Balance point in the World of Warcraft

In Espen Asrseth’s article “A Hollow World: World of Warcraft as Spatial”, at the very beginning, Asrseth introduces some advantages and disadvantages of Wow when comparing with other famous video games. For example, Blizzard did not use the “experience debt” (Page #115) in Wow. Experience debt means when a member of the team died in a quest, then the experience that everyone in this team receives will decrease. This may easily lead to some quarrels. Then, Asrseth brings up a very important idea that the whole land of Azeroth is like a big theme park, like Disney World and Universal Studios “the world of Warcraft world is not that world, but rather a (virtual) theme park version of it.” (Aarseth, Page#119) and the function of playing World of Warcraft and going to the Disney World is really similar. People want to release the pressure from the reality society by these. To some extent, I agree that playing Wow and going to a theme park is a little bit similar. However, I do not think they are completely same.

In order to make the game more accessible and easier to gain fun, Blizzard Company designs and adjusts the Azeroth into a considerable scale. It is said that there are lots of distances between each big city in the Eastern Kingdoms. However, it will not take more than ten minutes riding horses to cross any two cities. The author said that the island he is living in is called Amager. This island is around eight miles long. If a person wants to walk across the whole island, it will cost him around four hours. In other words, Blizzard make the Azeroth into a pretty small scale. I think what Blizzard decides is definitely correct. Nobody will play a videogame such that this will take him around four hours to cross two main cities. Instead of releasing pressure, this will make him feel much more annoyed. Also, it is said that the whole Azeroth land is pretty big, but actually it is pretty close. An example author brings up is there are only one hill called The Dagger Hill between Westfall and Burning Steppes. This is like there is only one river between The Great Wall and The Statue of Liberty. However, everyone logging into this game are only for fun. Thus, nobody will care about it. After I read this article, I tried to ride my horse to cross from Stormwind City to The Undercity. Although I died immediately after I arrive the Undercity, surprisingly, it only takes me around ten to fifteen minutes to do this. Before I read this article, I never notice that. For this part of ideas, I agree with Asrseth’ ideas. “…their resemblance to real worlds is usually second to their function as playground and social channel.” (Aarseth, Page#121)    

Actually, I also believe Blizzard make a good balanced point for the world of Azeroth. As what I talked about before, the map of Wow is really small because nobody will play it if it takes him more than 3 hours to cross two main cities. Similarity, if it only takes me 3 seconds to cross from StormWind City and the Undercity, I will not play this game anymore because this is too fake. So the scale of the land of Azeroth cannot be too large, also cannot be too small. Thus, I think Blizzard company make a good proper balanced point for Azeroth land. Azeroth is not too real, also not too fake. The world of Wow is a little bit like a theme park, people can cross one place to another. However, this is not as real as the real world. We do not spend too much time on the way. Similarity, everyone knows the Azeroth land is a fake land. However, everyone is willing to spend time and money it because this is not that fake. We cannot move one place to another within seconds. Blizzard Company make a smart choice to decide the scale of the land. That is the reason why the World of Warcraft can be so popular for a long time.

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2 Responses to Balance point in the World of Warcraft

  1. spelunkingseahorse says:

    Hello I wrote about the same topic. While I believe that WoW is for fun, I don’t believe that all WoW players can be encompassed into this one category of playing for fun. Some people take WoW very seriously and don’t look at it as a game. Unfortunately some other people may not enjoy their real lives so they may use WoW to escape from their lives for a bit and experience a different reality where they can be powerful and rich.

    Additionally I perceived Aarseth’s essay a bit differently in that he was more so comparing the similar aspects of the “worlds” created by Azeroth and Disney World which I believe are very similar. But I agree with you and I would not say that playing WoW and going to Disney World will give you the same experiences.

    It was an interesting read though. Thank you!


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