I spent a day at Busch Gardens in Tampa this week. While I was walking around I was thinking about theme parks and the lengths that they go in order to make everything match to their theme. The rides are pretty generic – roller coasters, motion simulators, free fall rides – but add some decorations and fancy names and suddenly its an African experience.
So I starting wondering what rides I would put in a World of Warcraft theme park. Again, these would be regular rides, but with a WoW twist. There would be a lot of places to make inside jokes for the WoW fans.
So I came up with some rides…
This is the first ride that people would encounter when they enter the park. It would be a “runaway mine” type of roller coaster. Guests in the coaster car would careen along the tracks, masked defias bandits flying by on all sides. In the end the car bursts out of a tunnel into a huge shipyard and blast through a huge ship. However, half of the park maps have this ride labeled as “Deadmines” and half have it titled “Van Cleef”. People entering the park for the first time will be confused.
The first really big ride built at the park. This is a massive roller coaster. It goes fast, with flames and smoke billowing around the cars for atmosphere. When it was built, it went higher and faster than any other coaster. At that time, everyone rode it over and over again. People lined up at the park gates to get in. However, it has not aged well. Newer rides are a lot more fun. No one rides it anymore.
This is a slow haunted house style ride, much like the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. It carries a car full of forty passengers through the creepy, dark corridors of Naxxramas. Images of Abominations and Horsemen beset the riders from all sides, until faced with the fearsome visage of Kel’Thuzad. Most groups will see an animation showing the lich winning. Randomly, some groups get to ride in a “T3” car and defeat the evil lich. They win t-shirts that say “I Raided Naxx and survived!”
When the ride is first released, the only way guests are allowed on it is if they can prove that they have ridden all the other rides in the park dozens and dozens of times. As a result, only about 1% of park guests ever get to ride it. Later the restrictions will be relaxed, but park veterans will proudly wear their “I Raided Naxx” shirts and call everyone else noobs.
On this you are in a gryphon that flies in a seemingly random pattern over the park. You can drop virtual “bombs” over designated areas in order to kill demons. Its awesome the first time because the guests had never seen a ride like this before in any other park. After a few rides, guests just complain about the lack of demons to drop things on and how slow the gryphons are. It is possible to upgrade to a faster gryphon, but only guests who come to the park over and over again at expense of such things as jobs and family will ever get them.
This is a motion simulator ride, much like the Spiderman ride at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. A group of ten guests seated in a car are taken through a long, winding path up and down stairs in a huge castel setting. They see a multitude of different animated encounters. Each “boss” has spectacular graphics and exciting simulated motion, accompanied by flashing lights and a mood-setting soundtrack. The ride is different every time, as sometimes the car will turn down different paths to see “optional” bosses. Guests will want to ride this over and over to see all of the possible encounters. They will ride it over, and over, and over, and over, and over… It becomes by far the most popular ride in the park despite the fact that people are sick of it.
This is a fairly short and standard roller coaster ride set in a cave environment. What makes this fascinating is that the line for the Gruul’s Lair starts exactly where the Karazhan ride exits. The Gruul’s Lair ride holds 25 people at a time. So two groups will come out of the Karazhan ride with ten people each, then they have to decide which 25 of them get to ride Gruul’s Lair. Fights will ensue, friendships will be broken, and marriages will end in divorce as a result of bitter arguments.
Don’t even bother looking for this ride. Guests will hear rumors that it exists, but none of them will ever get to see. It doesn’t even appear on the park map. Some people claim that they have been on it, and mutter something about “Hand of A’dal” but they are lying.
Every park has to have fun games to play… ring toss, shoot-the-water-gun-to-fill-the-balloon, throw the beanbag to knock down the pins. All of these can be altered to have a WoW theme. Instead of stuffed animals, though, the prizes are either Marks of Sargeras or Sunfury Signets. You have to choose one or the other, and you cannot change your decision once you have made it. These can be turned in for prizes at a gift shop, although they are used in two separate shops and the shops carry different merchandise. If you have Marks of Sargeras you won’t be able to buy anything from the Scryer gift shop even if you like their stuff better. Choose wisely.
Food is very pricey, of course, as in all theme parks. Guests can get low quality food like Wolf Steak for little money, but expect to pay a premium for such delicacies as Warp Burger, Golden Fish Sticks, and Spicy Crawdad. They can be washed down with some delicious Draenic Water. Its even filtered sometimes, or purified occasionally. Guests over the legal age can buy some Nethergarde Bitter.
A unique feature of the park. Every guest is assigned to a character class when they enter the park – paladin, warrior, shaman, etc… Guests get a wristband proclaiming their class. Each morning, the park administrators choose one class to be “OP” for the day. Anyone who is that class automatically gets to go to the front of the line on every ride. All the other guests complain that its unfair how another class is OP. Fortunately, all the other guests get to throw Nerf items at members of the OP class while shouting “Nerf them!!” Oddly, Warlocks are picked as the OP class most days. Shamans are almost never picked as OP, and guests who are assigned to be shamans often leave the park and come back in order to get reassigned.
Other theme elements
All park employees are called “CMs” and they are required to dress in blue. They generally ignore questions from park guests. If guests complain that a ride is not working, the CMs will usually say that it is not bugged, and is actually working as intended.
Every theme park has to add new rides in order to keep people coming back. Unfortunately, whenever this park adds new rides, no one goes on the old rides any more.
Have other suggestions?