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Is World of Warcraft More Than Just A Game? 339

walnutmon writes "Newsweek has published a three page article asking whether World of Warcraft is more than just a game. Though some spend their time in WoW grinding, others take a break from the monotony of gaming to interact with others from the community in a meaningful way. From the article: 'Generally, though, players of the game enjoy a form of community rarely seen in the real world; higher-level players go out of their way to tutor newbies and accompany them on quests. Deep friendships are forged. Relationships begin that flower into marriage, with Tauren brides and Undead grooms tying the knot in some virtual tavern in Thunder Bluff.' I guess the question is, does a game become more when people do more than play to win, or is this just an added feature?" Raph Koster has been of the opinion, for quite some time now, that all MMOGs are virtual worlds; it just so happens you can play a game inside many of them. What's your view on this? Are Massive games just another kind of game title, or are they something special?
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Is World of Warcraft More Than Just A Game?

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  • by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:46PM (#16078731) Homepage Journal
    Games like WoW have always fostered a feeling of community. Even back in the Dungeons and Dragons days (which live on for many of us) the games offered a feeling of belonging. The difference is a matter of scale. Wow is so massive that this community is much larger, more multifaceted, and has more sub-communities.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The WoW community is far more inclusive than the D&D community. I don't think it's necessarily the core people of the community that make it like that, but merely the differences in the stigma and reputation associated with each.

      Let's face it, D&D players are looked down upon by most other people. I'm sure we've all seen scenes in malls, at D&D shops, where a group of teenage jocks or punks start yelling at the customers and employees of such stores. They'll call them a variety of names, from "n
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 11, 2006 @12:19AM (#16078833)
        Let's face it, D&D players are looked down upon by most other people.

        1985 called, it wants its sterotype back. Seriously, this just isn't the case. My D&D group consists of three cops (one of whom is an officer, two are from very tough urban beats), a corrections officer, a tow truck driver and me. Vin Diesel is perfectly comfortable going on TV and proclaiming his love for D&D. There's been a mainstream D&D movie with mainstream actors (even though it sucked).

        I'm sure we've all seen scenes in malls, at D&D shops, where a group of teenage jocks or punks start yelling at the customers and employees of such stores.

        This is just ridiculous. I've never seen such a thing in my 25 years playing D&D. School kids bullying the geeky kids who played D&D? Sure, but not because they played D&D (some of the bullies played too at my school), but because they were weak and easy prey. Although if you live somewhere where a mall can support an RPG store (not just a GW store), you're already way ahead of the rest of the country.

        WoW, on the other hand, has a far more widespread acceptance.

        Accepted by who? I've never met an adult who played WoW who wasn't already a gamer. WoW gamers are looked down on by other "real" gamers (those who play face to face) as the true losers who have no lives and so have hours and hours to grind. You've got your stereotypes 100% backwards.

        • A. D&D is still very much looked down on by people who have never played it. B. WoW is still very much looked down on by people who have never played it. C. A & B will always be true, because fantasy will always be looked down on. D. To those who don't play the games, fantasy is considered to be associated with a desire to live a life different the one someone is currently living. To those in the mainstream, this desire is a sign of weakness. E. The reality is that both D&D and WoW are probably
        • 2006 called, it just wanted to let you know that its still true. How do I know, Oh, I don't know maybe its because of my volenteer work with teenagers for the past ten years. Its just that RPG's and espeically multiplayer ones are used as a form of socialising outside the accepted nomality. It brings in people who have difficulty expressing themselves and need to hide behind alter egos. Its not that fantasy and rpgs are wrong or stupid, its just it attracts a certain crowd that seeks an alternative identity
      • If we are going to play the stereotype game, let me inject a thought here. When I meet someone who says "I play WoW" I immediatly lump them in the pile of "junkies, addicts, and freaks". Really, 40% of all WoW players are addicts, and addicts are inherently untrusty folks because their addiction over powers their reason.

        Additionally, WoW reinforces the computer geek stereotype... people leading solitary lives, sheltered from the sun, staring at their monitors. Zero human contact; all lost in a fictional

    • All these articles gushing about how innovative and awesome and world-changing World of Warcraft is, are exactly the same as all the gushing about Everquest a few years back.

      Some people have very short memories.
    • by mrmeval ( 662166 )
      Piers Anthony actually predicted this form of social interaction.
    • Even MUDs in the old days, were very very tight communities. The MUD I played for a long time (Kobramud) actually was a very tight community, quite a few relationsships and marriages started there...

      I think that any large enough, virtual world that actually functions (regardless of graphics/text or theme) will become a virtual community.

