Friday, March 19, 2010


World of Warcrack ... erm Warcraft. What do people feel about it?? I know that following up a "can't we all just get along .. to each their own" gaming rant with a BUT THIS GAME IS EVIL ... post would be hypocritical in the extreme. No one ever said I wasn't a hypocrite ... but really people ... aren't we all. I feel that gaming is indeed under assault more than ever. I think face to face gaming has both more opportunity now than maybe it ever has (as the internet facilitates finding fellow gamers) and more challenge. In my own life at least and in the two gaming communities I've been a part of over the past 10 years (I've also dabbled in So. Cal ... have many friends down there and attend Strategicon/Orccon/Gateway) it seems that WoW has had quite a negative impact. I myself played off and on over the past 5+ years of the game. I have 5 lvl 80s and have experienced most aspects of the game from high end raiding to high end PVP and spent an extraordinary amount of time grinding levels, forming guilds, yada yada. It was indeed fun and it was nice when I had little screaming infants waking me up at 2 AM ... I could sit there doing something in the game while I fed them and rocked them back to sleep.

But I'm seeing some very sad impacts on face to face gaming (again from my own personal perspective). I've had many players in gaming groups and clubs just literally drop off the face of the planet ... only to find out that they didn't have a horrible car accident, they didn't move, didn't get a job as an oil rig worker ... no no ... they were horribly crack hooked on WoW. Some of these folks have come to their senses (as I feel I did) and others have not. I'm just curious if others out there have had similar experiences and how people feel in general about WoW and even MMOs in general. Clearly they are the future of a big segment of video games ... do others feel they pose a threat to face to face gaming??


Dethtron said...

Good read you've got here. It's also nice to see someone else who has epic rants.

I've never understood the appeal of the mmorp. I played SW galaxies for a while and switched to wow after SW was nerfed. Never really enjoyed the experience. Call me old fashioned, but I like the face to face interaction of my olde timey boardgames.

Mike Howell said...

WoW has the same trappings as most virtual pursuits, but Blizzard (like Apple) has a knack for distilling out the best parts and making the experience so wonderfully streamlined. I had the advantage of *not* starting WoW when my friends did, so they were eternally ahead of me in the early days. As such, I never quite got the bug that they did.

WoW is the antithesis of the tactile experience and no substitute for interpersonal interaction. It is the "carrot and stick" with a gold plated carrot (with huge shoulders) you can never reach and a foam stick to gently remind you to chase the carrot.

BJ said...

I am a reformed WoW addict. Playing WoW put me so far behind on my mini painting that I am now just starting to catch up after a 2 year absence from WoW. I will never go back to that game again. I know play EQ2 which I am much better able to step away from to continue my Warhammer/40K hobby!

Dungeonmum said...

Never played but the impact it's had on me personally is that it's taken away one member of our gaming group, permanently.

For that reason I've always viewed it as a drain on the tabletop RPG. The one thing players want (more than books, minis and dice) is other players. So it's understandable that even people who've never touched WoW can really, really hate it.

I wonder how many people give up WoW and why. Perhaps we could make (for the non RPGers) a 12 step programme to help them recover (or a series of D&D sessions in other words).

The Lord of Excess said...

You joke about the 12 step programs but seriously do a google on MMORPG addiction or WoW addiction. There are tons of urban legends about people becoming so addicted they died of starvation, etc. I would be somewhat surprised if that has actually happened ... but I do believe that WoW in particular has the potential to be so addicting it can actually rise to the level of a substance addiction (sort of like a porn addiction, etc.). I know of people who've lost jobs, ruined relationships, etc. over WoW ... its scary stuff.

I wish I had the time and/or resources to start a MMORPG recovery institute ... lol ... and to do public awareness campaigns. "Friends don't let friends play World of Warcraft." ... I think if I won a large lotto tomorrow I'd actually put some money towards that.

Dungeonmum said...

I've read some stories about addicts to WoW, it would be funny if it wasn't so disturbing. It is like a drug not just in its addiction but in the fact that people's lives break down and they will commit crime to play it - people stealing internet access off neighbours etc. Its impact on my life is comparatively quite mild.

so yeah I think it is fair to hate the game. Even if it can be just as sociable as D&D (as players claim, not in the face to face way)I don't think D&D could ever be held responsible for so much misery.

Bodlar said...

WoW is just a good game. Period. Blizzard is known for making stellar titles and of course their MMO was bound to be a hit. Addiction is in the eye of the beholder. If something is better than a pen and paper experience than of course they are going to forego their less rewarding table top experience for something that is more rewarding. I place the blame on the fact that no one has changed the pen and paper formula since it's inception. Maybe it needs to be modernized and updated. The loss of pen and paper players has everything to do with a lack of innovation there. WoW is just a game and it is what you make of it.

The Lord of Excess said...

I don't think it has anything to do with pen and paper being "inferior" ... I think its that WoW is on 24/7 and its easy. Its like eating crappy sugar cereal vs. fine dining ... most people are too lazy to prepare wonderful home meals ... they eat cereal, microwave dinners, take out and fast food ... partially because some of it is good ... but mostly because its easy. WoW is the best all around MMO yet made ... but I really do not agree that it is even remotely as good as even mediocre face to face gaming. I so much more enjoy face to face gaming over WoW ... but its work. You have to go through all the steps to pull of face to face gaming ... and for wow ... install the game ... then its just log on and play. Super easy and humans are lazy animals ... so WoW thrives.

I entirely agree with your point about updating games though. I've really become a huge fan of Savage Worlds ... its so versatile ... that is probably the main RPG I'll play from this point forward. Though Spirit of the Century (Fate based games in general) and some form of D&D will likely be on the menu as well. Board games and mini games will continue to be part of my gaming life too.

Bodlar said...

I think you hit the nail on the head. MMO's are the fast food of the gaming world. It's easy, convenient, and at first tastes really fuckin good. Then years later you realize just how unhealthy it can be.

Will said...

Bod sums it up well. It dosnt help that that game is beautiful and runs very well on the oldest POS compy out there. Damn that game for taking me away from so much painting time...

Dave G _ Nplusplus said...

Not too many comments coming from actual addicts..

As a gamer who invested _a lot_ of time in WoW, I'll say this:

To this day, World of Warcraft is probably the best game I've ever played. Period.

It has single player, multiplayer, group coop, versus, coop versus, personal achievement (achievements, professions, quest completion, money making, collecting, equipment, rewards, etc), social order (chats, guilds, public) and disorder (pecking orders, pro vs newbs)

It's beautiful, runs well, has a great style, feels "real", (immersible) great effects.

It's dynamic and constantly changing, while staying familiar enough to not alienate.

Yeah, it's a great fucking game, so why am I not still playing it?

Time sink.

I could pick it up again today and have a blast, and I'd pick it up tomorrow, and the next day, and so on. It's a game you can't win, doesn't have a finish, and has endless rewards. There are behavioral studies into challenge vs reward pacing that make games like this addictive and it's hard to pull away. I've known at least one person who lost their job due to excessive time spent in WoW impacting their real life commitments.

The first time I took a break, was for a final school project. The second time was easier because of the first. Basically, I looked at the other stuff in RL I wasn't doing and asked myself "Why?" Either way, hobbies are enjoyable and not professional, but I was able to convince my addiction that a non-digital hobby was more productive.