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Vladimir_Golovin comments on High Challenge - Less Wrong

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

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Comment author: Vladimir_Golovin 19 December 2008 08:07:56AM 8 points [-]

EY: you'll find that it contains some tasks that are - there's no kind word for this - effortful. (I would even say "difficult", with the understanding that we're talking about something that takes 10 minutes, not 10 years.)

Some tasks in WoW can take months to complete, and it's clearly intended by WoW developers. Many tasks require 'raiding', which is an organized, coordinated activity involving up to 40 players, strategy, advance preparations, purchases, crafting etc. -- I have a friend who keeps a calendar of his evening raids and plans his real-world time in advance. When I played WoW, I didn't raid at all because it placed too much constraints on my real-world schedule.

EY: So in the future, we'll have programs that help you play the game

To a certain extent, we already do. Speaking of WoW again, we have Thottbot and Ludwig that help you instantly look up any item or spell (this function isn't build into WoW), talent/glyph calculators, forums where people calculate all these probabilities of critical strikes, and a huge number of addons -- for example Auctioneer, which lets people trade at the Auction House far more effectively (you see mean/median/average prices for a certain commodity, standard deviation, confidence ratings etc.), or Recount, which keeps stats about your fighting performance and displays them as graphs or pie charts.

Some of these 'helper' programs, however, are explicitly prohibited by the game vendors. Examples include WoW Glider, a bot that basically does the grindwork for you (it just repeatedly slays monsters to get you experience). Another example is from competitive FPS games -- there is a kind of helper programs, called aimbots, that take the task of weapon aiming off the player, he just does the running. FPS vendors ban aimbots, and players absolutely hate anyone who uses them.

EY: So this is the ultimate end of the prophecy of technological progress - just staring at a screen that says "YOU WIN", forever.

That definitely didn't happen in modern games -- the games that explored this area probably just didn't sell, otherwise we'd see a lot more games of this kind. On the other hand, we have wireheads, such as alcoholics or drug addicts, who (seem to) do precisely that. The addiction issue is complicated by the physiological component of addiction. Speaking cynically, it would be interesting to see how many addicts abandoned the habit if their drug of choice was not physiologically addicting.

Comment author: gwern 19 October 2009 03:20:54PM *  6 points [-]

Speaking cynically, it would be interesting to see how many addicts abandoned the habit if their drug of choice was not physiologically addicting.

From reading Ainslie's Breakdown of the Will: relatively few. Many addicts will go right back to their drug even after withdrawal is long over, and will even deviously work around their tools (like that one drug which makes any alcohol consumption induce vomiting).