      How much one loses him/her serf in this is up to the player, I've seen quite a few people lose themselves in a MUD.
  • No. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rix ( 54095 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:49PM (#16078738)
    There is some degree of community in other games, but not in WoW. Unless you consider Chuck Norris jokes community.
  • by chrispycreeme ( 550607 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:51PM (#16078744)
    that happens to be addictive as hell to some people.. But it is still just a game. Personally I stay the hell away from those sorts of games the same way I avoid crack cocaine and heroin.. Heroin users have a community too. I always used to listen to them talk on the bus in the morning till they all got off at the methadone clinic. Seemed like nice people, but I don't want to join their community.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! ( 70830 )
      Its a meat market for the socially inept/anxious/whatever. I've only seen the things described in the article happen when a higher level male character gains interest in lower level female member. ALl thw downtime (waiting for raids, spawns, etc) allows for a lot of chat. So, this is just a case of humans doing what humans do best: mate.
      • So, this is just a case of humans doing what humans do best: mate.

        I've seen a lot of amateur porn. If mating is what humans do best, we're doomed.

  • Yes, but.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Large Green Mallard ( 31462 ) <lgm@theducks.org> on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:51PM (#16078746) Homepage
    Yes it creates community, but are they real friendships? Do they share anything in common other than WoW? I have a lot of friends who play WoW (I do not). It's unspeakably annoying to be at a party with a critical mass of these people, because all they talk about is WoW.

    I've had to institute a no-WoW rule for some gatherings, since it's simply too annoying for the small number of us who don't play WoW to be excluded from having conversations with these people who are theorhetically our friends because they don't talk about anything else for hours on end.

    WoW seems cool, but seriously, try talking to your WoW friends about something other than WoW and see if you would still be their friend without it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by muridae ( 966931 )
      Yes it creates community, but are they real friendships?
      I can't speak for the people playing WoW, but from EQ experience, yes they are. I still keep in touch with people who havn't played in years, went to clubs with them, had them stay at my place when they needed a place to crash. Shared pot and beer with them. Cheered and cried with them.

      Sure, only talking to people over IMs or mail causes you to drift apart. So friends you don't see in game grow distant just like friends who move to another state or cou
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tsm_sf ( 545316 )
      Those who do not remember Breakfast Club are doomed to repeat it...

      It's social. Demented and sad, but social.
    • It's unspeakably annoying to be at a party with a critical mass of these people

      Critical Mass... My Mage fire spec has 5 talent points in critical mass... mmm... nerdly...

      Is that the kind of thing you are trying to keep out of your party?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shystershep ( 643874 ) *

      WoW seems cool, but seriously, try talking to your WoW friends about something other than WoW and see if you would still be their friend without it.

      Replace 'WoW' with 'work/bowling/school/stamp collecting/any other shared interest' and your sentence makes just as much sense. IF you meet people through a common interest, when those people gather that common interest is generally going to dominate the conversation. For example, I know several architects, and whenever they are in a group the dominate subje

  • Its just like a MUD (Score:5, Informative)

    by dcapel ( 913969 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:52PM (#16078750) Homepage
    MUDs (precursors to mmorpgs) have noticed this for a long time. The game is cool, and it is what draws people, but the relationships and community is what causes people to stay. This logically leads to stuff like MUD meets (players going to somewhere and hanging out for a few days) and even an occasionally marriage. I'm serious; I know no less than two couples who met in a MUD and ended up getting married.
    • by MidnightBrewer ( 97195 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @12:15AM (#16078821)
      I agree. This story is at least 15 years too late, and that's just counting the electronic gaming communities. I suppose, however, that this is the first time that you're talking about a role-playing game, online communities, and how they result in real-life friendships in a *positive* light. Nothing like finally hitting the mainstream.
      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        There was an equivalent story 12 years ago in one of the UK broadsheets. I got cash for it..
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by moro_666 ( 414422 )
      Obligatory: :night sober> go out
      She slaps you: "No you won't" :night sober> flee
      Her slap misses you.
      Your slap misses her. :night sober> flee
      Her slap hits you.
      Your slap misses her. :night hp:scratched sober> flee
      Woooouuh ... you managed to escape.


      The tables are covered in pints. Dim light shines over the attractive
      female figures in the room. Enjoy your stay :night hp:scratched sober> drink pint :night hp:scratched slightly drunk> drink pint :night hp:scratched quite drunk> drink pint
  • Excuse me? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:55PM (#16078758) Journal
    **'Generally, though, players of the game enjoy a form of community rarely seen in the real world; higher-level players go out of their way to tutor newbies and accompany them on quests. Deep friendships are forged. Relationships begin....**

    Its pretty conceited to think that only WoW would have a 'community' feeling to it... I call BS, not because I think WoW or other online gaming communities deserve being called BS, but because the story is BS. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of real world places and activities (not that slashdot readers or WoW players would know about real world) to find community experience, and develop relationships through a common interest.... fer christsakes, that is what the world did BEFORE the Internet....

