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World of Warcraft Teaches the Wrong Things? 577

Gamasutra has a 'Soap Box' editorial up discussing the bad lessons World of Warcraft teaches. From the article: "1. Investing a lot of time in something is worth more than actual skill. If you invest more time than someone else, you "deserve" rewards. People who invest less time "do not deserve" rewards. This is an absurd lesson that has no connection to anything I do in the real world. The user interface artist we have at work can create 10 times more value than an artist of average skill, even if the lesser artist works way, way more hours. The same is true of our star programmer. The very idea that time > skill is alien."
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World of Warcraft Teaches the Wrong Things?

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  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Senzei ( 791599 )
    Good thing it is a video game, otherwise I would be upset at the useless life lessons being promoted here.
    • Funny, I always thought that time *is* what gives you rewards. What percentage of your typical slashdot geeks are paid by the hour? Yes, there are contractors, but I'd bet that at least 80% of us here are salaried. Thus, you get a paycheck for each month of "time" that you put into work, not for your "skill" at your job. Skill may help you get promotions or retain your job, but it's not what gets you paid (putting in the hours).
      • Er, "paid by the task", not "paid by the hour". Bleh. :)
      • "Eighty-five percent of life is just showing up."

        -- Woody Allen
      • Re:Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:00PM (#14779435) Homepage Journal
        Funny, I always thought that time *is* what gives you rewards. What percentage of your typical slashdot geeks are paid by the hour?

        I think you'll find that "skill at the job" is, ultimately, what determines the size of that pay check. If you're highly skilled you will probably be paid a lot more for your time than someone who is just starting out. The main reason that time is used is that time is a lot easier to measure than skill - unless the job has a lot of very clearly defined tasks and milestones it is far more effort for the payroll staff to try and measure the results of your work and pay you accordingly than it is to set an hourly rate based on a general assessment of your skill and assume that the results of your labours are roughly equal to their initial estimation of the amount of value you can produce in an hour multiplied by the number of hours you worked. It is that estimation of "amount of value you can produce in an hour" that really determines how much you get paid, and that is solely determined on their best estimates of your skill.

    • by Achoi77 ( 669484 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:02PM (#14779458)
      This must be one of the more weaker stories of this week.

      As much to the dismay of gamers, Blizzard and every other major game developer out there exist to fulfill their primary goal: to MAKE MONEY.

      While it would be nice to have more of skill based element in WoW, they are constrained by a few variables:

      1: Technical limitations, for example: Latency. I've been playing WoW for quite some time now, and I remember when they released the pvp honor system patch. The first day I loaded up the game, it was a lag nightmare. I was at the fort in Stranglethorn Vale, along with roughly 80 fellow horde members. My chat log start spamming with ppl yelling "THEY ARE COMING!!", and I roughly 200 alliance started to steam roll us. It was beyond laggy. We crashed the server. Several times. The server was Mannoroth. Massive pvp raids are not that massive in WoW, which is a shame.

      2: Appeal to a wide audience. This generally means the Lowest Common Denominator, as in your average run of the mill gamer. If you cater too much to the hardcore gamer, guess what: someone else will create a game that WON'T and will take your subscribing members away. You wanna tell that to their investors?

      3: Appeal to the narrow audience. I.E. the hardcore gamer. Or in this case, the hardcore group of gamers. You know who they are: the ones that got to Onyxia the first 2 weeks of release. The ones that killed Nefarious the day Blizzard released the 'cockblock.' These are the ones that generate the most noise in the gaming community, the ones that make the game alive. These are the players that average players look at in awe at the type of gear they are wearing (2nd tier epics), the title they hold (High Warlord Someandsuch) and the mounts they ride ("What the hell is that? That doesn't look like a wolf at all!"). They are what the average player looks up to and goes "Wow, I wanna be just like that someday.." and drives them keep playing (and keep paying). What do you think will happen when the hardcore group 'beats' WoW the first two weeks of playing? What's their incentive to continue paying the monthly fee? It's not called the Treadmill (or the Grind) for nothing.

      The World of Warcraft did not create the beast, it was created by it.

  • What's wrong producing in-game properties and selling them on eBay? Got to give the Bill Gates-in-training something to do.
    • Re:Tradecraft... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ameoba ( 173803 )
      It's been covered before but there are plenty of reasons to argue against this. One is that, if you allow the sale of in-game items the in-game items aquire value. If the items are of value, you open the possibility of getting sued every time you nerf an item or rollback a server.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:03PM (#14778454) Journal
    ... but I've never transferred any skill I've learned in video games to real life.

    At an early age, my demon hunting skills were top notch in Doom but I never took the extra step to transfer those to the playground.

