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Nytehauq

World of Warcraft: Ultimate excess of a consumerist society?

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An interesting thought dawned on me while I was considering the merits (or lack thereof) of the gameplay of World of Warcraft, which is, as most of you should know, the most popular MMORPG ever. Alot of people tend to make the fallacy equating financial success with merit: WoW is an example of a "good" game with "good" gameplay because it is popular. I present an alternative theory: World of Warcraft is popular because it capitalizes on the excesses of a consumerist and materialist society in the U.S. and mass-mentality in regions like China. It is an affable game, easy to get into, and provides a very simple reward mechanism: do things to get things that make you more "powerful," without any thought put towards the merits of the things you do: the ultimate point is to get "things," not to do things. To use a fairly inappropriate analogy: human sexuality experts often suggest concentrating on the experience of sex instead of the "reward" of orgasm. So, what is a game like WoW? An empty orgasmic experience; a destination with no journey, a false reward with false effort put in. It is an undeniably alluring method of garnering playerbase, especially in a society that focues almost exclusively on material reward. Guilds replace corporations, raids replace business and production industry, the elite and aristocratic have the power and control and the majority refuse or are unable to invest enough to achieve the material rewards they expect to want, only failing to realize the cyclical nature of the product: Everyone's trying to get all this cool gear and "stuff," only to try and get the cooler gear and "stuff" the next time around ad-infinitum. Seven and a half million people buy into it: why? Because people like pretty things and "getting" stuff. World of Warcraft is successful for the same reasons as pulp movies and cheap made for TV specials, save for the fact that World of Warcraft is relatively of a higher production quality than most of its competition in the MMORPG market, yet, when compared to the larger video-game market, is as poor in that department as the next MMO title. So, the purpose of this rant? Don't try and emulate World of Warcraft in your design. There will be many immitators, they will all inevitably fail. Yet, not only is imitation futile: it's bad. World of Warcraft is not a GOOD game. It is an ends-based illusion of efficacy and accomplishment. If you want to do something worthwhile, design a game worth playing for the gameplay, not for the reward at the end of the tunnel, and figure it how to market it to the world we live in. Make it an MMO for all it matters, just don't let possible good design corrupt into piles of immitative and shallow nonsense.

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Christ in a basket, I really think they need to rename this forum from "Game Design" to "Whining about World of Warcraft". Here are a few things to consider:

1) Stop being bitter about WoW. Just let it go. I don't know whether you're one of the people who played it for 3 years and now feel like they lost all that time of their lives, or you're pissed off that everyone you know thinks WoW is great but thinks your "good" MMO idea sounds boring, but either way, just let it go. Play something else, and stop pulling your hair out over something that really doesn't matter that much.

2) WoW is a computer game. It is not some sort of political movement that is meant to bring world peace and feed starving people in Africa. Of course it's a luxury that is only possible in affluent capitalist societies. So are all video games. So is that $300 monitor you're staring at, and that Playstation in your living room. If you are trying to bring down capitalism and rally the working class to revolution, then making video games is the last thing you should be doing.

3) It's not really a "fallacy" that WoW has "good" gameplay, because the word "good" doesn't have a concrete meaning. For most people, especially publishers, "good" does mean "popular". You personally might think something that everyone else thinks is good is really bad, but that only makes it bad to you, not bad in general.

4) No matter how much you argue, you will not get people to stop having orgasms, and you will not get people to stop playing WoW.

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problem is, if you want to pull a profit (or even stay in business) you have to go the WoW way... if you just want a "good" (or even "great") experience, you have to create and/or play one of the text-based MUDs/MUSHs/whatevers.

never expect the "best" from something that is the biggest money maker. humans on average are just average after all :) think about this the next time you eat at mcdonalds.

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I'm sorry that the masses aren't as sophisticated as you are.

Or, maybe... people don't care about some nuanced "deeper meaning" in games, they just want to enjoy themselves.

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Quote:
Original post by Nytehauq
Don't try and emulate World of Warcraft in your design. There will be many immitators, they will all inevitably fail.

Why would failure be inevitable? WoW succeeded, since 7,5 million people think it's fun, so why would they think other similar games are boring?

