Thursday, August 23, 2007

Postcard from Winterspring

"....isn't it interesting that we can talk about "traveling" in WoW. Just as easy as you can say "have you ever been to France?".... you can say "Have you been to Un'Goro Crater yet? That place is so amazing! What did you think of it?!"

because what is traveling really to our perception? Seeing a new place? A particular portion of space. And that space can be made up of an infinite number of objects, nature, people, color, shapes....

And to you and me... if someone were to tell us that New York doesn't really exist in RL but having "visited it", does that take away any of our visual memory of the place or say our experiential reactions? No. Not really. We have the essence of the place in our minds.

So even though ALL of the places we have visited and seen in WoW don't exist in the RL context, they are nonetheless still very real experiential places. And honestly, there have been few places in RL that have taken my breath away as the Outlands in Azeroth...because WOW has developed a world of rich visual experiences...that are artistically motivated. It's hard to top that."

That was a response to an email I sent to Lance a few months ago replying to an idea about "vr experience" and "travel". How grounded we are in the idea of REALITY, as if it were some kind of moral issue. Perception is not grounded in physical reality obviously, there is no real TRUTH in anything except our own perception.

Having just visited Alaska from my cruise, I'd have to say this is even more real to me. I saw some of the most beautiful rainforests, rainbows, ocean views you can imagine. I thought it was breathtakingly beautiful. BUT even the sites and sounds of the real world don't compare as to when I first came upon the city of Darnassus for the first time...or road into Nagrand on the first days of TBC.

A part of me thinks a lot of it has to do with how we enagage with what we are perceiving. And in the RL, it's so limited to postcard like moments.

SO, I'm starting a postcard series of places I find amazing to visit in WoW. And since it was inspired by Lance, my first postcard goes out to him. Thanks Lance!


Pvthudson said...

Cold weather is my ideal climate, Alaskan cruise is next on my radar!

Shawn said...

This is a completely awesome idea. You'd have a hit on your hands if you make this a webpage that anyone could put a screenshot and a message into, and then get a postcard like yours.

Lance said...

Awwww shucks! -blush- I'm completely honored...'ve got me thinking...Alaska...sight seeing...

Wouldn't it be great if they put in a few nice touches in places that are really hard to get to? A little diversion from regular playing. How about whale watching off the coast of Azshara? (of course in WoW, it would probably be Narwal with gleaming golden tusk). I thought that sea serpent off the coast of Northwatch Hold was fun when I first started playing.

Lance (Lancet)

Anonymous said...

"...sites and sounds of the real world don't compare as to when I first came upon the city of Darnassus for the first time..."

So is a vacation an escape from real life or just another part of real life itself? Is WoW an escape or just apart of real life?

wowcast said...

shawn. you're right. I'll look into how to set something like that up.

kitch. that's the million dollar question for us, isn't it?

Teomat said...

I love that you mentioned Nagrand because that's exactly what started me thinking about what it would be like to completely immerse ourselves in these places. To our limited senses, they're as real as anywhere else!

I wrote a little bit about it too :)

Egeslic said...

I guess it really does come down to personal perception, but the first time I rounded the corner and saw the Great Buddha outside of Tokyo, or the live volcano in central Costa Rica...well, Azeroth just doesn't comepare to that insane dose of this world.

I'm one of those people who LOVE the artistic side of video games, and love the immersive quality of MMORPGs, but to me, it really is mere pixels when compared to what my eye beholds on this side of the screen. Is it more real? No, but it so much more insanely beautiful diving off the coast of Costa Rica and having an eagle ray come 20 feet from you...

Just my take.

wowcast said...

Yes, I will have to say there are some places in this world that are amazing to behold, as if they couldn't possibly exist in the real world because they are so breathtaking.

However, most of those places have limited engagements. I've "seen" a lot of wonderful things in nature.

But there have been few moments in the RL where I really got immersed in the beauty itself or felt like I was actually a part of it.

Standing on a beach in Florida at night...the softest sand I've ever felt...the sound of roaring crushing waves as lightening struck beyond illuminating the ocean....I remember feeling terrified and mezmerized at the same time...

those times in RL are far and few between. Unfortunately for me, they happen far more often in MMOPRGs..

I still remember the first time pirates boarded my ship when I was sailing in FFXI. It was adventures I will never forget.

Real? Real enough without mosquitos are the "reality" of death :D

Egeslic said...

On that note, the first time I read Lord of the Rings, and the Riders of Rohan came to the aid of Gondor...I lost it. I could HEAR the horns of Rohan and feel the thunder of their hooves.

...writing that made me go back and reread what you wrote - "those times in RL are far and few between," - Now this is my opinion, not fact in any way, but that's directly due to the jaded effect of age. Little kids get that "child effect" where they are amazing and delighted by what they see. Later on, we aren't as amazed. That part lives on, for me, in video games. Someone mentioned Nagrand and I love that place (yes, it really is a place to me). In RL, I think sometimes it's important to open up a little and feel the flow of life, it can still amaze if you try to slow down the negativity and hurry that surrounds us.

Blah, I'm in my Oracle class waxing philosophical and rambling.

Scuse me.

Teomat said...

I think the RL vs VR discussion can become confused if you get the taxonomy inverted :) i.e VR is not a subset of RL as most "reality junkies" assume - it's the other way around. Our 5 senses limit our inputs and as a species we've progressed nicely with that. However the "reality" we experience is very much a virtual one. Who knows what the Universe is really like?!

IMHO the issue pivots on this: When you have an experience, of any kind, it's not the external entity that's important, it's what it does TO you. Any given entity affects people in different ways and therefore the "experience" lies INSIDE you, not outside.

hmmm...must buy decaf.

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