The Tao of the Korean World of Warcraft Site
Earlier this week, WoW.com broke the story that the Patch 3.3.2 patch notes had been posted on the official Korean site. Not content to just read their translation, I decided to head on over to the Korean World of Warcraft site to snoop around a bit myself.
Now, please understand that I can neither read nor speak Korean. My curiosity pertained to the aesthetics of the site rather than the content. I clicked around a bit, finding some familiar and unfamiliar imagery. Almost immediately, I discovered this little gem: a beginner’s manual in a region-specific artistic style. Don’t strain your eyes. Those images are clickable.
I’d love to know what it all means; what each element explains and what aspects of the game Blizzard felt deemed further explanation for that market. Some of the sections are pretty easy to figure out: how to install the game, basic movement, quest-givers, etc. But other sections are a bit more mysterious. In what ways do Koreans approach a game like WoW differently? Which mechanics of the game might be confusing for that demographic and which ones are more intuitive?
I considered throwing all of that text into a basic online translator to get a glimpse of the messages within. It wouldn’t be 100% accurate (as no online translators are), but it would at least give us an idea of how Blizzard approached the presentation of the game in a market obsessed with Starcraft. Unfortunately, the entire manual is done in Flash, so the text can’t be copied and pasted like a basic HTML document.
Even without a vague understanding of the content, you have to appreciate the imagery. Again, some of the visuals are familiar to all of us WoW addicts. Others are quite unique to the Korean (or at least Asian) market. So, I encourage you to take a look for yourself. And as you dive into a completely unfamiliar experience, remember that the game itself is the tie that binds a global community.
It’s easy to believe that since we all play the same game, we’re all pretty similar. I don’t mean that we’re all basement-dwelling antisocial geeks. For the record, I do play WoW from my basement office. What I mean is that it’s easy to apply broad stroaks across our beloved game’s player base and assume that we have many traits in common. The Korean site got me thinking differently.
Despite the fact that a “well-geared” Mage probably shares 90% of the same armor, spec, and spell rotation with more than half of his colleagues, we love different things about the game. And we approach it in different ways. For some people, it’s an escape from a stressful day at the office. For some, it’s the only form of social interaction that they’re comfortable with. Others may have the desire to lead people in the achievement of common goals. And still others riff on the games within a game: the meta achievements, pet collecting, role-playing, etc.
I’ll finish this rant with an open question. Why do you play WoW? More specifically, what makes you a unique player? This blog gets a decent amount of traffic, but most people read the posts, click a link or two, then bounce. I’m asking for audience participation on this one. Stick around for a couple minutes longer and leave your thoughts. This subject intrigues me and I don’t think I’m the only one.