    All I can say is that it MUST be a slow news day... geez!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Nicaboker ( 978150 )
      <sarcasm>There was life before the internet?</sarcasm>
  • yep its just a game (Score:3, Informative)

    by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7@kWELTYc.rr.com minus author> on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:56PM (#16078764) Homepage
    gee sounds like Star Trek conventions, weekend D&D games, long time IRC channels, Scout Troops, etc. Second life has been doing the same thing without the pesky gaming elements. Nothing special to see here folks...and yes in the end its just a game.
  • by brxndxn ( 461473 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:57PM (#16078767)
    I play games to win.. to crush others and gain respect. Single player games can be beaten.. MMORPGs cannot be 'won' and they have no ending.

    I got hooked on Shadowbane more than once in my college career. It's an mmorpg like wow where you just go around killing everyone pretty much (and you can knock down their cities too). It took a long time.. but eventually I had all the best gear for my character. Then I made a new character and got into the politics for the game. So eventually I ran a city.. then I ran a guild.. then I ran a whole entire alliance of guilds that comprised of half the server. Then I got burned out.. I must've played 14 hours a day at that point. I would go without food for hours until I was certain my alliance could function for 30 seconds without me.

    So you'd think after all that I'd learn my lesson? No.

    I went back into Shadowbane.. because it gave me a sense of accomplishment. Every day, I could find something new, kill someone new, find a new unique viable character build, etc. There is ALWAYS something new to do in an mmorpg. No matter what, you have NOT seen everything. I must've made over 40 max-level characters with the best possible gear. Granted, it only took about 20 hours of game play to get a character to max level once you were good at it - but still it was WAYY too much of a commitment. I began to think of 4-hour game-play blocks as expendable time. Now that I have an 8-5 job, I realize how ridiculous it is to just say "hey.. I can blow the next 4 hours helping a friend get XXX potion to make YYY item."

    I'm glad I learned my lesson with just one mmorpg. I think I put multiple college degrees worth of effort into that game.

    That game was seriously crack for me. When I was 'addicted' to it, I couldn't imagine my life without it. It depressed me to think of quitting that game.

    So ya.. MMORPGs, imo, are more than just a game. WoW just happens to be about the gayest of mmorpgs one can get addicted to - but it still has all the addictive qualities of any mmorpg. If you can't beat it, DON'T PLAY IT (otherwise, you join it.)

    • I play games to win.. to crush others and gain respect. Single player games can be beaten.. MMORPGs cannot be 'won' and they have no ending.

      Is Second Life a game?

      It is a virtual world. It is massively multiplayer.

      I don't think anyone would call it a game, yet it fosters the exact same type of community.

      IMHO, if you throw enough people together (online or off), for long enough, you're going to get a community that helps* people out and the occassional marriage. Even sites like /. & Fark churn out the occ

    • WoW just happens to be about the gayest of mmorpgs one can get addicted to

      How exactly do you quantify that? Is there a repressed experience from WoW that you'd like to share with us?

    • I play games to win.. to crush others and gain respect. Single player games can be beaten.. MMORPGs cannot be 'won' and they have no ending.

      This above sentence of yours, sire, implies that you have or will be having problems with MANY things in your life that include, but not limited to multiplayer gaming.

      To name a few; your work environment, your fellow employees, the people you play golf with at weekends, your children, friends of your wife, your father, the cab driver, your local grocer, guy at th
  • Snow Crash (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Aeonite ( 263338 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @11:58PM (#16078771) Homepage
    "As Hiro approaches the Street, he sees two young couples, probably using their parents' computers for a double date in the Metaverse, climbing down out of Port Zero, which is the local port of entry and monorail stop. He is not seeing real people, of course. This is all a part of the moving illustration drawn by his computer according to the specifications coming down the fiber-optic cable. The people are pieces of software called avatars."

    -Neal Stephenson
    • "Snow Crash" was the bible when I was working on WorldsAway [wikipedia.org] as a QA tester intern back in 1997. A good book but not the kind of life I would want to live. I prefer to live my life in the physical reality and let my mind explore new worlds by reading.
    • by X_Bones ( 93097 )
      wow. so?
  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Monday September 11, 2006 @12:00AM (#16078776) Homepage
    The real culprit of WoW's success is depression, in all it's varied forms. WoW represents the ultimate in escapism. Whereas before some of us used books, or even computer games, here's a world that changes based on the player and those playing.