    Probably because video games are a virtual reality meaning that different laws apply there. I have learned never to use the same strategy when different rules are in effect. That's been pretty useful.
    • Playing Ninja Gaiden Black on the XBOX has definitely improved my real life Flying Swallow technique.
    • So you never pretended that your fist was a rocket and the school bully was a Hellknight?

      When I was a little squirt, I pretended to be BATMAN!!! and everyone else was a villian. The playground monitor wasn't too crazy about the villians going to see the nurse and my cape was taken away.
    • by Neoprofin ( 871029 ) <neoprofin&hotmail,com> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:37PM (#14778753)
      I'm sure fighting the cyberdemons tought you that sometimes gung-ho brute force looses out to finesse and patience.

      Pitting cacodemons against hellnights shows you that if two people hate you but hate eachother more there's no reason that you need to deal with either of them.

      And the game as a whole teaches you to always stock up on any and all valuable supplies because you never know when shit might get rocky.
      • "Pitting cacodemons against hellnights shows you that if two people hate you but hate eachother more there's no reason that you need to deal with either of them."

        my how times of changes. In my day, we learned that lesson by watching the build up along the Russian and Chinese border.
    • by Scarblac ( 122480 ) <> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:44PM (#14778813) Homepage

      ... but I've never transferred any skill I've learned in video games to real life.

      That was one of the coolest things of MUDs (for youngster, the text-based MMORPGs of days gone by, though some still exist): in most of them, once you reached a high enough level, you could join the programming team and create your own new areas for the game. I learned more practical coding skills from nights of hacking LPC than from my computer science study.

      Designing new areas would be quite the cool endgame for WoW lvl 60s. Unfortunately, I'm afraid that it takes too much skill and training these days to create good enough content for games like that.

      • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:03PM (#14778937) Homepage
        Ah, LPC, one of the most fun languages ever when combined with the interface. Being able to go up to someone and call functions on their player object (or your own) was great. I loved doing things like impersonating a message board.

        Coding wars upped the ante quite a bit. So, another wizard has a habit of desting (destroying your player object - kicking you off, usually with fanfare) me? I dest them back when I see their dest start. So, they modify their dester to create an object in my inventory that eats my keyboard commands as soon as they start their dest. So, I create a "counterdest" object that immediately dests them whenever it sees their message and destroys any unknown objects in my inventory or my room (this was later expanded into an "AT-field" object). So they make one-line dests, where the player gets kicked off first thing. On and on it goes -- it was such great fun :)

        Even when not "combatting" each other (or actually being productive), there were so many fun things you could do. An alchemical "bread shop" that performed alchemy based on hashes of the objects put into the bread and picked a result for the bread from a large table. A chat analyzer which would pick the most frequently used words on the wizard chat line and compiled statistics on them (net result: wizards became fond of inserting their own names in inappropriate places all throughout conversation ;) ). Oh, and the ever-so-fun and overly elaborate soul commands. :)

        Letting players ultimately code is a nice reward indeed.
        • by Scarblac ( 122480 ) <> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:35PM (#14779221) Homepage

          Yes, that sort of thing. :-) And we couldn't resist trying to cheat...

          We were players, we used to also have an "illegal" wizard character, but it got banned. We knew someone else from our uni had one, and hadn't used it for a year... login as Guest, send one mail saying "Hi, I'm Cobra, I want to code again but forgot my password, could you set it to 'sven'?" was all it took... then we went to a meeting in England, and while we were in a taxi with some admins who had picked us up from the station, they asked something like "Do you know if the Cobra who's logged in recently is the real one? Because we've got someone else claiming that _he_ is Cobra and his wizard was stolen..." Managed to bluff our way out. Years later we gave the account to someone else, who didn't know the history, and it happened some months later that the real Cobra was on the computer next to his when he logged in, and went ballistic... Fun times.

          Or make an item that you can move into someone's inventory; it did something like 'add_action("", "funcname", 1)', which meant that each and every command that person did (and wasn't handled by the room object) would be passed through funcname() (executing with his permissions), and if that function returned false, the MUD would look at the next item in the inventory to see if that item perhaps implemented the command, so the person would never notice anything odd. So we'd move an item into an admin's inventory that added a line to the serialized savefile of another admin (changing his password), then destructed itself. We didn't login as the admin (too obvious), but we did have ftp access to absolutely everything... we changed the then Law admin (who annoyed a lot of people) into a lvl 16 playerkiller _player_ (attackable by almost everyone) and removed all traces of what we did. Admin died rather quickly after he logged in, utterly confused.

          But it does make the code I write today more secure than most people's :-)

    • That's what you think, but it's probably not true. In a sitation where you are forced to react without thinking, you will rely on your conditioned responses -- which includes those learned from video games.

      You should read the book On Killing by LtCol. Dave Grossman.

