As highlighted on the above screenshot, the game of WoW imposes several limitations in regards to the actions a player can make, or the things they can say. Actions are not outlined for us in real life in such a controlled way, and we have the flexibility of doing and saying things that are clearly not possible in WoW. Also, there are limitations when a character dies, because WoW wants the player to continue on their task. That is why there is a small number of things a character can do when they are dead. This limitation can be seen through the disabled power/defence options, the Spirit Healer the only other character in the view, and the map, where there are only 2 marked places - the location of the Spirit Healer and the graveyard with the character's "corpse", the only other place where the character can become alive again. Likewise, the Spirit Healer is emphasized by a visualization technique of luminescent lighting. This and the contrasting colors are used to convey the associations of death and rebirth. The Spirit Healer therefore acts as an affordance to bring a character back to life, so they can continue to play the game. This use of color and hierarchy in relation to the Healers luminescent coloring and size helps the player immidiately percieve that she is of importance and is perhaps a savior
The depth cue of line convergence is used to navigate the user. Line convergence is used to create a 3D space which limits the user in wayfinding because the point where the lines converge are highlighted to be important and where the player should navigate towards. Virtual environments are designed in a hierarchial structure where the user is navigating following visual hierarchies. In this screenshot, the user is following the clearest identifiable path. The path depicts the hierarchial structure due to line convergence, texture and shading of the environment thus imposing limitations on navigation. The real world has certain design elements however, they are not strictly enforced. For example, in the real world although a path is determined, an individual has the choice to take that particular path or another one. Additionally, the individual can also create their own path through repeated use. The virtual world is limited in the sense that users cannot create their own paths.
Semantic Depth of Field
Semantics refers to the meaning of something. Thus the semantic depth of field refers to creating meaning through the use of blurring techniques. This is used to emphasize an area of focus in games like WOW. In the screenshot above the information box states ‘resurrect now?’ In WOW any player may resurrect themselves by running back to their corpse. The blurring of the background illustrates that the focus should be on the white circular image in the middle of the screen. In other words, resurrecting oneself. This visualization design is highlighting the important focus on screen thus shifting the players focus from performing another navigational task. Ultimately, this limits the choice the player has.
The "right" path in this screenshot is clearly identified by the luminescent lights. It is therefore highlighted and is the first path the player chooses to take. Also, because of the elevation, made obvious by the smooth texture gradient and lighting that fall on the path, the player finds the path to be different than from that leading into the distance, and that sparks their curiosity to take the bridge-like path versus taking the one disappearing into the distance. In real life, this is normally the opposite because taking an abnormal path is essentially associated with fear. In WoW, this may be associated with a possible reward. Not only does the elevated bridge-like path force the player to take it, but on the map above the avatar, the exclamation mark is placed in about the same direction as the path, which leads the player to believe that they really have to take that particular path in order to find more information about their quest. Thus, through such visualization designs as lighting and gradient, the path is already pre-set up for the player without the player realizing it.
Occlusion is used in persistent online worlds to induce a feeling of reality. This screenshot depicts occlusion through the characters blocking the objects behind them. In this instance, occlusion creates the impression/effect of scaling. This means that occlusion allows for a realistic interpretation of the character size resulting in also determining the size of objects that are being blocked. For instance, the bookshelf behind the character in the middle is evidently bigger than the character. Occlusion as a visualization design incorporates shading and texture to direct visual flow and create a hierarchy.