Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Basketball and chess vs MMOs

The commenters on the "priorities" post and recently Tobold shown me the very reason why MMOs are considered worthless waste of time by most people. There are certain widespread beliefs among MMO players that are completely unknown and weird to non-players. The MMOs are not rejected because they are new and unknown, they are rejected exactly because of what they are.

No, it's not "being a game". Chess and basketball are games. Still, they are highly respected by non-players. No parent would run to a child-psychologist when his kid starts to practice basketball and tells that he wants to join the school's team or if they find him playing chess over the internet at the evenings. They would actually be supportive and happy. Why?

At first the games, all games, are places to hone skills without real-life risks. Everyone agree that sports are healthy. The sport games like basketball are obviously not as healthy than doing personalized physical training, but they are still strongly associated to health and for a good reason: you must be healthy to be good in them. A fat, weak guy whose lungs are compromised by smoking can't perform on the basketball field. By playing basketball one proves against competition that he is healthy, strong and skilled in controlling his body. Chess is the same with the brain. Therefore when a kid says "I want to get to the basketball team", he implicitly says "I will do training that improves my health", which is therefore supported by parents, teachers, politicians, journalists, practically by the whole society.

OK, so far no problem. The computer games also demand real life skills and could be a good place to prove and practice them. WoW raiding for example demands grind to gear up, reading up EJ and other sites, doing the boss dance and doing so in a group, handling all the problems it means. So a good WoW raider proves that he has the most important skills needed for non-top employees: hard working even when the task is boring, learning from literature, working accurately and working in a team. Why parents are worried when they see their kid doing something that will help him become a good employee? They should be happy!

Imagine the guy who wants to throw the basketball exactly to the bottom right corner of the backboard (where the basket is mounted). Or tries to bounce the ball between the ground and his hand 1000 times. Or tries to collect every flags and mascots of the top league basketball teams. Or pays on a chessboard without moving anything but pawns. Would you call this guy a basketball/chess player at all?

The answer is no. These games have a very rigid rules. Violating them is considered fault or even outright cheating. If you would declare to play with different rules, it would simply make you not a player of this game. You are playing basketball if you are within the rules of basketball and play for winning the game by scoring more than the opposing team. You are playing chess if you play by the rules for winning the game by checkmating the opposing king. These rules are exactly there to guarantee that the valued skills are present.

While you are free to spend your time collecting basketball cards, plush mascots, game-suits of famous players, watch games on TV or in the stadium, you are not a player, just a fan. No one would say that being a basketball fan makes you healthy. Being a player does. Similarly someone who does pawn-zergs on a chessboard is not considered a chess player, but someone who fools around with a chessboard, and no one would say that such activity would need the mental abilities of a chess player. These activities are surely fun but lack the values that playing has.

The reason why MMOs have such a bad name is that everyone who logs in the game is considered a player. Not just by uninformed outsiders, not just by other people who just log in, but by the real players too! Imagine the reputation of basketball if the TV would zoom on some fat guy sitting in the stadium wearing the colors of the team, plush mascot and beer in his hands the commentator would say: "he is the typical basketball player" and then one of the real players would say: "yes, he is one of us, just with a bit different priorities within the game". Basketball retains its reputation by excluding this guy from the players, calling him "fan" instead.

The guy who logs in WoW but doesn't play WoW for winning the game is not a WoW player! He is a WoW-fan, a WoW-newbie who might be a player one day, or a clown who fools around in the WoW-playground.

Trying to score from the middle while 2 opposing players are on you instead of passing it to the teammate standing close to the basket free of opponents is not "playing differently", it's doing it wrong. If you open chess by moving the A2 pawn to A4, you are not experimenting in chess, you are doing it wrong. If you kick the ball or move the bishop horizontally, you are a so bad that you don't even qualify as player. You must learn to play first! Only by doing the proper way and doing it good enough can you win, proving that you really own the skills: physical or mental strength and agility. These are the characteristics that makes a player respected and a top player idolized by non-players.

WoW is not inherently worse than chess or basketball. It needs different but equally respected skills: hard working, learning, accuracy and teamplay. WoW is worse because every moron and slacker who has WoW-equipment (a living subscription) is considered a player. The average WoW-player is just as skilled (in different skillset) as the average basketball-player. The average WoW-fan is just as unskilled as an average basketball fan. But no one calls the basketball fan a player, while they do call the WoW-fan one.

To give the MMOs reputation, the player vs fan&clown distinction must be made and maintained. Among the players, unskilled play must be corrected and the unskilled player excluded from higher teams. I have no more connection to the minipet-collecting, ungemmed, bridge-fighting guy than the basketball player has to the plush mascot collecting guy watching the game while feasting on junk food, who couldn't run 100 yards in 20 secs.

He pays the $15 like me? So what? The fat guy also paid for the plush mascot and the ticket. He is therefore entitled to own the mascot and watch the game, but not to be on the team. I have nothing against WoW-fanship. They support the game financially the same way as the merchandizing-buying fans supports basketball. They should be able to enter the WoW "stadium" and find pets, mounts, gear and such. But they should never be mistaken for players, and allowed to the playfield of HC dungeons and raids until they become a player by learning to play. Currently they are not good enough for that!

They don't want boring learning but want to have fun? Well, I don't want to sweat practicing for hours and still want to play in the stadium with good basketball players. But if I would walk even to the local amateur-league basketball team and tell them my wish, they'd think I'm high. The idea to play the game without practicing, without keeping its rules, without having the skills is just too bizarre, no one can ask for it seriously. Right? The "i just wanna hav fun" guys have only one place at any game: in a spectator seat, watching it, collecting merchandising.


PS: PvP is a different game, despite played in the same field, and several skills overlap. They are like basketball and volleyball: same stadium, same shoes, similar ball, similar skills, but different game. So spare me from the "I don't raid but have 2500 rating" comments, it wasn't about that.

62 comments:

Andru said...

What about the player who is also a fan?

Namely, the guy who plays well and raids and collects minipets outside that? What about the one who plays well in PvP but is abysmally bad at group PvE content? What about the reverse?

What about the guy who has no interest in PvP and joins just for high crits, while being a very competent raider?

Klepsacovic said...

Your analogies have a problem: the games you use for comparison have rigidly defined rules and goals. A better comparison would be between WoW and kids on a soccer field, but who have not been told to play soccer. Some might play soccer. Others will juggle. Others might have foot races. All are valid ways to play. Note that while they are on a soccer field, there are no rules dictating the need to play soccer.

