Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Message to the Planet Teenager

WARNING: This post contains spoilers about the game of life.


If there is one thing that sends me scrambling through the vents in my home and shrieking into the woods it’s gamers who buy into the myth that gaming is an anti-social activity. This perspective is only possible if one still inhabits the Lip-Locked BFF OMG 24/7/365 world that is teenager brain; that demented stage of life where one is actually glad that the phone call is for you.


Gaming is anti-social compared to what, exactly. Compared to the soccer game where the total amount of social interaction consists of 10,000 people all screaming in unison and rampaging on the pitch. Or perhaps you are thinking of the theater where people sit in total silence for two hours, where the only acceptable vocal expression is laughter (provided it’s actually a comedy) and any actual conversation is greeted with a scowl and a shush. No wait, you must be thinking of that great beacon of social interaction, the one that Americans have on in their home eight hours a day, called a TV. Yeah that’s it: family time. Where everyone sits for hours saying nary a word, eating popcorn, watching goofy strangers on a box that truth be told if they found those people in their home under any other circumstances the police would be called. On-line gaming is anti-social compared to the ubiquitous TV? Really, you believe that? Incredible.


Now I’m certain that you think that adults have all the fun. Error. Error. Error. Work life is just like high school only it’s filled with people old enough to know better but don’t. However social you are as a teenager that’s the most social you are going to get. Yes, I know that the media tells you differently. They lie. There is nothing interesting or even remotely eventful about the office Christmas party or the gang going out after work to the bar. The bar has a TV in it. That’s your first clue. The office party is filled with your co-workers….the same ones you have seen all year. That’s your second clue. If simply gathering a bunch of people together in the same physical space constitutes socialization then not only are sports matches and cocktail parties social events but so is the subway, the airplane, and the traffic jam.


On-line games, for the most part, are intensively social activities. Running instances requires you to interact with strangers in order to achieve a group goal. Selling or buying crafted items or trade skills on the trade channel requires skills in advertising and negotiation. There are plenty of small group quests available. And those are just social aspects of the game for people who, like myself, don’t even belong to guilds. Guilds and raiding add an even deeper and more immersive social aspect to game play. Yet somehow simply because this social activity doesn’t take place face-to-face it’s not social. Well neither does a phone conversation, instant messaging, or texting. Why are those social but vent is not? It’s stupid.



I don’t wish to imply that on-line gaming is the most social activity existing. It’s still possible to have a backyard bar-b-que with those real life strangers, your neighbors. Or you can volunteer at church; or get involved with a political party; or actually play a sport instead of watching it. But let’s be honest: hardly anyone does those things anymore. I actually think that on the social interaction scale on-line gaming sits right in the middle at about a 5/10. Teenagers only think it ranks a 1/10 because they think all life will be like teenagerhood. It’s not. For many people on-line gaming is actually a constructive improvement in their social life. If you think that’s sad or that’s scary, grow-up. I mean that literally: grow-up.


The point I want to get across is that you think there is something inherently interesting about the movies, or about smooching, or sending 24,000 text messages a month. There’s not. In fact, all those activities are actually boring as hell. You think you're seeing reality when you are only seeing the artifacts of your own mind at this stage in your development. Your brain physically changes as you get older. You didn’t think all that stuff was cool when you were six and you wont think it’s cool when your 36. That’s why adults call that OMG mental fog “teenager brain”. It’s not a crime; we went though it too. But it doesn’t last; your brain develops beyond teenagerhood. And that means the party ends.


I warned you at the beginning that this was a spoiler. And I’m sorry if I ruined your day. But you shouldn’t despair. As I tell my teenage nieces and nephews, being a teenager is great. It’s the only time in your life where you have all the physical and mental capabilities to cause trouble and for the most part people won’t hold you accountable for using them. Enjoy this fantasy. It’s the only time in your life you actually get to live it.

50 comments:

Eaten by a Grue said...

You are right in your conclusion when comparing WoW to watching TV or a movie, and other passive spectator activities. But those are low lying fruit. It is easy to beat up on TV and sports watching.

