Geo & World of Warcraft?

It’s difficult to tell the size of a virtual world unless the creators tell you. Blizzard, the creators of World of Warcraft, have not let that information out and it has led to some experimentation by players. Most recently Tobold attempted to measure one of the landmasses using a character.

To measure a square mile, you first need to define what a mile is. As “a mile” doesn’t even have the same length on different places on our earth, that isn’t trivial. The basic definition of a mile is coming from Roman times, defining a mile as 1000 double steps of a marching legion. The soldiers had to walk through all of Europe anyway, so you just needed to count their steps and had the place all measured up with few extra effort. Clever guys, these Romans. But on Azeroth “steps” aren’t that easy to count, and the length of legs between the different races varies widely. But interestingly all races move at the same running speed, so it makes sense to define the mile by the time it takes to run it. On earth, a marathon runner has a running speed of about 12 miles per hour. As everybody on Azeroth is a hero, lets just define the Azerothian running speed as 12 mph as well. This effectively defines an Azerothian mile as “the distance you can run in 5 minutes”, without using any speed enhancing items of course.

Based on his measurements the island of Kalimdor is about twice the size of Manhattan, not very big at all. If you are looking to see what the islands look like you can check out World of Warcraft Maps (note it doesn’t have a scale).

There are interesting things happening at the intersection of geo and virtual worlds all the time. At Where 2.0 2006 we had the Electric Sheep Company discuss their Second Life-Google Earth viewer. Maybe we’ll explore WoW this year.

[from BoingBoing via Waxy]

  • Brady, check out Map WoW too, if you haven’t see it. The location revolution will be virtualized :).

  • Also, on the Second Life to Google Earth side, thank the good hard work of Mike Frumin and his Eyebeam OGLE project! He’s got some WoW stuff there too.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to doing a lot more work recreating real places in virtual worlds, and more SL and Google Earth mash-up stuff. Come on Google, give us those avatars! :p (Especially if you’ll be rocking AdScape in gamespace.) I’m starting to see more people in the wild point out that they’re taking ‘the Second Life approach’ with the 3D Warehouse.

    BTW, I saw on Boing Boing that WoW pre-Burning Crusade was about 200km square, and some of the last numbers I’d seen of Second Life’s size are 95sq miles and growing, making SL *cough* bigger than WoW ;).

  • Oop, the fuzzy math was supposed to end in a question mark. Fast, cheap, and out of control ftw.

  • That someone would take the time to figure that out is hilarious.. but the fact is, the size of a virtual world does play a role in it’s long-term relevance… of course, content trumps all, but still…

  • gonzo

    Hey folks, some of you might find this interesting,