Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WoW Update: Why I enjoy playing WoW

A comment to my most recent blog entry has gotten me thinking that perhaps I should bring up why I enjoy playing WoW so much. Certainly the crew at the office notices how much I am playing in between gigs in which I am beating up the bad guys.

I guess mostly that I am absolutely fascinated by the social aspect of the game. The communication and the interaction with other players is a social phenomenon that can only happen in our day and age. In other words, with WoW, we have a means of social interaction and communication that is unprecedented in human history. I can't help but enjoy being a part of that.

In WoW, there are life lessons that can be learned; particularly in how important it is to be able to get along with others - especially if you are to achieve some personal goals. Alone, you can get some nice gear, but if you team up with others (for example, running an instance set to heroic mode), you can get even better gear. If you play nice, you'll be asked to join again, and you might possibly get even better gear.

However, if you don't play nice, then they will remember you and won't ask you back. If you develop a reputation for being a selfish jerk, soon no one will play with you. The lesson you learn in WoW also can apply in life: Play nice with others and they'll ask you to join them again, and you may gain more with a group that you can alone. See? Life lessons. Another life lesson is that the Alliance sucks and the Horde rules, and that gnomes make good doorstops and speedbumps! LOL

Another fascinating aspect of WoW is the lessons of gender studies that it often provides. For one, there are many women who play WoW. Yes, real women. Women I know personally. And they play as aggressively as the men. But let me just as quickly add that there are also men who play female characters. In fact, I'm willing to bet that the number of men who play female characters is far greater than women who play male characters. I don't have proof of that; let's just call it women's intuition.

Still, I think a psychological study of playing on WoW can produce some fruitful insights into the human psyche. For one, there's WoW's addictive nature. There's a reason it's often called World of Warcrack. For another, there is the group psychology aspect of it. Some players are "ninjas"; that is, they will cheat when it comes to looting by selecting Need instead of Greed (if you don't know what I'm talking about - trust me, it's a WoW thing) even though the group previously agreed to selecting only Greed or Pass. Or they can be the kind that does stupid time-wasting crap like intentionally causing an instance wipe. Why do such people do such things when they know that the others won't approve?

There is also the driven types that is constantly yelling at the others for real or imagined errors. Tyrants, in other words. Then there's "ganking"; that is, the practice of a high level player staking out a graveyard and constantly killing a low level player over and over just for the hell of it. And of course, there can be studies done as to why male players will play female characters and female players play male characters. Last, there is the question on how WoW play affects the relationships of those players who know each other in real life. Can playing WoW help improve your relationships with others in real life, or does it hinder it?

So as you can see, WoW is a social and psychological phenomenon that won't be going away anytime soon. However, I will ask if you guys are tired of my WoW updates. I'm hoping that my enjoyment of the game shows through, but if many of you don't play WoW, then I don't want to bore you. Please let me know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Andromeda,
Your WoW updates don't bore me at all. In fact, to me they are one of your most interesting blog posts. I agree that one thing which makes WoW what it is is the social aspect. I too have noticed the different interactions between players and those who I know / don't know in real life. I myself have, at one time or another, acted in every way you described. Though it is debatable whether true life lessons can be learned through the game, many of my friends believe it. They think it brings out a person's "true colors." Thanks for your insight.