    • David Sirlin ( is currently a Producer / Game Designer at Backbone Entertainment. He's a multiple-time national Street Fighter tournament champion, author of the book Playing to Win, co-organizer of the Evolution Fighting Game Championships national tournament series, past member of Street Fighter Team USA (representing America at an annual international tournament held in Japan), and one of the main subjects of Bang the Machine (a documentary film about the competitive Street Fighter scene).
    • Why don't blizzard and others create servers for players who prefere to play less than 1h a day ? Since they don't make money on the actual number of hours you play, they shouldn't care.

      Knowing that I'd have to compete against hard-core players is definitely one reason I do not even try MMPORPG ...

      • You should take a look at Eve Online. It's a space-based MMOG, completly differnt than WoW. But it's a blast. There's no skill-grinding like in other games. Skills are learned in real time, whether you're online or not. Going from Level 0 to Level 1 in a skill usually takes abuot 15 mins, but going from 4 to 5 (the highest level) often takes days, up to 2 weeks for some skills. So, you can start learning some powerful skill, go on vacation, and your character keeps learning while you're gone. Being o
    • Long list... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Vo0k ( 760020 )
      Starting in the ancient Atari times...
      Silent Service (submarine simulator): Patience and careful approach. If you gave full-ahead, you had the destroyers with depth bombs on your head in matter of seconds. Lie in wait on the route of the convoy, or approach at 1/4 the power. And don't fuckin' move when the destroyers approach! (helped me a lot with handling horses. They require the same approach even if you don't launch torpedos at them afterwards...)

      The Last V8: Gradual increasing of difficulty will be mo
  • by Morinaga ( 857587 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:04PM (#14778458)
    World of Warcraft wasn't designed to teach you anything. It was designed to entertain you.
    • by Yahweh Doesn't Exist ( 906833 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:08PM (#14778505)
      Computer games aren't supposed to teach values!?

      fuck! I bought my kid GTA a few years ago and haven't bothered to check back since! I thought it would be okay!!
      • by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:19PM (#14779091)
        Computer games aren't supposed to teach values!?

        fuck! I bought my kid GTA a few years ago and haven't bothered to check back since! I thought it would be okay!!

        The other day I heard my 16 year old daughter telling a friend that you can sleep with the proffessor to get a good grade in the Sims 2 University expansion pack. To the best of my knowledge, the thought of this had never occured to her before playing this game. She's got very good morals and a strong sense of ethics, so I don't worry about her, but it sure made me think twice about how video games might affect them.


        To the Slashdot crowd: I know there's a humor potential here, but I'd appreciate your respect for my very real daughter. Thanks much
    • by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:04PM (#14778945)
      World of Warcraft wasn't designed to teach you anything. It was designed to entertain you.

      True, but for the exact same reasons as TFA, I don't feel very entertained by the values in WOW. I've avoided MMOGs like the plague because I so thouroughly dislike the fact that someone who spends more time on the game can whip my butt even though we both have the same skill.

      When I play Unreal Tournament or Counter Strike, we all start the same. Though it's true that most players who've played alot will be more skillful, the fact is that their skill is in their own head and reflexes, not stored up in some 60th level ass-kicker of a character.

      Imagine if were playing sand-lot baseball and one of the neighborhood kids showed up with his baseball-playing robot that has all the skills of Barry Bonds. Personally, I'd tell the kid to fuck off. But what if I couldn't get rid fo the kid because baseball was structured so that everyone got to bring their kick-ass robots any time they want? Well I'd say that the people who claim to be "playing baseball" aren't really playing baseball at all. They may, in fact, be competing at building robots or growing robots or earning money until they can buy the best robot, but they are not playing baseball.

      When I show up to PLAY video GAMES, I want to play the game that's on the screan and I want to be playing against the skill of the other player. When I get in a sword fight, I don't want to lose to someones "skill" at buying a great character on e-bay. That, to me, is not "fun"

      Life lessons be damned. I just want to play a real game. To me, WOW doesn't count.

    • everything you experience teaches you somthing, on some level.
      Fortunatly as we get older we can use life lessons to temper what we learn.
    • And yet, I believe that video games do teach lessons, as do other forms of entertainment such as movies, books, and TV shows. The irony is that it didn't start with World of Warcraft; entertainment has been teaching bad lessons for years. One example is the movie Ocean's 11 which teaches that stealing millions of dollars from casinos is cool. I used that movie as an example, because I like the movie.
  • Too specific (Score:3, Interesting)

    by faloi ( 738831 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:04PM (#14778463)
    If they were to say that, as a whole, MMORPGs teach that time > skill, I'd be willing to agree with them 100%. Trying to say that WoW teaches it is sort of unfair. I learned that time > skill back in EQ, and nothing's happened to change that lesson.
    • Magnitudes more people play WoW than Everquest. EQ was a fringe element to most people, but WoW has real relevance to a lot of folks, because so many "normal people" play it. By that, I mean people whose social settings don't revolve a great deal around the people they play games with (definitely not including myself in that one, eh?)
  • Formulae (Score:5, Funny)

    by daeley ( 126313 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:06PM (#14778478) Homepage
    The very idea that time > skill is alien.

