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Is World Of Warcraft Bad For Society?


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#1 IMG News

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 06:15 AM

In a lengthy discussion at the Montreal Games Summit Jonathan Blow, creator of the 2006 IGF Design Innovation award winner - Braid, discussed the use of familiar concepts and simplistic rewards systems to keep players coming back to games. Among other things he asserts that many of the tools developers use to interest gamers in their products are ultimately harmful to individuals and even society as a whole. One of the titles he cites as an example is Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft.

"The game industry is chasing bigger player base, and we’re exploiting them in an unethical way," Blow asserted. "We don’t see it as unethical because we refuse to stop and think about the magnitude of what we are doing. You can smoke, have fast food, and play World of Warcraft sometimes – when you talk about these things at a societal level, it becomes a societal problem."

"The thing I want to get at is – I’m not trying to blame players here – what I am saying is, if you’re the CEO of McDonald's, you should not feel good about your job, you should feel ashamed. We don’t have that in the games business -- we don’t have that sense, because we feel like they’re 'just entertainment.' We don’t feel like we can do things we can be ashamed of yet," he added.

Blow believes that according to WoW, the game's rules are its meaning of life. "The meaning of life in WoW is you’re some schmo that doesn’t have anything better to do than sit around pressing a button and killing imaginary monsters," he explained. "It doesn’t matter if you’re smart or how adept you are, it’s just how much time you sink in. You don’t need to do anything exceptional, you just need to run the treadmill like everyone else."

"You don’t come away from WoW with that in your head, but that comes through subtly and subconsciously," Blow added. "It’s like advertising and brand identity. People identify with their activities – same thing with games, people are products of their origins and their environments. We’re giving them these environments and helping to determine what they’re going to be."
To read more of his comments head over to the Gamasutra article linked below.
Return to Full Article - InsideMacGames News


#2 Whaleman

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 06:31 AM

Well, ain't that interesting. Since I have seen studies showing that people playing MMO's end up working better in groups in real life as well. BUt this never got much publicity since the blame game always ends up the most popular one ;)

There is some truth in what is said though.... but I personally find the "best" people in WoW are the casual players. They may not always have the gear of the hardcore people, but it's always easier to group with them and get something done right easier. I think this coin probably has a lot more sides than just these two too.
You shouldn't ask yourself such worthless questions. Aim higher. Try this: why am I here? Why do I exist, and what is my purpose in this universe?

(Answers: 'Cause you are. 'Cause you do. 'Cause I got a shotgun, and you ain't got one.)

***END MESSAGE***

#3 G-News

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 08:41 AM

View PostWhaleman, on November 28th 2007, 01:31 PM, said:

Well, ain't that interesting. Since I have seen studies showing that people playing MMO's end up working better in groups in real life as well. BUt this never got much publicity since the blame game always ends up the most popular one ;)

There is some truth in what is said though.... but I personally find the "best" people in WoW are the casual players. They may not always have the gear of the hardcore people, but it's always easier to group with them and get something done right easier. I think this coin probably has a lot more sides than just these two too.

Having played WoW for more than 2 years, I can only confirm what this article says. Not because I had a huge problem with the game, but I witnessed several people who either ruined their lives playing WoW or who got stuck in the WoW-swamp of doing nothing else but eat, sleep, play wow and take a dump from time to time.
I knew people who had playtimes above 14h/day for two years. They had lost their job, started playing WoW and then gradually separated from RL society more and more until they were completely hopeless cases. Some tried to quit, but got back to it sooner or later and have been stuck ever since.
I wasn't a hardcore player, for WoW standards, but I already felt like I was spending way too much time on that, essentially useless, game. Yet I knew people with 3-4x as much playtime as myself.


And you can't deny that Blizzard is doing everything they can to keep you playing for as long as possible. Everything in WoW is about spending more time in the game. Every goal that you can achieve requires that much of a grind/farm and in order to get the next better thing, you have to simply double that effort.
Eventually, that was the reason why I quit. I wasn't willing to spend more and more time for less and less improvement.
Eventually, this will be WoW's demise. It's just going to take a long time until everybody realizes.
Now officially the forum idiot

#4 NAG

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 10:10 AM

Blaming technology completely for societal effects is silly. Is wow the most positive thing on the planet? No. Neither is a bunch of other stuff we end up doing. If wow didn't exist you'd probably see the people who let wow dictate their lives let something else do it. It isn't like this problem is new. Look at how people let their pagers and blackberries dictate their lives. It is fueled by a desire to succeed, to get ahead. The tendencies cited are present in almost everything we do. It is kind of a "no duh" realization.

By the way, I quit wow quite some time ago. So I'm not defending it out of some sort of loyalty. I just don't like people blaming one thing for a big problem.
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#5 QuantaCat

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:22 PM

No one thing is responsible for what people do. It's the people that are. Anyone who says otherwise, takes away any individuality that exists in this world, including his or her own.
QC.


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#6 dojoboy

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 01:22 PM

View PostQuantaCat, on November 28th 2007, 01:22 PM, said:

No one thing is responsible for what people do. It's the people that are. Anyone who says otherwise, takes away any individuality that exists in this world, including his or her own.

I agree.

