Comparing WoW and SL?

I’ve been reading a few blog posts here and there that are actually trying to compare WoW and SL. Are these people serious? There is simply no comparisons, unless being an online multi-user 3d environment is something so similar and unusual that it begs to be compared. I’d have to say that Joi Ito summed it up fairly well with just how different the two are in this post at Clickable Culture.

WoW does not have a community or social networking tool that is so revolutionary that it can be lumped up with SL. It certainly isn’t a revolution to have an avatar in a MMORPG! If that is, what about The Realm? That was out back in 1996, a cartoon chat room with hack/slash fighting. That was eight years ahead of WoW and nine years ahead of SL. They never reached a thousand users though. But by following the logic of community building and avatars then The Realm was light years ahead of them.

I’m sorry but the only thing The Realm was revolutionary with was being one of the first graphical interface MMORPGs, it was a step from the MUDs. Ultima Online and EverQuest came out a few years later and really did revolutionized the whole concept of online gaming. WoW, is only popular not really revolutionary unless Auction Houses and Mail Boxes are a big deal. Well they are extremely convenient and nice to have. I seriously hated keeping EQ on with an character logged in and AFK hawking things in the Bazaar. Also WoW took all the things people liked about other MMORPG mainly UO and EQ and took out all the things that annoyed people in those games. They kept their original Azeroth world from the Warcraft series, kept the lore and most of the abilities of their heroes, and kept the highly imaginative and artistic flavor of their vision of Azeroth. They didn’t create MMORPGs. They only made MMORPGs user friendly and open them up for 2 platforms at once. Something Blizzard has always done with all their games.

I’m not trying to slam WoW. Yes, in some ways it’s easy to say they it’s “MMO Lite” or “a dumbed down MMORPG”. Especially easy if you are coming from EQ1. Here’s the but, they made the game so you don’t have to be playing it 24/7 to keep up in levels with other players or that it would take so long to level up. They made it very ideal for a casual gamer to play and not feel like they were lagging behind with no hope in sight of catching up. That if anything is the real revolution that WoW did. Not adding avatars to a so-called community. I really do have to choke on the words community and WoW in the same sentence. That is the one thing that is seriously lacking with WoW. Oh sure, if you’re in a decent guild with friends then I guess that’s your “community”. I tend to think of a community as a whole of the entire game not just a guild. Actually I never had so many extremely rude encounters with other people on a MMORPG, not even on EQ as I do on WoW. I’ve accepted that as the norm on there now, which is very unfortunate. So if I do have a huge slam for WoW it isn’t for the game itself it’s for the players. What Blizzard really needs is a separate server with an ID check for age verification. Yeah, I’m suggesting an old fart server. Have one for each server type or experiment with one PVE and see if people switch to it. No, age of course isn’t always a factor for maturity. I’ve met 15 yrs olds that act more mature then 30+ people. But it might help form an actual community on WoW.

Ok, getting back on track here. SL is really it’s own thing, a Virtual World completely user created, with no limits on what you create there. That is revolutionary! Can you argue that WoW is a Virtual World or that SL is a MMORPG? Sure you can but only on with very little similarities. WoW is a VW only because it takes you into their own made up world, that’s it. SL is a MMORPG only because a user can create one there, that’s it. Other than that there isn’t anything else to compare either of them with each other. People compare them because of the numbers game, which is extremely weak. Numbers don’t mean jack in a comparison unless all you care about is the money going into each of them.

Here’s is one absolutely ridiculous piece that threw in a small comparison between SL and WoW. It’s more on SL being a terrorist haven. The first thing I thought of was Horde engineers doing suicide bombings in Ironforge. A rather comical site that would be fun for a machinima. Still terrorists using SL? Oh come on. I think that writer is living in a fear vacuum and probably thinks the Patriot Act is a good thing.

I guess I’m just getting tired of people who obviously don’t play either one talk about them as if they are experts on them both. Usually I see either that the writer has only entered either game for maybe one visit or worse yet they are just reinterpreting another writer that has no first hand knowledge of the game either. For the record, I’ve been a resident of SL since Feb. 2005 and have been playing WoW since Jan. 2006. I’m still not an expert on either one but I’m not going to compare them as community building areas either.

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~ by Kittenanne Mousehold on March 14, 2007.

One Response to “Comparing WoW and SL?”

  1. Michelle

    great post…I look forward to reading more! thanks alot!

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