of politics, especially in the guilds. In the guilds you have ranks and depending on the guild master (hereafter to be called GM for simplicity's sake) one can sit in the bottom of the guild for a long time before moving up the ladder. It really doesn't matter because ranking doesn't have any perks besides maybe the ability to get into the guild bank. I always found it funny that a toon can put something into the bank with very little problem but may need an officer of the guild to get anything out.

I have seen more than a few times, some poor guy or girl getting flamed in chat for one reason or another. Evidently, cyber bullying exists even in the fantasy realms of WoW. But the one thing is...If someone is really bothering you, you can actually do something about it, either duel the idiots or just simply change realms, granted that costs a few $$$ but not having to put up with idiots is priceless in my humble opinion. The dynamics of the game’s chat is an amazing thing in itself. I knew of a few people who had either a boyfriend or girlfriend that was strictly an online thing. They never really saw each other IRL but only saw each other’s toons. I personally hope that they have spoken on the phone because I would be extremely pisses if the person I thought was a girl online turned out to be some 40-something geek playing in his parent’s basement. (I however, play in my own home office and although I do have a female character, I DO NOT pander to the idea to even attempt to walk down that slippery and ICKY path. And I have never thought about even trying to “pick up” an online “friend” with my luck it would be that guy that I just mentioned or worse, some teen punk looking for cheap thrills.

About my ex guild, the funny part about it was that they kicked out one of the two characters I had that were part of the guild, but left the other simply because I was concentrating on leveling it up more than the other. No big loss, any toon that was high enough to help me was usually busy in another part of the world and couldn’t get there to help me, so even though my character had a tabard, I can’t think of a time where I actually had someone of my guild assist me. I was basically a solo player.

The funny thing about my playing WoW is that a good number of the students that I teach play and thought it was “very cool” that one of their teachers plays this same game. Lucky for them, we aren’t in the same realm, actually it is lucky for me, because they would probably wipe the floor with me. Then I would NEVER hear the end of it in class. That would not be a good thing.

 

Jillian: Oh my god I knew people like that! A girl I worked with met her fiancée on WOW. They were the couple who only related in game, though I'm sure phone calls were involved as well. I just wanted to throw that in there. And, I can only imagine how funny it would be losing a duel to one of your students. Ha-ha! Anyways... brb

 

Kevin: I will always claim student teacher relationship at that point.. Claiming something along the lines of, "Sorry, I can't duel you because since I am your teacher, I have to maintain an air of professionalism and I don't want you mad at me when I demolish you." Even though, let's be honest.. They would kick my butt.

This just continues to show the impact this game has had on our real world communication dynamics; the fact that my students think its cool that their teacher plays the same thing that they do, kind of making me look like a real person and not like an untouchable entity.  I even named my toon “Dateacher” to give them a clue to who was behind the opposite screen. 

When they found out that I played they were honestly surprised and dare I say even a little impressed.  Even now they talk to me about the game and ask about my toon and opinion on some aspect of the game.

 

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