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World of Warcraft is a platform that demands the navigation between virtual reality and real life. However, WoW blurs the lines between these two realms unlike any of the other interfaces we have encountered in the course so far. The imagined community that surrounds WoW interplay is separated into distinct locations, comprised of beings with unique abilities and physical characteristics, race and occupation, and (almost) having their own language. Watching the gold farming video in class, although the narrator was speaking English, I hardly could follow his instructions because of the references to actions, and objects that are completely foreign to me. I wish we had participated in LambdaMOO in class for better comparison, for WoW lacks the free form of democratic user-created rules and news, but it certainly tops Myst and Doom in “realness.” WoW is engaging to a point of stimulating very real emotional response and attachment. One person in our section witnessed a duel between two users, including violent battle and foul language.

 

These two people, despite their lack of physical contact, are quite viscerally experiencing the conflict. They are fighting, and there is real investment in the virtual real, particularly aggravated by the objectives, quests, and competitive goals established by the program. Where WoW trumps lambdaMOO in its interweaving with reality is the currency of WoW having actual monetary power in the real world. The fact that there was more money surrounding WoW than the Bulgarian economy, as mentioned in class, is shocking and represents how serious this “game” truly is to people’s lives. What makes it a game in the first place? Because it is fun? As Cait wrote in her post, it hardly feels like play the entire time, for there is immense stress and assigned tasks to be completed. The virtual world holds appeal over the real world, where hard work pays off and advancement is clearly tracked. Would this be as satisfying as a single-player campaign, or is it the knowledge that you are progressing beyond other people that is exciting? Other people’s actions make the game all the more unpredictable and real – the realer the game, the more exciting. So why bother with a virtual game in the first place?