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ac comments on High Challenge - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 19 December 2008 12:51AM

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Comment author: ac 19 December 2008 06:47:09AM 9 points [-]

Unlike Roland, who is obviously a puritan, I rather enjoy the occasional spot of idleness. For a non-trivial number of people, playing WoW for a couple of hours a day is more fun that playing real life. Rather than make thinly veiled moral judgements about folks for their unproductivity, perhaps he should consider what makes certain games so engaging.

I spent a year playing a lot of WoW, attaining non-trivial sucess in both raiding and competitive PVP, but I gave it away, partly because the time commitment became too great and partly because what passed for progression started to lose its shine.

So, being suitably qualified, I'll take a stab at a few features that make this virtual social experience psychologically rewarding:

1. Competition with minimised risk. I love fighting. Seriously - nothing beats the adrenaline buzz, time compression and sheer physicality. Unfortunately even controlled fighting in the physical world entails a level of risk that as a father I'm not willing to assume. Simulated violence, while a poor substitute, helps to fill the void.

2. Persistent progress. Sure online FPS is fun, but when you log on you're always the same guy (more or less). There's also less risk of losing your shirt in an MMO compared to real life.

3. Social challenges. Much of the game content consists of elaborate logistical and combinatorial problems that require research, problem solving, and team coordination. All of which are fun.

I see a future where billions of uploaded humans exist primarily in a cartoonish sim, working out how to beat the latest uber boss the AI has dreamed up in order to get phat lewt.