Saturday, September 29, 2012

I'm Lost

You loyal readers know I play an online game called World of Warcraft. It is the gold standard for online multi-player games. On Tuesday, they released another version of the game. It's called an "expansion" because it gives players another continent to experience.

It's called "Mists of Pandaria". When it was announced, two years ago, we long-time player thought it was something of a grand joke. Blizzard, the developers of WOW, are known for pulling practical jokes on April 1st. Several years ago, one of the jokes was to turn everyone into pandas for a day. It was pretty funny. Some players seized on that and asked for pandas to be a playable race, and asked, and asked. The rest of us, well, pandas, yeah right. But here we are, pandas as a playable race. I have not created a panda yet. I'll let you know how that goes when I get there.

Right now, I'm immersed in the play that is an expansion with a new continent. The last expansion, which was all about the world that we knew being partially destroyed by a dragon, was mildly interesting but did not have lasting staying power. I love this game. I will play it until they physically shut it down, but I have to admit to not finding the dragon expansion that much fun at the end. I'm half-way through leveling my main character and I can see where I have so much to do and see in this new expansion.

One thing that has struck me about this is the graphics, the visuals of the game. Look at this image.

I was worried about a new expansion and my ancient Mac. Would it be as spectacular as if I had a brand new machine. Isn't that stunning? I love the colors of the blossoms on the trees. Below is, right now, my favorite spot in this game. It's a game, but, when I discovered this place, I knew it would be a place I'll return to when the game or people in it get me stressed beyond what they should. 

It's just obvious they put a lot of time into the look and feel of this game. 

One of the things they have tapped into in this expansion is the concept of taking your time to just be. It's kind of ironic that a game you play to lose yourself has panda people telling you to "slow down". Zen concepts feature a lot in this expansion. Yes, we are tasked with killing the bad guys but we are strongly encouraged to take our time and look around. There is so much to see. 

In cleaning my home office last week, I stumbled across these two books. 

The book on the left details the original game. The book on the right details the first expansion of the game. There was a wonder in the game at first and then with the first expansion. Places to go, things to see. You could lose yourself in the content. This past dragon-based expansion lost that wonder. This new expansion retrieves that and expands on it. 

If you need me, I'll be lost in the Mists of Pandaria. 

Beverage:  Cranberry Raspberry Juice


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