I think that WoW is still antisocial, though not completely. It is antisocial in the sense that it is exceptionally difficult to make deep social connections, yet the game lends itself to extended playing, so often, superficial relationships is all you end up with.

The people you play with, you could call them friends, though if one of them dropped the game, you wouldn't really feel that much of a loss. And if you quit, honestly, they would not miss you that much either.

Everyone wishes each other well, but would any of these people make any real sacrifices for you? I am not talking about joining you on a Deadmines run when they could be leveling more efficiently. I am talking about a real life sacrifice.

Maybe you are the exception, in that you make deep personal conections in the game. I have always found it very hard to do. I suspect I am about your age, and I find it difficult to gel with the younger crowd.

So I guess what I am saying is that a WoW friendship pales in comparison with a dinner out with some real life friends. But yea, if you just replace WoW with TV, then yes, it's a net social activity loss. But if you are into doing social things, then you should strive for better than TV.

Klepsacovic said...

@Eaten:
"The people you play with, you could call them friends, though if one of them dropped the game, you wouldn't really feel that much of a loss. And if you quit, honestly, they would not miss you that much either."
I disagree completely. A few friends who I'd met through the forums and then eventually rerolled with, when they transferred I missed them. A few days ago one of them was back and I was delighted. I still play with a friend who I've known for probably two years, we've gone from guild to guild together. I'd be pretty unhappy if he was gone.

I won't claim that WoW is the ideal social activity. The lack of physical visibility means a significant loss of communication and immediacy. But to call it anti-social is absolutely false.

Lantana said...

I completely disagree with Grue. Although I could agree (not enough data, really) it is somewhat uncommon to form deep friendships in WoW, is it not uncommon to form them at work? At the bar? At the baseball game?

I myself formed some incredibly important friendships in WoW, and yes, I deeply miss the ones who have quit. And I would do much - and have done much - for them. Unusual? Certainly. Is that rarity unique to WoW? Certainly not. Those folks are closer friends than almost everyone I work with, for example, and I'm a pretty outgoing person.

But more important than my little personal anecdote is my basic issue with your argument, and what you side-stepped in the post. Those interactions do not have to be "deep" or even lasting to be profoundly social. They teach us things about ourselves and about being with others (most scholars of social interaction include things like talking to the grocery store clerk as nominally social!), and give us that vital human contact.

Most importantly, IMO, the social worlds of WoW cross an enormous number of offline social barriers - creating what Granovetter calls "weak ties" that have been shown time and again to be the most valuable social connections we have in terms of resources, finding jobs, building communities, etc.

In WoW I talk on a regular basis, as a peer, to people 15 years my junior - and 15 my senior. I "hang out" with the guys far more there than offline, and I talk to folks from all over the US, rather than just my old friends or local contacts.

In short, "real scarifices" are not the definition of being social in my book. Perhaps it is part of the definition of deep friendship, but I also need the other kind of social: the hang out and chat social, the chill at the bar social, the see you on the street social. WoW gives me that in spades, it just looks a little different.

So yes, perhaps I am an exception to have met and kept deep friends in the game. But I think the light stuff makes a real difference in our lives too.

Ian said...

To kids that think adults have all the fun: you're absolutely right. Being an adult is awesome. Being a kid isn't terrible, but definitely kind of sucks.

Ziboo said...

That was soooo well written and so true!

Nothing will replace face time with RL friends, but I don't find gaming antisocial, some of the people maybe, but then you find those types everywhere - work, school, family.

The field I work much of our communication is online or via phone as its national and international - very social, but not in a face to face way all the time. Perhaps that is the difference.


Too the teens - their is a reason singers/writers write and sing about their glory days and golden days of youth, etc. ....

Need to Tweet this blog - loved it!

Justamom said...

I think you will only get from the game socially what you put into it. Depends on how much you put yourself out there and what kind of friendships you want to form.

Being a social individual, I've made alot of friends but only a couple of close friends that I communicate by phone and dip into each others lives outside the game.

Not every relationship turns out to be a long friendship but thats the way it is outside the game. People get married, move away or you just go in different directions.