    There is never really an end to the world like there would be in a book, or a game. Therefore, those trying to escape find the perfect place to escape to; A place that never really ends.

    This goes a long way in explaining the attitude when the servers would go down often ( do they still? ).

    I'm not saying this is how it is for everyone, or it's the same level of escapism for everyone. Just that the majority of the addicts are depressed in one way or another, and this is their way to escape from it.
    • by RsG ( 809189 )
      Actually, I've never met a WoW player who fits your given description. Ie, the people I've known about IRL who play the game show no signs of depression. Neither have the people I ran into online while I was still playing it myself. Nor have I seen any compelling evidence to support such a sweeping generalization. And yes, I do know people who suffer from actual clinical depression, so I do have a fairly good picture of what that mental state entails.

      There may be a certain type of gaming addict who fits
    • Trying to make out World of Warcraft as some den of degenerate, depressed people seeking "escapism" seems ignore that people do this all over all of the time without the game. People go to the club to escape. People go to the coffee shop to escape. People go to the sports bar and watch their game to escape. People go to Borders for the book club to escape! No one goes to these social settings or clubs for something that really ends either. They will continue to go to it as long as it is fun and comfy
  • by Shivani1141 ( 996696 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @12:00AM (#16078781)
    To Start this off, I'm going to state that I played WoW for well over a year and a half, From release to just two months ago. I've been a Raiding member in good standing on Malygos throughout the time I played. Yes, wow does foster a huge sense of community, Yes, it does form relationships. Indeed, I know of THREE couples who met, engaged, and married during the course of playing together. (this taken from my ingame relations with... say 200 people on a semi-regular basis) However... Every person I know of who quit seems grateful that they did so, Acting as if they finally kicked some long drug habit, or Finally escaped from some prison. Mind you, I come from the raid game, but there are those who would say that is the entirety of WoW. Take a second and ask yourself why would they be grateful they have quit? geh. the Game is addictive, in the same sense that having a weekly game of pool is addictive. You make excuses to other people IRL to excuse the fact that you can't do anything from 6pm to 10pm mon, tues, thurs, sat, sun. (etc, your raids may very) This is why I think that many people are grateful they quit, and it's the reason I am grateful of such. It gives a sense of freedom from the scheduling of one's time. People will argue, rightfully so, that people schedule thier time for leasure and all sorts of other reasons.. But I think the situation is kinda different when you're trying not to let 40 other people down. ;p Don't Take this post wrong please. While I am grateful I quit, I met a great bunch of people while i did play, and can actually comfortably say that if I were to end up with just my clothes on my back in any number of about two dozen cities across north america (and one aussie city) I could find a friend that I made in game who'd be nice enough to let me crash there. So that's nice. I've also had my fair share of good memories with friends, Drunk in Strat, or just trying to push the envelope in PvP. the game has and does create a strong community, but it has it's downsides for sure.
    • Very interesting post.

      However, there's something I don't like about the prison analogy. There's no doubt the game is habit-forming, but it is not like prison in some very important ways -- you stopped playing by choice, for example.

      In fact the ways in which the WoW community is like a prison community are some of the reasons I like it. You come in contact with all kinds of people you would not have come into contact with in the outside world. It is a great equalizer - whether you are a doctor or j
    • by Necroman ( 61604 )
      It's the raiding game that is such a problem with WoW. It requires set times of play, so you are not as flexable to do what you want with your evenings. That's why I stopped raiding 3 months ago, and play now as I want. If something comes up (friends call up asking to go out), I won't feel bad leaving my group that is about to fight Nefarian.

      Since I've quit the raiding scene, Warcraft has been a lot more fun.
  • by macadamia_harold ( 947445 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @12:02AM (#16078787) Homepage
    Are Massive games just another kind of game title, or are they something special?

    What I think is ironic is that people play these games to escape the mundanity of everyday life; the boring, daily grind. And yet, a huge part of a lot of these games is just that, repetitive mundanity that's no different than the world already around us, save for the exotic window dressing and some fancy costumes.

    Anyone who's been on second life for five minutes can see that... in a game with limitless possibilities and potential, what do you get? a distilled, amplified re-creation of our own superficial consumer culture.
  • If you are looking for community ATITD would be the game to play if you like to socialize over adventure, EvE if you are into sci-fi and PvP. Just to name few mmogs that have wastly superior 'community' aspect than WoW - old NWN, UO, M59, AC, ATITD, EvE, SB. If anything WoW lacks in player interaction and community when compared to other games in its genre due to heavy use of instances and hard segregation by levels. Best communities are usually formed in games where players need to rely on others for pro
    • In WoW, aside from grouping, you don't ever need anything from other players. Simple fact that you can reach maximum level without speaking a single world to others demonstrate that community and player interaction is not a strong point of WoW.

