Aka Ironyca Stood in the Fire – gaming blog
This phenomenon became pertinant to me recently, when I carried out some of the player-interviews on various servers. If the person I was talking to was quick on the replies, and I could sense they were focusing on our conversation, I brought my character to a pleasent location to sit. I then felt more concentrated and calm.
I like sitting in WoW, it’s just somehow better than standing if I’m not doing anything anyways, as if it interprets how I feel better, if “I” can sit.
This water toy in a swimming pool somewhere in Bilgewater Port was the perfect sitting spot while chatting to someone from the SilvermoonEU server… so relaxing (I don’t know what’s up with the hypnotic stare though).
And I kept doing it across servers, specifically looking for a nice place to sit, which reminded me of the fact I had always been doing this.
I’ve been to Second Life a few times recently, and characters or avatars there don’t come ready made like they do in WoW, which meant that my avatar couldn’t crouch on the ground. She could sit on chairs, but it didn’t fully translate my need to sit anywhere I wanted. This little detail annoyed me for a good while. The thing is of course, you are meant to design your avatar yourself, including the way they move, pose and sit, and while a WoW-player can jump right into a prepackaged character, we also have to make do with what we get in terms of design.
I knew I wasn’t alone with my peculiar need to sit or more broadly speaking, have my character reflect some state of mind. In 2009 a post on the old forums emerged with the title “Relaxing Spots on WoW”. The question was simple:
My favorite spot to chill out in all of WoW has to be, Shalandis Isle in Ghostlands. The music could put me to sleep :) in Outlands it would be Nagrand tho!! <3
A popular destination often mentioned was Nagrand, especially the floating islands, where you can get a great view of both the sky and landscape, but at the same time be alone, like a pillar hermit. Others put music centrally, and while some enjoyed A’dals twinkling, others found themselves going slightly insane.
I personally had a special connection to Old Azshara, and someone else did back then as well:
The border between Ashenvale and Azshara. Stand in Azshara a few feet away from the river and look into Ashenvale… That’s my favourite spot. No monsters to bother you and the colours shift very beatifully if you just move an inch. Was ages since I was there. Have to revisit now! :)
I want to revisit too! I miss Old Azshara, the bridge leading you into the zone was really atmospheric, that feeling of autumn taking away the exstatic joy of summer. It was a very solitary place, no one questing, and yet the area reeked with devastation.
When I was scouting around the lake west of Tirisfal Glades for Hidden Locations, I found more than just scenery that was meant to be hidden. I think these two, a blood elf and troll were sharing a peaceful moment together, having found a hilltop overlooking the ocean in a part of a zone where no one ever goes.
And of course then I turned up. I didn’t get too close, and I made sure to leave quickly, didn’t want to spoil anything. But it was kind of special, and I could sense a calmness from their presence. I couldn’t hear what they were chatting about (perhaps for the better) but from my point of view, it looked cozy. These are the moments where virtual worlds really become and feel inhabited, when you can find people randomly around the world acting in a way recognizable to our everyday offline lives.
But isn’t it funny? Why does it relax us that we put our characters in a relaxed position somewhere nice and scenic. Seemingly safety doesn’t cut it alone. And why even the need to relax inside WoW? Like double relaxing makes it twice as efficient?
Is it because we are more connected to our characters than we think, that we sometimes emphasize with them, and that this cord can be a transmitter for getting in a certain mood? When they hurt, we hurt and in parallel when they relax, we relax.
Is it because we balance between being our characters and watching them do their “own” thing from a distance, bouncing back and forth between 1st and 3rd person?
I don’t know the answers, but I’m curious to where people like to go in these Cataclysm days, where do you hang out now for a chill out?