Category archive: wow 11 posts

Facebook has the worst ads redux

Posted by Jer Clarke on November 14, 2007 · General · wow

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, and I’d hate for this site to become “Jer’s anti-Facebook page” (though maybe I should start one, like I did for MySpace), but pretty much every ad I see on Facebook lately has a kind of trashy decadence that blows my mind. I don’t know if you guys are seeing the same things as me, but it makes me queasy.

facebook promotes wow gold First, this doosy shows up on a Facebook page a few weeks ago, promoting a service selling World of Warcraft gold. Now, I’ve already adressed their use of stupidly sexual images to promote unrelated things, so the fact that they are using photos of actual women (albeit dressed in costumes that are based on the video game WoW) is tacky and lame but not surprising. What’s surprising is that they would promote the gold selling service at all. Gold farming and selling (Wikipedia link) is a process where cheap foreign labor (Chinese ‘sweatshop’-style) is paid to play the boring but ‘treasure’ yielding parts of games like WoW, then that treasure is bought for real money by rich players who want to experience success in the game without devoting a lot of time to it. It is cheating in every sense of the word, both for the player and for the farmer, who are both breaking the terms of service of the game itself and the social contract functioning within the game world. It spoils the fun for everyone who doesn’t want to pay for their in-game success and has a very real impact on the economy in the game world, making all items more expensive (there is a very important action system that is gamed by the gold buyers and sellers) and making it harder and harder for legitimate players to be successful without devoting all of their time to competing with the cheaters (I have friends who quit other similar games because the gold buying/selling market had destroyed all of the fun).

For Facebook to promote this service is like them promoting pirated software sold out of Russia or knockoff Louis Vitton purses, it is an illegal service that functions through loopholes in international law and spoils the whole idea of the involved product (purses, software or in-game gold). I may not play WoW anymore, but that shit still makes me mad. (For what it’s worth, I’m not against knockoffs of stupid, overpriced merchandise like Louis Vitton bags specifically because it devalues the originals, which is the only sane direction for their value to go)

facebook promotes plastic surgery. Sorry for the lengthy discussion of WoW economics, for those of you less nerdily inclined, this one should hit home about what kind of site we’re all hanging out at. Not just stupid and tacky, but I think actually disgusting, we’re presented with someone’s bust and asked to consider “a wide range of cosmetic procedures”. Thanks, 416 SURGERY, I’ll be the person I really want to be any day now thanks to your botox and silicone.

YouTube series shows WoW in brutally honest light

Posted by Jer Clarke on September 14, 2007 · General · wow

The guild - youtube series about WoW Found this yesterday on the YouTube front page and checked it out out of curiosity, The Guild. It’s a funny, clever and informed look at what WoW (World of Warcraft) players are doing in real life.

At first it comes off as just a cutesy look at the sillier aspects of WoW gaming, people’s little grottos they set up for themselves to play, their use of voice chat without knowing what the other players look like etc.

What I loved was the almost depressing level of honesty that develops as series works through the problems that come up in people’s lives. Somewhere between the main character hanging up on her shrink (who’s telling her that she won’t admit she has a problem) and another character looking spitefully at her own children for distracting her from the game, the show takes on a tone of morbid realism that I think is pretty honest. It’s still funny though, and the plot is actually pretty good (though the episodes are very short and there’s only 3 at this point).

The Daedalus Project and MMO addiction

Posted by Jer Clarke on December 5, 2006 · General · wow

World of warcraft - trash it!I’ve been meaning to post about The Daedalus Project for awhile now but haven’t had the time. Nick Yee has been running it for several years, compiling survey data and analysis about how MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games, like WoW) are played, why they are played and how players live their lives ouside the game. I’ve used his research in several papers and always find it insightful and caring towards the complex and nuanced nature of MMO gaming. More than worth reading through the article list whether you’re a gamer or just know one (and if you don’t know any you will soon), if only for gems like the fact that 30% of all female players end up in real-life relationships started through the game, an astonishing statistic as far as I’m concerned.

Today’s update contained what is no doubt one of the best articles I’ve read about MMO addiction and how we talk about it. Yee is critical of the way the media is tossing around the A-word without giving careful consideration to how the games are actually used by the “addicted” gamers. Though you could almost always make this claim about the mass-media’s treatment of a topic you care about, the fact that most reporters likely haven’t even played a similar game points to the fact that a communication problem is pretty likely in this situation. He then points out how words like “dependence” better capture the behaviors which he likens more closely to shopping-addiction than the more physical and accepted as dangerous drugs-addiction. Most importantly, he proposes that the media and analysts are missing the other negative factors that influence someone’s likelihood of becomming dependent on a game. The social awkwardness or unfortunate circumstances that could drive someone to prefer a fantasy world to the real one.

Link to full article.

These are obviously important considerations to bear in mind but I think he’s missing an important element of the problem, the fact that the game itself is to blame if it’s absense would have prevented the problems that result from it’s presence (which sounds redundant but might need to be pointed out explicitly to make sense). To save your eyes from text-murder I’ll put my full response to his article (posted as a comment on the article) below.


