Friday, December 14, 2012

Worgen Level 10!

I recently watched a documentary called Gamers. It focused on the types of computer games where people from all over the world (we're talking millions of people) log into one virtual world to play together. It's all in the realm of fantasy. Folks can purchase a whole new identity for a thirty-dollar box price and then every month pay a subscription to another universe. For some of these folks it was therapy. To others, their social life. To some it was an obsession as hard to crack as any clinical addiction. I've never played any of these games, shucks I never even played a round of Dungeons and Dragons, but I can understand the appeal. (Let's be honest, shooting arrows from horseback is what I do on Tuesday afternoons.) If someone told me in college I could do it from my dorm room with a million other people, I might have just.

I'm curious if any of you play these games online? Do you think they are a waste of time or another level of community? And how do they differ from following a blog like this and learning different personalities, names, and faces along the way?

21 Comments:

Blogger Glyndalyn said...

I do not play those games. I have too much to do. Barely have time to read the blog, but it is entertaining with some good ideas.
Now to hang out clothes.

The Phony Farm

December 14, 2012 at 1:41 PM  
Blogger maddie said...

Those are some good questions. My brother is really into games like that. For him it was his social life because he could play with all ages and groups of people and have a stimulated conversation which he couldn't get from peers his own age. I like them for a short escape, but sometimes I find books more fulfilling. In the end I find both very frustrating because I want to live the lives I read about or the one I play and there are little to no opportunities to do so.

I prefer reading your blog when it comes down to it because it is far more realistic and reality right now is more appealing as I'm trying to figure out my life. However, I think it has some of the same qualities where I'm trying to live vicariously through you and I usually refer to you when defending my dreams to prove it can be done and by a woman no less!

I dunno if that really answers anything. I'm sure there are more knowledgeable and articulate people on the subject who have also provided a response.

December 14, 2012 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger seagrrlz said...

To tell you the truth, I'm afraid to ever try that game or any of the other alternate reality/fantasy games. I spend A LOT of time in front of a computer for my job and I try to actually go outside sometimes,lol. I've seen quite a few people get sucked into them to the detriment of their jobs and relationships. I'm afraid it would suck me in too.

December 14, 2012 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger Alassel said...

I've played WoW since 2005, originally joining to play with my husband. He stopped playing midway through the last expansion, but since I am in a guild with a lot of friends and I don't play the other games he likes, I kept going. I've done everything from the original 40-player raid content to random pick-up group 5-player dungeons, as well as tons of solo content and achievements. I enjoy playing the game because I like the game itself, and because I am part of a great guild with lots of people who have become friends in real life (some local, some from afar). Especially if you raid and spend 6-10 hours a week with the same group of people (currently 10-player groups primarily), you get to know them and playing becomes mostly about hanging out with them with the bonus of going through the game content together.

I do think playing computer games can be a community, same as it can end up not being so. Someone who plays alone and doesn't do group activities won't get community benefits, whereas someone who does lots of group activities and is social in their guild definitely will. For me, blogs aren't very community-minded, perhaps because I tend to read entries once, perhaps comment, and then move on (and not return to see responses). However, for other people who follow fewer blogs or pick a couple to comment on extensively, I can totally see how it's a community for them. :)

Clear as mud, eh?

December 14, 2012 at 2:06 PM  
OpenID sadbhyl said...

I play Lord of the Rings Online and have since the game launched five years ago. I'm what's called a "casual gamer". I don't play every day for hours at a time, I'm not committed to getting all my characters up to the highest levels, but I do get a certain amount of satisfaction from it. Hard work has rewards in a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game), sometimes in ways that real life doesn't. My partner and I were in a kinship for a while, and we made some really good friends that way, but group politics reared its ugly head, just as it does in real life, and now we tend to play just the two of us.

It's not a substitute for real life, at least not for us. I still knit and write, cook and garden. But there are days when I just need to go somewhere not here. Middle Earth is as good a place as any. And I can tell you tonight, after everything in the news today, the orcs in Rohan are in for a very bad evening...

December 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM  
Blogger wanda barrett said...

My husband and I play Lord of the Rings Online (www.lotro.com) together. We have met some of the nicest people online and we really enjoy spending the time together.

Sometimes we catch ourselves chatting with each other online even though we are sitting here within spitting distance of each other. That might sound silly but it's a different type of communication so it lets us share other elements of our personalities. Because we are interacting with each other as well as the friendly folks online, I don't consider it a waste of time at all.