Kestrel said...

A very wise man (a songwriter, in fact) once observed that "youth is wasted on the young." His point was that as youngsters, we waste a lot of years doing things we wouldn't imagine doing at 6, or 36.

Yet at 36, and 46, and 56 (my age...what a coincidence!), we adults wish we were young again, with the energy and time to do all those things we want to do now.

Another superbly written and exceptionally insightful article, Elnia.

gnomeaggedon said...

Other social activities aren't social. If on the rare occasion my wife & I get some pure "us" time, I suggest a Movie... well things get thrown...

I know that I could (and do) be making friends outside of WoW, but at my point in life, with friends spread around the city (60 odd km between each of us), the only way for us to get together and be social is via alternative media... in this case it's WoW, a common pleasure for us.

We have know each other from 10 years through to 30 years... if it wasn't for WoW, we would hardly ever be in touch (there have been periods like this before).

However, when we catch up every few months, it's like we saw each other last Friday... because we did... in WoW.

Dw-redux said...

"However social you are as a teenager that’s the most social you are going to get. Yes, I know that the media tells you differently. They lie."
Oh my, that is so very well put, and so very very true.

Dàchéng said...

@Kestrel:
the "very wise man" who observed that "youth is wasted on the young" was actually the famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw.

Anonymous said...

For some reason id hate to be at the other end of an arguement with Larisa....and im a pro at arguing

Cack

Larísa said...

@Cack: don't worry! This post wasn't written by me, it was written by my excellent bartender Elnia. Not easy to argue with him... or her... whatever.

I'm probably a bit easier to handle. Though I'm way too shy to argue with you in /trade. I'll stick to whispers.

krizzlybear said...

I find it funny that in the past year, I was more social in-game than I was when I was on campus. As a commuter student, I really don't have the time to form comraderies other than those forged out of academic necessity. For me, it was "get to class, pay attention, leave."

Then I go back to WoW, and there's a bunch of people that greet me online, and one or two who I have meaningful conversations with, who I genuinely want to know more about personally.

But I don't limit my social life to just WoW. As an extrovert, I really want to be around people, so I do enjoy going out with friends and family, even to the extent of not signing up to a raid from time to time. Real life always comes first!

Copernicus said...

I think what's important about WoW is that you get to choose your level of socializing.

Many of the people in my guild have swapped phone numbers and e-mail addresses. They call each other regularly, text and e-mail. This past weekend, one family met another three states away.

In contrast, I don't know anyone's phone number, nor do I really want to. Yes, I like these people, but I have no interest in being social outside the game, and not really much inside the game either. I'll chat a bit in Vent and a little in Guild, but for the most part I just tune everyone out unless I'm directly addressed.

Some people play a hack and slash game with some social components thrown in, and some play a social game with some hack and slash components. It is what you make of it.

Shy said...

@Eaten

I've moved around, lived studied, and worked in different countries.

If you do this often enough you come to realize that real face to face friends forget you the moment you no longer have face to face.

10 year long real face to face friendships break when distance comes in between.

Yes, the internet may seem like it's harder to have meaningful relations. But how meaningful is it really when the relationship cannot survive without face time?

(and believe me, experience has taught me that most face to face friendships do NOT survive distance)

I love my internet family. No matter where I decide to go I can get in touch with them, and find them, and they will find me. Both sides accept that it's not always possible to look eachother up every day, and honestly, it has worked out for the best.

Okrane S. said...

Please stop these comments and delete the blog post... you're embarrassing yourselves.

this is clearly a case of heavy denial in which you find reasons to aliment your need for gaming...

To anyone that has a wife/husband/gf/bf/friend/family member: take them and go outside, meet up with some other friends and have a laughter... and then come back here and tell me wow aint antisocial...

geez...

Elnia said...

@Eaten. Thanks for speaking up and stirring the pot.

@Lantana. Excellent points!

@Ian. LOL.

@Ziboo. @Kestrel: I am glad you enjoyed it.

mute said...

