Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How WoW is like Las Vegas

I just returned from a long weekend in Las Vegas, and it also constitutes the longest period I've spent away from World of Warcraft since I started playing in the Spring of this year. The weirdest part: I didn't really crave it at all. By the end of the trip I was thinking to myself, "Maybe I'm over WoW?" Is it possible all I needed was a brief separation? Could my love for it really have faded that quickly?


Got home, flipped on the laptop, and boom! I was hooked again. Or still. Whatever. The point is, like any good addiction, all it takes is one brief moment of weakness to fall off the wagon and become addicted all over again.

So what was it about Las Vegas that served as a surrogate for WoW over that period? How did I go four whole days (and change) without even a craving? Or was it simply that I needed a short break and was ready to take it?

Well, like WoW, Vegas is a bit of a fantasy world. I mean hell, even their motto tells you it's all make-believe: "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." The same could be said about WoW. I do all sorts of things in WoW that I would never discuss with my RL friends, lest they look at me like I'm a crazy person. Also like WoW, you can do things in Vegas that you just can't do anywhere else or at any other time, at least not without running the risk of being arrested.

Like WoW, Vegas is filled with all sorts of weird characters and creatures. And roughly half of them speak a foreign language, so the only way to communicate is through emotes and hand gestures.

Like WoW, you can spend a lot of gold in a very short amount of time on some very stupid and frivolous items. You can't buy a tundra mammoth, but you can drop a boatload of cash on an epic ground mount that will carry you all over town. And just like the mammoth, these epic mounts serve very little purpose except to impress those around you at the size of your mount... although the more expensive ones do have vendors (aka mini bars). You can even get a flying mount if you are so inclined (though I guess it's more akin to taking a gryphon).

Like WoW, as long as you keep playing, all of the alcohol is free! Though I discovered that real alcohol is a bit more intoxicating than the virtual stuff served in WoW. Just sit at a table in a casino and play as long as you want; they'll keep shoving free drinks in front of you. ("Free" is something of a misnomer in this case, but at least you can pretend, since there was no direct fee involved.)

Walk around the streets of town at any time of day and you will see lots of people spamming trade chat: "WTS vacation timeshare", "WTB show tickets", "LF2M high-priced hookers for group sex then gtg", etc.

During the day, each hotel has it's own Battleground, also known as a "pool area". Just like WoW battlegrounds, people run around with little or no team coordination, fighting over limited resources (deck chairs, towels, and cocktail waitresses). Everyone willingly takes severe AoE damage from the 115°F (46°C) direct sunlight -- essentially standing in the fire on purpose.

Like to raid? There are plenty of establishments called "ultra lounges" that you can hit up after 10pm that simulate a raid environment. The raid leaders (i.e. doormen) will make you stand in a long queue (LFG) if you are not properly geared. A group of really hot female Night Elves will be selected to join the raid long before the male Taurens and Orcs; the latter should expect to spend an inordinate amount of time in LFG. (The Night Elves will often get in free, whereas the Taurens can expect to be required to pay a steep fee just to get into the raid.)

Once inside the raid instance, you will be expected to take a number of potions and elixirs which can only be purchased inside, so don't bother bringing your own. Most of the raid bosses take the form of 21- to 25-year-old women who will shoot you down before you can even get within shouting distance. However, if you /dance and /flirt better than a Draenei Death Knight, you might just stand a chance of lowering their defenses and scoring a victory. But don't unsheath your weapon too soon, or one of the level 82 elites (also called bouncers) will send you straight to the graveyard.

Like WoW, when it gets very late at night you'll find people running around town in various states of undress.

I think I could go on all day, but suffice it to say that Las Vegas is the real-life counterpart to WoW. Except that a typical weekend of playing WoW costs about US$2, whereas even a cheap weekend in Vegas will probably start at about $1000. And unfortunately, the one thing Vegas won't let you do is kill mobs and loot them for their money and vendor-able items.


Anonymous said...

Ahaha. I must say I love it when people match WoW up with ofter unexpectedly similiar things, but I've never seen it paired up with Vegas before. Great reading tho, keep it up :)

Zaphind said...

Yes well I aim to be different. ;)Thanks for reading!