So maybe WoW isn't good, but it's success indicates it's the best currently available. If you think you can do better, please do so: 7,5 million people (or more) will thank you for it.
Until then, posts like this have little use for any of us.

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Quote:
Original post by Nytehauq
An interesting thought dawned on me while I was considering the merits (or lack thereof) of the gameplay of World of Warcraft, which is, as most of you should know, the most popular MMORPG ever. Alot of people tend to make the fallacy equating financial success with merit: WoW is an example of a "good" game with "good" gameplay because it is popular. I present an alternative theory: World of Warcraft is popular because it capitalizes on the excesses of a consumerist and materialist society in the U.S. and mass-mentality in regions like China. It is an affable game, easy to get into, and provides a very simple reward mechanism: do things to get things that make you more "powerful," without any thought put towards the merits of the things you do: the ultimate point is to get "things," not to do things. To use a fairly inappropriate analogy: human sexuality experts often suggest concentrating on the experience of sex instead of the "reward" of orgasm.

So, what is a game like WoW? An empty orgasmic experience; a destination with no journey, a false reward with false effort put in. It is an undeniably alluring method of garnering playerbase, especially in a society that focues almost exclusively on material reward. Guilds replace corporations, raids replace business and production industry, the elite and aristocratic have the power and control and the majority refuse or are unable to invest enough to achieve the material rewards they expect to want, only failing to realize the cyclical nature of the product: Everyone's trying to get all this cool gear and "stuff," only to try and get the cooler gear and "stuff" the next time around ad-infinitum.

Seven and a half million people buy into it: why?

Because people like pretty things and "getting" stuff. World of Warcraft is successful for the same reasons as pulp movies and cheap made for TV specials, save for the fact that World of Warcraft is relatively of a higher production quality than most of its competition in the MMORPG market, yet, when compared to the larger video-game market, is as poor in that department as the next MMO title.

So, the purpose of this rant?

Don't try and emulate World of Warcraft in your design. There will be many immitators, they will all inevitably fail. Yet, not only is imitation futile: it's bad. World of Warcraft is not a GOOD game. It is an ends-based illusion of efficacy and accomplishment. If you want to do something worthwhile, design a game worth playing for the gameplay, not for the reward at the end of the tunnel, and figure it how to market it to the world we live in. Make it an MMO for all it matters, just don't let possible good design corrupt into piles of immitative and shallow nonsense.


You're right so simply ignore the above posts as those are made by people whose opinion clearly is based on wrong facts/assumptions.
EDIT:
A games success must never be measured in how many people bought/played it rather on how people felt when they did play it.
So if you can get everyone who loves an MMORPG to say WoW is the best through history that doesn't make the game great.
Just look at all great games that never got those huge sellings, are they bad becuase people are dumb enough to trust grand screenshots and loads of commercials?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The OP is spot on IMHO - I don't know why most of you have replied so scathingly.

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try to aske theese 7.5 millions of people, how long did they played it?
i think most of it only heard about it.
i dont know from my experience, but WoW was highly medialized in its beging, so most people heard about it, some of them played it form few months, and some of this some actualy actively play this game for some time .
everything is IMO. i never played WoW.

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I play world of warcraft. I like world of warcraft. I enjoy the history and the plot lines of the world of warcraft. I believe in its heroes and i dispise its anti-heroes. I enjoy the anticipation and fear of the opposing faction watching and waiting to strike at a time of weakness as i make my in game income.

Is world of warcraft a good game?

since wow has been open to public, i have noticed a decline in games i can enjoy. so maybe its true when people say its because all the developers are playing wow.

If you cant beat them, join them.

how do you compete with a game with 7.5 million players. with a large portion of the market already gone that doesn't leave a lot for the rest of the developers trying to make a living.

Has WOW killed the industry?

easy answer no. It has raised the bar yes. Its going to take a special game to stop people from playing wow. Sure the developers of today are going to have a tough time with a player like wow in the game, but the developers of tomorrow now have this huge giants shoulders to stand on.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Some people enjoy chess, others football and yet others tennis and millions of other ways to pass time. Most of these people don't try to find faults and blame in what others do as it's not really contributing to anything. On the other hand there's those who like to pass their time by complaining on others, obviously.
How's about letting people decide what they want to do themselves ?

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