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WoW's portrayal of technology
#1
What do you think about it? I believe at some point we've had a discussion thread or discussion threads on what technology is present in the game (feel free to further discuss that here), but what do you guys think about how technology is presented, particularly as RPers?

Personally I think that the nature of technology in WoW's setting is erroneously presented because it remains in one racial group despite alliances and open international trading, and that the reason it is presented in this fashion is because they want to keep racial identities distinct in order to allow players to attract players to certain races because the audience is into different settings. Players who love a tech atmosphere tend to be attracted to Gnomes for example, although technology is present in all races (but only Gnomes and Goblins are portrayed as TECHNOLOGICAL if you know what I mean). For this reason, what we see in game will be the segregation of technology, which is very obvious in the factional capitals (Orgrimmar and Stormwind), although in Stormwind it's especially apparent. Also, since this is physically how it would always appear in the game there's no way we could do something like customizing the lore regarding technology due to models and stuff...and different opinions on technology (people might think I'm talking just about TECHNOLOGY here but I'm not). But right now the whole custom lore idea for the server is making me think about things that I don't like in the lore as it is now, even though there are some topics like this one that are too vague to really go anywhere.

Magitek is also somewhat apparent in places like The Exodar, Silvermoon, and Dalaran. And in Gnomeregan and Ironforge. So magical-based technology and magic itself also applies here, although it's somewhat different depending on what it is being used for and in each case it's very distinct. I think that Dalaran in particular is much more favorable of the idea that means of producing something (through magic and magic technology in this case) can come together and actually mix.

Either way, one of the things I have become interested in lately is international communication and its relationship with technology, and as somebody who really enjoys the exploration of intercultural RP, I find it harder to make it feel authentic when technology (and magic in this setting) is present in one culture only finds itself being established in an allied culture in certain cases. Magic also applies to religion in the setting too so that's something to consider. Or could I be more loose in interpreting some of these things and how I (and maybe other people) could apply them to RP?

I also kind of tempted to make a thread about WoW's portrayal of culture and intercultural relations. That'd be an interesting discussion.
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  • SachikoMaeda
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#2
I've always thought that higher-end tech for any nation that isn't centered on nature-y stuff (such as Nelves, orcs, trolls, and tauren) is around WWI-era. Automatic weapons are there, but holy hell do they jam so fast. Bolt-action and lever-action are popular and used for specialists or those who have money for it, and magazines are a concept... Though very hard to obtain.

However, that's for higher-end, player-character type deals. Unless you're a gnome or a goblin, most of what you'll be dealing with is, at best, crappy bolt-action or refined muskets. Probably revolvers, if you're lucky. Most likely flintlocks.

But that's just weapons tech! Other technology... Ehh. I don't really know. I'd assume most races who actually care for their society's well-being outside of a massive tribal outlook would have basic mechanisms... I mean, after all, we humans on earth were building nearly automatic devices in the 1600s and 1700s. That's impressive! (Given, said automatic devices were only clothing and such things like that, but still!)

tl;dr tribal races = depends on the portrayal and location. 'Civilized' races = really open to interpretation.
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  • flammos200
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#3
Part of me is okay with how it's portrayed. It kinda keeps each culture unique. If magic does the job, then some cultures don't see a need to make a machine to do it.

Another part of me gets annoyed with it. I'm someone who likes things to be explained. I wanna know exactly what style of input most of the machines use. Switches and levers? Keys and screen? Analog of digital? Little things like that. Helps me feel its a bit more real and tangible, therefore making it easier to RP. I avoid WoW tech like a plague because of it. I'd like to have a gnome or goblin who builds wild and wacky things, but part of me doesn't want to because I can't really get a feel for the tech.

Just my personal opinion, but balancing magic and technology can be really tricky. Seems to me there needs to be some sort of beefed up lore on the tech.
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[4:16:27 PM] Cristovao di Silvio ( @CappnRob): theres the bar. then theres the bottom of the barrel, then theres you sachi
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#4
Tribes are civilizations too, that have their own technology. I don't think it's explicitly stated but I'd like to think that Orcish technology improved when a number of the clans decided to join/form the Horde.

And with this being a game based on war, it's only sensible that weaponry would be heavily focused on, but in a world with magic weaponry doesn't need to be exchanged as often as they would in the real world if one power wants to dominate, because magic can do what weaponry can and then some. For me it's the other little things that make lives easier, which are honestly not often shown in game due to it focusing on war (and thus weaponry). But things like the vehicles are honestly more convenient than mounts even though again this comes down to it being for the sake of gameplay and culture being rigid.

I suppose if I'm to make a counter-arguement for myself it'd be that everyone in the setting is still very attached to their own culture and since weaponry might not be superior to say...their magic, they don't need to make those exchanges. And that the need for a class system also plays a part in this.
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#5
Warcraft physics work differently than in reality. In addition to magic existing, we also have its own spin on Phlogiston, which makes steampunk-like tech actually viable. We also have inherent powers being evoked through shapes, images and ideas which far surpass the typical IRL principles, such as using a metal coil and rod to create an electromagnet.