It's incredibly amazing to see how modern life and almost all elements changed and killed what humanity knew about "social life" for thousands of years, so that a computer game with pixels can be considered as socializing.

Let me remind you something. Most of the elements of the modern world we are living in is no different than the online game and its social aspect you're talking about. You're talking about TV. Ho, hello! Welcome to modern times. You're talking about phones, text messages etc. Hello again! These are all elements of modern life which that online game is also a part of. I would laugh to a person that sits and talks on phone or writes text messages and at the same time, bashes an online gamer with being asocial. But I would also laugh at someone comparing these two (in this case, you).

Let me remind another thing (I'm reminding because as far as I've seen so far in your blog, you seem to be capable of thinking about these unlike the majority). For thousands of years, humanity socialized in those theaters which now you underestimate while trying to compare with an online game. They socialized with reading books to each other while sitting next to fire places in their homes. They socialized in sport games (remember olympics of ancient greek), in arenas of Roman empire, they socialized in annual feasts, religious days, in church, in mosque, they socialized in a local bazaar, heck they even socialized in army, in war. Good morning Sweden! This is all we could invent for the sake of socializing since we started to exist on the earth!

What else could socializing be if it's not watching sports with 10,000 people, an office party, a drink with colleagues after work, watching a play in theater with friends? It's been like this for - i don't know- 10,000 years! Do you think someone will come with an unheard method of socializing that will demolish all your online socializing so you will finally feel sadly satisfied and forget about the subject?

I'll tell you what will demolish this online game's graceful social aspect. Physical connection. I'm sorry, my lady. In a soccer match, in a theater, in an office party, in whatever social platform you may think of, you see real people, you touch real people. See and touch. Smell. Hear. You are like an antenna, collecting transaction coming all around you. You filter them, give them a shape, increase or decrease their density, their meaning and finally show an emotion. Repeated, those links become stronger. You fall in love, you become good friends, you become hateful enemies.

What you see and hear and feel in front of your whatever inch screen is all pixels. You hear people through your headphones. Maybe you don't even hear their real voice tone. You laugh, you get frustrated but that's it. Those links that connect you to your own kind never get strong enough. This is what is taken away from us with modern devices of our modern times: Feelings.

Think twice when you compare online socializing to being in a theater, watching a sport game with a community or having 2 hours break after work with your friends. It's ok if you don't enjoy these as much as you enjoy in front of the pc. You do whatever you want to do! But when you compare a computer game with thousands of years' heritage and habits, you cross the line there.

krizzlybear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Copernicus said...

@Mute:

People do what they enjoy. It's positive reinforcement. If I enjoyed going out to the bar with my coworkers, than I would do that on a regular basis. If I enjoyed watching sports, then I would do so. If I enjoyed taking my family out to the park and watching my kids play, then I would be there.

However, I find none of those things particularly interesting, and in some cases, downright unenjoyable. I want to socialize with people that have the same interests as I do. What are my interests? Video games, fantasy, game theory, task oriented play.

Hanging out with friends at the bar does not fill those needs. I have no interest in talking about the NHL Championship, even though I live in Detroit and grew up near Pittsburgh! I do not enjoy talking about politics or religion because the highly political and religious people turn my stomach.

A common suggestion for people feeling lonely is to find people with the same interests as you. Well where are the people with the same interests as me? At home playing video games!

krizzlybear said...

I think we all ought to tread carefully on this subject. There are valid points on both sides of the coin, and the value that is associated to each point of view has shown to be subjective, according to the comments on this thread.

That being said, I find the tones in both the article and in some of these comments to be slightly sharper than what is usually presented at the inn. Interesting, nonetheless.

Okrane S. said...

@Copernicus

Then, my friend, you are anti-social... simple as that.

Lets not get around the meaning of words here.

Copernicus said...

@Okrane:

Yet here I am, having a discussion with people I don't even know, about a topic I find interesting. Is this not socializing? Granted, we're not face to face; we can't see facial expressions nor body jestures. Yet we're having a conversation, regardless.

It's all about limits and tolerence levels. We have upper limits and lower limits for every activity we do, and those limits are different between each person.

