A recent addition to Blizzard's fan art page shows a dramatic cast of characters for a new online comic entitled Messy Cow, by a talented illustrator named Weng Chen. I always love to see new webcomics, especially WoW-related ones, so naturally I headed over to messycow.com to check it out, and was pleasantly surprised with what I saw.
Weng Chen (who also goes by the internet nickname "Wonn") has been drawing manga (an Asian style of comics) since she was 14, and recently been introduced to MMO gaming through WoW. She taps into a huge fanbase with a comic about WoW, too, and has gotten a good start on translating the comics from Chinese to English with the help of some native speakers. Messy Cow has 8 pages of comics in English at the time of this posting, with many many more in Chinese, and she seems to be translating them very quickly. So far, the English comics give a good sense of what it's like to be a new WoW player, finding lots of cute humor in the situations a new player faces, as well as highlighting some of the most important things a new player has to learn as he or she gets into the game, from how she chose her character, to how she learned about loot rules, to how she first got into PvP . If you have a friend who is new to the game or wondering what playing is like, this comic could be a great way to get her interested and comfortable with it.
In addition, Messy Cow shows just how much of the WoW experience is the same, whether you are in the East or the West. Both sides of the world love this game, and deal with a lot of the same issues when entering into it for the first time. When people talk about WoW, anywhere in the world, it is a set of common experiences we share, a common culture that overlaps whatever differences there are between us.
It may seem too idealistic to some, but in an era when there are wars and rumors of wars on the lips of people all over the world, mounted on top of so much fear and misunderstanding between cultures who really ought to have nothing to fight about, it's encouraging to see more evidence of the World of Warcraft bridging the gap -- one of many forms of media and culture that build common ground all around the world. In Azeroth, we relish the war, but on earth WoW fosters peace and shared identity.