The future of gaming – I can’t help feeling this is all too real

Posted by Jer Clarke on November 3, 2006 · General · wow

future wow player art, guy strung out in the corner

The title of the article I found this in was “What will a World of Warcraft player look like in 2030?”, and it seems about right. Click the image to see a larger version, the goggles are showing hillsides and rainbows.

As you deepen your experience of the game you lose your grasp of and interest in the real world. This sounds silly when you haven’t experienced it, but I’m always shocked to hear how literally players are willing to express this feeling, especially when I remember to insanity issuing from my own mouth right before I quit (“Isn’t all of society a game?”, “The goals and rewards are just more interesting in the game than out here”).

The comments on the article linked above are an excellent microcosm of the problem, with anonymous visiters actually debating whether the pictured situation is worse than the way humans currently interract in society:

Anonymous said…
So what.
Why is glory in the real world better than the glory in a fake one?
If a game can be designed that has more opportunity for a meaningful life, perhaps it is a good thing.
Evolution made us to survive, not to live.

People aren’t just playing a game, they’re experiencing massive shifts in lifestyle and ideology that are necessary to support their interest in and compulsion to play the game. Things they would otherwise believe in (family, friends, romance and, nightmarishly, politics) lose their sense of immediacy and become abstract and neglected. Alternately they can be replaced or hijacked by flimsy in-game versions (Guilds replace families, romance happens between battles and politics becomes how you feel about the “administration” of the world by the game developers). Either way the end result is a simulation that propagates itself; sucking people in, then, in the context of maximizing fun, changing the way they feel about the world to keep them in.

The painting above is scary, but the current reality is almost worse. Horror myths about getting lost in the Holodeck or addiction to “virtual reality” have been around as long as computers have, but the idea that we already have virtual drug addicts eschewing reality in favor of a game, even though the “virtual reality” on offer is only keyboard-and-mouse based paints a worrying picture of a future where immersive environments are available. Who will be able to say no? And if the games are any good how will we avoid succumbing to their ideological influence?

(The image itself is from Pyxelated on the DeviantArt community site. Prints seem to be available for sale.)

Maybe I just shouldn’t play Second Life at all.

Posted by Jer Clarke on October 27, 2006 · General · photos · wow

me in second life

While I was inside someone actually made a joke about SL being “Warcraft Anonymous”, such strange crutches are available for the modern technology addict. Hopefully I don’t get too into the fashion show of it.

Five Months Later it Still Rings true.

Posted by Jer Clarke on October 12, 2006 · General · wow

the young one from foxtrot bemoans quitting Warcraft

Kids: Don’t even try it, enjoy the bliss of ignorance.

Why does my life seem to be taking place in Foxtrot lately?

Posted by Jer Clarke on May 18, 2006 · General · wow

the young one from foxtrot bemoans quitting Warcraft

On the blurring of reality and play

Posted by Jer Clarke on April 11, 2006 · General · wow

Sex in world of Warcraft - screenshot by Jeremy Clarke

While we’re on the subject of the thinning effect social online games have on the line between reality and fiction I thought I’d share this, which I (I being the little gnome on the right) stumbled upon in the human land of Ellwin near the town of Goldshire.

Yes, those are two naked (in-game the underwear is as naked as it gets so it’s considered all-the-way) Night Elves and one naked human. Yes, the human is lying down with the elf sitting on top of him so it kind of looks like they’re having sex (no doubt it was a close enough resemblance for their purposes) and no, I’m not sure exactly what the third player is supposed to be doing.

While this doesn’t happen all the time in WoW, I think it happens enough that most people would be surprised. The lesson is that people will find ways to simulate sex in any and every virtual context you can throw at them, the only thing you can do is make them look dorky in the process by putting obstacles in their way.

(for proof of this, see Second Life where no burdens were placed on anything [the world is completely open to be designed by it’s users], and almost everything is somehow related to sex.)

On virtual worlds and continental errors.

Posted by Jer Clarke on · General · wow

problems with the continent of kalimdor message on the world of warcraft login screen

Tried to log into Warcraft today and this is the message that was waiting for me (along with the presence of the server I use on the referenced list). I love the way a comment like “visiting this continent may result in disconnection” is so obviously oxymoronic, and yet completely serious. Would you mess around in a world like that? Would you take the risk just to see what’s up with the Big-K?

A sampling of weird things that come to mind when I read this:

“But Kalimdor is my home!”

“Where will all the Horde go?”

“Did I log out when I was on Kalimdor?”

“Does the zeppellin still work?”

“Have I become a crazy person?”

Sorry ’bout the silence.

Posted by Jer Clarke on March 26, 2006 · General · wow says that maybe playing World of Warcraft is good for you.

Unlike education acquired through textbooks, lectures, and classroom instruction, what takes place in massively multiplayer online games is what we call accidental learning. It’s learning to be – a natural byproduct of adjusting to a new culture – as opposed to learning about.

I hope so, otherwise I’ve been wasting the last few months.

p.s. My new name is Jin’rul. Any players out there can send me in game mail on the Thorium Brotherhood server (RP).

p.p.s. It turns out all I have to do to get some conversation going in the comments is not post for a long long time. Sheesh.

p.p.p…. Just in case, World of Warcraft is an online roleplaying game (one you play with other people sharing an imaginary world over the internet) that is so good you probably shouldn’t start playing.