Greedy Goblin

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Am I a freak?

I got a comment with a very good point: "Some collect, pet, recipes, mounts, cloths some strive to be the ultimate pvper or get world first kills but in the end it's always having that something special that others don't."

I've got this "reason" many times in my life as explanation of really stupid things.

It's a completely strange feeling for me. I need things (or maybe I don't need them but want them still). But these things have nothing to do with comparison with other people. I want these things because of themselves, because they give something to enjoy.

I use to call the decision between useful and vanity as the island-test: If I were alone in an island, would I need the item?
One would need food and want delicious food.
One would need cloths and want confortable ones.
One would need shelter, and want a comfrotable home.
But no one would need, want or even care about jewelry, fashion and other vanity stuff.

Lot of people feel that he must maintain an ostensible standard of living to be reputable and respectable. I never cared about it. I never cared that the other kid has premium brand T-shirt in the school and I have no idea what kind of car my neighbor has.

I can make lot of money in WoW. It makes me special, as only a few people has so much legitimate gold as I have. Yet I was never proud of it and for long I had no idea that it's special, I thought everyone runs around with at least 10K. And since I'm aware of its speciality, I'm writing this blog to show other people how to make gold. If they would all do it, I would no longer be special. Yet it does not bother me.

So it's not that I can resist the urge of looking good, being special. I have no urge at all! I know that others have it and I don't understand them. Is there something wrong with me? If not, is there something wrong with them? Is there a third option?


Evander said...

Do you really have no urges or only one that is less apperent and more emcompassing? What you describe seems to be a common trait in rich players I know. All urges fade or are nullified by the one that made them rich in the first place: the greed of gold.

It's a lot less apperent since before the last patch there was no way to guess how much gold someone had or was making so unless you were braging about it in trade chat or to a gold seller :P you could be the richest player on the realm and no one could know for sure.

It is more emcompassing since the greed of gold comes in part from what gold could get you: nice gear, epic flyer (is it more than a comodity if you don't have a gathering profession) or whatever you feel like buying today.

The greed of gold become a real urge when you cross the line of "what's needed". When you become rich, there is a point when having more gold become useless and yet you still work for more. It's when you need one more digit than anyone else to describe how rich you are and when you start to wonder if you'll need a second bank alt if the gold cap per character is not raised in Wotlk. People can argue all they like but when you've reach that point gold is an urge and not a need.

There is nothing in the game or probably even in the expansion that you'll need that much gold for. I'm not saying it would be impossible to spend it, you could give all your gold to the first beggar in org... what i mean is the mentality that made you rich will also prevent you from ever going back to having a "normal" amount of gold.

So in the end that much gold should be considered exactly like that rare vanity pet. You've worked for it, and it will never have more use than saying you have it and carrying it around.

LarĂ­sa said...

I don't collect pets (not seriously at least), I don't collect gold, I don't collect tabards or titles. I collect memories. Experiences from wipe nights, victory nights, from silly things, cries, laughter, friendship. Gold is a tool that can help me get access to some of those experiences. If you're totally out if it it's hard to get the gear and consumables you need to get into some of the kind of happenings I like most of all.

To me it's absolutlely incomprehencible how you could spend thousands of gold at that model girl in the Shatt inn. For... nothing. But I guess it somehows gives epic memories to some players. As you I find it pretty hard to understand. Still. People come in all varieties. Thanks god for that.

Tal said...

Going by that reasoning, no one would need WoW on a desert island, right? And yet you pay the monthly subscription. Why? Because you have more money than you "need" - you can afford everything you need and still have money left over for things you want. In your case, it's playing WoW, in another's case it's buying jewelery or fashionable clothes.

And the same goes for WoW. Once you have more income that what is needed to support your lifestyle (raiding expenses), you can afford to use the money for other "fun" stuff. If you have fun accumulating more gold, that's great. But for most people it's just a tool to afford other things...

Gevlon said...

@tal: while no one would NEED WoW on an island (or now), it would be a great tool to pass the time so lot of people would WANT it for their own pleasure.

I'm not questioning the people's right to have unnecessary pleasure. I also have.

What I don't understand is why do people pursue things that make them "special", how does it make them happy? I see that people are happy when they think they have something that the others don't.

I'm not. I am happy if I have the thing I want and doesn't care if I'm the only one to have it, or it's a very common item and everyone have tons of it.

Tal said...

I think the main difference in our views is that you assume that achievements or buying swift flying mounts are just ways to

"show off" and get "respect". While I'm sure that's true for some people (kids?), I don't think that's the case for most people.
All these things are goals. Whether they are dictated by the game or personally, they give players something to strive for and try to achieve.
In my "early days", on my first char to make it to 60, I made it a point to fully explore the map in every region I went to. There were no achievements back then, no one but me knew I did it and it didn't make one little bit of difference to my play experience (Cartograoher and other map addons were already available). So what? It made the game a little bit more interesting to play, and I did it. For me, the whole "Achievements" system is just a way by the game to suggest more goals to players. So yes, I "waste" my time trying to accomplish achievements (the ones I find realistic) but I haven't once used the "compare achievements" feature - I don't care about other people, that's not why I'm doing it.
I also don't think you're so different... Let's look at Gevlon/Thelnia. You created them on a new server, put in time to make (virtual) money, and then abandoned them. Some people might call that a waste of time, but that's OK. What matters is that you set yourself a goal and achieved it. Even though there was no flashy effect and no message notifying everyone around you about it, it's still an achievement.

Valdor said...

Hmm... you probably have covered it a later post (trying to work through them all, they're great!) anyway, the probable reason is that 'status' (in any case in the real world) is also a kind of capital. Actually, in monkey times, there was no money, and status was one of the kinds of capital next to health, skill and social capital (a.k.a. friendship/alliances).

I suppose evolutionary biologists would explain the greed for 'conspicuous consumption' by referring to high-status males in ancient (and possibly modern!) societies getting a better chance to spread their genes (more/more beautiful/fitter mates), high status for females may have similar positive effects. The big question is always the gamble on whether you think you'll live enough to wow women with your long-term accumulated capital, or that you should just spend all your resources 'showing off' and hope to pass your genes before you go broke?