Wednesday, May 28, 2008

play up play up

Mogwai is cutting down the time he spends playing World of Warcraft. Twenty hours a week or less now, compared to a peak of over 70. It's not that he has lost interest—just that he's no longer working his way up the greasy pole. He's got to the top. He heads his own guild, has 20,000 gold pieces in the bank and wields the Twin Blades of Azzinoth; weapons so powerful and difficult to acquire that other players often (virtually) follow Mogwai around just to look at them. In his own words, he's "e-famous." He was recently offered $8,000 for his Warcraft account, a sum he only briefly considered accepting. Given that he has clocked up over 4,500 hours of play, the prospective buyers were hardly making it worth his while. Plus, more sentimentally, he feels his character is not his alone to sell: "The strange thing about this character is that he doesn't just belong to me. Every item he has he got through the hard work of 20 or more other people. Selling him would be a slap in their faces." As in many modern online games, co-operation is the only way to progress, with the most challenging encounters manageable only with the collaboration of other experienced players. Hence the need for leaders, guilds—in-game collectives, sometimes containing hundreds of players—and online friendships measured in years. "When I started, I didn't care about the other people. Now they are the only reason I continue."

Rage against the machines, Tom Chatfield on gaming in Prospect

1 comment:

"Post-Google" by TAR ART RAT said...

My roommate for freshman year of college was very very quiet, he had no friends and seemingly no desire for social interaction whatsoever. From day one he sat in the corner of the room playing the newly released Nintendo 64 on a 13-inch monitor which was never more that 18 inches from his face for most of the schoolyear. When Zelda came out he beat it in just a couple of days (despite the 40+ hours of real time it takes to navigate IF you already knew all the goals and secrets.) Overall, I found this to be very creepy- it was like living with a robot, we had very little interaction, it was impossible to start/engage him in conversation because all of his answers were one-syllable *ribbit*s. Finally one day we started playing together: Goldeneye and Super Smash Bros. mostly, but it was the only way I could get him to talk- when we were yelping, cheering or bemoaning our success in these games... if he ever got into one of these role-playing games I am sure he has millions of friends-in-arms by now...