A little while ago i found an amazing talk about World Of Warcraft type games. and became even more curious as to why MMRPG’s are so popular.
Then I recently spent two weeks in a little village in south Cambodia down the road from a different team of missionaries, and a couple of minutes after sitting in the office at their place i got into an incredible discussion with one of THOSE people. The people you instantly fall in love with. They are interesting, they have an incredible story that you know you won’t know even a tiny fraction of it with just one sitting. They engage you in your own story and riff through other ideas totally unrelated to either of you. This was man was one of those people.
A small portion of his story was tied up in a period of life he spent in the world of W.O.W, which he got quite good at. So i asked if i could interview him, and so… this is that. We couldn’t do it in person, so i will humanise it more in future, when I see him again. but heres the meat of it.
how far did you get in WOW?
I excelled as far into World of Warcraft as you can. I was among the top 10 in my class (healing paladin) in the World, at one point being number 1. I was a member of the guild Premonition, a guild that raided live at multiple BlizzCons because we were the number 1 rated guild in the World at one point. Millions of people knew my character’s name -but not mine- because they googled Premonition and my name was among those on the raiding roster, or because of afterfight statistics available online. Moreover, I was a part of a beta testing team that was handpicked multinationally to help create the new raids of the game based on our intimacy with the content and with our class.
Tell me about the community you found in world of warcraft? was it tangible (in that it effected you being apart of such community, and even did it materialise into real life)
I would say that many people are enthralled by World of Warcraft because of the semblance of community it creates. In many instances, WoW is merely that illusion. Most people “walk” through WoW with nothing, but themselves. Personally, my experience with one was one that I played with friends. I made relationships over the year, mostly due to being intentional about it, and some of those have carried over to real life. Some of my facebook friends from various countries and even some people that I know tons about me because it’s so much easier to open up online.
Do you think WOW and similar type games stunt real life relationship making ability?or even physical growth? And seeing good in ones self?
I would say that WoW definitely has the potential to stunt physical growth if the habit is instilled at a young age. I know plenty of people who play WoW have no issue with physical growth, it’s just sadly outward in fat. Most adults who have created good exercise habits are able to balance it. As far as relationships go, I could see it working either way. I’ve played online games from an early age, and I’m the most extroverted person some people ever meet. Others go through life the same way and hide behind their avatar and are shy. In this, I’d say WoW merely enhances personality, not defines it.
As far as seeing the good, I’ve only noticed the good things about myself that have been cultivated through WoW. I can be driven, I can be a good leader, or I can not be, it’s completely my choice. As far as a mask, I would say that is definitely the case. I hid behind my online accomplishments more times than I can count. Whether it was insecurity or preference to the illusion is beyond me.
I would say that WoW and online games taught me many things. When I was younger, it taught me vocabulary, common courtesy and respect. I was taught that I had to respect those who had something I want, and courtesy was given when received. When I got older, it taught me the traits I had instinctively. In a situation that I am comfortable in, I can be a damn good leader, in ones that I’m not comfortable with, I’m pretty good at faking it based on personal experience. It taught me that I can be ruthlessly driven and dedicated when something intrigues me.
I would say that MMOs, as a rule, cannot be used as a tool to help men grow up, because by definition dedication to a video game means the neglect of responsibility. It may cultivate traits that the World teaches are valuable, but above all the pursuit is a selfish one: the highest level, the best gear, the more notoriety. I was great at WoW, and I regret it.
I would say the biggest thing that carries over into real life is the inherent rules of courtesy and respect. If you’re a douchebag, you’ll be treated as such, never taken seriously, and often preferred over someone who isn’t, regardless of how skilled you are. We declined many, many applications to our guild solely because they were arrogant or rude. Further, if you are courtesy and help someone, they’ll often help you back. There are so many times when I “gave selflessly” and completely forgot about it, but the individual didn’t, and they paid me back when I need it.
Economics, as well. If you spend all your money, you’re out. I’m incredibly frugal because of WoW, lol.
The original attraction for me was it was the newest MMO. I originally thought the graphics were stupid and cartoonish and I would never be interested. But, because it was so popular, I started playing it as well. It’s attractive over real life due to many reasons facebook is more interesting than real life. You can be who you want, live vicariously through your achievements or what you project onto other people, and it’s a way to hide while looking cool while you’re hiding. It’s reinvention, and it occurs in A/C and without sweat.
Addictions/ time wastage?
The addiction comes from a variety of areas. It’s a time sink that doesn’t feel like one in the moment. Going on a raid with your friends is truly fun. The competition is fun and the desire to be the best. So you spend hours killing the same mobs you killed last week (there are weekly lockouts on raids) in order to get the best piece of gear. There are tools to assist in the addictions unknowingly. Loot systems (DKP) makes it so the more regularly your play, the higher your chances of winning the gear you want. As far as it being a waste of time, there are plenty of times when I thought that. It consumed my life for years, all MMOs did -WoW is not unique- and ruined some relationships because I neglected them or hid from them. I’ve received some semblance of redemption, though, I can play it now without the lust to succeed. It’s just a pastime, now.
It definitely damaged my relationship with my parents. I was more concerned with my raiding schedule, oftentimes, than spending time with them. As far as what I would tell my pre-WoW self is ‘Don’t start if it can’t be casual- you’ll regret it, and it’s not worth it. You’ll lose everything you’ve ever wanted because of it. Your personality cannot play it casually at the moment.”
wow is a positive and life giving part of community at large, true or false? why why not?
False, because the citizens and population of WoW are largely people you never see because their in their rooms playing the game, I would say it does little to serve community at large, beyond giving 11 million x$15 to Blizzard, and countless millions to other corporations. I suppose it could be argued that this 11 million are mostly working class people who do jobs that are important for infrastructure, and that giving them an outlet is better than giving them a bottle of alcohol.
is WOW another attempt my humanity to become their own Gods?
That’s pretty extravagant phrasing, but I’m sure WoW would provide you with more than enough evidence to justify an answer in the affirmative. The extreme players, the ones who view themselves as hardcore are probably some of the most arrogant and egotistical people you’ll meet (IN GAME). I’m sure they’re perfectly nice people outside of the game. People are always wanting to take what they do and make it grander than it is. When we write something, we often believe it’s the greatest thing in the World and people are privilege that we took the time to read it. That doesn’t make us right.