Similarly, someone might decide to have a chess game with custom rules, such as only using pawns. This is perfectly valid, though obviously it would make little sense to try to put him in the same game as someone playing with all pieces.

WoW is not a game with strictly defined rules of what can and cannot be done. It is, to some degree, still a world. To try to impose some arbitrary standard for winning is absurd, especially such a narrowly defined standard.

Anonymous said...

Excellent analogies, but your analysis is woeful. Basketball and chess both have a large variety of ways to play them which are still valid without being equivalent to the WoW 'endgame' (organized league basketball or rated chess matches).

In basketball, you can play H-O-R-S-E with two people, you can play '21' with three people where you are forced to constantly attempt to get past two opponents when you have the ball (no one to pass it to), you can have shooting contests, dunking contests, trick dribbling, etc, etc.

In chess, you can play speed chess, fischer chess, do chess problems, blind chess, etc.

In WoW, you can raid, do pvp, do 5 mans, level alts, grind reputation, earn gold, etc.

All three games have a large variety of different ways to play the game, limited only by player imagination. They are still all players.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be ignoring an important difference between the basket ball fan and the wow fan. The basket ball fan is willing to pay to watch other play basket ball. Very few wow fans would dream of paying to watch other play. They would simply not log on anymore and stop paying.
They are paying because then they are allowed to fool around in the "the real stadium"/hc dungeon, while pretending to be real players.

Anonymous said...

The problem with your solution is that there isnt a wide enough fanbase for any kind of MMO. If a player was told upfront that he / she couldn't do everything in the game that someone else could, that would create a void that the people who are skilled simply couldn't fill. The reason for this is that anyone can be carried through almost anything. If you look at sports like hockey / soccer a single person not playing well can and will be exploited by the other team. The problem with WoW PVE is that there _isn't_ another team. Almost every sport has some kind of competitive hook that makes it entertaining to watch. WoW just doesn't have that, making it akin to selling tickets to a basketball game consisting of a professional team against children.

People aren't going to watch a game that has no tension if they aren't told that they can do it themselves. These types of changes are not feasible in an economic sense. People just wouldn't pay for it.

Hirvox said...

The trouble for the spectators is that the merchandise's availability is tied to achievements in the game itself. If they want that plushie, they have to get to the basketball court and shoot a hoop. If they want that pair of sneakers, they need to win the championship. And unless you count YouTube and WarcraftMovies, they need to go through the amateur leagues to even watch a top-league match.

BoxerDogs said...

I just read Tobold's post and disagreed with that, so now I get to disagree with you as well :)

I think neither of you really plays much sport, because both of you seem very confused about achievement in games, this post much more so than Tobold's. As far as I can tell, your contention is that playing at a high level is noble and achieving, but collecting plush mascots is not, and that there is nothing inbetween. Well, that's a banal distinction to make.

I play badminton (badly) at evening classes. Some of the people there are abysmal. Some won't even come to the net "because they don't like it". There are four in particular that have been going for years to beginners badminton and just go to be sociable and for a little exercise and have never, ever improved. People play football in the park, with the wrong number of people in the team, without even goalposts, and sometimes without even a goalkeeper. Sometimes you can see two people just kicking a football to each other, without even trying to score goals at all! If children said "I am going to the park to play some football with my friends", their parents would be unlikely to quiz them about the ruleset.

So, to your contention that "These games have a very rigid rules. Violating them is considered fault or even outright cheating. If you would declare to play with different rules, it would simply make you not a player of this game.", is just fatally flawed from the outset. You are a victim of your opening contention, that people classify casual play in an MMO as bad and for M&A, but casual play of a sport is OK.

It's a shame because there are legitimate issues for worthy discussion in achievement addiction, incentivisation, video games versus other media, but poorly thought-out argument with really specious real-world analogy is not the way to go about it.

Gevlon said...

@Klepsacovic (and others): the guys who juggle on the football field are NOT playing football and no one doubt that. Also, THEY wouldn't claim that they are eligible for any kind of football cup or they should be allowed to a serious match. It's OK to fool around. But don't expect rewards and especially not inclusion to play-to-win teams.

@Andru: they are players in PvE and fan&clown in PvP or vica versa.

Rizalina said...

I've raided hardcore for several years now, yet I aggressively collect minipets in my spare time. Finally getting a low drop rate pet I've farmed for hours and days and sometimes weeks is often as satisfying to me as downing a hardmode boss I've worked on for dozens and dozens of wipes sometimes over multiple weeks of constant effort. Completing collections (specifically minipets, but also to a large extent mounts, crafting recipes, reputations, titles, and achievements) is something that I enjoy doing solely for my pleasure, not to show off how I'm superior than the next player because my dragon mount is way cooler, but simply because filling in all the empty gaps in my books brings me immense joy.

Do you mean to say that this casual hobby of mine negates the 20 or more hours of raiding and multiple hours of raid prep I do a week? I didn't realize that attempting any actions in this game that don't have a direct impact on my ability to perform better in a group setting would instantly lower me to the level of Arthasdk.

Perhaps I merely misunderstood your last two articles, but it seems to me that you're stating that progressive players and casual players have entirely unique activities they must exclusively perform, and never the two shall meet. If that is indeed your intended message, I must say that I disagree. It is, in fact, quite possible to place a value on a collectible item that is similar to or even exceeds that of the shiny new piece of purple armor from end game content, and it doesn't even require being a casual slacker.

BoxerDogs said...

@Gevlon, in the post above you say "It's OK to fool around." in the context of people playing around on a football pitch, playing casual 5-a-side, whatever. Are they not M&A by your definition? What about people who "fool around" in WoW and aren't griefing (but are just doing whatever it is they do). "It's OK to fool around." you say. Except that you don't, you specifically say that this isn't OK in MMOs.

I have a really hard time following your logic on this one. I'm not sure that it adds up.

Gevlon said...

@Boxerdogs: the M&S issue emerges when the "fooling around" guy is in a group, leeching on it. If you collect minipets in your own time, it's OK. If you show up unprepared because you "didn't have time", then the hell with you.

Tuzvihar said...

Gevlon, if there is a group of 10 with 2 leechers, then who is the dumb? The 8 who carries them, or the 2 who are leeching? You know the world works in the direction of the least resistance, water flows from the higher places to the lower regions.

Azuriel said...

The guy who logs in WoW but doesn't play WoW for winning the game is not a WoW player!

How does someone "win" WoW?

You openly admit you will never defeat Sinestra while it is relevant content, and yet you praise raiding as the highest WoW ideal. So... are you a "real" player or just a fan? Are the group of students out on the basketball court, playing by the rules, "players" by definition despite not being good enough to be NBA stars?

