Saturday, November 20, 2010

Up For Interpretation

Me and Love argue all the time. He pulls my hair, I punch him in the stomach, he throws rocks at me and I delete his favorite gear piece. All normal behavior, right? The best thing is we only argue about things that don't really matter. Like if it's better to start walking with your right or left leg. Because we noticed that we don't begin with the same leg, so when we're out walking hand in hand we always end up unsynchronous. Someone has to switch leg. But who? These are typical dilemmas we struggle with on a regular basis.

I've also noticed that we don't agree as to how exactly a sound in WoW sounds. Love calls me tonedeaf, I call him just plain deaf. But it's still interesting that our opinions on such a small matter can vary so widely. Is it really possible that two people hear different things? Let me give some examples.

Take the sound that is made whenever you abandon a quest. I think it sounds like two separate sounds, like a gong being hit twice but with slightly different strengths. Like DUN-dun. Love thinks it sounds like a gong being hit once where the same one sounds is diminished over time. Like DUu-u-nn. He's clearly wrong, but why do we even think we hear different sounds?

Obviously we hear the exact same sounds. But for some reason our brains interpret them in different ways. Mine cuts the sound up to sound like two basically separate sounds just after another, and his ties it together to sound like one single sound. Interesting! Well at least I think so. I decided to ask some guildies to find out who was right in this matter - me or Love. This was done long ago, probably over a year or so, but the matter turned up again a couple of weeks ago when me and Love yet again couldn't agree on a sound in WoW. This time it was Exorcism.

I told him I liked it because it sounded like a ghoul/undead moaning. It made the skill feel like it really did hurt undeads. Didn't matter who you used it on, some ghoul was sad over it somewhere! But Love didn't agree, he thought it sounded just like some blasting sound. So I had to place my paladin by a dummy and spammed Exorcism so that he could hear the moaning sound. It took a while, but in the end he thought he could hear something. Admittedly the moaning sound didn't make as much noise when I used exorcism on a dummy and Love has never really played a paladin so he's not used to hearing that sound as often as me. But I thought it was the prominent feature of the sound, Love thought it was something nearly indistinguishable in the background.

Another skill we couldn't really agree on was the new Devastate sound. Apparently it has two sounds nowadays, but they both sound kinda like smashing two metal bars together. Or at least that's what I thought. Love thought it sounded like pulling the edges of two knives against eachother. Sure those are similar sounds, but not the same.

So when I asked my guildies
it turned out that defining just how a sound sounds wasn't so simple after all! Actually most people showed a moderate interest in my question ^^ Maybe I'm the only one who really thinks this is interesting. It might not matter in the long run, but if we interpret things so differently when it comes to sounds, couldn't we do the same when it comes to other things? We all already know that people can interpret what other people say very differently. Especially in WoW where alot of the communication is made through text we often find that we have to be extra careful to make sure our meaning comes across just as we intend it to. I find it fascinating that this applies to other things as well. Things one would think could only be interpreted in one way, like the sound a skill makes.

Have you ever been in a situation where you and someone else ended up interpreting something completely differently?


  1. What a great observation. :D Just recently I was running my lowbie Draenei with some friends, and dinged during a dungeon, and my female dwarf pally friends did a /cheer which to me, sounded like KREEEEE! I still don't know what it was supposed to be, but I was the only one who apparently thought it was strange!

  2. I remember this discussion :) it was quite some time ago, do you still discuss that abandon-quest-sound?!?

    I believe people interpret things differently all the time. Me and Cisum cant discuss colors. We like the same colors but we describe them totally different. We always end up in real arguments over colors so we have agreed to disagree and we never discuss the subject anymore.


  3. @Rades
    Kreee? Haha ^^

    eah me and Love still argue that one every now and then ;)
    Yes colors is definitely another good example. Especially the yellow-orange-red band.