Hmph, i am not sure where to begin and I am likely to get off track, but this change is one that applies not only to the virtual worlds, but also to the real world in many aspects. As the times change and we continue to expand the overall reach of our knowledge at the cost of depth, society begins to lag behind the times.
Picture it as a party where each member has a general idea of what to do, instead of having two experts and three novices (or something of that sort). Since there is a general idea, or common knowledge within the group pertaining to the "pattern" needed to complete the task at hand, one would expect the group to move faster through the steps, to create a greater challenge, rather than stay at the pace of the group where the members need to be constantly updated with the next step in the pattern.
Now picture this, a full group where everyone has a general idea of what to do, while the party leader is an "expert" at the task at hand. Regardless of what you are capable of possibly doing, he constantly stops and limits the speed at which the group progresses just because they do not know the exact steps by memorization.
From greatest to least the rate at which the groups complete the dungeon are as follows:
Expert + General Idea
Experts + Novices
Now wait a second, that doesn't seem right does it? That the party with the "General Idea" was able to complete the objective faster than the group with the "Expert + General Idea"?
That is what happens when limits are placed upon others for lack of knowledge pertaining to a certain area.
It is not about how MUCH you know, it is about how quickly you can learn it.
Society is no longer a competition of who can create the most masterful object or idea, but who can create the most masterful object the fastest.
I've visited my Grandfather on a few occasions, and the seriously slow rate at which a lot of old people can adapt astounds me. I got him a DVD player to watch his favorite TV series on, because they stopped producing VHS long ago. After three months of owning it, he still could not understand it.
I had to write step-by-step instructions with pictures for him to even be able to use it!
Compare that to a kid who just got an itouch, unlike any other electronic he has had before, and within a little under fifteen minutes he knows it inside out!
Here is where Role-Playing comes into play. Back in the early 90's and 80's the average knowledge base of a person was still rather narrow in comparison to a person today( By this I mean the diversity of knowledge the average person was able to communicate on a daily basis ). Sure you had books, which were, and still are GREAT sources of information. The only issue with them is, to obtain the whole picture or solidify the foundation of your knowledge in that subject area, you had to read the whole book.
Most of the hardcore gamers back then (correct me if I am wrong) were those who actually took the time to do serious fantasy reading/ pen and paper games like dungeons and dragons. Both very, VERY time consuming, but also highly rewarding in the end. I personally have not had the chance to experience a D&D game myself, I have the rule books, i've always wanted to, but no one seems to have the attention span anymore. Great things can be said from what it is I have heard about D&D. Some may say it is weird, some geeky, but they just say so due to the complexities behind it.
The Transition Begins
As more people began to pour into the "gaming" world thanks to the evolution of console games, they did not take the time to go into the complex worlds, but instead wished to just play for short-periods of time for convenience. As the gaming market began to grow and grow, the percentage of "hardcore gamers" began to shrink, the majority of the gaming industry began to see profitability in areas branched off from the roots.
Albeit a select few remained creating for those "hardcore" gamers, after not being able to keep up with the current rising costs of game creation, these companies began to dwindle down.
After a console game was beaten once, there really wasn't much of a reason to replay it, unless you really liked it. Thus, more games were purchased.
Games began to become faster and faster paced, and shorter story-line wise and total game play wise, but little did the majority of the gamers know the underlying irony in their actions.
With little effort comes little gain
As this "Craze" began to spread through the MMORPG industry and society alike, the true joy of commiting to something was lost, while many minute joys were gained.
It's like instead of picking the option to have a delicious home made dinner, society picked a medicore faster way of obtaining food. A.K.A Fast Food
This mindset can be spread across all the boards of humanity also:
How to Program in 24 hours
How to Lose Weight in 24 hours
How to Play Guitar in 24 hours
How to Get to the Max Level in 24 hours
What ever happened to the joy in playing a game just to play one? Now the masses have the mindset when they see a game, "I can't wait to beat this game!1!11!"
Now, wait a second, if you beat the game, what is next? Beat another game? And then another?
It's a neverending loop that will continue to repeat itself so the companies in America will just get money. Forget the true spirit behind gaming, forget that we are even talking about gaming.
Was the thirty minutes you saved by eating fast food worth lowering the standards of the food you could eat?
Or differently worded; Would you settle for a life of mediocrity just to "Save time" that you will end up wasting somewhere else?
By the new massive influx of gamers choosing instant gratification over gratification gained through effort, they dug a neverending hole for themselves, by means of constantly having to search for more "instant gratification". The game companies had nothing to complain about since everyone wanted it and continued to buy game after game. So in essence Role-playing was lost because of a misconception that "instant gratification" was true gratification.
Leetsauce93: LOLZORS What are you doing?
Newplayer1: Killing turtles?
Leetsauce93: Y dont U have a weapon on?
Newplayer1: Where do I find a weapon?
Leetsauce93: LOL NOOB!!!
(Leetsauce93 walks away)
Newplayer1: .....Well, this is pointless if people are going to be like that...
(Newplayer1 logs off)
Another tragic side effect caused by the loss of a depth based society is the increased tendency to steer away from meaningful relationships with other humans (true friends, whatever you call em). People have subconsciously forgotten the benefits that will come after establishing a strong friendship with someone, so instead they just troll around to get instant gratification via acknowledgement by the people they are trolling.
These people may be laughing at their house, but they will never truely understand the depth at which joy permeates the mind and soul because they have the mindset "It's funny to see their reactions".
Once again an example of "A little now" vs. "A Lot Later".
More to come....