That said, I know that people can spend too much time online playing games (or on Facebook or in a million other ways). I think that says more about where they are in real life than it does about the media itself. It is possible to spend too much watching TV or even reading, or obsessing over another type of hobby.

You should know that not all games require an up front or mothly financial commitment -- many are Free to Play, so that you can get started for free. If you decide to play, look for an active community to join so that you get the fullest experience rather than just running around by yourself!

December 14, 2012 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger PansWife said...

I do not think they are like blogs or recreational web surfing. The problem with these games is some people seem to form an addiction to them and the urge to keep playing takes over their lives. I'm sure not everyone gets totally sucked in, but it's like a gambling addiction. Gambling (ie: game playing) stimulates the part of the brain that gets excited at expectation and anticipation. It's the high you get when you start to open a wrapped gift or go shopping for something you think you really want. The actual object is often less appealing than the process of thinking about the obtainment. These on-line games are usually set up to make you anticipate rewards and stimulation from your actions. It might go back to our hunter/gatherer days and how we are programed to keep looking for those nuts and berries, but these games keep the player feeling the high of anticipation and thus anchored to the role playing. I already waste enough time on the internet so I think I will avoid these types of games.

December 14, 2012 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Jedediah said...

I play roleplaying games in forums, if that counts. Not D&D, because I'm not into fantasy RPGs, but stuff like Cthulhu and 7th Sea (a swashbuckling adventure roleplaying game). And I play them with a weekly and a monthly group "in real life".
Both types are a community for me, on different levels of course. But I have met people through these games I would never have met otherwise and I socialise with them online and if possible offline. I guess it really is what you make of it - these (online) games have the potential to be a great community or a waste of time. But I tend to see them as a great chance to meet people.

December 14, 2012 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger Grant Wagner said...

I may be showing my age, but I remember when online games looked like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MUD1_screenshot.gif

I personally don't play them, as I do have the addictive personality, and I fear loosing myself to them.

December 14, 2012 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Esther Taylor said...

Hello,
Interesting - I just found your blog while looking for a new book to read (on Amazon)....found one of yours and started looking into it and found your blog.....a circuitous route I know...but here I am!

So I get here and see a WoW pic...Thought I would comment - Yes I play WoW!!.....I am in my 60's female and a grandmother - it is one of my Play time activities....I do not watch regular TV, (yes I have a TV) I do not go out to bars or restaurants or to see movies.

I LOVE books! I work at a regular job and WoW is my escape and relaxation. It is fun and something I can do alone for however much time I desire.....an hour at a time is usually good....everyone in our household plays as my SIL got us started.

Family comes first around here so none of us play a lot and the grandkids play on our accounts and not very often as they are too busy.....LOL

We long for some acreage and we are working on doing the 'dream'...working on our garden and trying to figure it all out.

Heroes are Will Allen and Joel Salatin and anyone else who is inspiring in this field of endeavor.

Now I am going to go check out your blog and books.

TY
Esther

December 14, 2012 at 4:01 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I've never played, mostly because being married with a child and plenty of animals, I have a lot of other things to do and don't really have time to spare.

However, I recently read this article:
http://www.thestar.com/living/technology/article/1290031--call-of-duty-and-world-of-warcraft-double-as-language-class

and I'm actually considering trying WoW out so that I can keep up my Spanish and interact with native speakers in a social way.

December 14, 2012 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger RamblinHome said...

My friends are big gamers, but I never got into it. Sitting in front of a computer too long makes me fidgety and then I feel like I should go build something in real life, or quilt or paint...something tangible. But I love listening to them describe their quests and talk about all the connections they've made with like minded people from around the world that they wouldn't ordinarily get to meet!

December 14, 2012 at 4:37 PM  
Blogger Mary Schroeder said...

I used to play WoW pretty seriously and then quit at the end of the last expansion. My husband still plays (we both played since the game launched). We have gotten close with the guild we are in and have even had real life socials. Usually it is once a year and either held in St. Louis or Chicago.
Currently play a round of D&D with friends every other sunday. We like to get together and have fun on sundays and play canasta or board games like 7th wonder, ticket to ride and Carcassonne on the other sundays.

December 14, 2012 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Bethany Nash said...

I have mixed feelings about MMOs. My husband and I play Guild Wars 2, which I enjoy. The problem for me is that it's so easy to use the game as a way to avoid other things. One reason I have this problem more with MMOs, (rather than tv, movies, or other games) is that certain in-game "events" are time-sensitive or scheduled. I find myself planning my day around a virtual experience. This is the same reason I stopped playing facebook games. I don't like who I become when I play them.

