WoW is Soccer

| Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It's popular all over the world. As far as video games go, it's pretty cheap; just as soccer is a very cheap sport to play. It's popular with all types of people for all sorts of reasons.

Some play it to hang out with friends. Some play it professionally and will play with only the best. Some play it purely out of love of the game. Some play it for exercise or to pass the time. Some play it to be better than others. Some play it to be better than they were.

Sounds great, right? Well sure, if it's soccer. Soccer has leagues and teams and all sorts of segmentation. We don't have the World Cup played in an alley in Brazil.

WoW doesn't have that. We're all in the same world. We're not all sure who we are, how good we are, why we play. This creates two problems.

First, we're in the same place. We've not put the professionals here and the kids there and the social players somewhere else. We're all thrown in together. There are plenty of courts, but with no rules for them, we fight. The kids play here but the professionals think it looks nicer so they try to take it and then there's conflict. The social players have been sitting around chatting for the last ten minutes, and sometimes they use their hands, so the guys who are trying to practice get pissed at them for wasting the field.

Second, we learn behaviors from each other. So kids who want to play with friends are next to professionals and they keep getting made fun of. After all, the kids aren't especially good (though as an American, they'd run circles around any team I was ever on) and look dumb compared to the professionals. It hurts to be constantly called a little kid and told to play somewhere else. So they try to fight back the only way they can: they try to become like the professionals. They want to play as well as them so they can keep their field. But not all the kids want to do that, so they don't play for so long and aren't as good and then they are pushed out of the team. No one ends up very happy.

The professional players lose a game and scream at the kid who ran onto their field. But the kid was just trying to get his ball, it went loose. And besides, he was just trying to practice that curve ball that the professional used for that one goal.

We'd all be much better off if we drew up some lines. You play here and we play here and they play there. WoW has plenty of fields. It has plenty of balls. If you want shin-guards and special shoes and those things so you don't break your teeth, that have those. There's enough for everyone. But we don't see that well enough, so we fight over the rules and space and all get very angry and unhappy.


Tesh said...

"Good fences make good neighbors".

I've never thought of soccer as a metaphor like this. Nicely written. :)

LarĂ­sa said...

Can't come up with anything cleaver to add, I just wanted to say cheers, since I liked the picture!

Hinenuitepo said...

Interesting post.
I might have stopped at:
Soccer is popular worldwide.
Wow is popular woldwide.
See? Interesting parallel. ;)

I guess in addition I'd add that it's also interesting how geography seems to influence playstyle.

Soccer: in Brazil, it's 'the beautiful game.' in Germany, it's counterattack and set pieces, etc.
Pvp in wow has definite geographical differences (cleave in US, rmp in Euro).

Anyway, I liked the parallel between the world's most popular sport, and the world's most popular MMO :)

Klepsacovic said...

@Tesh: Thanks, but that depends how you define good. :)

@Larisa: It's better to not say anything with your mouth shut than to not say anything with your mouth open. Or some keyboard analogy.

@Hinenuitepo: Good observation on the playstyles. Now why can't the US win at soccer?

Hinenuitepo said...

-We call it 'soccer.' :)

Obviously, there are soccer blogs about this one.

One clear and major reason is that many/most of our best athletes play football, basketball, and baseball. Most other countries' best atheletes are soccer players.
I'd say that the main reason is that simply, Americans (by that I mean the U.S.) don't see soccer as the #1 sport, whereas most countries do.
We have the money most countries don't, so I'm pretty sure that if it was a priority, there'd be good coaching from the ground up, there'd be programs and so on. Our women's success has come in part because other countries have paid even less attention to women's sports than we have, although that is changing.

Now, in wow, there is the parallel that smaller countries in Taiwan and Korea produce outstanding gamers, in large part due to the national emphasis on this 'sport.' And that's where I'll leave it. :)

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