But if I would walk even to the local amateur-league basketball team and tell them my wish, they'd think I'm high.

Clearly, this local basketball "guild" did not like your application. That does not mean you are not (or cannot be considered to be) playing basketball, even if you have fat smokers on your team.

Anonymous said...

Nice article in my view.
One thing though. Often the local sports club can not be strictly defined as a profit orientated organization. Blizzard entertainment is. Up to this point there is no incentive to exclude fans from the "real game" as it is not profitable. More so from a certain level on you get paid for doing so and if somebody pays you for doing something obviously he makes sure you work for that. In local sports club sponsoring from private source (such as publicity on the teams jersey...) or from a public source makes sure, that certain quality requirements are met.

One solution for your problem would be to divide servers by raiding/pvp success. Just like a league. Imagine that battle-groups would contain always people of similar gear- and skill-level. The dungeon finder or the random battleground would be a perfectly viable thing. Also recruitment would be easy because the minimal skill and commitment would be assured by him being admitted to the server...
Well once in a while one can dream about the paradise...

Yaggle said...

World of Warcraft does not have a set of definite "rules" that defines winning or not winning. A game like chess does. World of Warcraft is like the Special Olympics. Have you ever watched retarded people bowling? They jump up and down and scream absolute joy even when they knock down one pin. That is what World of Warcraft really is like, not chess or basketball.

Anonymous said...

Way to move the goalposts. Your position previously was that different priorities amounted to nihilism and that if people don't have your priorities then you can dismiss them as M&S.

Now you are just saying you don't want to carry those with different priorities? I don't think anyone disagrees with that.

Glad to see you can have your mind changed even if you can't explicitly admit it.

Kring said...

Basketball and chess is both a PvP activity. You have to be better then your opponent to win. There is a skill pyramid and only the best can be on top of it.

On the other side a raid is a PvE activity. You only have to beat an arbitrary difficult script. There is no pyramid as you either beat the script or not. The creator of the script could make it so that "everyone" can beat it (think WotLK) or nearly nobody (think Sunwell).

You must compare raiding with real life PvE activities, where you can't directly measure yourself with others. Like:
- reading a book
- learning a foreign language
- climbing a mountain (without measuring the time, only against the sunset which would be your enrage "enrage timer")

Then you'll realize that those are all activities where no one pays you to watch you do them.

Gevlon said...

@Kring: there are many PvE games and sports. For example swimming or running. Your run against the clock. While the competitors can be on the same stadium, swimming/running next to you, they directly don't affect your game. They could be on a different continent and your times compared. Of course it looks better for spectators to put the competitors next to each other, but you get the point.

@Anonymous: I still think that they have wrong priorities and they are dumb. I just don't care as long as they don't get in my way.

@Azuriel: there are different level of playing. The kids who play by the rules of basketball or two friends playing chess are players. Maybe on beginner level, but still. "Not killing Sinestra just Halfus" = "playing chess with your mum". "Not even pulling Halfus but collecting pets" = "collecting basketball cards but never playing basketball".

dobablo said...

Actually openning with A2-A3 isn't wrong. The Anderssen opening is perfectly valid if considered irregular. Just don't move it forward to A4. I've seen lots of kids doing that to get their rook out, but it is plan wrong.

Jumina said...

Nice article. But the reason why MMO games are badly regarded is they are viewed as "watching TV". Watching TV is "waste of time" and spending many ours by watching TV is considered unhealthy.

Because of majority people watching TV regularly we have the industry to satisfy them and nobody makes money from publishing news about how bad watching TV is today. MMO players are still minority so its good idea to publish "studies" about how bad they are for your health because many readers watching TV will tell each other how bad these games are and pay for it.

Anonymous said...

@Gevalon Just as a question. Do you think people as morons if they collect for example dried flowers? (My point here is collecting stuff that doesn't increase in prize over time)

Gevlon said...

@Jumina: MMOs are not REGARDED as watching TV. MMOs ARE watching TV for most subscribers. They just click random buttons that make the "story" move forward. Farming something or exploring is no more interactive than watching Oprah.

@Anonymous: unless he is a botanist collecting rare specimens or a wannabe botanist practicing, yes it is moronic.

Smitty said...

Gevlon, you assume that every game is developped to have a competition or to prove your skills. But I think games are a kind of interactive entertainment. Competition is one aspect. In some games competition and skill is a bigger part (e.g. Starcraft), but other games have the focus to tell a story. A big part of WoW is being entertained in the world of the game (beside of competition and proving skill). If woW would be meant just for competition and prove skills, it wouldn't need the whole world like the stories, the AH, the towns, professions, archievments, the diversified colorful world ... - just instances, Bgs and arenas.

The basketball fan isn't playing by watching, but perhaps he is studying like the WoW player is watching tactic videos or reading EJ. Beside basketball some other sport exist with a bigger aspect of entertainment. Cycling, Running, Rowing, Sailing ... A basic skill is needed, but a lot of people doing sport just for fun. A lot of cyclists never made a race. The climber climbs the next mountain - not because it is more difficult, but he has never climbed before there (same for the sailing man). Club prices exist just for reaching 40.000 km (one time around the world).

WoW was developed to entertain (what other reason could bring players to pay for it?). Someone might be entertained to be in competition or push the "skills" up to the top, someone is entertained by following the story, making roleplay or just reach some archivments. "Skill" depends on the goal. Skill in TB might being patient standing at the flag just waiting for the case that someone comes along and attacks the flag. But this is not really entertaining for everybody. To improve your PvP-skill it might be interesting to go into a fight (in the middle of nowhere) 1 vs 2 or using different preconditions, which you cannot do by dueling.

My goal in TB (similar in AV) is to kill as much enemies as possible. Therefor I need a lot of skill to make this fight the whole 30 min and find the biggest zerg with my faction in superiority. I lead the other players to reach my goal. Some of them call me M&S, because they follow the goal to win as fast as possble.
;-)

The basketball field is compareable with the arena - two teams are fighting to win. But TB is the wood where some are running a competition, some are running to improve skill and health and some are running just to be in the wood and enjoy the nature.

Kring said...

That was exactly my point. If you are swimming/running against the clock it can be compared with other athletes and the interesting thing is, again, PvP.

Raiding is not PvP as you cannot compare two raids as long as both beat a script. All this tells is that both raids were "good enough". But that's boring and that's why no one cares about raids.

People do not care about "good enough". People only care about "the best".

vicart said...