Now, all of that said, I do NOT think that this problem is the game's fault, the game creator's fault, or anyone in the gaming community's fault. This is MY personal problem, and if I didn't struggle with overusing an MMO as an excape mechanism, I would find something else.

December 14, 2012 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger Amy McPherson Sirk said...

MMORPG. I don't play as much as I used to but I'll probably log on over the winter break. It's fun. My daughter is the one who introduced me to it.

December 14, 2012 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

video games give me motion sickness =o(

December 14, 2012 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Lorie Hyten, adult services said...

In the middle of something else right now, but wanted to drop a line...I've been active in Second Life for about 5 years. I've made some good friends - friendships that carried over to real life.
Second life is a world created by its "residents," so it is an outlet for creativity. You will also find lectures, support groups, LIVE music, book disucssions. I love it. will write more ano hter time. storm moving in!!!

December 14, 2012 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger bree said...

I've never played one and don't believe I ever will. I choose not to go there.

December 15, 2012 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Sue Sullivan said...

My kids asked me to start playing WoW with them four years ago, after family friends introduced us to the game. I played for them at first, then helped them as they got better at it. They stopped playing about two years ago, which was just when my mom, their grandma, started playing in hopes that she could do something with them long distance. I play with my mom sometimes still. I really enjoy the multi-player aspect of the game, though I don't get as deeply into it as I could, because I don't have the time to commit to playing on a regular basis with guildmates. I hop on and off through the day, as I have free time (I'm a SAHM and we homeschool.)
My mom plays to keep herself learning; she worries that she will develop dementia like her mother did and she understands the value of continuing to learn new things and making new neuronal connections. I am less engaged with the game now, but I don't have any real desire to switch to another MMORPG. I play now the same way I'd play solitaire or watch TV, to fill down time or decompress, though WoW is far more complex and challenging than either of those activities and it is always fun to play with other people and make some fun, if temporary virtual connections.

December 15, 2012 at 6:48 PM  
Blogger Fernleaf said...

I've played wow since 2005, shortly after it came out for the first time and I've run the gamut from serious raiding to extremely casual solo play. I love the game for the possibilities it presents, the ability to do so many activities and get such instant gratification. Yes it can suck up a lot of time, and it is something that I personally have to be aware of how much time I'm spending doing it lest I neglect other obligations. But on the whole it's been very good to me and my husband. We joined a guild way back then that we're still in today and we include many of the long-term guildies as "real-life" friends who we would be happy to invite to dinner.

When we got married back in 2010 we invited many guildmates although most of them couldn't make the trip since they are spread out across the country. Although we play much less now with a little homestead of our own to keep up with and both working jobs we still keep in touch with many of our guildmates, old and current via facebook. We send out Christmas cards to them as well.

Games like WoW are really nice to have available for the escape that they provide, it's wonderful to come in after a frustrating day working around the house and be able to work out that feeling of frustration or anger on a host of pixels. Or to have the near-instant success of taking down a boss when your real-life goals seem to take forever to come to fruition.

That being said there is also the downside to MMO's: all those other people, which can sometimes be a help and other times just a pain in the rear.

December 15, 2012 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I started in SecondLife in 2007. I hate to say but it absorbed alot of my life at that time. I made many friends there, enjoyed exercising my design skills, and escaped into a "nicer" reality than I was living in. I did come to realize though, that it was an escape. I still go visit there every now and then just for something to do on a late night when I can't sleep. But I rarely visit there now. Real life is much more important and interesting than that.
I also played WOW for awhile. A friend of mine who lives very far away bought it for me so that we could hang out together even though we were more than 2000 miles apart. I enjoyed that for awhile but there is not as much of a feeling of community there. It is a fun game. But to me, it's not worth paying the monthly fee just to play every now and then when I can't sleep :)
I guess I've learned that even though they can be fun, they can be very addicting, they can divert your attention from what is really important in life, and they are not good for snuggling with at night lol.
BTW, I also played dungeons and dragons. I started that when I was a teenager in the early 80s. I would have to recommend old school AD&D version 1 or 2 hands down to any of the MMORPGs out there. Human interaction---face to face---is terribly undervalued it seems. MMORPGS are convenient, but they are just not the same. They require less imagination, less thinking, and less real interaction with real people.

December 17, 2012 at 2:03 PM  

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