Monday, January 14, 2008

WoW Temptations: Self-reliance

In the game people play a character who becomes more capable.

Some of this improvement is based upon equipment: a character will be a marginally more competent adventurer if it can get the next better weapon, armor, riding animal, etc. More significant is how many points of experience a character accumulates from finishing quests and defeating foes.

There is never a point in the game where a character absolutely needs to be slightly better to succeed. Any desire to have a slightly more capable character is a creation of the player, not part of the game itself.

In fact, most quests are designed for one character but players are encouraged and provided tools for teaming up others. If a character is teamed up with even one other then almost all quests become quite trivial.

This parallels real life. Marginal self-improvement is insignificant compared to have a few good friends who can help. If my car breaks down, my basement floods, or I lose my job then maybe learning or improving a couple skills will make a big difference in my quality of life, but for most people a support network of friends would be the immediate and pressing need.

Nevertheless, I hear many players wail, "If only my character had the next better such-and-such..."

Self-reliance can be a temptation. The game itself does not promote this vice, but it allows people with that desire in their heart constant opportunity to practice it.

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