    Ah, but time = money, therefore, in what is quickly becoming the "Formulae of WoW," money > skill, which I think everyone will agree is a lesson modern America teaches pretty much every day. ;)

    This is also substantiated by the original axiom, WoW = Golf.
    • Time := Money, but Money := Time.

      No matter how much money you have, you can't buy back your wasted life.

      So this quashes your argument.

    • Re:Formulae (Score:3, Insightful)

      Actually America teaches that skill = freedom. The skill to analyze opportunities, and the skills to take them. If you are a serious person who can identify the opportunites around you, you can live your life by doing things you enjoy. Over and over you see talented people applying themselves making a living off doing things they enjoy while the less opportunity wise folk will grudge through doing things the only way they've had the imagination to.

      There's opportunities to be had all over the place, and i
    • Re:Formulae (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <> on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:55PM (#14779394) Homepage Journal
      You're making your comment in jest, I know. You actually have a good counterpoint to his article: His claim is that the life skills WoW teaches are bunk, and you point out that "making money" is a life skill in the USA.

      Why not look at his points one by one? He repeats himself twice, so he really just has 3 objections:

      Time > Skill

      He's right that a great talent can do as much in less time as a mediocre talent. That's just to get the same quality of work.

      My best friend is in a band []. He and I both admit that I have more musical talent in my left arm than he has in his whole body. The difference is that I'm a slacker, and he's constantly working at it. The result is that he has more and better CDs [] than I will ever make []. His Ability far exceeds anything I've ever accomplished in any context.

      And that's how it goes: Ability is a combination of effort and talent, and the coefficients favor effort: The mediocre talents who put in great effort always get ahead of the great talents who put in a mediocre effort in the real world.

      I also feel that this is more fair; God has not seen fit to distribute all talents evenly, so claiming that talent is the most valuable thing (moreso than effort or ability) is tantamount to saying that blond hair and blue eyes are more valuable than black hair and brown eyes.

      So here, I have to agree with what WoW teaches.

      group > solo

      I'm an introvert, just like the author. I am not a hermit. A few years back, I took the Dale Carnegie course -- you know, that Dale Carnegie []?

      The knowledge I gained changed my life. Learning the skills of how to get along with others didn't mean abandoning the introverted lifestyle. The main thing to realize is that people skills are learned skills, not inherent abilities. Even if you're an introvert, that doesn't mean you want to be a hermit or die alone -- and it also doesn't mean you can't learn how to deal with people effectively.

      Your so-called "superior" may be an idiot jerk to you, but he got his position because he isn't a jerk to the right people. And if you look at the superiors who are great managers, they aren't great because they know more about your field than you. They're great because they are easy to get along with and know how to let you do your job well.

      Take a look at the great bands that were great together, but when they split apart the solo acts all seemed wanting. Or how your family is not just a number of people, but seems to have a life of its own. Very few people really want to be completely alone, but some of us are just not very good at it; it would be a problem, except that anyone can get better at it. I know that I did -- or at the very least, I recognize my mistakes when I make them now. :)

      So once again I find that WoW is teaching the right things with real life.

      Terms of Service

      I don't really have an opinion on this, because I am not a subscriber. :)

      Work, in the real world, is more valuable than skill, and it also seems more fair that it should be that way. And well-made groups are more valuable than the sum of their parts -- especially families. In the end, I'd say the top two lessons he says WoW teaches are very important lessons and are the right things to teach.
    • For everyone who argues that WoW, or any other MMORPG, is a game only for hardcore gamers, and that they alienate the casual fanbase, which has been argued over and over, I can only say that while I feel their pain, the people at Blizzard are not stupid. This is just standard marketing strategy.

      I can tell you that the core base of WoW, from a marketing perspective, will always be for the hardcore segment of the population. This is because they are the ones who will always pay, month after month, for the ser
  • seniority? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:06PM (#14778481)
    I've worked at a few places where seniority trumped skill. Thankfully, I've also worked at several where it didn't. The sad truth is that the "lesson" that WoW teaches is in fact real in many places.
    • It's a lesson that may not translate exactly, but has some value.

      If you want to really get things done, you're going to spend a lot of time doing it. It doesn't matter what you're doing, or how efficient you are, there are certain levels that can only be reached by putting in a whole lot of time.

