WoW is not Real Life

| Monday, June 29, 2009
Attempting to bring real life philosophies into WoW is likely to create absurd statements. Many of the philosophies of real life are based on the limitations of our world. There are limited resources and people die permanently. WoW does not have these limits. Instead the limits are much looser, and created by 'gods' (devs) over whom we can exert some degree of control.

Welfare does not exist, for current welfare is based on a redistribution of wealth in absolute terms. It ensures the physical survival of those who cannot or do not generate sufficient wealth on their own. There is no WoW equivalent since we do not die from starvation or any other material lacking or inaction.

Economies do exist, however direct parallels will inevitably fail because the economy of WoW is optional. One does not need any professions to survive. The world overall does not need professions to generate wealth, in fact currency is destroyed through the auctioning of crafted items. While a strong economy is good, it should not be assumed that a weak economy means mass starvation and rioting. Furthermore, resources are effectively unlimited (except for some limits imposed by devs), so shortages are mostly due to failure to gather that which is plentiful rather than an actual lack of material.

Much of morality is distorted since all enemies are either unfeeling NPCs or other players on which we cannot directly inflict any pain or damage. Death is impermanent. Direct theft is impossible except due to misplaced trust and any player can make himself immune to theft simply through greater control of social interaction (ML in instances, control the guild bank).

To top it all off, WoW has a major flaw (or perhaps feature) which real life doe not have: the creators have told us it is a game. In life there are things which are necessary and must take priority over that which is fun while in WoW there is fun and the only necessities are those which are linked to the aspects of fun which we freely choose. Being a game means that fun takes priority over all else. Virtual economics, perceptions of superiority, nerd raging; they are all subordinate to fun. If it happens that the fun of somewhere else interferes with your own fun, something is going wrong.

To fully explain why trying to bring RL into WoW will fail, here's a strange bit of morality. As I said before, morality cannot be determined by pain, death, or injury since none are permanent or even felt. However, if we take the developers to be the 'gods' of WoW, the creators, then we can see that if they say it is a game and they are the root of all things, then fun must be the morality of WoW. In other words, if you're not having fun, you're not just wasting your time, you're also breaking a fundamental rule. Clearly we can see from this that not having fun should result in bans. To those who bring their twisted RL views into it, consider the implication of acting as if RL rules apply to WoW: you being gone.

Oh Creators of this Virtual World which we inhabit, we beseech thee to smite the infidels and cleanse the World of Warcraft of their corrupting influence!

See that was stupid. That's what happens when you put RL in WoW. Bringing RL-derived philosophies into WoW is only an abstract version of the people who complain about RL relationships in gchat and act as if we should care. That's right, you're just an emo teenager whose parents are totally on his case, like omg.

P.S. This is not a reference to lore or magic, but to the completely artificial and (as the devs create it) unlimited qualities of WoW, and so this can be applied to any video game. Concepts such as "earning" and "deserving" just don't make much sense when removed from their context of a real world where resources are scarce.


Stabs said...

This seems to be another anti-Gevlon post so I'd like to say that I basically agree with you.

I really liked Gevlon's earlier blog posts when he was talking about money making or his superb effort to systematise pug raiding and later his excellent notion of buying a raid spot with game gold. All well-thought out, interesting stuff.

His real world stuff is poor. No doubt I'm partly saying that because I'm a lefty and it's all pretty right wing but it's not just politically extreme it's also often dumb. Like when he said all people in the third world are dumb or they wouldn't be poor. Or when he devised a solution to the banking crisis of a nationalised payment system that even his supporters tore to shreds in the comments.

Another effect is that he seems to have driven off most of his most intelligent commentators with these many posts on right wing real life issues. When i first read him typical commentators were people like Sydera, Tobold, Spinks, all first rate bloggers and thinkers. Now the comments are just people who agree with his worldview and the blog gets even less interesting because of all these third rate "yeah welfare is terrible" comments.

I hope he turns it round and talks more about wow again. It was a much more interesting read 6 months ago.

Ryan said...

I went through a similar experience with Gevlon awhile back. Though he can be interesting for post topics, I don't think it's really worth engaging with him (if you just want to air your thoughts on the matter, go for it--I'm just saying you'll never ever convince him of anything).

Why? He's a murderous sociopath: "Commenters use to write "you must give welfare to the real world poor or they revolt". I found it silly and used to handle it with "make sure the cops have enough ammo". I meant it literally. My guess was that the RL M&S who are too skilless to do any jobs, are a little minority, like 10%. Let the cops handle them, they won't be missed."

BTW stabs, he has driven off most of his good commenters, but don't forget he deletes basically anyone who disagrees forcefully.

I'll quote myself from the other day: "But if you're looking for horseshit Randian economic mumbo-jumbo draped over the WoW world like some reeking Satanic napkin, Gevlon's your man."

Klepsacovic said...

I forgot to add this until I was at work today: The bits about scarcity and deserving/earning do not apply (or would it be not not apply?) in raids. Obviously in raids loot is a scarce commodity and lack of effort will reduce the chances of survival and reward. In other words, it is reasonable to talk about earning/deserving in the context of competitive loot. It is only in the larger concept where one person's heroic badge loot does nothing to reduce your chances of raid loot (or might even improve the chances). Sorry I left that out.

@Stabs: He's a very inspiring person, but I wouldn't call him right-wing. This is actually a huge problem in America right now: there is almost no right wing. There are crazy left-wingers, sane left-wingers, a very very small number of conservatives, and then a writhing mass of idiots and assholes exploiting those idiots all of whom claim to be conservative. Fox News is a perfect example: it does not at all have a right-wing bias, instead it's just totally disconnected from reality and does a huge disservice to conservatism and America as a whole.

@Russel: I've thought about that before, welfare being a way of preempting violence and crime. While it does carry the negative emotion of appeasement, it apparently works, based on the lack of poor people murdering the super-rich. Besides, isn't making decisions based on emotion rather than rationality a bad thing? I suppose everyone picks and chooses as it suits them. Bullets are expensive and you're going to have a hard time finding enough police if all-out class warfare broke out. Welfare is a lot cheaper in context.

Stabs said...

Right wing - I think there's a cultural gap here.

In UK right wing is almost exactly the world view that Gevlon has. We even have a right wing newspaper called the Daily Mail that has a major "Immigrants are sponging on welfare" expose every week.

Welfare bashing is generally the favoured pastime of undereducated right wingers here.

In USA no doubt the phrase has different cultural meanings because of your different political context.

In Gevlon's Hungary his views are quite likely perfectly normal. Hungarians of his generation were brought up being told to work hard for the social good, defined as buying Party officials nice limos to drive around in. Makes perfect sense to me that people raised like in that system then seeing it collapse under its own ineptitude hate "socialism" and everything else "social"

Klepsacovic said...

I suspect the British right-wing exists only to disprove stereotypes of the British being intelligent and sensible.

The American right-wing used to be about liberalism: basically government not getting involved any more than was necessary for survival, so things like law enforcement and national defense. Then somehow our Republican Party, which used to be pretty good, got taken over by evangelicals and neocons and the conservative movement went to shit. Quite a shame if you ask me.

Fortunately anti-immigrant rhetoric isn't so strong here. Or perhaps I just live in an unusually non-stupid area. It's worth considering history though: America is nothing but immigrants, it helps not having any pure/native Americans.

Stabs said...

On the subject of Gevlon bashing, Kleps, found a treat for you.

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