I took a vacation of sort over the long Thanksgiving weekend…in the World of Warcraft, a recently released MMORPG. Oh My! Multiplayer online world technology has advanced quiet a bit since the last time I visit it. Aside from the usual bugs and loads (two hundred thousand players on the first day!), it was simply amazing. Graphics, although cartoon like, was believably real and animation was very smooth.
Being too old to be interested in fighting and leveling, I concentrated mostly on travelling. With a really low level character named Wowcow, I roamed about the world, sightseeing non-existant mountains and rivers. The best city IMHO was Iron Forge, the Dwarven capital. Very impressive. Best land was also Dwarf country. I just loved running across snow with snow reflected light glistening as I went.
Most of the travelling was done on foot, but the most enjoyable part, flying on the back of a mystical animal like wyverns or griffons, cost game money. So I acquired the skinning skill as one of my primary skills since roads were littered with plenty of dead carcases of monsters other players killed. I also got the tailoring skill because containers were in demand and expensive.
If walking across continents skinning roadkills and selling bags in towns doesn't sound exiting, it wasn't. I just enjoyed being somewhere else for a few days where I had a completely different set of plans and worries. Anyway, I am back in the real world now. I doubt I'll go back on regular basis in the future but I think this is where the future lies.
Before the virtual world can become a daily part of our lives, it must first become a place to visit, a vacation spot if you will. As a vacation destination, it has some definite attractions. For example, it cost me $49 for the software and $15 for a month of stay in the World of Warcraft. Total price of $64 beats even camping expenses. There are no transportation, food, nor accomodation costs and rides are free.
Come to think of it, I think the place makes a wonderful place to retire to. It's a place where they don't care what your age is and it doesn't matter if you are bedridden or not. It's a place where they don't care if you are rich, powerful, or beautiful. There are no wrinkles or white hairs unless you choose to have some as a matter of personal style.
When I get too old to move around, I'll jack myself into a world of my choice until it's time to check out. My son and his family can come and visit me where ever they are. Fighting along side them is as good as any Thanksgiving dinners I think. And when it's time to go, they'll just get a dialog saying I logged out. No sorrows, no regrets, just whining about server crashes. It's a good exit as any IMHO.