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December 15th, 2011, 13:36
Just for Alrik and Jemy - I've started this thread.

It's a place to debate the genre itself, and especially how it may or may not affect people in an unhealthy way.

I'll start with a relatively simple statement:

MMOs are addictive by nature. Like anything else with such an effect, it will depend on the individual whether it's going to affect life negatively. Control being the key issue.

Like alcohol, an MMO can "take over" your life if you're not aware of the dangers - and you don't take the requisite steps to prevent it. But does that make alcohol universally bad? Personally, I don't think so.

As for what "good" an MMO is, that's very hard to say. It's a way to spend time - and though it does indeed tend to require a larger investment of time, it also tends to include a community or social aspect that might be more valuable than a singleplayer game.

Personally, I consider the genre something of a paradox. Why?

Because my "ideal" version of an MMO would represent a way to live my life - through playing - that's actually more appealing than real life overall. So, that would mean I'd either have to abandon real life to play - or I'd have to stop playing a game that was actually more appealing than my real life.

That's the paradox.

Obviously, this "ideal" version doesn't exist - and likely won't exist for many, many years. But I do see it as something that will eventually exist in the future. At least, I see it as very possible.

The question we need to answer - to prepare - is if virtual life can ever be as worthwhile as real life.
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December 15th, 2011, 14:16
I got a co-worker that was addicted to WOW for years and can't play it at all anymore. He's fine with multi-player and single-player games, but he says he won't ever touch another MMO ever.

I asked him why it was so addicting because I can't imagine playing a game for years on end. Hell I'm lucky if I can play a game for weeks on end let alone months/years, but he said pretty much what I figured. That he always wanted to get just a little further with his character or they'd release some more content that would suck him back in again. That happened a few times just when he was about to quit they'd have something new to offer.

I still can't relate to his addiction to the game. I've played WAR and D&D MMO. I can handle the D&D one every now and then, but I rarely play. It just doesn't appeal to me that much and WAR well that game just sucks big time. I wanted a roleplaying Warhammer game and what I got was horrible. It's worse than Mistmare and I think I'm the only idiot who bought that game.

Not saying I'm much better. I know I play a ton of games and much prefer the fantasy vs reality of life. That doesn't mean I live in the fantasy realms all the time. I go to work, make fun lessons for my kids, spend time with my girlfriend and all the other things that reality calls upon me to do, but I do love going back to my fantasy worlds wherever they happen to be on that give day. I vary it from games, books, movies, painting and even bullshitting on these forums. My life has never been better.

From what he's told me is that his life was going downhill when playing WOW. He couldn't stop. I sorta wish I could understand just so I can relate because we enjoy a lot of the same games, but when he talks about WOW it's like he's talking about loving baseball. I don't understand the attraction to that either.

Despite all my rage.
I'm still just a rat in a cage.
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December 15th, 2011, 14:33
Interesting.

For my part, it was a somewhat strange experience. Because ever since dying twice in Ultima Online and losing all gear - after investing dozens of hours - I decided the genre was a complete waste of time.

Oh, I tried pretty much all MMOs anyway - including Anarchy Online, Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest, Asheron's Call, Asheron's Call 2, and others. I try ALL games, really.

I always came away with the exact same opinion = timesink bullshit.

I played WoW beta - returning with the very same opinion.

So, why did I get addicted? Not entirely sure.

My GF and I were playing Diablo 2 and other games together. So, on a whim, I decided why not just try WoW for a bit of fun for a few weeks.

So, we got two copies and started playing. At first it was just as I expected. Fun without being anything special. But, for whatever reason, we kept playing. No, it wasn't the simplistic "carrot on a stick" that went over our heads. It was more a matter of the sheer quality of the game. Blizzard may be many things, but they're incredibly talented craftsmen. The world design, the atmosphere, the combat… Everything was pretty flawless.

Then certain features revealed themselves, that I wasn't actually aware of. I thought I had the genre 100% figured. But, to name one, I didn't know there would be instances in the game. I entered Deadmines with my GF - and I discovered a whole new aspect to the genre - that made it that much more appealing.

This happened more and more, and then we were just hooked.

After ~6 months, I think, I started realising what I was doing. The waste of it all - and I tried convincing my GF that we should stop playing, but she didn't see the point.

Before long, I lost my sister to drugs - and that turned out to be the beginning of a major downwards spiral in my life - as well as that of my GF. The game then became an escape in the truest sense. We logged on instead of going to work/school. We logged on instead of doing pretty much anything else.

I got addicted to becoming #1 DPS on the server - and… you get the idea.

That's how it happened to me. Fortunately, I got out of it years ago - and I haven't played an MMO on a level near that since. In fact, almost every MMO since that time has bored me senseless - just like it always did before WoW. Turns out I'm back to having the same opinion of the genre.

