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Unfinished Time

What the world knows of stories is changing. Most medias still allow for an ending, even if it takes time to see the path to that ending (Mackey 1999 p.20), but in the World of Warcraft, no ending is in sight. As Lunenfeld elegantly raises the question, ”what will we have in an era of unfinished MOOS and ever-expanding narratives of communication? Will the final conflict be forever forestalled?” (1999 p.20). He goes on to write that technology does not make its own paths, but as bound to society, moves forward according to their demands (p.20). Unfinished time in World of Warcraft is recognizable when players are given “multiple choices and multiple possible storylines” (Grobal 2003 p.150). Unfinished time will always be present when freedom of choice is afforded to the creation of one’s own narrative. Unfinished time within World of Warcraft is found in its expansion packs, the unlimited use of the avatar and the realms in which players can navigate.

Using Narratives

Unfinished time in World of Warcraft is accomplished through the avatar, or actually, avatar”s”, since many players will have more than one avatar. The need to have more than one avatar is irresistible. Although players will have several avatars, they usually stay with a selected few to level with or bring up to the leveling cap. Maintaining a singular avatar has its advantages in that it “leads to a deepening of the player’s investment in and identification with the avatar (Filiciak 2003 p.91). Players can now swap a fully developed (or partially) alliance avatar for a horde avatar and vice versa. The condition of such an exchange is that avatars of both factions must be of equivalent stature (Scott 2009). All avatars within World of Warcraft have unique properties because of race, class and talent. Access to various quests or parts of the landscape depends on the race, class and talent selected. Even if a player does finish all the quests, only one aspect of the game is explored. Other branches are available to be explored with a different avatar, thus unfinished time is always realized when leveling with an avatar.

Realms

A realm is a game world that contains several thousand players (World of Warcraft: Realm FAQs). Realms exist to create a less crowded experience and more of a community. In real-time, each continent has a number of realms hosted on servers. For example, North America has 200 realms. Although there are a number of players limited to each realm, players’ can choose which realm they wish to play in, however, players must locate realms in their geographical region (Realm FAQs). There are different types of realms such as normal realms (also known as Player versus Environment (PVE), PvP realms, Role-playing normal Realms and Role-playing PvP realms. The details for each are:

Expansion Packs

Since coming out in 2004 as a MMORPG, several expansion packs followed suit when The Burning Crusade came out in 2007, The Wrath of the Lich King in 2008, and now Cataclysm in 2010 (Wikepedia: World of Warcraft). The Burning Crusade introduced two new races to play (Draenei of the Alliance, Blood Elves of the Horde), added new World instances and a new PvP Arena System (Wikipedia: The Burning Crusades). The capping level in The Burning Crusade was originally 60 but has been changed to 70 (Powerlevel 2009). The Wrath of the Lich King the third continent, Northrend was introduced; introduction of the Death knight class, level cap was placed at 80, the inscription profession added, and general graphical improvements (Wikipedia: World of Warcraft: The Wrath of the Lich King). The newest expansion pack, Cataclysm, has significant expansion for landscape, game play experience, and avatar development. Added to the list of races will be Worgen for Alliance and Goblins for Horde. The new level cap will be 85. The new skill, archaeology will be added to the listed professions. New areas and new towns will be accessible, new dungeons; raids and battlegrounds will be added. Guilds will now have a leveling and achievement system. Lastly, for players not wanting to gain experience points through grinding or raiding but through skills can now play ‘Paths of the Titans’ to level (Wikipedia: World of Warcraft: Cataclysm)

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Written by ANBecker. This project is adapted from the final paper for the LIS 585 Multimedia Literacy for the LIS 600 Capping Exercise. March 9th 2010.