This is basically flawed, the guy who is a basketball fan does not get points for it, the guy who is a wow fan is given achievement points (admittedly for bloody stupid achievements) therefore I'd suggest that wow is fundamentally flawed, even though the minipet collector is having to do very little in terms of playing he is still made to feel like he is playing the game as he is given points for doing so.

Smitty said...

Being in the same pool doesn't mean that gamers have the same goal. One swims to reach a good time. The other one dives to reach a long distance, but is called M&S by the swimmer, because the diver could cross the pool faster.

Yaggle said...

It's actually a very good thing that there are things like mini-pets that people can collect in World of Warcraft. It attracts more people to pay a subscription fee every month, and may be keeping Blizzard from raising their rates, just like people paying for the Celestial Steed is moronic but helps Blizzard increase profits. Whether these do in fact keep the World of Warcraft subscription rate from raising is not provable(even if Blizzard said so, it is not proof). Also I want to point out that there are RP reasons for collecting pets. Some people really fantasize that those pets are really their pets, and also some pets do have some small challenge to acquire them. Not a lot of challenge like raiding, but small challenge like retarded person knocking down one pin at bowling. For most, it may seem silly trivial challenge, but maybe to them, it is not at all.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Gevlon!

Even though I did quit WoW just when Cataclysm came out, I believe that the game was a great experience for me. I learned some of those valued good employee skills that you wrote about and figured that actually it is possible to work in a team. Before WoW I wasn't a big fan of multiplayer games at all. I did play a bit of Quake II, StarCraft and Unreal Tournament (the latter being my most favorite of all MP games), but I never got hooked and was always being that moron in the middle of the field who tried to get the most frags, honor points or whatever.

But WoW taught me that at times it's more important to stick to the rules and try to reach the common goal together. I came a long way from a total newbie in June 2008 to a raider in a top guild on my server in April-May 2009. I was with my guild on every first kill and in every heroic mode fight, learned to play my class and spec well (I had strangers asking me questions about gear, gemming, skills, rotations and stuff and even got into top 50 WoL ratings without any special effort at all). But along the way I also wasted my time on pet and mount collecting, achievements and some other crap.

Of all the people in the guild, I had the least alts, with my DK being my bank character and the most played alt being the same class as my main (I was thinking about rolling the third character of the same class in Cataclysm, since I really liked the revamp Blizzard did to Azeroth and leveling).

I'm a bit scared to get back into the game now, as I already wasted about a year of my life in game (yep, /played around 365 days on all characters) , but maybe I will come back next expansion for a more relaxed, casual play style.

Also by reading your blog I learned some things about myself and now I'm don't feel bad for being an asshole or a mean person, since I realized that I don't really care much about people around me (except for my family and those whom I consider friends). By applying your general advices to money making, I've earned around 200-300k gold without any farming, but I've spent a lot on presents to my friends in game such as bikes and various overpriced orbs to craft gear. Oh, and I also got exalted with DMF and the Shen'dralar by spending tons of gold. The moment I've decided to quit the game, I still had 60-70k left, so I've donated it to the people who wished to continue raiding in Cataclysm. I still have around 13k gold in case I decide to come back and I'm confident that I will get my gold back in a several weeks if I want it (I earned 60k gold in less than two weeks in WotLK without crafting a single glyph).

Keep up the good work. Your blog is a great read.

Anonymous said...

It seems like a lot of people have lost sight of the forest for the trees. I would even accuse Gevlon of this because it takes 7 paragraphs before the main idea is articulated.

Arguing about if chess, basketball or Special Olympic bowling is the best comparison to make is boarder-line irrelevant. Its an analogy. It isn't meant to be perfect, but rather to help illustrate an idea, not provide the foundation of the argument.

As with any game, you can play WoW by your own definition if you wish. You can also play basketball with only your feet if you feel like it. The only thing that happens is the name changes to reflect the change in rules.

The truly interesting part topic in this article is: In more widely accepted games (ie; sports), there is a line drawn between fans and players. In WoW, there is no such separation, and everyone is considered a player. Basically, its an exploration about how the name "player" is treated differently across the circumstances and how stereotypes (or expectations, judgements, or whatever) are applied differently.

Said differently, basketball players aren't held accountable for the actions of their fans (RELATIVELY!) but WoW "players" are held accountable for the actions of their relative "fans".

The 'thesis' (if you will) is that MMOs are rejected not because they are new and unknown, but because the asymmetric use of the "player" definition. Gevlon is implying that his definition of the word "player" be associated with people who strive to the high-end content, similar to people who play in competitive sports. You can be the worlds best soccer juggler, but few people will call you a player solely for that. They will call you a player if you ALSO play in a competitive league. His favorite whipping post (the M&S) play into this because "high end players" are held accountable for the actions of all "players". I happen to agree with the idea. [Do you play wow, or do you "play" wow?]

Stop arguing about mini-pets (or whatever) being a viable reason to play the game. THEY ARE. YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT TO ENTERTAIN YOURSELF. In sports, this makes you a fan, hobbiest or something along those lines, not a player. The player definition comes into use when you strive to succeed according to the rules of the game. In WoW, that separation does not exist.

Try and think about the actual interesting idea that spawned all of this, instead of splitting hairs that aren't really very relevant.

Shintar said...

As others have said, you can't exactly win at WoW since it doesn't have rules for that. I would say that the closest thing to a game-given victory condition are actually the achievements (someone who's got all of them has succeeded in most aspects of the game), and by those rules killing Sinestra is worth exactly the same as collecting 125 mini-pets: 10 points. So your continued insistence that collecting mini-pets somehow "doesn't count" means that you are the one making up arbitrary rules that aren't officially supported by the game.

Masith said...

Isn't the problem not that everyone who plays wow is considered a player but that society doesn't understand the difference between
I run a hardcore raiding guild
and
I just run some dungeons for lol's

All society hears from both players is
I play wow

I can guarantee you that when I was young my mum was no happier when I went to kick a football around with my friends then she was when I went to play on my SNES with my friends (yes I'm that old..)

However if I had gone to her and said I have got onto the school football team she would of understood the level of acheivement and been happy. With Wow non-players don't understand the level of acheivement involved in the various activities and so don't recognise the skills involved.

chewy said...

And sometime ago you were tallking about intereactive stories and how they could be the future. Sometimes I have the impression that you make these clearly wrong posts just to attract responses.

Anyway, where are the rules of WoW? You must have read them somewhere since you're saying that someone is breaking them. I'm sure that if someone breaks them they get a ban, as in any game.