Take driving as an example. Some people feel driving 80 is perfectly fine, while another will not go over 70. The former thinks the later is a slow poke and needs to get out of the way. The later thinks the former is irresponsible and reckless.

However, if the person going 70 had a tolerence limit at 90, but for some reason couldn't get the vehicle to go over 70, then when the person going 80 blew by them, they would feel either admiration or jealously, depending on self esteem levels.

The same concepts can be applied to work, sports, and socializing.

krizzlybear said...

@okrane - I can't see how being around people with the same interests (albeit in a digitally communicative sense) is anti-social.

Okrane S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Okrane S. said...

In Roger Scruton's words:

http://rogerscruton.wordpress.com/2008/12/02/can-virtual-life-take-over-from-real-life/

{be sure to read the whole article in The Sunday Times link provided there}

I think it pretty much sums it up.

Leah said...

I love this post, love it.

most people have already said what I wanted to say. some tried to disparage what's been said, claim that its merely an excuse to justify the gaming.

but let me tell you one thing. DO you know why most people play this game for years upon years? its not because its this drug you cannot get rid of, its not because game play is just that amazing. no. its because of various degrees of human interaction it brings, be that a fleeting camaraderie of a pug, real life connections you make with the people you're guilded with (or met in a pug), or financial manipulations and experiments.

I cannot strike up a random conversation with a people next to me on a bus. I do not belong to a social strata of people who still host those enormous parties where you can actually meet new people. My line of work limits my human connections down to a bare minimum.

By ocrane's definition - I'm antisocial because spectator activities do not interest me in the least and the group of friends I used to have that would gather up and do things, degenerated into a group of people who just sat around in a restaurant, talking of nothing but their boring lives at the office with occasional foray into children and/or pregnancy - needless to say, we have drifted apart. Well I'd rather be antisocial and have interesting conversations with someone online, then be sitting at some restaurant that, if I'm lucky, I like the food at, tapping my foot from boredom, sneaking looks at my watch and trying to nod at appropriate moments.

Elnia is right - our biggest social exposure happens when we are teenagers and college students, because once you're out - meeting new people that also share your interests becomes pretty difficult. MMORPGs bridge that gap somewhat, allow us to connect with people that we otherwise would have never met - virtually or otherwise. why do you think so many older people play them, especially WoW. and if you think that they don't - you are very very wrong.

Larísa said...

I can't help feeling a bit disturbed by some of the comments here. And I'm trying to figure out why. I think it's got to do with the fact that I'm really quite a lonely person, believe it or not. Antisocial as you Okrane would call it. I've never got the hang of how to make friends or become the central point of a party. And I guess I just don't trust people enough or don't know how to make myself interesting or popular.

The alternative for me to playing WoW is NOT going to a real pub after work having a bear with my friends, laughing and chatting for hours. Because those friends are non existent and I sincerely don't know where I'd find them. Not at my age. (Well I barely them as a teenager either, so I differ a bit from Elnias description, but that's another story.)

This fact about me isn't something I easily want to talk about because it's quite frowned upon in the modern society. But ok. I'm always honest with you at PPI, so I tell you without too much blushing. WoW to me - in game as well as in the blogging community -has been a BIG step forward to me to interact more with other human beings. It isn't social in the way that YOU value highest. But does my enjoyment in this social activity hurt you in anyway Okrane? Do you really need to pick on people like me, who don't quite fit into the more traditional kind of socializing? I really don't ask for much. Only to be accepted for who I am - someone who makes friends more easily in game than in real life.

All of this said I think the Sunday Times article had some interesting perspectives, thanks for the link!

Wow, this was a looong comment. I may work a bit more on it and make a post of it instead when I've pondered a little more on the response of this. We'll see what comes up in my mind, you never know.

Copernicus said...

@Okrane:

You're coming at this from the standpoint of someone who was social before, but has somehow become less so by starting to play a game.

