World of Warcraft: Looking for Group

2014 ,    »  -   10 Comments
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Ratings: 8.27/10 from 97 users.
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World of Warcraft: Looking for Group

Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft: Looking for Group is a ten-year anniversary celebration of the company's monumentally successful launch of the World of Warcraft online gaming platform. Stemming from a line of real-time strategy games in the 90's, WoW is the world's premiere online gaming arena and was home to over twelve million players at its peak in 2010.

In a mini-history lesson, the filmmakers take us through the groundwork for WoW's rise to prominence through interviews with key Blizzard and media personnel that are authorities on the matter. Ultima Online, and later Everquest, blazed the trail that Blizzard developers swooped in on, doing what they always have done - taking a product that was only being consumed by a very niche audience and turning it into something that was wildly appealing to the masses.

So that's what they did. Starting off as a failed project the interviewees deemed "crap," the designers decided to steer it towards something that they loved playing - something like Everquest. Sales projections were optimistically set to hit one million copies inside twelve months, and service support on the back end was scheduled accordingly. They blew past those projections inside three months, and immediately they were working at breakneck speeds to keep up with demand.

The company as a whole ballooned from around 500 employees to 5000, solely attributed to the success of WoW. The popularity of the game pushed it into the public eye to such a degree that pop culture began referencing it as a household name - Jeopardy and South Park usages are shown as examples of this awareness in the film. Inter-game vernacular became so popular that it crawled out of the digital space and into real-world usage; phrases like "Leeroy Jenkins" (to rush headlong into perilous situations with no regard for your own safety) became memes and the like.

The film's focus then shifts to the people behind the characters that make up the WoW universe, cascading through interviews with players explaining why it is they chose the type of character that they play with, what it says about them and how the game is a stage for them to indulge in the thrill-seeking fantasies their actual lives do not offer - and that is what makes WoW and all good video games successful, a fantastic escape from all that is not fantastic.

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10 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Him Again

    .."WoW". I've been looking at this acronym for years - it *IS* all over the place and having religiously - religiously - avoided being contaminated by online games since Pacman almost got me, I finally took a look here at the origins and history of this phenomenon. Everybody - especially parents - should go see this documentary (NOT start playing the game!!) and see just what a monster enterprise it became.
    It is not just apparently, but obviously extremely addictive and we will never know how much badly needed social intelligence has been lost to the real world. On first looks it appears to have about the same devastating antisocial effect as Methedrine - except you can't really tell just by looking at these particular Gamers....... :-8
    What if they actually put their intelligence to work in the real world?

  2. John Techwriter

    Be aware: This is not a documentary. It's a marketing film, commissioned and presented by the management of World of Warcraft.

    To an outsider observing the rhapsodic atmosphere at fan gatherings, this seems more a cult than a game. If you think I'm overstating, just swap every mention of WoW with Unification Church or Church of Scientology and you hardly need change another word. The dogma is there and so is the priesthood, so pious and considerate of their congregation.

    If the developers ever worried about their game being taken more seriously than intended by their customers -- to the detriment of important aspects of players' lives -- they don't show it here. In fact, they seem to encourage their virtual (and very, very cheesy) world to be taken as seriously as the real one their customers have largely foresaken.

    How many of the young adults who flock to WoW gatherings are underemployed and still living with their parents? Why has it become so difficult for this generation to engage in interpersonal communication that is not mediated in some way? Where is such reality-aversion taking American society, when this very generation is being screwed by their elected representatives, and the only people who bother to vote are old, bitter, and bigoted?

    To the high priesthood of the game development world: Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

  3. Tint

    10/10 For everyone who ever played WoW will love this documentary.

  4. deliaruhe

    I'm not a gamer, but I do know quite a lot about this one -- especially about its complexity and its worldwide popularity. But this film really helps to fill up the gaps.

  5. Blaice

    "How many of the young adults who flock to WoW gatherings are underemployed and still living with their parents? Why has it become so difficult for this generation to engage in interpersonal communication that is not mediated in some way? Where is such reality-aversion taking American society, when this very generation is being screwed by their elected representatives, and the only people who bother to vote are old, bitter, and bigoted?"

    Stereotyping hard, albeit, feasibly realistically. I agree with that paragraph whole-heartedly, but I don't know if a single game is to blame. If you are speaking of just America—not all 7 or whatever million gamers are located in the US. Not to mention, political corruption follows money, not votes. Our nation stopped being democratic around WWII (maybe before), when our nation embraced war and willingly poisoning it's citizens for profits.

    Without digressing further—I believe you are correct in your marketing assumption. However, at least this isn't propaganda, like all the other **** spewed from American industries. Blizzard treats their gamers good, and that way they CAN escape the world you are so vividly describing, that they have no realistic ability to alter.

    For the record, I do not play WOW and only played two years in high school (too busy trying to get girls and get drunk like a true college m*ron). I quit before the first expansion.

  6. Blaice

    "What if they actually put their intelligence to work in the real world?"

    They'd most likely be the ones developing and pushing propaganda for methedrine.... The vicious cycle at work.

  7. Blaice

    47:34 mad amounts of liquor (somebody likes wine).

  8. Kya Fox

    I actually really liked the film, although it is definitely a giant commercial for the game. As to the religious babble above, that is a lot of generalizations. Many gamers have real lives, great jobs and the irony in your statement " if they put their intelligence to work in the real world" was laughable (you are on the net writing that people should NOT spend their time there) The film is fun if you are a game fan and is enlightening if you've never played before. Log on..my friends!

  9. John

    I am not really a "nerd" or a "geek" is described by some of the folks in this film. But I want to say... I really love these people :-)

  10. Goody

    Hey...it is a game and a GREAT one at that. Anything can be bad for, if you abuse it Lol. World of Warcraft got me sober ( I was drunk, for years ). It also takes a little intelligence to play this game

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