      An individual may be content putting in 8 hours per day and then going home and doing whatever. That's fine, you can live a happy and productive life that way. If, however, you feel the need to accomplish more, runn
    • True, seniority doesn't always trump skill. But here's another way of looking at the problem: most people think they're above average. It's entirely common to think you're the best and should be promoted over everybody else, and that your time is more valuable than others' because you're sooooo effective. So the fact is, this perception of injustice has as much to do with inflated egos as it does reality.
  • Oh jesus (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Crowhead ( 577505 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:07PM (#14778483)
    Here are some other life lessons games teach us:

    - Killing cops and prostitues is funny
    - In war, once you die, you come right back to life (or maybe there is a slight delay)
    - etc
    • "- In war, once you die, you come right back to life (or maybe there is a slight delay)"

      Yeah, but you lose all but your three best items and all your stackables and money. And if you were the aggressor you don't even get to keep those.

      Oh, and if you have enough faith and remember to pray before battle you get to keep one extra item if you die.

      Wait, that's a different one...You don't lose anything in WoW. What a horribly misleading game.
  • On game enjoyment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JMZero ( 449047 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:07PM (#14778484) Homepage
    A lot of the enjoyment I get out of a game is in progressing - in feeling like I'm becoming a more capable player. In some games (eg. Tetris), this is a big part of why I play: I enjoy getting better and breaking that old high score.

    Levelling over time is a way of introducing this element of "getting better" artificially. It's not perfect, but it's very controllable. Developers who mete progress out in time-based levels can control how long it takes to reach the "flat", unsatisfying portion of the curve (where many will quit playing). When you get paid by the month, it's in your interest to have the most control possible of the progression curve (and thus how long you get paid) - and that's why pretty much all MMOs end up with time-locked progression.
    • That was really insightful. I'm just going to add some supporting evidence to your argument.

      When you get paid by the month, it's in your interest to have the most control possible of the progression curve (and thus how long you get paid) - and that's why pretty much all MMOs end up with time-locked progression.

      Since it's on a weekly timer and anybody who wants to run it more than once a week should probably be institutionalized, Molten Core takes about six months to farm for everything you want. In th

  • It is pretty bad. I've known a few Rank 14 pvp guys, who get the good rewards. Every single one of them without exception had to spend all waking hours playing and usually have multiple other people also play their characters in order to gain that Rank. In the end they're burned out and hate playing.
  • More times you roll a dice the more times you get a 6! Hot damn that's unfair! All 6s should be equally divided between all players.

    Not news, just people whining over WoW.
    • The correct analogy would be someone who has good dice control vs. someone who has sat at the table rolling the die for 20 hours a week so the game has artifically rewarded him by giving him a die with only sevens on it. No matter how good his control is he'll never beat the guy with too much time on his hands

      It's not unfair, it's just stupid.
      • Erm no, no it wouldn't.

        You all have access to the same content, there is nothing there that you can't touch. Hence you both have the same dice. You both get rewarded by a good weapons drop )hence rolling a 6). You both roll the same damn system, he just rolls it more.
  • Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:08PM (#14778498)
    Why not look at it as the flip side of a coin? Up until recently, the only really popular multiplayer games were fighters and first person shooters. Now you can choose to build up skill over time (or have it innately), or plod the way of monotony in an RPG. More options is always gooder.
  • Teaching? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 955301 ( 209856 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:09PM (#14778509) Journal
    Since when was the purpose of WoW to teach the fundamentals of life and fairness?

    Look, it's a video game. It's not a job interview, a checkout line in a grocery store, a pay-scale within a company. It's a video game. Act accordingly.

    And if you still insist on trying to learn lessons from it, at least consider all of the lessons. For example, getting used to and interacting with a variety of classes and races without discriminating based on each characters appearance. And that a womans appearance does effect how you treat her. And that age doesn't matter, maturity of mind does.

    • At the risk of invoking the lameness filter, I have offer my applause to the parent poster.

      Nothing is a total blessing or an unmixed curse. This is a lesson I learned from most of the games I've played - and about most of the games that I have played.

      Anybody who expects WoW (or GTA or Silent Hill or Tetris) to be a full-blown lesson in the facts of life is fooling themselves.
  • The author's main complaint seems to be that everyone doesn't enjoyed playing games the same way he does.

    He is an introvert, so he disapproves of needing to play with groups. He doesn't want to play too many hours a day, so he disapproves of any rewards that encourage excess time.

    So? Some people want to get a reward for time. Some people want to play with their friends without getting lower quality loot.

    The amazing power of Wow is that you _can_ play any way you want. Solo, group, 24/7, infrequently. D
    • The author's main complaint seems to be that everyone doesn't enjoyed playing games the same way he does.

      You took the words out of my mouth.

      It seems to me the reviewer is expecting too much of a simple game. If he doesn't enjoy playing in groups, maybe he should look into some other genre.

