Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
08 March 2006
MMORPG Gaming minus text =?
This reduction of World of Warcraft to interactive fiction is perhaps the most succinct argument I've seen for taking New Media studies outside of English departments -- or for taking English departments away from their current obsession with the codex.

"Hey," the elf protests. "This is important expository. Azeroth is a rich and storied land, with a tapestry of interwoven ..."

> Click Accept

"OK, fine. Bring me six kobold tails."

> Shout "Where are the Kobolds?"

You hear a voice in the distance. "NE of stream, near lake."
You hear another voice in the distance. "Right near lake."
You hear another voice in the distance. "LF1M! Need priest!"

> Go NE

A small ramshackle house sits atop a hill, apparently abandoned. At the foot of the hill is a large field. The field is swarming with kobolds, their tails swinging seductively in the breeze.

> Kill kobold

You kill a kobold. You get a kobold tail.


It gets better.

Okay, admittedly I've played a text-only MUD literally for days, so perhaps I'm the wrong person to be reading this (looks good to me!), but there are a few things that stand out after reading through the above post from wired.com.

1.) I've argued before that WoW is quite narrative driven in ways Second Life and even Ultima Online are not.
2.) There's a reason WoW plays well on a 28.8kps modem; it's a text adventure! [1] I've played this way and seriously, it ain't bad as long as you don't have to download an update.
3.) There's something about the visual and communal elements of WoW that make its reduction to a narrative very much a lossy process. How best can we describe what's missing from the above description of WoW?

Anyhow, since I've put my WoW subscription on hold, ostensibly to concentrate on writing, I believe it's time to get back to Joust on my Game Boy Advance.

[1] Obviously WoW isn't a text adventure; that's what #3 is supposed to problematize. Yet the amount of bandwidth certainly isn't much beyond what we'd expect to need to play SojournMUD (http://www.torilmud.org/). We need to, it would appear, look to the WoW engine to figure out what's significantly different between the two, particularly those updates that aren't quite so phone line friendly.
--ruffin at 13:23
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