Grizzly Hills vs. British ColumbiaApril 29, 2010
This post was inspired by two recent articles on their respective owners’ blogs. First, there was Amuntoth’s reminiscences of exploration in beautiful zones, and then there was lonomonkey’s comparison of Lord of the Rings Online’s Misty Mountains to the Canadian North.
Both these articles have made me think about how often I’ve paused in the middle of playing in a zone to appreciate how pretty my surroundings are (and this usually is also when I stop to take a gazillion screenshots). There have been some absolutely stunning vistas in the MMOs I’ve played, and I love taking a break from the fighting to take that all in. And while a lot of the online games we play tend to fall in the fantasy/sci-fi categories, the best zones to me are always the ones that are inspired by, or remind me, of real-life places.
When it comes to frigid mountainous zones, lonomonkey feels that LOTRO’s Misty Mountains comes closest to the real deal (I can’t wait to get there now!), as flashbacks of his time camping in the northern ranges start coming back to him. Well, I can see where he’s coming from. I had a similar experience the first time I stepped foot into Grizzly Hills in World of Warcraft, except I started getting flashbacks of my visits to the national park forests of British Columbia. In general, I love western Canada, especially in late springtime when you’ll still see a bit of snow left around the bases of the giant firs and pines, and when the snowmelt from the Rockies carry minerals into the creeks and rivers giving the water this unearthly aqua hue.
Being in Grizzly Hills, hearing that part in the music with the scratchy violins (I think) just brought me right back to a place like Yoho National Park, standing by the banks of the Kicking Horse River. I can just see it in my head now…except rabid smelly furbolgs aren’t leaping out from behind the trees threatening to eat me.