Besides, farming gear doesn't teach you how to play in a team or anything else. Kids being alienated by computer games and television instead of doing actual work is very much a serious problem.

As far as I know, you have instanced zones. You can go there and play with your team. You can select your team. You never ever have to play with anyone you don't want to. So what's the problem?

Fidjit said...

As others said, there are big problems with your argument. For one thing, your definition of the goals and rules of WoW are a LOT more narrow than Blizzard's are.

A WoW player could no nothing but fishing and fishing related activities (obtaining achievements, selling at the AH, etc) and they would be pursuing an activity rewarded by design. Collecting pets is exactly the same: rewarded by Blizzard by design through achievements.

MMOs don't have narrow defined rules like chess of basketball. They're not supposed to. It makes no sense to compare the two. They're supposed to be shared social experiences that allow people to have fun in different ways.

Also, the purpose of all games isn't to train skills. It's to have fun. Physical and mental activity just often happen to be fun. As you say, basketball isn't the most efficient way of becoming physically healthy. So why pursue it, if working out at the gym is more effective and with the same risk level? Because it's also (to some) more fun.

Squishalot said...

Kring makes a good point - you're inherently comparing PvP games like chess and basketball to a PvE game (seeing as you are primarily talking about raiding in WoW).

It's interesting to note that there is a very different respect for e-sports players than for MMO players. No, it's not because MMOs are more popular than others and therefore easier targets - they have TV channels dedicated to Starcraft in South Korea. The difference is that an activity has to be inherently competitive to be considered a 'sport'. That's one clear reason why PvE raiding in WoW, and why WoW generally, isn't considered an 'e-sport' unlike Starcraft, CounterStrike and other games with professional players.

The reason why WoW players don't get respect for their gaming prowess is because, for everyone except PvP'ers, any achievement can be achieved by anybody. The PuG is currently ranked what, 15-17k in the guild rankings, meaning that there are at least 150,000 players ahead of you in PvE progression. And before the expansion is over, there will be many more.

PvE raiding is not a step above PvE anything else. If pet collecting is dribbling 1000 times, raiding is simply executing a lay up, followed by a penalty shot, followed by a zig zag down court and lay up, with no opposition. That's precisely what the basketball fanboys do when they wants to think they're awesome.

It's not about rules and having to follow them. Those who are pet collectors have rules to follow. They need to research their plan of acquisition. They need to code macros and set up add-ons, just like PvE raiders, in order to maximise their chance of tagging X mob before others do. At the end of the day, you argue that it requires less skill to obtain 125 pets than it does to achieve 12/12 normal progression, but to do so requires precisely the same amount of research and effort, if different execution.

Who are the top 150,000 basketballers? Who are the top 150,000 chess players? They're still fanboys! Amateurs! You and other PuG'ers don't play professionally, you're nowhere near 'top of the game', your achievements are essentially worthless compared to the Paragons and the Ensidias of the world, who actually get paid to play. Something achievable by 100,000+ people isn't something worthwhile to be aspired towards, and therefore, it's not something worth encouraging when it doesn't come with other benefits associated with PvP behaviour (e.g. game theory assessment) that you might get in chess or basketball. You can't follow a set formula to win in real 'sports'.

Gevlon, you're the WoW fan, just like the 11 million others of us who aren't WoW professionals. Being 12/12 normal doesn't mean your achievement is any less worthless than the top 10 people to get every pet in the game.

Anonymous said...

@Kring: I'd disagree - you can compare stuff like the date they completed the script on (which is why people go nuts for world firsts), the strength the raid needed to complete it (such as undergeared, but IIRC back in the day there was some people posting videos of raids done with fewer than 40 people) and similar. Actually raiding and running is pretty similar in its basic goals - running requires you to reach the finish line, raiding to kill a certain boss. Obviously this is too coarse to differentiate between good and bad raiders/runners, so one records times, and people wanting to be high-end WoW-players also compete to defeat bosses as early as possible.

The difference between raiding and WoW, though, is that you can keep improving your running times, but you can't really rewind time to complete a raid on an earlier date, so once someone 'beats' you the competition is over forever (for that raid, at least). I'm not surprised that projects like undergeared haven't caught on despite the fact that they offer a way to make raiding more of an ongoing competition, but I find it hard to properly explain why. Anyone care to help me out?

Anonymous said...

I think you do not get you analogy quite right. Let's compare WoW, basketball and chess more in-depth.

There are rules in all 3 games. In chess, you must move bishop diagonally. In basketball, you must bounce ball agains floor when moving, touching it with one hand only. In WoW, you must use only the skills, weapons and armor allowed for your class.

You cannot move pawn 4 squares to the left in chess. You cannot kick the ball with your legs in basketball. You cannot use fireball or feign death as a warrior in WoW.

You can make a very bad move resulting in instant chaeckmate to your king in chess. You can lose ball to opposing team due to bad pass in basketball. You can stand in the fire in WoW. These all very are bad moves, but they are completely legal under game rules.

You can chose not to play chess for champion title, and go for solving "checkmate in 2 moves" etudes. You can choose not to play basketball with full teams and on proper stadium with arbiter who enforces rules - instead you can make 3 vs 3 game with your family in your backyard with only 1 hoop (and some rules modifacation because of this). You can refarin from raiding in WoW and collect minipets. This does not make you a "fan" of chess, basketball or WoW. You are still playing.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with this post, there is a clear distinction between serious players and those who prefer to go skipping through fields picking flowers.

I'm surprised you read Tobold ramblings, he's an armchair philosopher with very little experience and knowledge of endgame mechanics.

Anonymous said...

Kring, based on your (flawed) logic guilds can not be compared based on PvE activity alone, which is of course complete nonsense. Take GuildOx for example, you don't need to have any PvP activity to be ranked.

And as for 'But that's boring and that's why no one cares about raids.', you're kidding right? There are endless resources devoted purely to the subject of raiding, they are there for a reason you know.

Gevlon said...

@Squishalot: It's hard to figure out if you are trolling or really mean that. PvE progression, just like any other non-directly PvP activity can be measured by time completed.

Mixing fanboys and amateurs is just ignorant. An amateur PLAYS on a lower level, the fanboy does not play. The high school basketball team is amateur, the fat guy in the stadium is fan.

Also, I don't get what "not being in the very top" has to do with player/fan distinction. The guy on his very first day of basketball training is a player, despite obviously bad. He (learns to) play by the rules for winning.

Lomez said...

