Getting the gaming balance right

I wonder how raiding schedules will change in Cataclysm. The new systems implemented with emblem limits alongside the shared raid ID for 10 and 25s. I had dinner tonight with a very good friend of mine, with whom I’ve played WoW since launch. He’s quit.

The game is addictive, we all know that, and have to balance our desire to play against real-world obligations. We should balance it. At time in the past, I’ve been more dedicated to WoW. I still love it and it remains the only game I play. I just only raid once a week.

I wonder if the reduced requirement to raid so many nights a week will mean people will have a few more nights off for real-life. You will not have to play so much to feel like you’re keeping up the pace of raiding and emblems. People will genuinely have more freedom.

Some players always felt they had freedom, and this ‘requirement’ I talked about will be just mumbo-jumbo. This post is not talking to them so much, unless you’re a pretty bad addict anyhow.

More so, I’m talking to those players who had an obligation to raid many nights a week in order to do 10 and 25 man raids in ICC, possibly even a hard-mode ToC too. Previously, raiders had the eye-bleeding discomfort of ToC 10 and 25, normal and hard. That’s a lot of repetitive content, let alone the 5-man dailies.

My friend and I talked about the transition. What real-life skills he got from it (none really), what pleasure and pain it had been. What a lightening it felt to not want to play.

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9 comments to Getting the gaming balance right

  • cspenn
    Twitter: cspenn

    With no offense directed towards your friend, if he learned no real life lessons, then he was playing just for fun without an eye for learning from every experience.
    If you master the Auction House – truly master it – you have all the skills you need to do well on Wall Street. You know about buying into dips, about buy low/sell normal, arbitrage, shorting and loss leading, supply chains, and you’ll have hundreds or thousands of hours of practice before hitting the real life stock exchanges.
    Example: flask of the frost wyrm consumes icethorn, lichbloom, and frost lotus. When 3.3.3 came out, Frost Lotus became the cheap ingredient, for the cost of a frozen orb. The immediate rate limiting factors become the supplies of icethorn and lichbloom. Folks who managed supplies well suddenly got very rich.
    Now compare the real life equivalent. Apple moves 2 million iPads in 2 months and in their stockholder conference call they say that the production rate limiting factor is memory. Read up on Gizmodo.com for who makes the memory for iPads and we see it’s Samsung/Toshiba memory. As long as iPad demand stays high, that memory will be in high demand, and the stock of those suppliers will go up until demand levels off.
    Every time a cultural phenomenon is released from a market leader like Apple, it’s like an expansion pack release from Blizzard. If you know how to manage the Auction House in WoW, you can manage the real life markets, too.
    WoW has many, many, many lessons to impart, if only we’re aware enough to learn them.

  • Ben

    Did your friend quit _because_ of the upcoming changes, or did he quit for other reasons and you guys happened to be discussing the changes?

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      He quit because he had that feeling of “I’ve done all this before, and Cataclysm is a rehash of ideas I’ve played before, and… while I’m thinking about it, maybe i should do something else with my spare time”.

      He did not quit because of the mechanic/system changes, just from finally getting tired of the game.

  • Sazh

    I’m of the opinion that those caps will create a different kind of addiction, perhaps on the same group of addicts, perhaps on a different group of players who would then become addicts. Specifically, the “altoholics”.
    In Cataclysm it becomes easier to keep pace with the content, hence there’s a strong incentive for alt-lovers to gear up all their alts. On the other hand, people who only play one character may start finding that they have nothing in-game to do after finishing their weekly raiding schedule, and find themselves spending more time in real life.
    Some people just have a problem balancing their lives. I am one of those addicts. Not just games. I’ve been addicted to a lot of different hobbies. When I do, I neglect just about everything else in my life. I can already see myself gearing up at least three characters in Cataclysm.

    • Zao

      I hear you.
      I can’t pinpoint what exactly it is what makes WoW so addicting. I’m another one of those Altoholics (~550 days played over 5 lvl 80s and a few low level alts)
      Cata will continue the route WotLK started and make everything more casual friendly, which isn’t a bad thing per se. But it will draw more people into the “just one more level” course.
      And Gravity: I don’t know if you watched this weeks “Weekly Marmot”, but it touches a similar subject: “Raiding with a life”. Was quite interesting to watch, and Lore brought up a few interesting points.

  • BigKoala

    I first started playing WoW at a time in my life when my job as an engineering team lead was becoming almost entirely political.  WoW became addictive for me because success and rewards were based on doing things correctly. This is not always (I would even say rarely) the case at large multi-national firms.  Now that I’m retired, as the trauma of those last toxic few years in my career fades, I’m able to bring a much more balanced approach to WoW.  But for a while I was an addict in search of a world that was “controllable” and made sense, operating by understood rules.

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      That’s fairly profound. I see some similarities to myself in that.

    • Sazh

      Ah, enlightenment! I’m basically a science type who (due to bad advice and lack of character) went the commerce route in varsity. Graduated and found myself hating everything I know, while loving to do stuff I can’t do properly. (Programming and doing research.) It was too late for me to go start over (pride had me finding a job and becoming self sufficient asap). WOW rewards doing things the “right” way and a lot of the times there’s clear feedback that you’ve done it right. That must be why I love games. Games are designed to reward players after a challenge, and by playing games, we subconsciously trained ourselves to look at rewards instead of the actual achievement of completing the challenge.

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