I'm coming at it from the other side. Before WoW, I read books. All the time. Every fantasy novel I could get my hands on, and some sci fi to mix it up. I was reading a new book every day or two. When the library ran out of books I wanted to read, I started buying them. I spent a fortune on books. Was I becoming well read and educated? Heck no, I was reading fluff. My vocabulary got larger, but that's about it. It was a complete and utter waste of time and money, even though I enjoyed it immensely.

Now that I play WoW, I get my fantasy for the easy low price of $15.00 per month, and I get the bonus of being able to talk to real, live people.

So yes, from the standpoint of a very social person, this would be a step backwards in the social order of things, but coming from my end of the spectrum, it's a huge step forward.

Okrane S. said...

I'm not picking on you Larisa.

What I am trying to say here is you, me, we all have to admit that this type of gaming is a problem. And only then we can actually start DOING something about it. Before it's too late.

Praising the great social benefits of wow is just pure DENIAL. Ok, we like it, we play, but let's cut down the time we spend with our virtual friends and reach out to some real people. Its hard. I know. It's unimaginably difficult for some. I'm sure of it. But you must take the risk and do it.

That's the only way to reap the true benefits of being with real people.

Read the article I presented above, its really good.

Just don't fool yourself any more. That's all I am saying.

Copernicus said...

Why do it if it's not fun? We do things because we like the rewards that come from them. If the reward isn't great enough, what's the reasoning for doing them?

Eaten by a Grue said...

Okrane, that was a great article from Scrutton. Here is the part I really enjoyed:

"When I relate to you through the screen there is a marked shift in emphasis. Now I have my finger on the button. At any moment I can turn you off. You are free in your own space, but you are not really free in mine, since you are dependent on my decision to keep you there. I retain ultimate control, and am not risking myself in the friendship as I risk myself when I meet you face to face. Of course I may stay glued to the screen. Nevertheless, it is a screen that I am glued to, not the person behind it.

You too, therefore, will not risk yourself; you appear on the screen only on condition of retaining ultimate control. This is something I know about you. And I know that you know that I know. And you likewise. There grows between us a reduced-risk encounter, in which each is aware that the other is fundamentally withheld, sovereign within his impregnable cyber-castle. I “click on” you, as I might click on a news item or a video. You are one of the products on display; but this does not make you an object of trust, with whom my life is mingled."

Firespirit said...

Growing up, I was always the person that was shy, in the corner, reading a book, getting A's and B's in school - you know, socially awkward.

Throughout high school I was a bit of a recluse most of the time, and eventually ended up with a core group of friends that was larger than I ever thought possible.

Slowly, after high school, we all went our separate ways, and lo and behold, are relegated to the ways of Myspace and Facebook. A few friends play WoW, but the big "adult" life has separated us all, and relationships that were once strong are now faltering *at best*.

Anyway, fortunately soon after I graduated and started attending college classes, I landed a good job. I moved up in the company and got into a sales position. WOW how I had culture shock. Sales was a wakeup call for me. I was forced to go from quiet kid in the corner to blustering sales man.

Visiting the conferences, taking care of clients... You can't get more social than that.

And you know what, I still find the people of WoW to be more social then these goofballs.

Im sorry to say, but @Okrane - WoW is not an excuse for anything. I log into WoW sometimes ONLY to socialize with my fellow guildmates. Ill sit in WG and fish and do nothing but chat the world up.

Copernicus said...

There seems to be a disconnect in the definition of social here. One group is talking about making friends and deep, meaningful relationships, the other is simply talking about communicating and interacting with other people.

As Lantana mentioned, passing pleasantries with the check out clerk while they scan your groceries is a social activity.

Rhii said...

Well said, Elnia!

I'm not going to dip into the argument except to point out that "real life sacrifice" is hardly the defining characteristic of face to face socialization. There are very few people for whom I'd sacrifice a whole lot, and most of them are family.

Also, Shy made an excellent point. the majority of face-to-face friendships DON'T persist when the face to face contact is gone. Being with people just because they're there is often a LESS deep connection than friendship that persists across long distances and many years... even if it's not face-to-face.

Okay, so I did dip into the argument. I knew I couldn't resist.

Larísa said...

