This is just a quick observation I noted whilst engaging in a little navel gazing as I thought further on the implications of WoW as an offline RPG, and how that has intersected with my recent play of Final Fantasy XII and Blue Dragon.
I find that I spend a good third or so of my time in WoW just looking around and taking screenshots. Maybe it’s because it’s still pretty new to me (I’ve not played it much because of the subscription model), maybe it’s because I love photography, maybe it’s because I like making desktop images, maybe it’s because I like to show my family cool stuff they might have missed when I played as the kids sleep, maybe it’s because I take pictures to look at for later dissection as a game artist or inspiration for sketching. Maybe I’m just weird.
Whatever the case, I have a lot of control over the camera in WoW compared to the typical console RPG. And then there’s that magnificent little button in the upper right of the keyboard:
I love that button. I spend more time playing PC games rather than console RPGs simply because I can’t take screenshots on the console. In WoW (and DDO and Allods and LOTRO and W101 and Puzzle Pirates and RoM and…) I can take screenshots of the game to my heart’s content… and my hard drive’s limit. I have literally thousands of screenshots across a handful of games. I do still have more pictures of “real life”, thanks to my handy dandy digital camera, but still, I take a LOT of pictures of things around me. Observation runs deep in my artistic and scientific blood.
I can’t do that with console RPGs… and honestly, it makes me a bit sad. You can’t take it with you, but sometimes, memories can be cemented a bit better if you have a picture to look at for more than the fleeting second that the event is “live”. This can be especially important in something like WoW, and my most recent “thirty days free with the box purchase” that I played through as the dauntless Tauren Druid Padgi. I can’t go back into the game until I pay for it again (pfft), so I took a lot of screenshots while I had access. As cool as the mapviewer is, you just have to get some things from the real game client.
Since I don’t have perpetual access to that, screenshots help satisfy any curiosity I may have about how Blizzard crafted the game. I can’t just fire up the game and look around any more, but I can look at my screenshots. (And yes, it’s probably ironic that I don’t do much with graphics around here. I keep meaning to change that with some art tutorials, at least… and y’know, slide shows of “my vacation in Azeroth” never seem to be all that popular.)
I can live with the pictures when the game itself is off limits. After all, I’m getting about a third of my usual WoW alt experience that way for a tiny fraction of the price. Value is in the eye of the beholder after all.