      That is very very sadly true. The crafting system is worthless, grouping causes such a significant drop in exp that most forego doing so and the chat system looks like something out of an early 90's game. Guilds are very volatile since players reach level 60 so quic

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @12:11AM (#16078812)
    People have been building communities around games for quite some time - from play by mail games to play in real life (such as chess and bridge) to role playing (such as Chainmail and D&D); all without computers. They had factions, newsletters, magazines, romances, leaders, etc. - which mirrored "real life." Not that that was restricted to games - look at any hobby and you'll see similar social constructs. All that the computer did was expand the ease of reach - no more waiting for mail or conventions to "see' old friends.

    It's somewhat amusing to think that computers and the internet somehow is creating new "stuff" that has never been before seen; when often all it does is increase accessibility.
  • "In 20 or 30 years the technology will be here to create incredibly more realistic and immersive worlds," he says. "There will be a world that fits the fantasy of any life you want to lead." Those deep into WOW, of course, are already living that future. "Yes, it's just a game," says Joi Ito. "The way that the real world is a game."

    In 20-30 years those deep into crack like WoW will have no influence on the real world whatsoever. There are still real life tangible resources (energy for example) and living i
  • If MMORPGs like WOW, EQ or DAoC get people riled up like this guy [youtube.com] it's hard to argue otherwise.. ;)
  • by eepok ( 545733 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @12:41AM (#16078906) Homepage
    Go into any MMORPG that is developed enough to have a Guild system and you will see a full on society.

    There's politics, currency, responsibilities, governments, charters, social contracts, friends going on outings, etc. IThey're nothing short of microcosms of societies that bring out different characters or enhance the characters of real life people.

    An example: I'm an EQ addict. I belong to a "family guild" (a guild who doesn't want the focus of their organization to be raid "work" on a nightly basis) who is party of an alliance of "family guilds" whose joint efforts are to do "raiding guild" things. Consider it neighborhoods banding together for a common goal.

    Recently, scandal arose when a full-on raiding guild engaged a target that belonged to the alliance. One of our alliance members, very angered, ensured that the target would be unkillable by the raiding guild force and thus brought severe shame on the alliance. Our member, after a "town hall meeting" in the forums, has chosen to disband from his guild and thus the alliance, while his guild decides what's to be done.

    Furthermore, some are questioning the value of our raid leader and there is mumbling about asking him to step down.

    Friends leave guilds. Guildies left behind are saddened. When a guild who enjoys its members witty banter and opinions disbands, people are actually sad.

    People are social animals -- social meaning they require communication. These MMORPGS are 10% game, 90% communication. That's what sucks people in and that's why MMOs are closer to virtual political bodies than checkers and tic-tac-toe.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I agree with that . Problem is they are all waste of time - they are virtual politics and virtual communities. And while social and community aspects might be very real, said communities cannot accomplish nothing and are essentially meaningless. Who will remember uber guild XXX from game NNN who did "that first" , "owned" server or other such BS? -Really nobody in a few years .

      Problem is exactly that those pointless activity suck people in -like drugs .Instead of doing something in real world (
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by edremy ( 36408 )

        Problem is they are all waste of time - they are virtual politics and virtual communities. And while social and community aspects might be very real, said communities cannot accomplish nothing and are essentially meaningless. Who will remember uber guild XXX from game NNN who did "that first" , "owned" server or other such BS? -Really nobody in a few years .

        While I basically agree with you, this is also true for about 90% of all leisure time activities. Who's going to remember the time you eagled the 9

    • These MMORPGS are 10% game, 90% communication

      Aye. I got stuck into EQ just so I could talk to my wife once in a while.

      Two L70 characters later, we're still talking. It helps. But she still won't rez me if she's not logged on & I do something stupid, like carrying on a nice long chat session with friends across the world while sitting in Harbinger's Spire when my invis pops.

      Have several friends in various spots in the world (being in Australia it's nice to keep in touch).

  • Of course they are virtual worlds. They have gravity, 3D space, items, simulations of living things ...

    But then, by this definition, Myst was a virtual world too.

    The question makes no sense: "Is it more than a Game?"

