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In My Understanding

An old school gamer discusses the challenges facing the MMORPG community and it's leaders.

Author: jesad

Assertion - If Socrates worked for the MMORPG industry he would be a marketer.

Posted by jesad Monday March 3 2014 at 4:16AM
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I come up with the dumbest things sometimes.  So here goes.

Assertion - If Socrates worked for the MMORPG industry he would have been a marketer. 

Proof - I submit to you the Allegory of the Cave.

To make a very long story short.  Socrates believed that in the perfect state the enlightened person was duty bound to enlighten others.

In his "Allegory of the Cave" he tells the story of a person, formerly of a group of people who have been held captive for their entire lives in a cave facing a wall upon which only shadows had been cast, being released and taken up into the real world and shown the reality of things.

In his story Socrates states that it would be preferable to the master of said individual, if the goal of the master was to have a perfect situation where he could rule over a smarter class of captive, to have this released captive return to his fellow captives, whether he liked it or not, whether it was safe to or not, and enlighten those other captives with the knowledge that he, the primary captive, had been enlightened with.

That was kinda deep huh?  Yeah, ole Socks was like that.

My question though is how would that theory assure me dominance in a situation where my ability to learn is the only thing that sets me apart from everyone else?

You get where I'm going with this yet?

See, in an MMORPG it is usually the smartest guy who gets to be the most powerful.

Sure, sure, there are legions of folks who, upon being enlightened by the smarter guys, will be able to see a lot of things.  But at the end of the day, all things being equal, at the very best they are only following.

It is true in every game you play.  There are people who get into the game and figure things out and then there are people who, 5 minutes after installing the game onto their machine (if they even wait that long), immediately rush to the very first website they can find and look up the best way to get things done, these so-called "best ways" usually having been written by the exact same guys who figured them out.  Namely QA testers, Developers, Beta Testers, and of course Marketers.

Why then, among all of these different roles would I apply the role of Marketer to Socrates then?

Here's why.  Because of all of the other titles, QA tester, Developer, Beta Tester, and Marketer, only the marketer has a vested interest in making sure that the folks who aren't smart enough to recognize what a great product the game that said marketer is marketing is.  The QA tester gets paid whether the game does well or fails.  Of course if the game fails they may not continue to get paid, but most QA testers are nowhere near as involved with the future to be thinking this deeply from day to day as they are, a lot of the time, in caves of their own waiting for someone to come and enlighten them.

No, the QA tester will instead take the knowledge that they have gleaned from their exposure to the sun and use that to "own" people or build great empires within the games that they have tested.  That is if they can even stand to look at the thing for one more second after it is released.  More often than not though the QA tester will just be happy that said game is out the door and that they will get to look at something new for the next 6 months to a year of their lives, even if that new thing is just an update to the old thing.

So no.  Socrates allegory of the cave does not fit the QA tester.

The developer.   Well yes, he has a vested interest in enlightening people to how cool his or her game is.  But they aren't going to do anything about it.  I mean come on, even God has Angels and Prophets and stuff right?  Who has time to create the world and sell it too?

No, Developers spend more of their time doing the exact opposite of enlightening people to how cool their game is.  See, Developers are on some whole different kind of stuff.  Where they know that the more you know about their game equates to the less time you will put into figuring out there game.  So instead of hipping you to the ins and out of how to play the game, which in turn might show you how cool and in-depth the game really is, the developer spends most of their time breaking the things that the enlightened person has enlightened you with, thus facilitating the captivity of all audiences both enlightened and those still sitting in the dark.

The Beta-Tester comes closest but not so much because they are vested but more because Beta-Testers love to show other Beta-Testers how much smarter they are than the other. 

In this way the Beta-Tester becomes the "tool" of the marketer by disseminating the information put forth by said marketer much in the way that the guy who used to be chained to his friends in the basement comes back down and tells those same friends how messed up it is that they have been chained up in the basement this whole time.

The test of this truth relating directly to how the Beta-Tester is received when attempting to tell his fellow captives .....I mean Beta-Testers that the game is cool in spite of said fellow beta testers own assertions, because they do not understand the game, that the game sucks.

In the Allegory of the cave the captives decide, because the guy who comes back down to enlighten them, because his eyes are no longer adjusted to the darkness of the cave, can no longer name the shadows on the wall that they have all been looking at for their entire lives, that the guy has somehow been weakened by his trip to the surface, and not only choose to ignore his enlightening words, but actually get pretty nasty about the whole thing and threaten to put to death anyone who attempts to untie another captive and subject them to such a fate.


So no, Socrates would not be a Beta - Tester.

A marketer though!  A marketer has a vested interest in making sure that everyone, smart, dumb, old, young, male, female, whoever, thinks that their game is the best thing since ......well since sliced bread!

You thought I was gonna say WOW didn't you?  Gotcha!

The marketer then has the task of taking any information that might have been bled down from development or discovered by QA or the Beta -Tester and making sure that EVERYONE knows it!

The marketer does not care if this means that the Beta-Tester or that one or two highly disturbed QA testers won't be able to get a jump on the rest of the players on opening day because the marketer probably isn't even going to PLAY that game.

Long after the dissemination of every bit of information that would have made the game a mystery to behold has been leaked, put out via manipulation, interviewed out of developers, or just plain outright released in Adobe.PDF format for mass consumption, the marketer will still be marketing some other game, while the entire population of the game in question will still be struggling to find some form of differentiation in a world where everyone starts out, plays through, and ends up equal.

This is the purpose of the Marketer much like it was the purpose behind Socrates insistence that those who had been brought up from the cave and shown the light be made to return to that cave, even under the threat of death, to enlighten others because that's how they would be more willing to remain the poor slaves of a rich master instead of having to return to the life of a captive in a cave full of shadows.

And that's what you call your e-peen.  It is the badge of honor that you wear that proves that, even though you are still a total MMORPG addict in some way, shape, or form, you at least know your stuff and can stand among other MMORPG addicts and hold a conversation.

And all that is because Socrates is all up in your body like Scotty back when Scotty was just a Star Trek based name for a drug.

So in conclusion.

I believe that if Socrates worked for the MMORPG industry he would have been a marketer.  I believe that I have proven this fact by A. Presenting a belief of Socrates, in his own words, that reinforces this fact.  B. By elaborating on the ways in which I feel this belief reinforces that fact.  C. By demonstrating how this belief does not apply to other members of the MMORPG industry. And finally by D. Proving that, in the end, much like the Philosopher Kings of Plato's Republic, it is the marketer, not the publisher, who gets to laugh all the way to the bank while all of the others operate at some level of investment and/or risk.

At least, that is how it is in my understanding.

(Man, what in the world is this dude's problem? /pointing at self)

See you in the games.



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