@Eaten by a Grue and Okrane: It's all a matter of perspective, just as I wrote about the other day. It depends on from where you're coming. There are people who are so lonely that the chat they have with a lady at the grocery store is the only conversation they will have that day. And it will meah A LOT to them. There are others who couldn't care less and have more close friends than they can handle.

You can also take part in what LOOKS like social activities in real life - I do it at my work all the time - while you in fact feel like the lonliest person in the world, just playing a role. Does that kind of fraud become more valuable just because you can see and smell the people around you and you don't interact with them online?

There are people I've met through WoW that know stuff about me that no one of my rl friends know. I trust them deeply, even though they're strangers in one sense. It probably sounds very strange. But I really think that you look on this issue in black and white, forgetting about all the individual variations there are.
You know.
Life.

Fitz said...

Wow, what a firestorm of commentary for the PPI blog. This very well might end up on The Daily Quest at this rate!

While I enjoyed reading Elnia's arguments, I agree with krizzlybear that this is all subjective. TV, movies, sports spectators, and MMORPG's all consist of people bonding while watching something happen. At the Star Trek premiere, I went with 4 friends and we bonded over discussions before and after the movie. The same thing can happen at the bar. The same thing can happen over vent in WoW. The same thing can happen while texting.

Do what you enjoy, and if someone forces you to justify the activity, it's not bad to be able to compare these various activities with "better" subjective social acceptance. As for Okrane, just log off and get out of the game if it's not fun or warping your life. Grow up and break the addiction if that's what it is! No reason to rain on everyone else's parade if they handle the game and life balance better than some.

highlatencylife said...

Wow what a great post, and some great comments.

I think one of the comments was, and I agree you get what you put into something.

WoW, going to the bar, the movies, anything it can be social, or non-social. Like I go to the movies, yes for 2 hours say nothing, but I love going to dinner afterwards and discuss the movie. I go to the bar, and talk with other people. I like to raid with other people in WoW, and call them all douchebags over guild chat.

I made some friends in WoW, and if they disappeared I would miss them deeply, and some did.

I think Krizzly said it right, it's a subjective matter, and we might as well be discussing religon.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

I must say that this is an excellent post.

But, going to the movie by yourself, is NOT social. Going to the movie is about having a shared experience, and it's the talk afterwards that's social. Hopefully you don't go so late, that the only thing left is to go home.

Socializing is about making the connection with someone. Talking to them, and in that way sharing some of yourself with someone else. It's a way of spreading yourself around the world. To give a bit of yourself to someone else.

WoW has this, such as a raid or an instance, or trade. These are shared experiences, that allow us to connect to each other. No matter how superficial an experience is, if it allows for the connections to be made, then it has accomplished it's goal and allowed us to share each other.

This post has generated this, and for that, I'd like to thank you Elnia.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

@highlatencylife: I didn't even read your comment til after my post!

Elnia said...

(very big eyes) I leave town for the day and the comments explode. Thanks for all the insightful comments. And thanks for reading PPI.

Crucifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kromus said...

Well, possiblitie of WoW being banned in germany made me really, REALLY angry this week.

Think back- we've murdered people for Gold, we've murdered for women, (or men). Hitler didn't do what he did because of What he saw in WoW, and neither did all of societys considered "cretins".

Personally gaming is fantastic, and it keeps people unique, and its awesome, and i love it.


And i love your post. fantastic.

mute said...

@Larisa: I will quote Krishnamurti for you even though it will seem to be irrelevant:

"... considering what the world is now, with all the misery, conflict, destructive brutality, aggression, and so on, man is still as he was. He is still brutal, violent, aggressive, acquisitive, competitive-and he has built a society along these lines."

The modern life supports individuality and a departure from actual socialization. From the units that we live in to the tech devices that we use, it breaks the communication between human.

It looks stupid to make this discussion over an online computer game but it's no different than making it over tv, mobile phone, office cells etc. Yes, you're right. You are socializing. But if I were you I would believe that I'm not socializing as much as my personality allows, I'm socializing as much as environment allows me. It's in your hands, it really is. I'm not a teenager either, I'm too far away from it. But it's not impossible to change things when you're 30 or 40 or 50 either.

