Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:23 am
KingAl wrote: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.
It is widely acknowledged that addiction is bad and that drugs can have a terrible toll on a society. Thus those who provide addictive substances are putting their own personal gain above those of others and society, which is terrible. It is also widely accepted that taking drugs is wrong. However you specifically say that gamers are not at all wrong, only the makers. If you want to argue games like WOW are bad, you have to also blame those that play them. Otherwise your argument makes no sense; it is just a rather silly rant against a games you don't like.
KingAl wrote: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.
And? The work/reward process is part of what makes it fun. Fun is relative and you if you don't have some less fun moments the fun times will not be so enjoyable. Like any good novelist will tell you have to have low points to make the high points worth it.
Also, WOW isn't just XP farming. There is a lot of PvP and raiding.
KingAl wrote: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.
But gambling isn't bad in and of itself. We all gamble everyday in some form or another. You call these things bad, but never specify how they are so bad. You never say why one drive, reward, is any worse than another, emotional stimulation. People get addicted to emotional stimulation too you know. What do you think soap operas are? Your argument is so far just a thin shell you are trying to hide you dislike of games like WOW behind. You may even believe this shell is meaningful, but I have yet to see any meaning in it.
What I think you are trying to point out is that people can become addicted to games like WOW and spend hours upon hours playing them. People can do this to an unhealthy level. This is certainly true. However, that is not the fault of the game, but of individuals. Some people drink too much, but brewers and distillers aren't too blame for that. There are plenty of us who enjoy drinks without going too far. The same is true of virtually anything. There is almost always someone who will indulge too much in whatever it is. You can only blame the source if they are knowingly exploiting people's unhealthy dependence. There is no evidence Blizzard is exploiting anyone, so I don't see any reason for criticism in that regard.