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The Rant: Kinect-ing with WoW

Columns By Guest Writer on January 11, 2011

Kinect-ing with WoW

First, allow me to thank you for actually reading this article. The vibe I get from most of the commenter’s on this site is that of pure hatred for WoW. As if WoW is the worst thing to ever happen to MMOs or that WoW crept into their house at night and murdered their entire family. This article isn’t even really about WoW, so chill. Anyway, here it is your thank you: Thanks! Welcome to The Rant, I hope you enjoy your stay!


In case you haven’t heard you can use Kinect for the Xbox 360 for pretty much anything on your computer now, even to play MMOs. Using a program titled Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (or FAAST as I will refer to it from here on out) you can play WoW, or any MMO I would imagine, using your body. WoW was what they demoed so that’s what I used. FAAST is incredibly easy to install. All you have to do is follow the directions on their website which I will provide… NOW! All the other programs you need to make FAAST work with your Kinect are on there too.

Click the image below to see FAAST in action with WoW.

Allow me to regale you with my Kinect WoW adventure using FAAST. It took me two tries to actually get FAAST to actually activate my Kinect camera. From what I could tell making it work correctly hinged on installing all of the programs from the site in the proper order. I leaned to call this “following directions”. Once I got the Kinect camera online it was time to do the ‘psi’ pose so FAAST could calibrate itself to my skeleton. So I stood there in the ‘psi’ pose for a while and nothing happened besides my wife looking at me as though I had a dong growing out of my forehead. It then occurred to me that maybe my skeleton is far to splendid to be recognized by such primitive equipment, after all I was able to deceive a predator before and their equipment for detecting people is far more advanced than the Kinect. I quickly realized that I’m completely full of crap and scolded myself for telling lies to me, “That’s it brain! No more rated ‘R’ movies for a week!” I told myself. Amused at my own banter I glanced over to my wife with a proud smile on my face. She responded with absolute silence and that same look from before. I’m going to assume that particular look is her way of acknowledging my sheer unbridled awesomeness. Directly after the lies, scolding, and confirmation of my awesometude I noticed that there was a little blue blob in the corner of the FAAST viewer. Turns out my son was in view of the Kinect camera too. Apparently after you level up for the first time (he’s officially a level one human being) the Kinect just assume that you are trying to party with it. No one is that tiny Kinect (I’m fully aware full grown people can be that tiny)! Get with the program!

After removing my son from view of the camera I was able to get the ‘psi’ pose out of the way and kick this experiment off. I imported the button map that the website had available, because it was easy, and jumped right in. My experience wasn’t nearly as fluid as it was demoed in the video on FAAST’s developer’s website. That dude had a way bigger monitor and more space. He probably had more practice with it too. I attempted to do this in my living room, next to my kid’s pack and play, with tiny toys and such everywhere. I didn’t bother to clean anything up because I thought that if I were to fall down and crack my skull open on the corner of the coffee table, it would be a way better story. That was unfortunately not the case. I remained undamaged physically.

My toon on the other hand, he did not fare too well. I was constantly running past my targets. If I managed to get close enough to attack, I would manage to spin myself completely around so my back was open for all sorts of pummeling. I’m sure with practice I would have gotten the hang of it and it would have been like second nature. At the very least mapping the buttons differently would have made a world of difference, but I didn’t bother to do that. I realized a very important thing while leaning forward and backward, swinging my arms around like a crazy person trying to kill monsters… If I wanted to exercise, I would do it.

Sure it’s worth a try if you have a Kinect and if you mapped the buttons better it may even be a tad enjoyable. The button map that’s on the site isn’t very well thought out in my opinion. Leaning forward moves you forward and leaning back moves you backward. Truning left or right is handled by the left arm along with targeting. The right arm uses your abilities and it only supports about four, I suggest using a caster if you want to try this out. All in all I just didn’t care for it. As I just said, if I wanted to exercise I would do it. In addition to that if I wanted to play a video game with the Kinect there are actual games for that. Even games where I can exercise while using the Kinect! Woo hoo. I realize that not that much movement is involved in what I just described. However, I’m playing MMOs because I want to relax and disconnect from the real world for a while, being active doesn’t play into that very well for me.

I may be a little bit biased, motion gaming isn’t really my bag. As I explained I like to sit down and relax while gaming. That’s one of the big reasons I don’t like the Wii, too much moving around. Why can’t I just play a damn video game without exercise ruining everything?

Regardless of how ever you feel about “motion gaming” I would give FAAST a shot. It can run with any MMO you want, assuming there isn’t more than moving and four other things you want to do. Plus, you can always lie to yourself and say “at least I’m being active!”

If any of you try this out and come up with a button map that doesn’t suck, post it in the comments with the game you used it for. Maybe I’ll give it another shot… but I doubt it.