You admit that there are multiple ways to "play" WoW in your postscript by classifying PvP as a different game, apart from PvE (or, more specifically, clearing raid content). While both are played within WoW, they are two distinct activities with their own rules and goals. Therefore, WoW itself is not like basketball or chess, as it is not a single game that has only one set of rules and one objective. Rather, WoW is the medium through which multiple games can be played, just as multiple games can be played on a basketball court or a chessboard.

The statement that correlates best with your basketball/chess analogy would be: “a person who logs into WoW but does not play a particular game according to its rules is not a player of that particular game”. While raiding is considered the primary focus of WoW, those who do not raid are still WoW-players if they participate in another game within WoW. The person who likes to shoot free-throws by himself can be neither a basketball player nor a fan; he could simply be a person who is playing a different game within the same setting (although, if he says that he is playing a game of basketball, then he is “doing it wrong”). Similarly, a person who likes to level alts can be neither a raider nor a fan of raiding, but that does not exclude leveling alts from being considered its own game within WoW with its own set of rules. If that person also wants to raid, however, then he must follow the rules associated with that game in order to be considered a raider.

Anonymous said...

Patience guys,

The first basketball national championship didnt occur until 46 years after the game was invented. Even then it wasnt a wildly popular game. Imagine where the mmo will be in 40 years when your children and their children are playing. Do you still think it will be dismissed then? Most sports have taken generations to gain the respect and popularity that they have today, however things are cycling much quicker in the past 2 decades. Look at snow boarding/skate boarding. MMOs are admittingly a more radical leap than those two examples but its the same principal. I believe the games will continue to evolve and have the potential to someday equal many of the sports we watch today.

Klepsacovic said...

"It is obvious that the guy farming for rare minipet #187 has priorities on minipet collection. However I did not call his action (the farming) moronic. If the most effective (or only available) way to get minipet #187 is to farm them, then farming it is completely rational.

I call him a moron because of his priorities. Because he finds that fun."

"the M&S issue emerges when the "fooling around" guy is in a group, leeching on it. If you collect minipets in your own time, it's OK."

Gevlon, you usually take longer than this to contradict yourself.

Squishalot said...

@ Gevlon: You were the one who suggested that someone who practices skills in the game (e.g. bouncing ball between ground and hand 1000 times over) is not a real player. Yes, I would agree - they are not in direct competition with others! Likewise, any PvE progression is inherently competition with yourself (how quickly you can get it done), and not with others.

Do the actions of others change your progression attempts? Does it hinder your progression if they get ahead? No. Therefore, there is no direct competition. It is for this reason that I don't truly class things like shotput or javelin throwing as 'sport' - nor are such sportspeople lauded to the same extent that those in direct competition are.

Ask anyone - who are the top 3 male tennis players? Nadal, Federer and Djokovic. Top footballers? Arguably, people like Ronaldo, Messi, and the like. Most famous basketballer? Michael Jordan. Famous chess players? Kasparov in the past, people like Kamsky these days. Who is the top shotputter in the world, either present or past? Nobody really cares about indirect competition, especially when the indirect competition results in people achieving the same score after different times, rather than direct measures of individual skill level (e.g. golf).

If you are simply trying to argue that bouncing a ball up and down is not 'playing' in accordance with the rules of the game, then your argument is flawed in that there is not only one way to play WoW. To suggest that 12/12HM is the only 'end game', excluding battlemaster level PvP, is rubbish, considering the number of different other tasks available to be completed.

If anything, it could be argued that WoW PvE is the 'fool around on the court and practice trick shots' version of basketball, with the 'real' game being the competitive PvP Arena element. Practice enough times and anybody will be capable of performing trick shots; likewise, practice enough times and anybody can take achieve 12/12 normal. Compare this to Arena - there is not one thing that you can repeat to guarantee a win.

PvP is dynamic, changing, and requires you to be able to do more than regurgitate a formulated, mechanical series of commands into the keyboard/mouse. You yourself said it before once - you can feasibly program a robot to raid perfectly. Can you do that in PvP? Absolutely not - it's almost impossible to factor in all possible scenarios in a dynamic PvP environment.

This is the only reason why things like basketball and chess are lauded higher than MMOs - MMOs are seen as primarily PvE, and people assign more credit or worthiness to PvP because of the greater level of skill required to excel. This is why a PvP game like Starcraft can achieve professional status, and games like WoW cannot.

Following on from this, it should be clear that all PvE activities not involving serious time competition are just as worthless as each other. Whether you mechanically kill raid bosses or mechanically camp for pets, all you're doing is following a mechanical formula that anybody can do, and as such, one is no more 'worthy' an achievement than the other. They're all still merely pixels on a screen, with no adversarial human element to be overcome.

Gevlon said...

@Klepsacovic: he is a moron. I just don't care as long as he doesn't to try to leech on me.

Klepsacovic said...

In that case, Gevlon, I have a suggestion: Stop calling him a moron. Let him think that collecting pets is perfectly okay and a valid alternative to heroics. That would be the smart thing to do. Why? Because then he won't think he has to do heroics, saving you from leeches and morons. If you let people self-sort themselves away from you, you don't have to deal with them. But if instead you keep saying that what you do is the only valid way to play, then the morons will keep trying to do what you do, trying to join your groups and generally getting in the way.

Your insistence on insulting people whenever you feel like it is hurting you. Isn't that irrational and stupid?

Michael said...

You have such an odd way of looking at WoW, gevlon!

I find it very peculiar when people talk about 'winning' WoW. You can't win, it's entirely open ended. It's more like a secondary world you can play and socialize in. Sure, they've added achievements and boss kills so that more progress-focused people can enjoy that aspect of the game, but killing all the raid content, or getting all the achievements certainly doesn't mean you've won or beat the game.

I'd be very curious to learn what you think of other MMO's like Second Life, Wurm Online, or even Minecraft, where the gameplay is even more open ended, and the idea of 'winning the game' is that much more absurd. If I'm having fun building a little house in minecraft, am I a moron or slacker for not trying to win? If I'm having fun collecting minipets in WoW am I a moron or slacker for not trying to win?

Cyrell said...

The basic problem with what Gevlon is saying is that he's comparing a closed system to an open one. Chess and basketball - as others have commented - both have very strict rules and don't allow you to go outside them; unless of course you are playing at grandmaster or world champion level where you do take the game to whole new levels - but still within the rules.

WoW is an "open" system. In fact, the whole point of RPGs is to open it up to the player as much as possible and make it as realistic as possible. Despite the limitations of the virtual world and virtual space, all MMO programmers strive to make this system more open. Claiming that someone is doing it "wrong" is pitifully absurd. The whole point of RPGs is to do what you want, to "see where your imagination can take you".