      In any case, for his own sanity, he should stop playing for a while. I mean, why does he expect his warcraft skills to somewhow translate into real life? Wow is looking to "teach" you anything. It's just a freaking ga
  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:10PM (#14778515) Homepage Journal
    World of Warcraft(and by extension ALL MMORPGs). He compares them to games such as chess and street fighter(because we all know that Chun Li is a modern day Confucius, only hotter!) and saying that in those games you don't have any material advantages over your opponent so they make better games. What he neglects to take into consideration is that chess and Street Fighter have very clearly defined goals: checkmate in the former, and beating the crap out of your opponent in the latter. However, a lot of games such as MMORPGs don't have such clearly defined goals. Yeah, you can build your character up to level 60 and be the mightiest warrior of all time if you want, but you don't have to do that in order to enjoy the game. There are many other goals you can take on which don't require that you "beat" your nemesi so to speak.

    Me thinks this guy doth protest too much...
    • by ph4s3 ( 634087 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:29PM (#14778684)
      antifoidulus wrote on Wednesday February 22, @01:10PM
      What he neglects to take into consideration is that chess and Street Fighter have very clearly defined goals: checkmate in the former, and beating the crap out of your opponent in the latter.
      No wonder no one ever wants to play chess with me. I had that backwards. Oops.
    • There seems to be a strong positive correlation between "time spent" and "skill" in both chess and street fighter. Sure, occassionally you might find a prodigy who is a master his first time playing, but for most people for most challenging tasks you have to put in time and effort before you become skilled.

      Some tasks don't have clearly visible metrics that let you know who is more skilled (i.e. programming). Other tasks have random elements to them that can give illusory images of skill in the short term (i
  • Time you spend online playing WoW = Money for WoW's makers
  • The article misses the point in a big way by comparing WoW with Street Fighter. The latter is indeed supposed to be all about a contest of skill. But in fact the huge popularity of RPG-style games with many gamers lies precisely with the fact that they can gain a feeling of progress from simply playing the game.

    It's not about hardcore vs casual either - some very serious gamers play only RPGs and absolutely do not want their "skill" tested too much.
  • 1. Investing a lot of time in something is worth more than actual skill. If you invest more time than someone else, you "deserve" rewards."

    2. However, when you reach Level 60 none of your efforts are rewarded anymore.

    Nothing is more retarded than designing a game based on one paradigm, only to have it come to a grinding halt at some arbitrary point(level 60). Even the Everquest designers were bright enough to implement an alternate-advancement system, and that was years ago. If anything WoW took a step ba
    • It is not arbitrary. It is designed that way. WHen designing a computer game, you have to have limits so you have a boundry around what needs to be accomplished to get the game out the door.

      It is actually balanced towards 60 very well. Talent point are set where if many characters had one more point, they would be unstopable.

      This is whay when the changed the boundry(soon to be level 70), they have to rework the talent systems paradigm.

  • Back in the early 90s, I worked nightshifts in a petfood plant. Dry food only, thankfully. I'd spend 12 hours a night sitting on a line where the pellets rolled off a conveyor belt watching for large clumps that could damage the automated sorting systems. It would handle most of them, but sometimes something bad happened only a human could react to. I was paid $24 an hour in 1991 for that job, due to the time & conditions.

    Fast forward to one my tech jobs 12 years later. In house support for education sy
  • Other way around? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vitaflo ( 20507 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:23PM (#14778629) Homepage
    How much time did your star programmer spend learning his skills? I'd assume quite a bit. In WoW you spend massive amounts of time getting gear so you can kill off mobs quickly and effectively. In the real world you spend massive amounts of time learning a skill so you can tackle your job quickly and effectively. In my opinion the OP is looking at it from the wrong way.
    • by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @05:11PM (#14779533) Homepage Journal
      I think the article is, in a sense, objecting to where that skill is stored. The author of the article wants the joy of learning and improving himself - the skill is stored in him, in his mind and his relfexes. WoW externalises skill acquisition and a lot of the "skill" is stored in the character in the form of levels and bonuses and items etc. In this sense the individual playing need not learn or acquire skill, instead they can simply let their character do so. As a side effect of this externalisation "skill" is acquired at a uniform rate for everyone because "skill" is administered largely by a server and divorced from the individuals playing. This means that time directly correlates to skill and effort at gaining skill is almost purely a function of time - not of thought, nor effort to learn, nor natural talent, or anything else. The game does the learning for you and absolves you of a certain amount of responsibility for thinking. Moreover "skill" is now something that individuals no lonmger possess - it is something that "game characters" possess and can be bought and sold as a commodity; it is no longer something unique and special to you that you can always retain. This is, I feel, the real reasons for his objections. Whether you agree with them or not you should at least realise that there is something significant at work here.

