A couple of guys with way too much time on their hands rigged up a contraption that translates running around in World of Warcraft to a real-life experience, risking life, limb and dignity in the process.
Aaron and Eli of ManaPotions.com took it upon themselves to conduct an "RL Race Across Azeroth," modifying a pair of treadmills to let them actually experience an in-game run through World of Warcraft. "We've always wondered what it would be like to run the same distance in the real world that we run every day in Warcraft," the pair wrote on their website. "We had been wanting to connect a treadmill to Warcraft and calibrate the speed for a long time. Probably since we started calling Warcraft "RunCraft" because neither of us had mounts."
Unfortunately, it wouldn't be quite that simple. After searching the World of Warcraft forums to determine a "stock character" running speed of 12 MPH, the pair bought two cheap treadmills and wrote a script allowing their speed to be sensed by a mouse. But as it turned out, they were unable to get the mouse to track at much more than four MPH, and so were forced to incorporate bicycle tires, duct tape, mouse pads and another custom script to get the job done.
To ensure the integrity of the science, the pair also donned Warcraft-style costumes, including swords, elf ears and neon-colored wigs, as well as "the cheapest heart monitors [they] could find." They elected to run from the gates of Shadowglen, through Dolanaar to the sentries of Darnassus, using level 1-2 elves to ensure an appropriate risk of attack along the way. They maintained a fairly even running pace, although not without some difficulty. "About three minutes in, my heart rate reached over 205 BPM, and my max is around 195 BPM," Aaron reported. "I had to slow down to a walk because I thought I was going to pass out. Running in WoW is no joke."
The duo also attempted to test other actions commonly engaged in while running in World of Warcraft, with consistently poor results. "Drawing a sword? Fail. Drawing a bow? Fail. Drinking spring water? Choke, and then fail. Eating an apple? Crunch, choke, apple chunks everywhere, fail," they wrote.
Ah, science. You are indeed a cruel mistress. A full report of the wig-wearing "RL Race Across Azeroth," including a video of the whole ugly thing, is available here.