Chaos Engineer said...

I think you're looking for logic where none exists.

The reason that video games are looked down on is that the broader society still thinks that they're for children (and childlike adults).

If this weren't true, video games would enjoy the same status as, say, bowling. Bowling is easily accessible to people who aren't in good physical condition; it doesn't take a lot of skill to get a non-zero score; and most of the people at the bowling alley aren't there to win; they're there to knock back some beers with friends and have fun.

That said, society's views of video games are likely to change over time, but I can't think of a good way to speed up the process. A better fix is not to waste a lot of time worrying about what other people think of you.

Anonymous said...

THank you very much for the clarification. However, I would believe it more aptly compared to if anybody could just walk onto the field and become a player. In order to become a good respected group, wow has to seperate them. Not by not allowing them, that would reduce subs, but instead by further seperating HC and regs, maybe making HC heroics more difficult than regular raids. Thus all the casuals get to play 'pickup game' or 'for fun game' and it is the exact same experience as the 'professional game', except with less payout and less difficulty.

Val said...

"My goal in TB (similar in AV) is to kill as much enemies as possible. Therefor I need a lot of skill to make this fight the whole 30 min and find the biggest zerg with my faction in superiority. I lead the other players to reach my goal. Some of them call me M&S, because they follow the goal to win as fast as possble."

They call you M&S because you are.

If you join TB or AV you are part of a team. That team has been given a clearly defined goal -- to complete a set of predefined objectives faster than your opponents can complete their predefined set of objectives. Blizzard also provides rewards for reaching this goal.

Based on these facts, it is reasonable to expect all members of the team to have the same goal(the goal was assigned to you upon joining). Your teammates will be expecting this from you and if you join a battleground with a different goal in mind, you are selfishly robbing them of a teammate who is there to cooperate and help them achieve the same goal.

If your goal is simply to kill as many players as possible and draw it out as long as possible, you should go to your faction's capital city and recruit people to go attack the opposing faction's capital city. You don't have to try to kill a faction leader; just draw people outside the gates to come fight you. There will be an endless supply of people to kill for as long as you like.

If you can find enough people to do this with you, great. If not, then maybe that should be a strong indication of how stupid your goal actually is, and how annoying it is to other people when you waste their time in TB/AV by being an M&S.

Brindle said...

Based on the comments, I think you might want to clarify that a player MAY also be a fan, but not vice versa. Therfore, a player may (for whatever reason) like to collect pets and while doing so is acting in the role of fan. Or using one of your examples, many grand masters enjoy playing blitz chess even though it is a corruption of skilled chess.

Jackthepsychomaniac said...

So the issue here is that Gevlon may be mixing up two things: His vision and reality.

Gevlon is a Goblin. His SUBJECTIVE motivation is money.

His arguments make sense if you follow his own beliefs. However, they are not reality. I am an objectivist, and I disagree with his last few philosophy posts.

See, this is the driving force behind Gevlon's toughts and actions: "I don't want to play (read: Do raids and heroics) this game with morons and slackers (in my raids and heroics)"

This. Gevlon considers gathering pets a waste of time, FROM HIS POINT OF VIEW. Collecting pets and achievement is as much as aspect of the game as is PVE, PVP, and soloing old content, and getting loremaster and other achievements.

Gevlon plays WoW for the raids. Gathering pets is a waste of time FOR HIM. That is a PERSONAL, SUBJECTIVE OPINION. Sure, we can all agree that "gathering pets and wanting mounts to be a special snowflake" is a pretty bad driving force. It's wanting more than your neighbours. However, gathering achievements aiming for seeing as much of the GAME as possible, Gevlon may find it idiotic, but that would be being close minded. It's an aspect he doesn't like because he has no interest in it and this aspect does not help him clearing raids. However, it's an aspect nevertheless.

Now, Gevlon's fight has been against drooling M&S who wanted to be carried in raids, are uncapable of reading 5 lines, not standing in fire and using the ressources to build their character correctly.

But now he's spreading over something that has no effect with that. Gathering pets is SUBJECTIVELY GOOD OR BAD, but objectively is neither.

What matters is playing the aspect of the game you want to play THE CORRECT WAY. And yes, there is a correct way to play. Correct spec, correct gems and enchants, correct rotation. Don't stand in AoEs, move when you must, etc.

In PvP, it's something else, however I do not partake in that aspect.

So, in short:

The game has many aspects.

Questing (Loremaster)
PVP
PVE (Raids)
Gathering Achievements (including raids and difficult ones)

Let's skip social, it's not playimeng the game it's using it as an expensive MSN.

These, want it or not, are all aspect. While Gevlon says Questing is like pressing buttons and listening to a story, it's still by definition a game. As easy as it can be, making it similar to a TV Show, it is still a game. Pong is quite easy, does that make it a TV show?

So yeah. Gevlon may not like gathering pets, it may be useless in his eyes, but it is clearly an aspect of the game. The reason for the person who plays that aspect may be a stupid ape subroutine (wanting more than others) or wanting to gather it all, it's still an aspect of the game.

The problem is idiots who come in Heroics and raids and Tol Barad and act like drooling idiots not doing the right thing.

There is a right way to play in each aspect.
You may not like each aspect.
But they are part of the game.

Anonymous said...

You did not carry the sports analogy far enough: Which is how much more power the fat fan has than the tiny number of people who actually play. I.e., the rules of basketball are changed just to appeal to that fan. 3-point shots, 30-second clocks etc. The rules are changed just to get more fans (naturally increasing the fan base does lower the average basketball knowledge of the fan base) And obviously the locations of cities, number and dates of playoffs are driven by fan desires. The University of Maryland fired their [American] football coach this year saying he was a good coach and his teams were winning enough but he was not getting enough fan attendance and support.

So how can you possibly use "must" in "distinction must be made and maintained"? Certainly it would be more enjoyable for you if your changes were made. You make some valid arguments the world would be a better place if your changes were made. If everything you said were on the mission statement of an "Open Source" software project to produce a game, then it would be quite logical. But it is absolutely clear that no large for-profit company will make them. For economic reasons (economy of scale, economy of scope, network effect) 6.5m WoW customers generate much less than half the profits of 13m. Even if you were to find a way to reduce the number of M&S in the existing game, then Blizzard will do things like changing the Wintergrasp leader kick, to stop that.

Do you recognize that large for-profit gaming companies can't do that?