  • While Time > Skill is something that is not usually true in the real world, a more realistic model is very hard to achieve.

    In Real Life(tm) there are two kinds of abilities: ones where the "best" action is known and ones where it isn't.

    In the first case, these abilities are either limited by physical attributes or not valued. Consider Tic-Tac-Toe. It's known how to achieve the highest possible skill level in that game so having that ability is not valued.

    Consider sports. It's known how to make the best f
  • I beg to differ (Score:2, Insightful)

    Ask any talented musician and they will tell you that talent/skill comes with a lot of work.
  • That article may well be a "learning experience" for the author, but it's not a valid criticism of WoW. WoW was designed to be as it is, namely a very traditional MMO with all the normal grouping issues and guild orientations, its inevitable time sinking, and all the other problems that go with the territory.

    It summarizes quite simply: for that person, WoW is the wrong game.

    But that isn't a valid condemnation of WoW. He simply chose wrongly.

    If you want to remain in the MMO genre but don't want any time s
  • Genius/Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

    Author does have a few interesting points, even if he reaches the wrong conclusion.

    The main thing I hate about WoW is:
    - Dead Time (you WASTE so much time travelling)
    - Combat-only (impossible to be a pure tradesman)

    Sure, WoW is the "Best", but it still sucks.
  • Lessons Learned (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kbonapart ( 645754 )
    I've learned that pretending to be a girl gets me free money, and can pay for my mount.

    I've learned that sometimes killing your friends can be hilarious.

    I've learned that Alliance are whiny bitches, and are Kill On Sight, and don't pull thier weight to open those damn gates.

    I've learned that living in a more colorful world then reality is very comforting. A world where my physical limitations don't apply. Where I'm a giant on the field, instead of an ant under the magnifying glass of real life.
  • by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @03:49PM (#14778849)
    It's a long list, here's a snippet:

    1. It's always ok to Kill The Bad Guys (*almost* every game ever made)
    2. I'll get the girl in the end, by just being myself, regardless of my deficiencies [most every JRPG]
    3. I can't kill certain bears, they will give me bad druid faction [Everquest]
    4. Stealing cars & beating hookers is OK, because the government is out to get us [GTA]
    5. It's better to be part of a gang, because they can protect me from urban violence [UO]
    6. The only important factor in building a great plane, is being a great pilot and having a dream [Grandia 3]. Oh yeah, also something nebulous about being able to cut out portions of wing "if it weighs too much"
    7. Befriend your enemies, so that you can subjugte them militarily or culturally when you are resource starved, but not have to defend yourself in the mean time. Other people are my pawns, move them with skill. [Civilization 4]
    8. Working Harder >> Working Smarter. I will eventually obtain all my goals if I spend a long time at it, while using my brain is always cheating. [Every MMOG ever made]
    9. High twitch skills designate me a superior person who Gets Laid Often [FPSs, and a few MMOGers who don't get it yet]
    10. Ancient relics are always of higher quality and provide better AC/DMG/Mana than new goods bought from modern vendors [Most RPGs] ....

    Lesson Infinity +1 - Perhaps video games are not exactly a good place to learn life skills after all

  • Now, how will employers get employees to spend more time at work unless they are conditioned into thinking that the more time you put into something they better you are? Next up is to get rid of that pesky thing called "wages".
  • The very idea that time > skill is alien.

    I've certainly seen companies where it wasn't. It's not unheard of for a PHB to promote John over Sally because John puts in more unpaid overtime, even if Sally's productivity far outstrips John's.
  • It's worth it if you are into the MMO scene. Some of it get's a little preachy like it is from a burnt out player, but he makes some very valid points.

  • you do not get somehting by just investing 'time' in the game. I can have my character sit around all day and he won't get diddly squat.
  • All "twitch" gaming systems can be cheated if played on remote hardware not controlled by the server, and even chess style games can be easily cheated by writing an AI bot to calculate optimal moves for you. Not even having a fast enough connection to stream video to the clients and a powerful enough CPU to calculate *everything* serverside solves this problem, as it just turns cheating into a vision procession problem. See the captchas arms-race.

    Time is the only thing that can't be cheated.
  • by ameoba ( 173803 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:20PM (#14779099)
    Cry more, noob.
    • when I say, "yeah, that's why I quit, too." It's one thing to be stuck in the slow lane because you "only" play 25 - 30 hours per week; it's another to know that many of the in-game rewards are completely out of reach, forever and ever, no matter how smart you play or how skilled you become. After about 10 months, I just gave it up.
  • Missing the point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UES ( 655257 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @04:20PM (#14779103)
    I think there is a lot of missing the point in this thread.

    The objection is not that someone who works hard gets rewards. The objection is that there IS NO WORK involved in advancing in MMO games beyond the timesink.

