Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Steamboat Blizzie

I'm sure you're tired of hearing that the Shattering is supposed to happen today. Tribute posts seem a dime a dozen right now. Not saying that there aren't some great ones out there, just that it's the obvious way to go.  I'm going to take an abrupt right and talk about something else entirely.  Well, sort of.

Ever since I was a little tyke, my family has made journeys to Disney World almost every two years.  I'm not sure if that sounds crazy or like we were crazy-rich.  I feel the need to clarify.  Both my parents were teachers, and so we only had one "vacation" a year, during the summer for a week or two.  I grew up surrounded by a lot of wealthy folks, so they were all going skiing in Colorado for New Years, going to Atlantis during the summer, hitting cruises and Paris and crap like that.  For us, we did a state park on "off years" and our big splurge was Disney World.  The Happiest Place On Earth.

We have Disney World down to a science, mind you.  Not only were we large Disney consumers as kids, since who doesn't love Disney movies, but we became Disney World pros.  We were probably the first to master the art of the Fast Pass.  We understand the intricacies of the dining plan, and utilize it to perfection.  We've got the perfect balance of relaxing and gogogo-ness that makes it a vacation, hitting the parks at opportune hours and also netting some clutch pool time.  We're really a fine tuned machine when we're there.  We know what we want to see, what we want to do, and we get it done and have a blast as a family.

Those trips are something I've always cherished as I've grown up, especially when we lost our father far too early in life.  The crazy amounts of life insurance he had stored up (because that's what the gov't used to compensate people for not being able to pay them enough) sent us back to Disney World.  We were probably the only ones crying while waiting in line for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, since that was something we'd always shared with our father.  I know, weird shit right?  But that's what we did.  Loss can either tear a family apart or bring it together.  I'm lucky we went with the latter.

I bring all this up now because I was struck last night at how much Blizzard is like Disney.  They started small with a passion for a type of entertainment.  They built their successes into a veritable empire.  Then they opened a theme park: World of Warcraft.  Sure they can still produce great games like Starcraft and Diablo, but WoW is really the Disney World of Blizzard Entertainment.  I think the comparison of WoW to a theme park is really an apt one.  To me, it's almost the next logical evolution of the theme park.  You don't have to travel a bunch to get there, it's not nearly as expensive, yet it shows the same sort of attention to detail in order to provide an escapism that Disney World is famous for.

Besides, WoW has become somewhat of a popular vacation spot for a lot of families.  They get to spend quality time together there.  They get to recharge and it helps them through rough patches in their lives.  Sometimes we get to bring friends too.  You know how you always wanted to bring your best friend on those long, boring family vacations.  Now you can.

Like Disney, we see Blizzard starting to dip it's fingers into other arenas as well.  They may make movies.  They might get some music going.  Maybe we'll even see a Blizzard Channel on the television.  That's not completely crazy, right?  They're planning to open up another theme park.  They'll continue making the quality products that put them on the map.  And, oh my, the merchandising.  The MERCH!

Is Blizzard the Disney of the 21st century?  Only time can tell, but to me it seems like they're well on their way.  I see sometimes people refer to the "WoW theme park" as a bad thing.  Well, I loved Disney World growing up: the lines, the heat, the bustle, the commercialism.  That's all part of it.  And I love Azeroth now, too.  There will always be downsides to being big and popular.  You just have to ask yourself if it's worth it to you.  After all, Disney World isn't for everyone.  Paris, Colorado, Atlantis... those are all really cool places that I've never been.  I think I'd like to go someday, but I wouldn't trade my time spent in Disney World for anything.

Theme parks go through renovations every now and then in order to stay relevant.  WoW is on the cusp of a major amount of construction.  We've been gazing at that special pardon-our-dust wall with the label "magic at work", wondering what will be created this time.  A new coaster?  A new show?  A new eatery?  A whole new park?  Obviously we've peeked a bit, so we know, but we're still excited.

I see the player community to be a lot like my family with Disney World right now.  We've been there a lot.  We know what we like and what we don't like.  We are in our element in this theme park.  Yet, I remember my excitement when they added The Animal Kingdom to Disney World.  A whole new park that was unexplored, uncharted.  We had to learn to be efficient all over again.  We might have stood in some extra lines that first year, but we figured it out just like the others.

A lot of folks are talking about where to set their hearth.  In Disney, we always stay in one of the main resorts.  Next time we might go back to the Contemporary, having stayed at both the Floridian and the Polynesian now.  I've had a hearth in Shattrath and Dalaran for a while now.  Time to get back to The Slaughtered Lamb.


  1. I hadn't gotten around to checking, but of course the Lamb is the place for my warlock if one CAN hearth there. I am somewhat disappoint that all inns and taverns don't have that option. I'm rather partial to the little tavern over in the Military Ward in IF myself, but at least from Firebrew's it's a short walk.

  2. Yeah, I haven't really checked either, but I will always think of that as my home: the very first place I fell in love with the Warlock concept. A secret catacomb in the bottom of a seedy bar? Yeah, totally me.

  3. Abso-fraggin-lutely. Every time I go past, I look up at the windows.

    And think, "That bastard Milo still owes me money!"