Curator of outdated travel guides

I’ve noticed lately that the landscape of my bookshelf is changing. Getting crowded out and pushed aside are works of science fiction and fantasy that I rarely have the time to read these days. They are being replaced with—of all things—travel guides, or perhaps I should say game guides.

Over the past 5 years I’ve started picking up game guides to many of the MMOs I have played or plan on playing at some point. Call me old fashioned, but I still enjoy looking through a book more than a website when browsing for information about my current MMO of choice.

Yes, I’m fully aware that the content in these books is static and often goes out of date even before seeing the light of print, but to be honest, that doesn’t bother me. I don’t think that’s necessarily what I’m after in these guides.

I think in some ways I see these books as travel guides to foreign places I am currently a tourist of or of places I soon plan to visit. When away from the game and nowhere near my computer, it’s nice to have one of these to pore over. It tends to pique my imagination and enthusiasm for the game.

When I first start an MMO, I often find the character creation section helpful in determining what class I would like to play. I like to have that settled in my head before creating my first character. I rarely bother with the quest sections of these guides and never look at the bestiary. I don’t want to read about what creatures are out there in the world. I want that to be a surprise and discover for myself in game. Call me silly. I’m sure you already have.

I’m also a sucker for maps and atlases and I shutter to think of the amount of time I’ve spent staring at detailed maps of the Sinking Sands, Tortage Island, or the Barrens.

Speaking of offline reading habits, I’m also a proud subscriber to Beckett Massive Online Gamer and Game Informer. Our bathroom is well stocked with issues of both. Please forgive me, Stargrace.

One thing hasn’t changed over all this time. I still have a book in my hand pretty much everywhere I go. It’s no longer a fantasy or science fiction novel, but it’s still something that represents a passion of mine. And that’s fine with me.

If you’re at all curious, here’s but a sampling from my “scholarly” library:

Age of Conan

  • Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Official Strategy Guide


  • Everquest: The Ruins of Kunark (Prima’s Official Strategy Guide)


  • Everquest II Atlas
  • Everquest II (Prima Official Game Guide)
  • Everquest II: Kingdom of Sky (Prima Official Game Guide)
  • Everquest II: Desert of Flame (Prima Official Game Guide)

Lord of the Rings Online

  • Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar

World of Warcraft

  • World of Warcraft: Official Strategy Guide*
  • World of Warcraft Master Guide
  • World of Warcraft Master Guide (2nd ed.)
  • World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Official Strategy Guide
  • World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Official Strategy Guide
  • World of Warcraft Atlas
  • World of Warcraft Dungeon Companion
  • World of Warcraft Dungeon Companion, Volume 2


* This was the first MMO game guide I purchased back in 2005. I ended up taking it with me on a trip to visit a friend. I had just started playing WoW (my first MMO) and wanted something to read during my trip. My friend had never heard of WoW–or any other MMO for that matter–but after looking the guide over and seeing how much there was to the game decided to go out and get a copy. He’s still playing today.

Posted on March 12, 2010, in General. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is me as well. A natural extension of my love for single player guides I think.

    Though for me it goes back to longing for the days when a game would come with a manual that was rich with story, vibrant with pictures. Remember the original Homeworld and it’s manual full of the history of tribes on Kharak and the wars that led to the discovery of the Guidestone? Or the manual for Arcanum, written like a Victorian newsprint complete with thoughts from townspeople and a recipe for banana bread in the back that I made more than once. I could go on and on in nostalgia about it.

    I miss those days, but thankfully the game guides are still printed to be bought separately.

  2. Randolph Carter

    Oh yeah, my interest in game guides started well before my MMO days. I can remember buying games for the 2600 and NES, opening their boxes and hoping to find a thick user’s guide. This meant to me that the game had a lot of depth to it. Obviously that wasn’t always the case, but that’s what I thought—rather naively–back then. Today I still feel a bit let down when a game comes with little more than loading instruction. I know there’s a wealth of material to be found on most games online, but I still enjoy the printed guides. Old dog that I am.

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