Immersion in Virtual Worlds

Interesting video of an extremely rare happening/glitch in Warcraft. This shows a raiding party pulling a 40-man outdoor boss into one of the capital cities. Stormwind is a safe place, where you go to rest, to repair your armour, check mail, buy new stuff, learn new talents, talk to friends, whatever – it’s a safe home area.

I would have loved to see something like this. It would feel very similar to a disaster in real life, I would imagine – there you are, going to the post office, when all hell breaks loose and people are dying all around you. Incredible. It’s happened once on our realm, and once with one of the huge dragons. One of the GMs has to go in and pull him back out to where he’s supposed to be, and reset the server.

This immersion, the feel of feeling like “real life” is one of the things that I find most fascinating about gameworlds of this type. I first felt it when I took my night elf character from her violet, elvish home area to the snowy mountain region which is home to the dwarves. I felt very foreign, very out-of-place. Interesting.

And now they’re introducing weather into the game…snowstorms, rain, dust storms in the desert areas that make it difficult to see. We’ve downloaded that patch, and are looking forward to seeing it tonight. I would bet that, when I’m trudging through the snow in the high mountains, with snow falling all around, I will feel as though I need a sweater.

I love it.

9 thoughts on “Immersion in Virtual Worlds”

  1. I keep on meaning to try WoW, but I’m not really a MMORPG person… I’m told it’s different to most other MMORPG’s so I ought to give it a try I suppose? The main problem is that I don’t get that much time for gaming now, and I prefer something I can just get in to relatively quickly than something I need to invest 20+ hours a week in.

  2. I resisted playing for ages, just because I gave Phil so much shit for being addicted to it; it also didn’t seem like something I would really enjoy. I was wrong. It is a HUGE time sink, though – you need to put in the time to level up characters so you can do the better/harder dungeons, raids and things. That said, I think it’s unique in that it’s flexible enough to be many things to many different types of players – the ones that just want to fight (they have arenas and PvP servers where you duel other characters), the PvE ones that want to work together in groups to fight the big bosses, and the ones that just want to do roleplaying and enjoy the depth and beauty of the world, and the chance to work a profession. I only do PvE (player vs. environment, so that you don’t put time in on quests only to get killed by some random player).

  3. Now, that’s why the idea of Guild Wars appeals to me because it seems more like you can pick it up and put it down as necessary…

  4. I have to admit, it does eat up a LOT more time than I can afford – and I’m still low-level, everyone’s meat (level 35 out of 60). It does take time.

  5. You sound as if you are addicted :) I don’t dare to play as I know I will become addicted and spend hours I do not have playing.

  6. wandringsoul

    Speaking of immersion…

    Taken from the US Forums, that are ablaze with this:

    “This is taken from the american general forum and the american Illidan realm forum.

    The story is basically that a player on the Illidan american server died of a stroke in real life. Out of respect for the deceased, friends and general populace gathered for an event similar to an IRL funeral where they showed their respect for her. A friend had her character logged and stand by a lake so everyone could contemplate over her death and death in general etc.

    The guild ‘Serenity Now’ however, decided to attack the funeral in progress and killed everyone there.
    They also made a video celebrating their deed:

    In my opinion it’s the worst action I’ve seen in a MMORPG so far. I really feel like those who comitted it should be punished.
    On the US forums people seem really split on the subject, some people are really angry at Serenity Now while others think its just funny.”

  7. I read about that. That was totally tastless and insensitive. As we’ve discussed before, I think there will be less of a division between your online and offline life, and virtual events like this one are often no less emotional than real life ones. Why should they be? You’re there to show respect, as you would have been at a funeral in real life – the reason that it’s held virtually is that you are so spread out geographically, and you also have a shared interest in, and citizenship in, that virtual world. The feelings when someone dies in rl are no less important, even if you choose to show your respect and honor in a virtual setting.

  8. That’s how I felt…and sure enough, it’s eating up a large part of the time that I would otherwise spend watching movies or reading. Fair enough trade, I figure. :)

  9. wandringsoul

    I find WoW to be far more immersive than TV or movies – I feel like I’m spending my time in a far more interactive, engaging and more social way…

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