    Basically, ALMOST EVERYTHING in the real world can be framed as a game. Going to school and getting a degree is a "game", getting a job is a "game" - wearing the correct clothing to the prom is a "game". Driving a car: a game. Klondike, Tennis, Chess, Rubics Cubes, Programming, Reading, Singi
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I learned that the only thing you can "learn" in virtual world which can be applicable to real world is hacking skills. - e.g. when you write aimbot for CS and dll injection -that some system programming skills . Reverse engineering for MMORPG protocols and writing radar programs are pretty good skills too ( you learn a lot about networking and reverse engineering). As well as advanced botting (writing AI for bots to perform action in the game). Getting my hands on CS aimbot and making my own was pretty
  • From golf, to Madden on the Xbox, to Counter-Strike, at certain levels there are people who associate and form deep bonds with each other around any given activity. The crap about getting married in-game and such; I've been playing since day 1 and I've never seen it in WoW. I know it happens, sure, but it's a small fraction of the players who go in for it. Most just play to have a bit of fun and don't really let the game go any further than that (though the amount of time they spend playing may indicate the
  • What's being remarked on here is surprise that a GAME is producing community. But we've had people meeting and marrying and forming lasting friendships and committing crimes and having almighty bustups before. They've just been doing it over email, on mailing lists, usenet, blogs, IRC...none of that is at all new.

    It is no surprise at all that WOW (being an online communications mechanism AND a game) promotes human-to-human interactions in exactly the same way that communities that just happen not to be ga
    • No, I don't think that's it either. We've had games producing communities since before there were computers. Chess, bridge, backgammon, poker, wargames (ok, I'm not sure offhand whether wargames predate computers, but I suspect so) and more, all have been the basis of communities. More recently, RPGs and even trading card games form communities IRL. And most decent online computer games have done the same in their own way.
  • Two Words people. Social Networking.

          Whether that be WoW, Second Life or your friendly local grocery store. The fact that people meet and forge relationships on WoW is irrelevant. People are always trying to develop friendships with anyone. WoW, Second Life, MUDs, Myspace, Blogger, /., digg, flickr, or chatrooms are some of the social networking locations found on the internet.
  • Of course WoW is more than just a game.

    It's also (and possibly most importantly) a BIG BUSINESS.
  • Chess, Checkers, Magic: The Gathering, Morrowind, Dungeons & Dragons, Tetris, Zelda, Quake... all those are games. World of Warcraft is not a game. WoW might have a lot of members, but that does not make it a game.

    A game allows players to make non-trivial choices that affect the outcome (positively or negatively) according to an established ruleset, and make progress towards a win or lose condition.

    Every choice in World of Warcraft is trivial and there is no lose condition. All choices lead to

    • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

      A game allows players to make non-trivial choices that affect the outcome (positively or negatively) according to an established ruleset, and make progress towards a win or lose condition.

      You seem to be describing a game of strategy. There are many games of luck which allow few if any non-trivial choices, and games of skill where the only strategy may be who you select as your opponent.

      Games have a much broader definition that you give them credit for. Even some of your examples are questionable.

      How do

      • by Jekler ( 626699 )

        I'll concede my definition was narrow, not accounting for games of chance. Although I think my definition would include games of skill.

        The second point, winning at D&D for example, is more complicated. It depends entirely on the ruleset you're given. If the ruleset, as defined by the GM, includes win scenarios, then it is possible to win at the game. At the very least everyone is aware that the game has lose scenarios, when your character dies or fails to accomplish a task, there can be significa

  • Of course WoW seems different in that it results in deep friendships being forged.

    If you think 'just games' never foster deep friendships.

    However, other 'just games' seem to do pretty much the same. You could have poker buddies, bowling buddies, soccer buddies, chess buddies, darts buddies etc. etc. etc.

    In none of those 'just games' (and sports), newbies are left entirely to their own devices. People help out newbies. And sometimes people get married.

    You might as well say "Hey, this couple I know met AT WOR
  • by gekoscan ( 1001678 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @02:07AM (#16079161)
    My brother showed my mom MMORPG's (i think EQ to start), an individual who previously never used a computer. She now for the past 4 years, has played literally everyday for 8 hours. Loggin nearly 1.32 years of MMORPG game play in that period. It's consumed her entire life. The moment she gets home from work she gets into her pj's and plays from 5pm till 1-3am. You can't even watch TV in the livingroom cause she talks into her mic all night and it drives you completely insane listening to her interact while going on raids or PvPing. I honestly believe that for a large percentage of people that MMORPG's are like heroin. Not only do they neglect their families, they neglect themselves by not eating right, or doing anything active. They literally will just immerse themselves in this virtual world irregardless of consequences. Even if their lives are falling apart or their health is going to shit, they still have to get their fix every night.