With this being a thing, technology as a whole in Azeroth will have inevitably taken a drastically different direction than reality. In particular, a largely more explosive one. I can definitely see how humans would largely eschew what is considered "advanced technology" when that (in their mind) involves massive, rumbling and clawed machines that could easily blow up without the intense dedication and focus of the gnomish people.
Likewise, with the far more mundane nature of gunpowder compared to pholgiston and magitech, I could definitely see the people of Azeroth not even consider guns to be "technology," as it fails to utilize sprawling power sources and the inherent power of certain shapes, concepts and other inherently "technological" processes.

tealdeer: (In my headcanon) The stuff that gnomes, goblins and the Titans used is distinctly its own thing from gunpowder, clockwork and basic stuff like that, at least in the phyche of the people of Azeroth.
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  • Scout, CappnRob
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#6
Technology is weird, but like Magic, I always went nuts with it. I don't need to know every single detail before inventing a random new thing, just as I don't need to know every word uttered to cast a spell as arcane user. One thing I loved in Mists of Pandaria is how crazy they went with technology in it, it really got a boost;

http://www.wowhead.com/quest=31732 -- In which you grab a Gyrocopter and use an gun to unleash a barrage of fire upon the enemies below. Recall the machine had rockets it could launch as well as spraying regular bullets.

http://www.wowhead.com/zone=6731/the-sec...f-ragefire -- In which Goblins make use of a personal teleporter to escape Ragefire Chasm after failing to blow up a massive door with weird materials, one of which was a pool pony. (Which leads me to think Goblins are actually clueless on how to make a bomb in this scenario but it remains one of my favorite missions)

http://www.wowhead.com/zone=6500 -- Theramore's fall, rather big mana bomb and it left quite a crater.

http://www.wowhead.com/quest=32628 -- Then there's these which shows mana bombs have been drastically reduced in size and are used by both Horde and Alliance now to defeat threats with.

Then there's the gigantic angel of death http://www.wowhead.com/item=95416 , everyone's favorite robotic buddy http://www.wowhead.com/item=87214 and things such as new fireworks, new scopes, guns and all that stuff.

Are we there yet? No not quite but perhaps by looking at these future developments, we may get a better idea of where technology is being steered and possibly what is most developed. Things to provide better logistics such as better teleporters, allowing for entire squads to leave a battle to a specific locations (As opposed to our current, personal teleporters which engineering provides) -- Guns and ammunition as is to be expected, pyrotechnics and all that stuff.

The lack of technology being shared in game may just be a NPC limitation, in which they don't revisit old NPC's to give them new armors/weaponry. You'd think that even in our setting, after Deathwing attacked Stormwind for instance, ranged weaponry would become mandatory on all Stormwind guards. They may not defeat the dragon, but they sure put someone at ease knowing he/she can do more then to throw rocks at it. I can picture Stormwind guards with a gun/bow/crossbow on their back.

We got siege engines, glaive throwers, catapults and all that stuff. War-tech is where it's at which all seem to be run without any magic attached to it; I don't really recall any new say, Naaru-tech being reverse-engineered or utilized with MoP. (Draenei get no love, heh; Same with blood elves, don't recall them showing new things.)

As per individual race, I really couldn't say. Draenei are reverse engineering, Dwarves got their steam engines, Goblins/Gnomes have their feud, Undead got their plague wagons, Night Elves got glaive throwers; I'm not sure what Trolls/Orcs/Tauren/Humans specifically got, but at the same time, nothing makes them any less adapt at utilizing technology from my perspective.
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  • mangaboy111
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#7
It's important to realize that WoW's technology gets better over time. Like what there was around Vanilla is drastically different to the technology you get in Cata. I think this is because blizzard wanted to show that the technology is developing. If you look at certain gun models it can become apparent that they are more advanced than the traditional musket that you had back in Vanilla/Warcraft 3. By the time we hit TBC we started to see guns that looked like they could shoot 6 shots or so, before needing to be reloaded. More of these appeared in WotLK and then Cataclysm guns went all out. One could say, the same for war machines. Before TBC and more so WotLK, the Horde's siege weapons were very basic (effective still, clearly). But then later on they had their own versions of the steam tanks. Now since Cataclysm we can easily see that their technology has increased drastically since Goblins have joined in.

It is important to not conveniently over look technology, which can happen among RP circles and servers, technology is the obvious answer for the non magically gifted people to compete with Light shields and fire balls. And it also represents a field of advancement for magical users who wish to combine this very physical science with the metaphysical sciences or the Arcane. It's already been in the works in canon lore.

Races who are not technologically gifted are most likely a guide for characters from that race, not a rule. You would, for example maybe not consider central Africa to be technologically gifted but they have started to implement robots to guide traffic in the Congo. And Japan was behind on the technological when the west was going crazy with steam boats and guns, but now Japan is one of the most technologically advanced cultures in the world. So taking it back to WoW, it's very possible for an Elf to learn how to make technology and how to use it, the only question would be why and how they got to there. Not if it is possible or not. It could be considered a taboo though to some people. Magic vs Tech is this big question to some of the people who would argue either way. In my opinion Magic and Tech are just different sciences and have the potential to achieve similar ends, just with different means to get there. Much like how one could compare spirituality like Buddhism and the material sense of Psychotherapy.. they are both sciences of the mind, with different approaches. One says you should cure the mind with the mind, the other tries to find answers in the chemicals rather than the thoughts them selves. Perhaps they could learn from each other, as their ultimate goal is to over come hindering emotions and thoughts.
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  • Jonoth
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#8
This isn't really a suggestion or anything like that, but my favorite portrayal of the dispersal of technology like firearms in Warcraft still has to be how the guards in the WoW fan animation "Blind" use both swords and rifles.



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#9
(09-22-2014, 01:45 AM)Scout Wrote: This isn't really a suggestion or anything like that, but my favorite portrayal of the dispersal of technology like firearms in Warcraft still has to be how the guards in the WoW fan animation "Blind" use both swords and rifles.

Yeah it's genius yet so anime.
"Even a stopped clock, tells the right time twice a day."
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