Going to a niche game with 20,000 subscribers that pride themselves on their exclusivity would be logical. Open Source games would be logical. Playing Rift by trying to keep this slovenlyness from taking hold there would probably be futile but at least arguable for a True Believer. (And due in part to Cata, Rift is probably already too mainstream to stop.)

But why would you keep pushing for this in WoW? I am always struck by the fact that if you really believed/cared about this, you would find some place else besides WoW to advocate for change.

Anonymous said...

As per @cyrell I think the comparison between fixed rule competitions and non-copetitions breaks down. (And btw the fact that MMOs can get dramatically more money than play-once RPGs does mean that MMO entertainment will evolve to be more open-ended as will as more inclusive.)

Kicking a basketball in a game is incompetent or sociopathic. Going to an empty basketball court and throwing a Frisbee (or even kicking a ball) for my dog is not. It's only when you agree to compete with others according to a 137 page rulebook with fixed victory conditions that your actions become proscribed. A better analogy is that swimming laps with a backstroke is perfectly fine; unless you are in a breaststroke race. It is not that kicking a basketball that is moronic; it is kicking a basketball while playing a basketball game that is indubitably wrong.

The problem is that WoW is not a game or competition, at least in the traditional sense. There aren't really rules. You never completely sure if today's behavior is working as intended, exploit, bug or legal but totally changed in next patch. More importantly, there are no victory conditions.

So comparisons between real games and commercial virtual worlds are quite strained. It's not the virtual that is the issue: virtual chess has the same rules and motivations as face-to-face. Nor are your motivations any different between if you are playing a human or computer chess opponent.

So rather than comparing WoW to real games with victory conditions, look at life: Can one say someone who isn't working hard at their job and getting promoted regularly a failure at life? Can one say that someone who is not married with children a failure? Billions of people believe at least one of those; but do they get the right to judge you or me?

timejumper said...

@Gevlon

How do you know if you won while playing Warcraft outside of PvP?

I'm sure you wouldn't claim that PvP is the only legitimate way to play WoW. There is no set of rules to point to when you claim raiding is the correct way to play the game.

Even if you take the stand that raiding is designed as the final stage of the endgame, how do you know when you won?

Is Realm First raid completion considered a win? Not possible. If that was the win condition, you would have stopped playing after the outcome had been decided.

Maybe it's just completing all the available content? Again, not possible. Collecting 125 pets is part of the content that has been released for the game and you have already stated that is not the right way to play.

Therefore, I can only conclude that there is no way to win based on any set of rules, and thus no way to play the game wrong.

If there is a way to win, I would love to hear it.

Feature said...

Thanks, this post helps me understand where you draw the line.

Here's a question though: Do you consider all activities that are done purely for fun and not to better yourself as useless/moronic?

For Example:
- Watching a basketball game
- Watching TV
- Reading a comic book
- Going to the opera

Does this change if you have some other reason to do this activity, for example watching a basketball game because you're an ammateur player and can appreciate the skills of the pro's.

Anonymous said...

You and other PuG'ers don't play professionally, you're nowhere near 'top of the game', your achievements are essentially worthless compared to the Paragons and the Ensidias of the world, who actually get paid to play.

This is a dumb and uninformed comment. It puzzles me why so many people who don't even understand what and how raiding at the top is keep making the assumption that Paragon and/or Ensidia get paid to play.

Spoiler: They don't.

Anonymous said...

First, the following link illustrates the real reason WOW players are not treated with respect. http://tv.nytimes.com/2011/04/15/arts/television/game-of-thrones-begins-sunday-on-hbo-review.html?pagewanted=2
My wife was one of the cool kids beating up nerds in the day. (Before she discovered a love for comics/anime.)

Second, PvE WOW does not have a good casual metric because any metric excluding completion date runs into the 'time-dependent nerfing' issue. That metric is decidedly hardcore.

Finally, in my book, different playstyles are acceptable as long as they result on 'net fun'. For example, wiping gloriously on a raid boss without reading strategies is fine...as long as everyone's agreed that they prefer the challenge.
However, wiping a pug because you can't be troubled to run a dungeon in normal mode first or do way too little dps to finish the dungeon without boosting...that isn't cool...the other 4 people probably didn't sign up for that. (Only probably...I actually preferred healing #$%up groups in BC and WOTLK. My favorite run involved healing and finishing heroic Sethekk with a tank who was (a) undergeared and (b) completely unable to hold multi-target aggro.)

There's actually a reasonable argument that 'maxing achievement points' is the only correct way to play/win WOW. After all, Blizzard's been kind enough to implement a scoring system.

Following that argument, failing to collect pets is M&S behavior. (heh)

Anonymous said...

Although...RNG pet collection...is way way too dull for me. I think those people are just doing a cheaper version of 'granny at the slot machine'.

alce mark said...

Excellent analogies, Totally agree with this post.
Basketball is a very familiar sport that is being played all over the world.To play basketball, first learn the rules of the game.The material used in a basketball court is usually hardwood.

Anonymous said...

There are people who make a living playing computer games. The outside world doesn't respect them any more than they respect raiders.

Jenna Elf said...

The whole view on 'video games' is terribly flawed in general, but I don't see that changing much. Even if every person in WoW was a "player" according to the definition and standards presented here, people would still go "Oh, you play video games" and look down on you.

The real world very rarely recognizes that management skills that go into running an online guild (I'd argue it is sometimes HARDER to organize and manage a group of 5, 10, 20, 40 people in a "video game" than it is in an office setting), and that's sometimes a very sad thing. I don't disagree with the view 100%, though, given that I've seen complete dumbasses running guilds. (The activities engaged in by that guild matter when making the call on whether actual management skills are needed or not.)

But to take this away from a raiding or pvp point of view - a roleplaying guild that holds events (I don't mean tea parties, either), takes just as much skill, organization, and people management. Of course, this hasn't applied very much in WoW as the platform is not as open or accessible to the sorts of 'events' that I mean. I refer to events that would be more like organizing a staff of actors for a murder mystery dinner and the like. (For several years before WoW, I was writing interactive quest lines, and running events like this with volunteer RPers as framework 'actors' so other RPers could RP through a custom story line.)

So, while I don't agree with everything here (we can't all agree all the time!), I do agree with a lot of it. But even if all the subscribers adhered to the "player" standard... it wouldn't matter. We are all still looked at by a lot of people as wasting our time and accomplishing nothing worthwhile. Meanwhile, the two dozen 'kids' I'm back in college classes with who snub their noses at RPGs (mmo, tabletop, single player) can't comprehend a simple short story.