But, even so, there's something fascinating about sharing a good game and an immersive world with thousands of people. Even during my time with UO - I was madly in love with the CONCEPT of the MMORPG genre. I actually prefer the UO sandbox design to the themepark WoW design.

Which is kinda interesting, I suppose, because one would have thought I'd have gotten addicted to a game with a design I was more happy with.

But now I'm rambling….
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December 15th, 2011, 14:38
Just great. Right when they got me back into WoW with their free 7 days offer.

I'm not really a person to completely "get into" a game, min/maxing and trying to get the best gear. I was taking my time and enjoying it. The beta and some areas that I went through questing with 5-man parties consisting of guildies are stuck in my mind forever and raiding Molten Core with 40 players is among the best gaming experiences of my life.

I think I was an officer of the guild by then and we were dealing with recruitment and dealing with loot whores, etc. We're a friendly/casual guild and dealing with hardcore issues such as raid progression was a bit of a challenge, going through several guild merges, etc. I think that was the most addictive part for me, i.e. the social part. I'm still known as the WipeMaster 2000 (tm). The rogue that always forgot to stealth and wiped the entire raid…

Also, the time when I made a simple Eliza chat bot that could also quote from the entire Christian bible was great. On Crushridge I made a chat bot that responded to the incessant "ITA???" question on the Italian-infested realm. There was an annoyance level built in that got up to 3, upon which the auto-response would be, "Vaffanculo! No, I'm not Italian, figlio di putana!!" I got death threats from that one. Good times.

So, yes. One of the most important games of all time for me. These days, I can't really get back into it and feel I have lost touch.
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December 15th, 2011, 14:44
Oh, one other thing. My experience with Dark Age of Camelot, my first real MMO, was interesting, too. That feeling will never come back. This was a game that was already very mature, with the starting areas pretty much abandoned. Still, running around in the big world with other players (!) was magical. I still have flashes in my head from certain areas.

But really, all people did in that game was pick a spot and grind mobs. I wanted to crawl dungeons, yearned for adventure. The real lure of DAoC, of course, was the Realm vs. Realm massive multi-player, which I guess, is still among the best MMO PvP experiences out there. I never got to level cap and so I never was able to fully taste that.

But the MMO seed was planted.
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December 15th, 2011, 15:51
Being a rather anti-social type, I'm a bit surprised how DDO has taken over my gaming. Relying on other people to accomplish goals irritates me in real life, and then I volunteer to do it for entertainment, too? While I've tried to "keep hope alive" by tinkering with good single player games, they consistently get crowded out by DDO. It's been over a year since I've made a Wiz8 run, and that's just criminal. It doesn't really make a whole lot of sense.

Only thing I can figure is that it hinges completely on the folks you play with. I tried very hard to play DDO as a single player game. It will generally let you, but eventually it just doesn't work out very well. Too many skills to cover, and some quests simply can't be done. Our guild works out fairly well since it draws from a "safe pool" here at the Watch, but the 6 of us that run on Fridays have gotten very comfortable with each other and we've each adjusted our personal playstyle to better mesh with the team. I still won't run with strangers very often (which means I can't do raids), so maybe familiarity has made it so that I'm nearly playing a single player game with 5 chaotic and unpredictable extensions of myself (and much sympathy to my guildmates if their situation is similar and the fifth best chaotic and unpredictable extension they can round up is yours truly…).

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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December 15th, 2011, 15:53
No one in the world is anti-social in the sense that they want to be alone, so that makes sense.

I'm much the same way, actually. I find most people a bother in MMOs - because I don't like depending on others - and I especially don't like being held back by others.

I don't mind helping people, but it invariably means I end up helping 10x more than I get help - because I'm not the sort of person who asks for help

But when I play with real-life friends or guildies - I enjoy myself a great deal more than when I'm playing alone.
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December 15th, 2011, 16:14
I do wonder if part of the "unique fun" is exactly the chaos. Surprisingly enough, I tend to be extremely methodical in my single player gaming and I like it that way. Perhaps it's a perverse pleasure to subject myself to the chaos of others, particularly when it's a "safe" chaos.

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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December 15th, 2011, 16:15
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I do wonder if part of the "unique fun" is exactly the chaos. Surprisingly enough, I tend to be extremely methodical in my single player gaming and I like it that way. Perhaps it's a perverse pleasure to subject myself to the chaos of others, particularly when it's a "safe" chaos.
I guess.

I think it's as simple as the pleasure of sharing something that makes it unique. When you share a gaming experience, you take it from the mostly imaginary level to the mostly real level. It MEANS something, just like that.
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December 15th, 2011, 17:13
Well, you do get some of that "team victory" vibe and we've worked at it together long enough to develop that tribal identity. DDO helps foster that a little since it does require a variety of roles to be successful (the cannon, the trap monkey, the healer, crowd control, and so forth) and it's impossible to cover all the roles with a single toon.

