Stewsburntmonkey wrote:So basically giving people what they enjoy is bad. . . What a ridiculous idea.
The ridiculous idea is that everything that people enjoy is good. People enjoy gambling, and smoking. People enjoy taking illicit drugs. You can't entirely blame those who are addicted to these things for being attracted to the chemical effects of these things, particularly if they aren't labeled as bad by society - but this makes those who supply these services particularly reprehensible: they're exploiting a human weakness.
Stewsburntmonkey wrote: Quite, it's worth is in it's entertainment value (and perhaps artistic value). However you dismissed games like WOW because they were so entertaining. Not every film can be an art film and not every game is going to be some deep introspective creation (few in fact are).
No, I did not dismiss them as entertaining. Let's forget the 'games can be art' angle, because at the current point its just confusing the issue. Essentially, elements of MMORPGs such as WoW cosist of things like 'XP farming'. First things first, this process alone isn't fun - ask any WoW player and they'll tell you it's laborious: you cannot compare it to mindlessly entertaining films. However, they still do it, because they seek the reward.
Stewsburntmonkey wrote: However, you just got done calling reward a weakness. The two ideas are rather contradictory. You're not making a very consistent argument here.
Alas, you're merely misunderstanding my argument. Evolution is not a perfect process. Attributes which are advantageous survive, even when they are a disadvantage in a different context. Many people would consider religion a good thing - it brings people together, supports them emotionally in times of need etc., but at the same time the exact same thing leads to bloody wars. Physical addiction is a similar example: the body ceases to produce certain chemicals because they are being provided by an external source - a logical, useful process which ensures that when certain products are in abundance the body doesn't have too much of it and stop functioning properly. However as a result, if the external source - e.g. an illicit drug - ceases to provide the chemical, the body reacts violently: hence withdrawal symptoms and physical addiction.
So yes, the innate human tendency to seek gratification is
a weakness. Gambling relies on the reward systems: people expect reward and so they continually stick more coins in the pokies and pull the lever. The drudgery of 'XP farming' is comparable to gambling, though less directly destructive: it isn't a fun process, it merely plays on people's drive for reward. This is
exploiting a human weakness, just as much as gambling is, and just because people choose to play it doesn't make this any less true: people choose to gamble, even when they know
that it's bad. Reward is
addictive - full stop. Appealing to reward is definitely lowest-common-denominator game design. Hence my objection.