Tuesday, January 15, 2013

China's World of Warcraft theme park is awesome, completely unlicensed

If Blizzard were to open a World of Warcraft theme park, there's no doubt that such a geek wonderland would be a smashing commercial success (during periods of server maintenance).

Like other MMOs, World of Warcraft has provided several beautiful vistas which linger in the memories of players long after they log out for the last time.  A theme park centered around these fantasy landscapes would be nothing short of gorgeous, and a brilliant way to help people recognize that video games are art - or at least are popular enough to have theme parks built around them.

The good news for Warcraft players eager to set foot in such a hypothetical promised land is that it  already exists.  The bad news is that it's a completely unlicensed knock-off built on the outskirts of Shanghai...

When WoW falls out of popularity, this could easily be repurposed as Winterfell in a Game of Thrones theme park.

Redditor FrancescaO_O visited the unlicensed Warcraft theme park and documented the highlights of the trip over on imgur. While many of the pictures don't look much like WoW, the park is a rather impressive undertaking all the same that allegedly cost $48 million to build.

Like most acts of piracy, however, the theme park is nothing short of a blatant middle finger to Blizzard and the concept of respecting international copyrights when there's a buck to be had - a sadly commonplace attitude for Chinese businesses to take in the new millenium.

The upside to this approach is that - like most things in China - FrancescaO_O's trip was a gloriously inexpensive outing. She estimates that food, travel, and admission cost a mere $57, which isn't enough to buy you a passing glimpse of ersatz Hogwarts in Harry Potter World The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

If you're currently teaching English in China, or have plans to do so, this might not make for a bad day trip out of Shanghai - though you may want to wait until their water park opens.

...which would easily boost the attraction's Happiness Index up to a ****.