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Casual Thoughts from a Semi-Retired Philosopher

I play MMOs as an alternative to TV. Sometimes it even turns into quality time with the girlfriend. Most of the time it's a distraction from doing something productive or meaningful.

Author: Hluill

A Response to a Response

Posted by Hluill Monday December 20 2010 at 8:33AM
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----Original Message----

 


 Keep in mind that most of us play MMOs to escape reality in one form or another. They are a form of entertainment and not a form of education - that's what school and real life experiences are for.


 


 I can understand you wish to see more reality in games but the reasoning behind seems to be a bit detached from the issue. In all honesty I think your own perception of reality has twisted a bit if you consider current MMO trends to be some sort of statement for social standards.


 


 If you are so keen to pursue your particular brand of reality why not experience it in the real world? After all, you said you are tired of living in a society that takes things for granted. This needs not to be so, but perhaps you too are more interested in facing this darker side of reality from the comfort of your home? It would explain the desire to see it in games.


 


 You have certainly already noticed others may not share this interest. I for one would rather see developers model their worlds after epic movies, such as lord of the rings, than reality. They haven't been particularly successful in this either.

 

-----------Response-----------

 

 

    All trends, not just MMOs, are a statement of social standards, from real-estate issues to liposuction.  As a civilization peaks, the things that make it great lead to its decay.  That's just the way things seem to work.  The fact that MMOs even exist; the idea that we need to "escape reality"; the need to avoid adversity; are all just signs of this loss.

The Lord of the Rings is a wonderful example.  Dr. Tolkien wrote a wonderful story, which barely mirrored reality, then somebody takes it and turns it into a flamboyant CGI spectacular, leaving out some of its more wonderful and grounding parts to make room for some really ridiculous battle scenes.  Then an MMO is made which tries to be like other MMOs but tries to capture some of the story, but it fails to capture what made the story great.

I am not going to bore you with my resume, but my perspective is based upon my real-world experiences, from splitting wood, to church work, to deployments.  Reality is a collection of perceptions, but we live in a world where we want to limit this perception.  Don't talk about starving children or slavery or brutality, let's just stay in our little bubble with the flowers and the bunnies. 

MMOs are just one more place where we don't want to bother with really knowing how things work.  They center on combat and crafting, yet they don't show how fights are won or how things are made.  Learning and striving are not limited to school.  All experiences, virtual or not, should promote growth.

I agree that my perspectives are twisted and that my opinions are dark (I prefer the term harsh).  I  understand that it is easier just to write me off and stay inside the bubble.  I understand that it's nice to take a break from the stress of the flowers and bunnies.  My escape is playing with my dog, or laughing with friends.  But the real world catches up with us all, sooner or later. 

 

   

 

Reality is subjective

Posted by Hluill Friday December 17 2010 at 8:39AM
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I know I have been playing too much when I rant about MMOs needing an injection of reality.  I find responses to my rants interesting, especially the ones telling me that MMOs aren't real and reality ain't fun so stop my whining.  I understand this arguement, but it misses some of my key points.

First:  Developers have a responsibility to be accurate.  If, for instance, bronze doesn't refer to a mixture of tin and copper, then they should use another word. They should show how this stuff is actually found and processed.

Second:  Being in combat doesn't make one tougher.  If anything, it makes one smarter about avoiding combat.  Veteran fighters learn skills that allow them to end fights before they have begun.  Combat shouldn't be about who can take the most damage.  An attack is either effective or not. 

Third:  Gear doesn't make one uber and it doesn't care how powerful one is.  Armor is just as effective on a cherry as it is a veteran, as long as she knows how to wear it.  A rock can be just as lethal as a sword crafted by Paul Chen.  I have said it once, and I will say it again:  the first rule of combat is that anybody can kill anybody.  there is no special dispensation for experience or skill or morality.

Why do I want to see more reality in MMOs?  Because I am tired of living in a society that continues to take things for granted.  I am tired of people, who have never been in a fight, representing how combat works, how the world, which they haven't really seen works.  How many people actually know what a mine or lumber mill looks like?  How many of us see the populations enslaved so that we can have our diamond rings and cell phones?  How many of us even know from whence our food or electricity comes?  We are are all part of a civilization, filled with comforts, that continues to seperate us from how life really works, from the stuff that has true meaning.

These games are about playing heroes, but we really don't know what a hero looks like.  In these games they are represented by superhumans in tricked out gear, the blood of thousands of lives on their hands.  Am I placing too much on the shoulders of game developers?  Sure I am, but  I see these virtual worlds as an opportunity to educate us as well as entertain.  Reality is fun.  Those that disagree might need to be reminded of those times when they received a drink of water when they were thirsty, or a hug when they were distraught.  Fun is about overcoming adversity, not about avoiding reality.