But, the vast majority of young people are swayed considerably by their peers.  Resistance is almost futile.  When & where is the group held responsible?  This makes me think of a book I really enjoyed, The Tipping Point, where manipulating environments  to influence societal behavior is a topic.
"There is no end to sorrow."  ---Van Gogh

#7 NAG

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 02:46 PM

Unfortunately, banning a destructive behavior doesn't help. You need to have positive alternatives. Blaming video games for giving us what we want and demanding they stop it because some people take it too far is a waste of time. We'll end up banning everything. And those people will still find ways to do nonconstructive things. It isn't like peer pressure is a new thing. This is just another example of blaming the effect (video games) rather than the cause (societal problems). It is nice that these things are being noticed these days instead of being swept under the rug. That doesn't mean there is a simple solution (the reason why people used to ignore this stuff probably).
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#8 dojoboy

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 05:56 PM

View PostNAG, on November 28th 2007, 03:46 PM, said:

This is just another example of blaming the effect (video games) rather than the cause (societal problems).

I would even say...this is just another example of blaming the effect (society) rather than the cause (individuals).  Something like that.  :)
"There is no end to sorrow."  ---Van Gogh

#9 NAG

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 06:22 PM

You put far too much emphasis on genetics. Genetic and societal pressures both interact blah blah. However, putting the emphasis on an individual when the question/problem is framed with respect to a society is missing the point. Blaming an individual person only is just as bad as blaming any other individual cause. Since this is framed as a rather general problem going into the specifics of what cause is most influental is going to end being flawed.

PS: I'm thinking closer to an evolutionary timescale than not. Hopefully that explains my point better.
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#10 dojoboy

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 06:32 PM

View PostNAG, on November 28th 2007, 07:22 PM, said:

You put far too much emphasis on genetics.

There are certainly strains that need to be removed.  ;)  But, ignore me.  I'm just rambling.  :cool:
"There is no end to sorrow."  ---Van Gogh

#11 QuantaCat

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 01:47 AM

..last thing I heard, is that genetics change every nanosecond, not even the core code stays the same, making it virtually improbable that there is, in fact, a genetic disease, and it's dependant on something else entirely.
(such as that genetics is controlled by the brain, and the change is a deliberate one, from the body.)


That and about the positive alternative thing: what is a positive alternative? that would mean that you know one thing that is good for everyone, which there is in fact no thing of. That and WoW could be positive. In all its' aspects. And just as well negative. Making it neither of both. Also (sorry) destroying the terms positive and negative. Oops.
QC.


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#12 No One

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 03:22 AM

View Postdojoboy, on November 28th 2007, 12:22 PM, said:

But, the vast majority of young people are swayed considerably by their peers.  Resistance is almost futile.

I just saw some people my age jump off a bridge. *sigh* I really didn't want to jump off a bridge today, but... you know... peer pressure and all that. Oh well. If you'll all excuse me, I need to locate a bridge.

#13 QuantaCat

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 03:36 AM

Well, the thing with kids is, they actively accept the "things" that their parents, or when they aren't in "full force", someone that's close to them, live like. Feel the love. Of course, that doesn't mean you can't actively do something against it later, if you want to.
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#14 dojoboy

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 04:49 AM

View PostNo One, on November 29th 2007, 04:22 AM, said:

I just saw some people my age jump off a bridge. *sigh* I really didn't want to jump off a bridge today, but... you know... peer pressure and all that. Oh well. If you'll all excuse me, I need to locate a bridge.

You really shouldn't.  ;)
"There is no end to sorrow."  ---Van Gogh

#15 the Battle Cat

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 09:21 AM

View PostNo One, on November 29th 2007, 01:22 AM, said:

I need to locate a bridge.
:shifty:  Pssst!  Hey buddy, you lookin' for a bridge?  I can sell you a bridge... but under the circumstances I can't accept credit.
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#16 No One

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:06 AM

View Postthe Battle Cat, on November 29th 2007, 08:21 AM, said:

:shifty:  Pssst!  Hey buddy, you lookin' for a bridge?  I can sell you a bridge... but under the circumstances I can't accept credit.

Would you accept a check?

View Postdojoboy, on November 29th 2007, 03:49 AM, said:

You really shouldn't.  ;)

I'm going to need to know your age before I can accept your advice.

#17 QuantaCat

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:08 AM

Probably somewhere between 2 and 0.
QC.


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#18 NAG

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:14 AM

View PostQuantaCat, on November 28th 2007, 11:47 PM, said:

..last thing I heard, is that genetics change every nanosecond, not even the core code stays the same, making it virtually improbable that there is, in fact, a genetic disease, and it's dependant on something else entirely.
(such as that genetics is controlled by the brain, and the change is a deliberate one, from the body.)
That and about the positive alternative thing: what is a positive alternative? that would mean that you know one thing that is good for everyone, which there is in fact no thing of. That and WoW could be positive. In all its' aspects. And just as well negative. Making it neither of both. Also (sorry) destroying the terms positive and negative. Oops.
Having fun changing definitions mid-argument and not looking at context? :P
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#19 QuantaCat

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 11:24 AM

Always. it makes me crazy and warm inside.
QC.


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