Seriously. Look at them. Just look at them.
Most cities you’ll visit in massively multiplayer games are, at their core, a massive, populated fortress. From Stormwind, to Divinity’s Reach, to Orsinium, there’s often no separation between bustling metropolis and military command center.
Perhaps you just want a break. A place to relax. A city where you can enjoy the fresh ocean air over a grilled trout.
Welcome to Limsa Lominsa.
The world of World of Warcraft, like most elaborate fantasy settings, is dominated by an endless hierarchy of the supernatural. You’ll find the lore wrapped in gods, gods of gods, old gods – with demons mixed in for spice – and a menagerie of other creatures that will eventually become a raid boss. This is reflected in the game’s architecture. Ruins dominate the world. Most zones have at least one ancient, mysterious locale. Some are made up entirely of them.
Even so, the game has plenty of sympathetic characters, and the best of them are where the world’s real heart lies. Wrath of the Lich King, considered a high point in the game’s lifespan by many of its veterans, had instant allure thanks to the antagonist its named after.
The Lich King.
I live near the Pacific Ocean. I’d love to tell you about its wonder, its majesty, its inspiration. But I’d be feeding you bullshit. My reaction to the ocean, Pacific or not, is always that of a slack-jawed yokel.
Yes, I’ve read about how its will has led to the rise and fall of empires. I’ve heard all about the diverse ecosystems that lurk beneath its waves. And I’ve seen plenty on how the ocean’s expansion could endanger life as we know it.
None of it sticks. The ocean is vast and terrifying. I don’t understand it.
At least I’m not alone. Civilization, indisputably the most popular strategy game franchise of all time, seems no wiser. From its inception, up to its latest incarnation, Civilization has suffered a troubled relationship with the world’s oceans. It flaws, if they can be considered such, are deep in the game’s bones, and their existence speaks to how we deal with the unknown.