The online fantasy game World of Warcraft is awash with ruins. Half of the in-game quests involve pilfering buried treasure from cities razed by the Scourge, temples leveled by the Lich King, and craters where force field-encapsulated cities once lay. A large part of the joy of the game (IMHO) comes from exploring these areas and their eerily haunting graphics.
The ruins of Bashal’Aran
World of Warcraft (WoW) is a MMORPG, a Massively-Multiplayer-Online-Roleplaying-Game. People buy the game, pay a monthly fee, and get to enjoy a Dungeons and Dragons fantasy world from a first person perspective, defining their class, race, gender, equipment, and general style any way they want. If you like (and some people do) you can spend all day dancing in the town square with just your underpants on, cat-calling the crowds as they go by. Or you can get serious. There are all manner of monsters, quests, powers, weapons and spells set out in a hierarchy- the more time spent kicking ass, working, gold-farming in game, the higher up the hierarchy you go. People play this game like its a sport, going for 40-man training sessions at scheduled times and places. My cousin plays at that kind of level, I think he`s the leader of a raiding group, and it`s a major part of his life.
Anyway, you probably know all that.
What you won`t know, unless you`ve played the game exhaustively (or scanned the Wow wiki as I have) is how many ruins there are in the game. There are a lot. This is my effort to lay out some of the best I could find. All info from the Wow wiki.
The Ruins of Alterac
The ruins of Alterac City, destroyed by the Alliance for their betrayal during the Second War. Now a bunch of ogres live inside.
Built 12,000 years ago and still going strong, albeit as ruins. Destroyed in the `Great Sundering`. Now it`s packed with satyrs and ogres.
Entrance to Dire Maul.
The Shrine of Eldrethal.
The Broken Commons.
A magical city that was shielded by an impenetrable purple dome. In a game-world wide event at the climax of one of WoW`s expansion packs the city lifted off, leaving only an empty crater behind. Crazy.
I actually played Warcraft for a while, a year or so ago. I remember stumbling into this big purple dome and thinking- wtf is this? Now I know. I actually enjoyed Warcraft a lot, and often think about rejoining the world and leveling up a player, but there`s a few good reasons why I don`t-
– There`s not much plot, or structure. To some people this may be awesome. They can just go do whatever the heck they want to do. But I want to feel some sense of purpose, with concrete goals. When I accomplish those goals, I want to know I did, and for it to matter more than just a chance to level up some more, or get a winged mount. I needed more of a reason to play. I was a human Paladin, slow to level anyway. By level 40 I realized there was gonna be no more structure. The whole world was my oyster- which was just too big, formless, and endless for me.
– You need to join a raiding party to go into any of the bigger dungeons or cooler areas. To do that, you generally need to have friends already playing WoW, who you can rely on playing with at a regular time. It then becomes a kind of commitment, and you can`t do it alone. For me, like with haikyo, I generally want to do it alone, on my own schedule.
– Inordinate amounts of time spent `grinding`, just killing monsters for xp, and `farming`, collecting gold and other resources to get money. Bo-ring.
Artist`s rendition of the aftermath.
An abandoned night elf light-house. Apparently it has a door which doesn`t open. Very frustrating.
`Did Jacob tell you how to open this?`
A monument to Lord Ravencrest who fought off the Burning Legion. Seems to be purposefully echoing that ruins perennial Ozymandias.
Fine pair of legs.
A bunch of ruins called Jintha`kalar.
More ruins with an apostrophe in the name.
Ruins of Thaurrissan
There was a dwarven city here, on the Burning Steppes. Now it`s just a bunch of Nazca outlines.
Night elf settlement destroyed in the Great Sundering. What is the Great Sundering? when the Well of Eternity imploded 10,000 years ago and split the world`s one continent into several.
Ruins of Andorhal
Once a human town, the Undead Scourge came in and kicked some ass until everybody was undead too.
There are hundreds more, I`m sure, though none more impressive- at least not with images on the Wow Wiki. If any experienced WoW-ers want to suggest locations for exploration, I`m keen to take a look.
And a closing thought- with the real world becoming more and more known as we go on, fewer haikyo to explore, fewer places man has never been, isn`t the real future frontier for exploration going to be our imagination? Worlds like Warcraft that some of us make, then leave for the rest of us to explore? Pretty soon these worlds are going to be indistinguishable from real life, as computers get stronger.
When it gets to that point, would a life lived online really be any less real than a life lived offline? Or would it be more real?
See more SF / Fantasy Ruins here:[album id=8 template=compact]
See all my real world ‘haikyo/ruin’ explores in Japan here:[album id=4 template=compact]
See a curation of curious world ruins here.
Read my stories inspired by ruin here.
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