Brand Loyalty (was Re: [MUD-Dev] Requirements for MM (wasComp lexities of MMOG Servers))

holding99 at mindspring.com holding99 at mindspring.com
Wed Jan 29 22:48:03 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


At 10:33 AM 1/23/2003 -0600, Robert Zubek wrote:
> From: holding99 at mindspring.com [mailto:holding99 at mindspring.com]

> Hi T.H.!

Hello! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, but RL happens.

>> Personally, I don't think RL treadmills and game treadmills are
>> so different. In each case, we compare ourselves with others to
>> rate the quality of our achievements. In each case, we assign
>> substance and importance to the results of the effort. Real life
>> treadmills are 'meaningful' and 'have vast and serious
>> consequences' to some people, just as game treadmills are
>> 'meaningful' and 'have vast and serious consequences' to
>> others. I have known people who have considered suicide because
>> they lost something they valued in a game. You might respond,
>> "Yeah, well, they have issues." and you'd probably be right. But
>> value is always by perception, and it's impossible to generalize
>> that one class of treadmills is more valuable than other.

> Whoa, are you really claiming that spending your free time doing
> skill ladders in Everquest is equivalent to spending your free
> time on, say, taking night school courses or going to the gym? 
> That what you get out of the former is equivalent to what you get
> out of the latter?

Actually, yes. The people who play these games for hours on end (my
wife happens to be one of them) get _something_ from the game;
something more than they'd get from night school or the gym. They're
not equivalent; they fulfill different needs. But I don't think it's
fair to say that the person who goes to the gym and spends four
hours on a real treadmill is getting more out of it than the person
who stays at home and spends 4 hours on a virtual treadmill.

>I'm sorry, but for the vast majority of the population, real life
>simply *is* more important than online games, even if we take the
>cynical view that it's all treadmills and jumping through hoops
>anyway. :) Your point about hardcore players is well taken - there
>will always be people who will let the game take over their lives -
>but I think we can safely treat them as statistical outliers. And
if >we agree that life is more important, the (perhaps banal)
question >remains: why is it? And what is it that, in spite of the
common >treadmill structure, makes the game so much less
consequential?  >That's the question I've been trying to get at.

I actually agree with you, to a point. The vast majority of the
population consider online games a waste of time, or at best a weak
diversion. However, the true question you are asking is, "Apart from
social pressures, and individual variations, what is objectively
important? Why is RL (whatever that is) more important than a game,
objectively?" And I really don't think that's a fair question. I
don't think you can separate the needs/goals of the
individual/society from the priorities in any meaningful way.

T.H. Cooke


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