That said, I don't understand people running a quest with strangers and still having a good experience. You just can't develop the tribal identity that quickly and it doesn't make for a social experience. Perhaps that's a better example of exploiting others for personal benefit?

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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December 15th, 2011, 17:21
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
Well, you do get some of that "team victory" vibe and we've worked at it together long enough to develop that tribal identity. DDO helps foster that a little since it does require a variety of roles to be successful (the cannon, the trap monkey, the healer, crowd control, and so forth) and it's impossible to cover all the roles with a single toon.

That said, I don't understand people running a quest with strangers and still having a good experience. You just can't develop the tribal identity that quickly and it doesn't make for a social experience. Perhaps that's a better example of exploiting others for personal benefit?
I can't tell you with any certainty, because I haven't quite figured it out myself.

But I have a theory, naturally

Seeing as how I'm such a keen student of humanity - I can't help but notice certain things.

One thing I've noticed, is that A LOT of people are actually so fond of being in the company of others - that they don't much mind them being strangers. You could call them social, I suppose

In fact, I've come to believe that some people actually rely on being accepted or "greenlit" by others to the extent that they'll do anything just to be among them - seeking approval.

Also, some people are just not comfortable alone - because they don't much like themselves. Ironically, some people prefer to be alone for the same reason.

It's all very complicated
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December 15th, 2011, 17:40
I've tried several MMO's such as WOW (at a friend's place) and DDO.

I keep running into the same problem. It just feels like there's no progression for me except for the leveling and getting better gear. I like story-development. And while the story isn't the most important I like to have some influence in it. This is why I loved playing the Gothic series. I had less fun with Oblivion and Morrowind as well because of being able to do everything (almost). I could join the Fighters' guild, the Thieves' guild …

I guess MMO's are just not for me.
I think I don't like having to team up with strangers to solve quests either.
Diablo II, while not good on Choice and Consequences was very good at letting you cooperate when you wanted and play alone too if you wanted…
Most MMO's have some quests, which are required to play in teams or are almost impossible if you don't.
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December 15th, 2011, 17:56
I don't agree mmos in general are dangerous, but their game mechanics can be. You see those same game mechanics (collecting/upgrading) reapplied to "social gaming".

Just did a small calculation for the 1.5 years I played WoW actively and I averaged about 4 hours each day that duration. By any account that would be regarded as slightly obsessive, but I stopped playing the game almost entirely towards the end of the first expansion pack because the game became uninteresting. Maybe I played it to death but I can't say I regret it. It was the most social "gaming experience" I've ever experienced and there are not many other places you get to experience the group dynamics of a large guild. I helped run some aspects of the guild and you'd be amazed by the complexities of all the personalities involved. There are no way to keep everyone happy, but all the "bartering" and conflict resolving that took place I think everyone benefited from. Just to note, this was largely a guild of groups of friends-of-friends across Norway.

What I can agree on is that games like WoW are detrimental to people doing university/college or have career-like jobs. Places where you don't have any spare time. If you have "a job" or is unemployed I don't see the problem.

note to self: dont derail
Last edited by hishadow; December 15th, 2011 at 18:54.
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December 16th, 2011, 18:49
I think MMO are designed to be addictive and I have to say I have been addicted to them as well. As JemyM say on the other thread, they are social contracts and you can't really decide when to play or "pause" the game.

I was addicted to EQ2 and WoW and found that my social life, profession life were suffering. So I quite and now been sober for nearly 1.5 years!

However me and my wife live far away from other members of our family and friends. We haven't really met other people with similar background (culture, race, politics, interests etc) to us to make friends in the new place. Due to this we sometime find ourself with free time and nothing to do! We do end up watching TV or reading books! I guess, is that better than planing MMOs? I guess you can "stop" watching TV or reading book whenever you want….
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December 17th, 2011, 12:39
I spent approximately 12,000 hours in Everquest between 2001 and 2006. It wasn't the gear that had me addicted as much as it was simply spending my days with people whose company I enjoyed. My entire life was at a standstill for that entire time.

Since then, I've played other MMO's but I'm very wary so as to not get sucked back in like that again. If that means I no longer socialize much and emphasize casual play as a goal, so be it.
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December 24th, 2011, 01:00
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I think I don't like having to team up with strangers to solve quests either.
Diablo II, while not good on Choice and Consequences was very good at letting you cooperate when you wanted and play alone too if you wanted…
Most MMO's have some quests, which are required to play in teams or are almost impossible if you don't.
There is a difference between PUG and guild raids/instances. First one is indeed "running with strangers" which can be entertaining and/or frustrating. The second is more akin (IMO) to the corporation with clearly defined roles and goals. And that can have a serious downside in the fact that running with a guild can (over time) cease being entertaining and become very much like work when you show up at appointed hour and do the same/similar things over and over again.
Last edited by zahratustra; December 24th, 2011 at 20:22.
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