And yes, you (plural) are compensating the lack of X with Y. You are compensating lack of socializing effort in your life with thinking WoW provides enough. No it does NOT. Wake up and see for yourself! What will happen when you get bored of *this* game after 1 year or 2 years or when Blizzard shuts down the servers? Will you find another game? Or will you regret that you didn't change your perspective, your habits when it was better time for it?

This has been a long comment again, I'm sorry. But one last word: if you accept the defeat, give up and hide under the shelter of this immature lie that WoW provides enough socializing, I'm sorry but exactly THEN you are anti-social.

Dw-redux said...

As long its real humans you are communicating with, its socializing, no matter what subject and platform is (phone, interweb, games, soccer, pubs w/e)...

Now, on the other hand if it involves Milo, then its time to get your worried look into place (if you dont know who milo is: http://www.truveo.com/microsoft-milo-the-virtual-talking-boy-e3-2009/id/1521431327 )

Pangoria Fallstar said...

Anti-social- 1. Shunning the society of others; not sociable.
2. Hostile to or disruptive of the established social order; marked by or engaging in behavior that violates accepted mores: gangs engaging in vandalism and other antisocial behavior.
3. Antagonistic toward or disrespectful of others; rude.

I do not think most of you are using the word correctly. Larisa, you are very social, don't mind these anti-social behaviors of others trying to say that you have their problems.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

To expand on antisocial, if you don't talk to anyone, or only with close friends, that's antisocial.

Larisa talks to ALL of us here on this blog. And trust me, we're NOT her close friends, we are mere strangers visiting her inn.

SSB Jezi said...

This was a fantastic post! I enjoy your blog :) and I do not consider it a spoiler- I laughed really hard because it is so true.

Kidos are trying to grow up way to fast these days.. and probably always have.. They are more worried about what people think about them, than enjoying their childhood.

and on another note.. I use WoW as a communication tool. I live across the country from my family and most of my friends.. my brother and I where really close as we lived together for 5 years after he graduated from high school. We play WoW as our time together.

Hatch said...

Very good post; teenage-brain is a dangerous epidemic. :)

As for "social" activities: I've given this a lot of thought because I used to not understand why gaming was considered anti-social and all these other activities were not. And what it really comes down to is: does the activity raise your social status, and/or make it easier for others to make small talk with you?

The older I get, the more it seems like there are two types of people in our society: social-focused people, and creativity/intellect-focused people. Not to say that creative people aren't social, or that social people can't be intelligent. It's just a matter of what you focus on in your activities.

Social people do things not because they themselves enjoy them, but because their highest priority is social status and fitting in.

Meanwhile, people like us do activities because we like the activity itself, not because it provides us with some social currency.

Gaming is enjoyment for it's own sake, but doesn't improve your social status, and is niche enough that it doesn't give you something to discuss socially like sports or Dancing with the Stars or 90210 does.

The starkest example is the difference between people who view school as a place to learn and achieve, while others view it solely as a place to socialize and search for a mate. Both of them may be smart, but one of them flat-out doesn't care about schoolwork, and just does enough to keep the adults off their back while they chat with friends and flirt.

whatsmymain said...

@Okrane-

I'm wondering where the hostility is coming from myself. Socializing is completely subjective. I had a lot of friends when I was in high school and we had tons of fun hanging out and doing stuff... but I moved to Florida right after I graduated. Out of all those friends I only semi-regularly talk to one.

In fact that one person is the same person who got me to play WoW in the first place. I've also met other people and have gotten some of my family members to play as well. With the economy the way that it is this allows us all to chat and socialize us without spending 50$ to go to a movie and out to eat (thats just for the wife and I)

I'm 25 married and have a daughter. I have a friend who comes over and hangs out usually once a week who also plays WoW.

Friends come and go in RL and in the game. Your treasured social interactions in RL can fade and be forgotten just as easily as that one guy you quested with that one time.

This is simply put an alternative life style. Sooner or later society will realize this and will be viewed as normal.