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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. 

 

   

 

beregar writes:

Let me rephrase my comment: I don't think MMOs and MMO developers are making any sort of *intentional* statement about social standards.

You brought up a lot issues and I agree many of them are very important. I just think you are using a wrong medium to bring attention to these... or perhaps correct medium but wrong place.

You wish to bring "harsh" reality into a place that people use to escape said reality? Raising awarness is all good but how many are willing to pay for a chance to experience a game that is too real? At what point it goes too far? Why would we wish for something that "bursts the bubble" and would probably make us feel bad about what we are doing? Especially when there are alternatives that don't do this?

As to Lord of the Rings. What exactly do you think it is that the movie missed? Personally I thought it was very entertaining. Action, beautiful scenery, and all kinds of fancy stuff without getting philosophical about it. All good in my books. Philosophy has its place but you will have hard time selling it to people who are looking for entertainment.

You state your escape is playing with your dog, or laughing with friends. Why exactly do you play MMOs then? To face reality? That would be... strange... or is it just that you wish to mess with escapes of other people? To force people to "see the light"? Whether they wish it or not?

I agree with some of the issues you have (i.e. terminology issues or rats dropping chests) but I don't share the reasoning behind them. If the reasoning is to educate people about "harsh reality" that is. :)

- B

Mon Dec 20 2010 12:03PM Report

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