    And that's why it isn't fun.

    If I want to get good at Street Fighter, I can practice because the rules do not change. If the person playing against me has been practicing more, he does not get Super Chun Li. He has to use his skill. There is a chance that I can advance due to effort and luck.

    Now imagine if every time you wanted to play Street Fighter, someone playing Super Chun Li and another person playing Super Guile could come in at any time and not only kick your ass, but steal your special moves so you couldn't use them any more AND they could block off access to Bosses like Bison. In fact, only huge 'guilds' would even have a chance at getting good moves or winning the game.

    Fun, right?

    Oh, and all they would have to do to get the Super Status would be to drop out of school and press "Fierce" 6000 times a day. Just playing so much would be enough to get the 'gold' and 'experience' they needed to get upgrades to Super status. They wouldn't really have to use any skill- 40 hours a week of crappy play would be enough to do it. Even better, they could go on eBay and BUY Super status from someone in Malaysia hired to get 'gold' for them.

    Wow! Sign me up!

    Anyone want to sign up for a Counterstrike game where I get Nuclear Weapons, Phasers, and Invisibility Cloaks because I am a Level 60, and you have to play in teams of 40 or you can't advance beyond Private First Class otherwise?

    Or, let's play Mario Kart. I get a much better car and a 5 minute head start because I put a lot of time in, and you didn't. Wheeee! Fun!
    • Consider that the premise of TFA is that fun is really just a way to learn things. Then consider imagining that every time you wanted to play Street Fighter, someone playing Super Chun Li and another person playing Super Guile could come in at any time and not only kick your ass, but steal your special moves so you couldn't use them any more AND they could block off access to Bosses like Bison.

      How is this not like real life? One guy can learn some impressive martial arts skills. However, that person will

      • You have an excellent perspective that I would like to respond to.

        How is this not like real life? One guy can learn some impressive martial arts skills. However, that person will always fall to to the one with superior time, technology, or numbers. It is for this reason that police forces are comprised of mostly normal individuals and yet are able to maintain order for the most part. It is also for this reason that warfare has become a matter of who can build the most planes and bombs. Certainly, WWI era fi
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      "Now imagine if every time you wanted to play Street Fighter, someone playing Super Chun Li and another person playing Super Guile could come in at any time and not only kick your ass, but steal your special moves so you couldn't use them any more AND they could block off access to Bosses like Bison. In fact, only huge 'guilds' would even have a chance at getting good moves or winning the game."

      Your comment would be relevant if that applied to WoW.

      Sorry, but you can't block off access to important bosses in
    • That's why I stopped playing any kind of artificial simulating games. Or mostly any games at all (except things like Chess, Go and some other abstract games). I really liked playing games (all of them, Adventure, FPSs, Sports, Combat Simulators, RPGs, etc), but at some point I found out that I could't apply most of what was learned (although something must have permeated) to real life, and that I like real life more...I sometimes play some RPGs when not very happy with life in general, but it lasts like 2 o
  • by lokedhs ( 672255 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2006 @08:34PM (#14781131)
    By the time I'm writing this, there are already a lot of replies, most of them saying the same thing: "that's what real life is, it's entertainment not teaching, yadda yadda", so I doubt that many will bother to read this.

    In any case, this is one of the reasons why I stopped playing WoW after about a week.

    You can't become good.

    You can become experienced, you can invest a lot of time and thus get a higher experience level, you can build a large network of people to chat with... But you can't become a skilled WoW player.

    Just about the only skill you can obtain is learning all the maps and the missions. The rest of the time is being spent doing the same thing over and over again in order to raise your XP. Even games that I utterly dislike, such as CS, allows you to become skilled. Actually, most glames do, but not the MMORPGs. I honestly don't understand why. Perhaps it's because most people are not prepared to practice something? Perhaps WoW is just an alternative to planting oneself in front of the TV, watching MTV? (i.e. no intelligence required). I don't know, and by now I don't really think I care.

    Now that I'm writing a post about WoW, I have to add my pet peeve as wel:

    Playing WoW, it feels like I'm trapped in the Twilight Zone. I walk around in a living world, things happen all around me, but no one can really see me. I'm like a walking shadow, somehow being able to touch things, but still not. Anything I do have absolutely zero effect on the world. It really kills the immersion for me when an NPC tells me that I need to save the village by killing this or that monster. I do it, I arrive in a triumphant return... but... No... Wait... Nothing changed! The village is apparently still held in the grasp of this monster, since the very same person is still handing out the same quest to other players. I'm still the same no-one I was before, altough with a couple of more experience points, and the world laughts in my face saying: "Don't think you can be someone special. You're always doomed to be a boring no-one, and you'll never affect the world".

    I think that's the real problem with WoW.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant