Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Answer

A while back, about a month after I finished the Rank 14 PvP grind, a close, concerned friend of mine asked me what the fuss about this game was all about, and why I was spending so much time logged in. My answer wasn't short and to the point.

"Well, it's strange. I haven't played video games in quite a long time, but this one is good. It's like Castlevania meets Final Fantasy meets Zelda, all at their peak. Best game I've ever played."

He wasn't content with that answer. "Well, what is it exactly? What's the point?" he asked.

"Well, you level your character in dungeons and fulfilling quest objectives and what have you. Then when you are all leveled up, you beat the last bosses." I didn't really have a good answer, and my friend sensed the bullshit in that statement almost immediately. He's a lawyer, after all.

"You've played a while. Why haven't you beat the game yet?"

"Well, you can't really beat the game." I could feel the puzzled, almost embarrased look on my face. "It's just really fun to experience the content is all. It's a really well designed game." Cop out ftl.

"That doesn't really tell me what it is. What it's all about."

"I can't really say, to be honest. It's just fun." But that was a lie. The game wasn't all fun at that point. Spending 22 hours online, hitting the spacebar in AV half the time in order to out-Honor the AFKers was hardly a good time. Nor was half the time I spent raiding, in which drama seemed to be the main focus and not the game's content itself. Nope, "fun" was only half the matter, and so really, all I could truly give was a half-assed answer.

Until now.

What I realized today after a moment of crystal-clear epiphany isn't a good thing. Well, it isn't really a bad thing either, but it's definitely not positive. Infact, the whole idea of it all makes me a little more sad than it does happy, and a little more frustrated than content. Sure, it responds to the question my friend had asked, but it definitely doesn't provide a better answer to his question. One that he had asked almost one year ago.

So what is it that has taken me about 356 days to figure out? What is it that comprises the other half of the answer ass? What else is this game truly all about?

Disappointment.

This game is half fun, half disappointment. There's no arguing it. The fun aspect is obvious. The questing, the PvP, the items, the skills. Like I had said to my friend, the game is comprised of all of the best qualities of all of the best games before it.

The disappointing aspect, imho, is even more apparent and readily available to everyone that plays the game. It's in the drama, the unfulfilled expectations of your co-gamers, the loot you don't get, the boss you don't kill, the progress and content you don't see, the rating you can't achieve, and all the rest of the stuff that has lead to many temper tantrums, QQ posts, and /gamequits that we've seen over and over, time and time again. And there's one terrible aspect to the disappointments that make this game incredibly frustrating. They naturally happen.

The fun stuff, you have to work for, put time into, etc. The disappointing stuff, well, it's just there. Innate. Natural to the game's environment. If you stand around long enough, it'll slap you in the face. Yeah, even if you're active in all kinds of things, eventually, you'll have your moment. We're that engrossed in it. We are it's bitch.

So there it is. There is your answer, friend. WoW is fun and disappointment. That all makes sense now, right? Why people keep playing even when they seem incredibly miserable? The fun reinforces, so we keep coming back. The disappointing punishes, so we act like asses and kids. It all makes perfect sense.

What a game this is.

4 comments:

Zyphre said...

So the grand point of this post is..... hmm.

I am reminded of steven hawkings latest conclusions to his early questions... ;P

Six tha' seven tha' Hustle said...

I look at the game as a social/competitive structure.
The social part comes from kicking it with you guys and enjoying each other's company on vent and shit...the competitive part comes in trying to master a class in a pvp environment.

for me, there's nothing to beat, nothing to end it...and when i'm tired of it...i log off and pound out some white paste to nikkibee's pics.

but it lets me immerse myself when RL shit just gets to be too much bullshit. kinda like an escape i guess. I don't think it was meant to be beat, I think it was meant to just keep progressing. not sure tho.

but when i'm feeling magical i go play my lock...when i'm feeling brute-like, i go play my orc. when i had enough of this online bullshit...i just grab a beer, no matter what time it is and just hang back.

btw, im getting burnt out on druid/lock. it killing me atm. HELP ME NOW!

Anonymous said...

The game is designed to keep you playing. It is the carrot dangling from the stick that you will never truly reach. You get a nibble on occasion but you never get the carrot.

It exacts too high of a price for the enjoyment received. The massive time consumption required to truly accomplish anything meaningful (getting your nibble) places far too great a strain on the lives of the people who play the game. The best option, break the addiction, walk away and don't look back.

Anonymous said...

i'm coo with the nibbling
i think the secret is to define how much it means to you. get the priorities straight and you're looking good.

the HW grind took alot out of me, and if there was such a system in place again, i wouldn't do it. it's not that important to me anymore.
Real life is important also, things like job, friends, getting drunk and shit all needs a balance.
too much clubbing is no good.
too much drinking is no good.
too much warcraft is no good.
find that balance and it's all hookers and cheez whip.

addiction? pah! i welcome it, you can never test yourself if you don't have one. put yourself in that position and kick it's ass...you'll be a stronger person.
besides, i believe there always needs to be some kind of "fight" or else living seems kind of boring.

6tha7