    I think that they should enforce laws, like in china where your account only lets you play 3-4 hours a night max. Even though I have heard of people there opening 2 accounts just so that they can get their full fix.

    I feel sorry for anyone that starts playing this game. I used to be an avid video game player but have kinda steered myself away from games like this just because I know what the result is. Just like I have tried alcohol or pot , but like another /.'er put it... "I am gonna stay away from crack or heroin" even though i heard it's damn amazing. =)

    People that play this game for more than 2 hours a night are just gross and need help immediately. Take up yoga or meditation or anything. Anyone that does any single activity for 4-8 hours a day outside of work should be asking themselves, "what the hell am i thinking". WOW is a sickness, a plague in our digital society. I do security software development for a living and the only single activity I would consider concievably doing for 4-8 hours straight when i get off work, is writing some WOW worm using new exploit/security hole that would use their contacts list and corrupt their registry and give these people a night off. =) although it would be a futile attempt, cause you know they would spend the evening just reinstalling everything.

    Honestly though, if you play this game, take a month off and see if you can go without it. If you can't then do yourself a favour delete all your contacts associated with this virtual world and remove the software from your computer (microwave the damn CD).

    "Get a life, you only get one!". People in 3rd world countries would give anything to have the opportunities these people have. Instead you rot away in your basement playing shit like this just to make blizzard a profit hahaha.. That's the real joke, someone is making a profit off you rotting in your basement.

    "DEALER (aka Blizzard): HEY MAN, FOR $11.50 a month.. i will give you a hit that will make you live in your basement for 8 hours a day and rot for the next 3 years staring at screen... you'll only have to move your eyes and click. You will loose touch with most of your real friend but I you will make some cool virtual ones to replace them. Oh, and I guarantee it will make your dopamine [utexas.edu] levels go through the roof just like cocaine. With the added feature of gaining weight, looking real damn tired and physically aging at twice the rate."

    "POTENTIAL MMORPG VICTIM: Well when you put it like that I am not really sure about this..."

    "DEALER: Look here's the CD, I will give you a free month"

    "POTENTIAL MMORPG VICTIM: Well shit if it's a freebie why not?"

    1 month later ---

    "DEALER: So did you happen to try that WOW cd i gave to you?"

    "MMORPG VICTIM: Try it!!! SHIT!!!, That's all i did this past month. I lost my real family, my job, a few friends and gained

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bky1701 ( 979071 )

      I think that they should enforce laws, like in china where your account only lets you play 3-4 hours a night max.

      So you like China's way of regulating what people do in their free time? So, if China is so good, why not move there? Hmm? Because you only like when you get your way totally. You are what people call a "busy body" - the type that run HOAs that measure the neighbors grass and charge people 3000$ when their driveway has a crack in it.

      Be careful what you wish for. I think people like you spou

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by quintesse ( 654840 )
      Hahahaha, so it's okay to spend 8 hours a day working but do anything else for more than 2 hours at a time and there's something wrong with you? Boy do you have some silly priorities.
    • When reading your post, I really realized something. I started getting sad as I thought about the woman playing WoW every night, and when I say that, I mean, really sad.

      After that I got sad about thinking of my mother, sitting at home watching "House" and "Oprah". Then I got sad thinking about my sister, cleaning her room. And people who make model planes, and people who write books, and people who go to college.

      Think about people, sitting at home, alone in their houses, writing posts for slashdot...

    • I think that they should enforce laws, like in china where your account only lets you play 3-4 hours a night max. Even though I have heard of people there opening 2 accounts just so that they can get their full fix.

      Preventing people from playing longer than x hours is not the problem. The real issue is people who cannot type /logout or willingly leave the computer. A casual player might end up being on for more than 3-4 hours because some of the longer missions, raids, quests, etc. are time-consuming. If t

  • by Anonymous Coward
    How come there has to be some defining limitation between social interaction on-line and off-line? WoW is "more then just a game" because it allows people to interact with each other and form communities, the same way joining a soccer team does. How is this any different for the mind? People tend to get stuck on the "physical", and if you rule your life by exercise alone, then I can see how you would never understand this concept. WoW is more of a virtual world then Myst because of the dynamic context c
  • Current education of western education system teach kids to win at all cost. New generations thinks life was soccer game, they want to win at all costs.They want see great success in their life time even in 10 or 5 years period.

    Because they want to be prove their values.

    So in real world there was not enough wars to prove themselves, then they jumps virtual world. WoW was best of the best.

    Ps:Please do not argue my english, I just learn that much by myself...
  • Weee! My story! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by walnutmon ( 988223 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @02:47AM (#16079254)
    I just cancelled my WoW account, and it will probably stay that way for awhile. I have other interests, hobbies, and games to play. Too long have I neglected the latest and greatest for WoW. But that game IS the most addictive game I have ever played, and it does so by adding a real human element, literally.

    One of my favorite things to do with my LVL54 mage was to go back to the lower level areas, and just help the people asking for it. It was my way of giving back to the community. Plus, there is a real ego boost (yeah... I know I sound like a giant nerd) from laying waste to groups of elites by yourself.

    There was also some girl I met (according to her... at least) that was really cool, she helped me learn the game for no real reason, other than she was being helpfull, she also had a cool handle, Nemesys. It is fun to play these games, because other people see your accomplishments, and the time doesn't feel wasted. Uhh... for the people who get married on WoW, I think that is kind of weird (I woudln't agree to meet any chick I talked to on WoW, for some strong stereotypical reasons) but it does go to show that this game has real life implications.

    Any game that has direct influence on your life, other than the time played, is more than a game, it is a virtual reality of sorts.
  • For having a story dedicated to them every second day. Its not the only MMORPG. A very popular one, nevertheless, but not the only one. Every second there there is a story about WoW. A new for of advertising. And many of these stories are not even "News". Not even for RPG fans. Go ahead now, mod me down for being offtopic
  • Why do so many people find fun in monotony if that is what this game is about?
    I have never played it but when I always hear terms like "monotony" and "grinding" I don't think I will ever have a reason to try it.

    I play Eve Online, there is so much stuff in the game and the universe is so big it will literally be years before I see it all.. if that. I am glad the game I play is fun and the people who enjoy it understand that a fun video game does not need to be built around monotony
  • This is a grade-A freakin' cultural tragedy -- not that people are interacting in games (INTERACTING while PLAYING A GAME!!!omg!!) but that everyone has FORGOTTEN that this semi-revolution actually took place on MUDs and MUCKs (not to omit MUSHes and MOOs) in the freakin' early 90s. You freakin' teenagers.

    Now get off my lawn before I hit you with my basalt sword.

  • In 2005 he published Synthetic Worlds [amazon.com]. He is/was a mainstream economist who got hooked on Everquest but then used his professional skills to analyze what was going on. He quite strongly feels these MMOGs are more than just games, and in a certain sense are very very real. The book is a good read and Section 3 gives his possible scenarios for the future including potential "mass emigration" to cyberspace and possible governmental reaction.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @08:44AM (#16080177) Homepage Journal
    Huh ?

    Golf clubs, gun owners associations, bridge clubs, local bingo people, curling enthusiast ..... do i have to go on ?

    almost EVERY single type of shit, and im not only talking about games, have caused people to form communities, for the last known 10000 years of history. And so it is going to be from now to eternity.

    So whats there to wonder and amaze about communities being formed in games ? Internet, games over internet form a much more easy way to form communities than the examples i said in above paragraphs.
  • by crossmr ( 957846 )
    Its repetitive and grinding crap like 99% of the mmorpgs out there.
  • Newsweek, 1984 called, it would like its news back.

    This isn't news to anyone that's been playing RPGs.
    It's only news to the mass media because so many 'normals' are now getting involved/hooked.

  • Hilarious video created in W.O.W. about what the internet is really for. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5430343841 227974645 [google.com]
  • "Relationships begin that flower into marriage"

    Do the laws governing interstate/international gambling that specify "where" a distributed transaction takes place, and under which laws, also govern "Internet marriage"? Can two men get married "in" Wow, but both physically in, say, Massachussets, and be legally bound by the vows? What if the players are a man and a woman, but they're both playing men?

    Since America now sees a private, voluntary group of activists working to define the country's legal definitio
  • by bill_kress ( 99356 ) on Monday September 11, 2006 @01:37PM (#16082382)
    This isn't really new or unique even to todays graphical MMORPGs.

    I used to be on one of the first muds, only available via dialup. The dialup part added to the sense of community since most of us were local. We ended up meeting, having parties, and spent the better part of a decade together on and off.

    A few marriages were created and destroyed, children created and destroyed. Really the same kind of thing that happens anywhere where youngish (15-25+ yr old) people unintentially spend a lot of time together.

    The military forges similar long-term, deep relaitonships, as does school some office environments and even (to a lesser degree) summer camp.

    The trick is spending long ammounts of time with the same group of people.

    Having gone through that, I have questions as to how healthy such an environment is. In many cases you have young, under-developed people 13-16 interacting with emotionally immature older people(from 17 to 40!). I'm not sure this combination HAS to be "Bad", but looking back on years of it, I can say that it almost always is.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears