Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Porn Star and the PUG

The following post contains mature themes and language that may be offensive.

Even now I feel slightly awkward publicly admitting that a porn star changed my life. It was one of those boring evenings surfing the web where one news article led to another news article that caused me to eventually land on the web site of AIM, the adult industry medical health foundation. The web site of Sharon Mitchell. Five years ago I did not know anything about Sharon Mitchell, the porn industry, or an important truth about myself.


The Woman of a Thousand Fucks


In the porn industry Sharon Mitchell is legendary. She appeared in more than 2000 sex movies and has won every major adult industry award that exists. What makes her interesting compared to other adult entertainers is that after a twenty year career in the business she left to advocate for the health and well being of the performers. What makes her interesting to me is the reason why she left.


Stumbling around on the site I discovered an interview that she gave shortly after she left the business. An interview no longer available on-line but which I still have saved to my disk drive. Reminiscing about her career she said, “Looking back I think I fell for attention. I was performing acts of intimacy without the intimacy and that kept me from love for a long time.”

Having a Zen moment is no trite phrase. Those words crashed upon my consciousness; a tidal wave of truth exposing the foundation of my existence; laid bare the bedrock of my love life. In a flash my whole life cleared and I realized that what was true in the deepest heart of a whore was true for me too. That I too had been guilty of falling for attention and confusing it with intimacy. In my case that attention wasn’t sexual; it was about intelligence, competency, success in my career. A different brand of poison. Attention is not attraction which is not intimacy which is not love.

The Pornography Business

In what is coming to be a pattern Spinks is arriving at insights one step ahead of me. In regards to the new Looking for Group tool she writes, “Unshackling the social side of guilds from the group game may be one of the most long sighted advances any MMO of this generation has accomplished.” A statement that is about as close as one can get to a feisty defense of the pornography business.


Because unshackling sex from intimacy is the core of the porn industry. That’s it’s purpose, that’s it goal, that it’s aim. Some will argue that this has always been true for the consumers of porn; Sharon’s key insight is that this divorce is equally true for the performers. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she named her organization AIM as a subtle reminder to all adult entertainers to question what their aims are for being in the business.


Because the entire thrust of Sharon’s insight and her subsequent work is that it’s the lack of love, not the sex, that is the underlying problem in the porn industry. The problem with the porn industry isn’t that people are fucking; it’s not even that they are fucking for dollars; the problem is that they are fucking strangers. They are performing acts of physical intimacy without psychological intimacy.


The Ugly Side of the New LFG Tool


The ugly side of the new Looking for Group tool is exactly as Spinks describes it: it allows us to grind groups in the same way we grind mobs. The efficiency of the new tool removes the need for any knowledge about one’s fellow players. Since most cross server groups don’t know each other and will never play with each other again, what Larisa has called the “quick silent run” becomes if not the norm the ideal. Get in, get it done, move on. With strangers.


The easy defense of the new tool is that no one has to use it. That the new LFG tool along with the new guild system arriving with Cataclysm presents the best of both worlds. For those who only want a quick silent run during their lunch break to get some loot the new tool makes that easy. As easy as a sites like Redtube or Pornhub makes it easy to have a quick silent handjob during the lunch break for a thrill. Meanwhile, those who are seeking deeper relationships can find those bonds in the new guild system.


But what is the best of both worlds for some is the worst of all worlds for others; people like Sharon and I. People who are gullible and easily confused. People who are after the attention the loot gives them and want the quick and easy way to get there. People like the teens to whom this game is marketed and rated. For teens the distinction between intimacy and attention that is clearer to adults is not so obvious to them.


The easy defense of the porn industry is that no one has to look at it. But the reality is that people do look at it, are influenced by it, and it has consequences for everyone concerned. The critical question is why is there a tool that emphases the unshackling of sociability from grouping when, as I pointed out last summer, the teen age years are the most social times of one’s life. Do we really want our children to learn that the ideal group is a group without intimacy? For the precise real world analogue to the new grouping tool is the website Adult Friend Finder, where people go to create PUGs for sex. With strangers.


A Thousand Fucking PUGs


The new LFG tool is the gaming instantiation of the pornography mindset. A quick easy thrill with no string attached. So it’s no surprise that it’s popular; pornography is popular. As Tobold correctly notes popularity normally means profits.


Because of profit I don’t have any illusions that either the new LFG tool or pornography is going away. What is mystifying to me is that despite the inroads pornography has made in Western society there still is a cultural sense that being a sexual whore is bad yet being a social whore— having casual and temporary emotional and psychological relationships with others—is harmless. It’s just a game, dude.


I have a deep respect for Sharon Mitchell because after her epiphany it would have been easy to walk out the door feeling betrayed and disgusted with herself and with the world. Instead, every day she gets to look those young men and women in the eyes and subtly ask them what their AIM is. Do they really think the risk for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases is worth it for a few thousand dollars and the chance to see oneself in a movie. Do you think fellow Warcraft players that having a silent run, without communication, without intimacy—your little noontime quickie—is really worth it for a shot at some loot? Is grinding out one superficial relationship after another—networking—really worth it for success in the business world? It’s not my place to tell you yes or no; many of Sharon’s charges will get treated for their sexual diseases and go back on the movie set. Yet she and I are alike in another way: we have come to the place in our lives where must ask the questions.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Do you think that having a silent run, without communication, without intimacy—your little noontime quickie—is really worth it for a shot at some loot? Is grinding out one superficial relationship after another—networking—really worth it for success in the business world?"

Yes and yes.

Anonymous said...

O.o

I think you should put this post "after the cut" and have a disclaimer telling your readers that language might offend.

I've never encountered such language on your site before, and don't want to censor your posts, but it is possible that young children, or sensitive adults, could be reading.

Charlie said...

Wow...VERY interesting and thought-provoking post! If you think about it, a lot of players' attitudes reflect the porn industry. The self-gratification, the detachment, the desire for attention without strings attached. Granted, there are plenty of players that prefer to connect, to make long-term commitments to guilds or friends...but it does seem like the all-business, silent pugger is really just after the one-night stand. It's pretty sad, since the biggest part of an MMO is interacting with the rest of that community. But I suppose that just as body parts are just tools for an income or instant (yet temporary) satisfaction to the average porn star, so are the other pixels running that dungeon with you to get you the next piece of phat lewtz.

doofman said...

"But what is the best of both worlds for some is the worst of all worlds for others; people like Sharon and I. People who are gullible and easily confused. People who are after the attention the loot gives them and want the quick and easy way to get there. People like the teens to whom this game is marketed and rated. For teens the distinction between intimacy and attention that is clearer to adults is not so obvious to them."

So is the argument that because teens and some adults can't handle video games or fucking strangers, those that can are wrong, or should feel guilty for being able to do so happily?

"Because unshackling sex from intimacy is the core of the porn industry. That’s it’s purpose, that’s it goal, that it’s aim."

I don't think that's true; the ultimate purpose of porn is to get people off; sometimes they're alone, sometimes they're not, but that's entirely up to the consumer.

You're right that the porn stars have to deal with the intimacy issues surrounding their jobs, but as you pointed out, everyone has to do that in SOME way in their job. ("Is grinding out one superficial relationship after another—networking—really worth it for success in the business world") I have no doubt that there are plenty of people that have no business fucking strangers for money; those people shouldn't become hookers or porn stars. It's why keep out the 14 year olds, which is the same reason that WoW has a T rating in the US. I feel the utmost sympathy for anyone that ends up in something as complicated as professional porn for the wrong reasons, but I also believe that there are right reasons, and I'm not the one to tell someone which person they are they are.

Klepsacovic said...

Interesting idea. At first glance the connection is a bit off, but perhaps groups are the sex of MMOs. And babies are the hardmode.

@Anonymous: The disclaimer is the author; Elnia isn't as sanitized as Larisa. This isn't new.

Magma said...

@Anonymous, Young children shouldn't be reading a blog about a game rated teen and sensitive adults should maybe realize they're not very adult if they are offended by a single word. More people on this earth curse than don't.

On topic; Interesting post to say the least. I'm not sure what side I'm on.

Daniel said...

Hmmm sensitive adults can grow a mental pair IMO. Children are usually very thick skinned and hardly offended if I recall correctly what I was as a teenager and all my friends.

Well one night stands are just awesome during most of the time. You dont have to know her name, her feelings, her anything. And that is great. Same is with pugs. I want something and dont care for others.

Anabella said...

I am flabbergasted, but in a good way :)

It's a very well written post, very thought provoking. I do have to agree with the sentiments stated in it.

I have joined a new guild recently. Thankfully, they are all very nice people, but I don't know them all too well. Since the intimacy is missing, I find myself reluctant to even play on my main, let alone go to raids or instances with them.

On the other hand, I am happily wiping with a group of friends in stupid ToC normal - since the connection is present, the whole experience has a different flavor.

I do not use the new LFG tool all that much :)

Dw-redux said...

I was about to get distracted by the first two anonymous commentators and rant on for hours about how daft they are in their own unique ways, but dammit:
This is most likely the best blog-post i have read since I started reading Blogs.

This hits the very core about my issues with WoW as of late. But a problem i have had a very hard time putting into words.

Thank you so very much for this.

Spinks said...

Very interesting post. It also reminds me of something I read in pretty in plate where she compares the LFG tool to casual sex also.

Okrane S. said...

Good one Elnia... and I who thought Gevlon was the master of wow-rl parallels... this post certainly beats all of his.

The main issue here is the people who like to play the game for the game. MMO-players are drifting away from what was originally known as "gamer". MMOs have become more like social networking places with a theme... a sort of facebook with elves and dragons kinda thing.

And it is this trait of the game what it drives you to ask this sort of question, and raise this kind of parallel... because it is obvious that you are clearly one of the players who values to a greater extent the social connections within the game than the game content itself. For you, content, is just a pretext to hang out, an activity used to spend time with friends.

But what happens to the people who are actual gamers? Who enjoy the game for the game? People who like sex because it feels good and not because it is a mean of social bonding. As an anti-social person (in the strict English meaning of the word, not any of Gevlon's bullshit) I am playing wow for the challenges it brings.

I like the game for what it is, and other players are just means of progressing my character( by collaborating or competing with them). This is what I enjoy in WoW and pugs are a way to do it fast, efficiently without too much a need of lobbying yourself into the graces of a group in order to have access to group content.

So to answer your question, casual sex is just for people who just like to play the game, just as pugs.

About the bitter feeling your protagonist has felt after a life without love, at the end of the day, people inside mmos are nothing but PUG-members in our lives, no matter the illusions of a social bonds you may have.

If what you are looking for is that fuzzy feeling of social warmth, I can assure you that no matter how hard you try, you wont find it in an internet computer game. Eventually you will realize that nothing is left of it, once people quit and the game fades away. Go outside, meet some people etc...

In the end, MMOs are nothing but one big perpetual pug...

Elnia said...

@spinks.

Thanks for that link. I was unaware of it.

Dorgol said...

Interesting parallel, but it doesn't hold any water for me.

I was ALREADY spending the majority of my time in PUGs. They were all from my server, but they were - usually - completely unknown to me. In fact, the only name I can remember from all those PUGs was a Death Knight named "Daathknight"... and I remember the name BECAUSE of the name.

So if I have NEVER had any sort of social connection to my groups... the LFG Tool makes no changes whatsoever.

Hum Real Loud said...

Great article and comments. I'd like to take it a step further and make some observations about intimacy in general.

1. Paper n' dice D&D circa 1989 was intimate. You spent all weekend with a few of your friends playing out a detailed adventure. Modern MMOs lack any real story and are mostly just pugging to grind mechanics. Hopefully storytelling in MMOs will evolve in coming years.

2. This is just an extension of our culture at large. I don't do facebook, but I maintain a private email list of about 20 friends who I actually like to hang out with in real life. This whole "friending" micromanagement thing really appears to be out of control amongst my co-workers, and they spend a lot of time pruning the shrubbery. Just how much time or energy is left over to focus on a core RL group, much less an online MMO?

3. To get existential for a sec, I would suggest that true intimacy comes from a shared growth experience, overcoming challenges, adapting to each others strengths and shortcomings. MMO discussions so often fall under a gear or mechanics debate that represents only a fraction of a person.

A good example is the proverb not to discuss sex, politics or religion in mixed company. The result being tepid conversations about good coffee, weather, and sports. Most people fear change and prefer denial.

Life has a wide dynamic range. Until RPG games begin to reflect that, we will be stuck pugging it.

What's my main Again? said...

I disagree. When people join lfg they are in it to complete the dungeon not to create deep and lasting social bonds. From the thousands of pugs I ran before the new lfg system came out only about 5 had any lasting impression.

If the goal is meaningful social connections then that is like going to a bar to find true love. I have friends who play and people that I've met that I would consider my friends. I'll raid with them and occasionally run heroics but for the most part we just talk.

I'd equate the lfg system to food. The goal is to eat. You can go to your parents house and have a home cooked meal and chat over some desert and coffee... or you can swing by a fast food resturant to grab a bite to eat. While the goal is the same... how you reach that goal is different. Neither one is wrong. While there is no greater experience then running a dungeon with a full group of friends, running that same dungeon with a completely random group doesn't somehow cheapen your friends.

I don't go into a BG looking for friendship... and now I don't go into a cross realm dungeon looking for friendship either.

Firespirit said...

This was very much my fear when thge LFG came out. Silent, sterile runs, with no fun. For some people (I have a guildies with 8 80's) this is perfec. He gets in gets out, and he has 8 decently geared toons.

For me, not so much. I resist using the tool for more than one or two players. I ALWAYS ask my guild if they want to pop on with me first, even if that means I sit the the queue for 20 minutes, instead of the normal <30 seconds as a healer. Its more fun when we are laughing and goofing around.

foolsage said...

Excellent article. I find myself agreeing substantially with the points raised.

doofman said, "So is the argument that because teens and some adults can't handle video games or fucking strangers, those that can are wrong, or should feel guilty for being able to do so happily?"

I don't think so. I think the point of the article was to point out how both porn and RPGs are embracing a lack of intimacy, or true meaningful connection. It wasn't about value judgements but about social trends.

doofman also said, "I don't think that's true; the ultimate purpose of porn is to get people off; sometimes they're alone, sometimes they're not, but that's entirely up to the consumer."

I disagree. The purpose of porn is to facilitate people getting off by unshackling sex from intimacy. There's nothing intimate about porn; there's no personal connection to the people you're looking at or reading about. People can imagine such connections if/when that's their preference but the connections don't objectively exist.

Daniel said, "Well one night stands are just awesome during most of the time. You dont have to know her name, her feelings, her anything. And that is great."

If that works for you, ok. No judgement here. I however vastly prefer a personal connection and actual intimacy; that makes the experience mean something to me. The more I know and care about her feelings, and the more she knows and cares about mine, the deeper and more enriching the experience is for me. I think one night stands are shallow and empty and I have no interest in them anymore; what worked for me when I was young is different from what works for me now. Your Mileage May Vary. ;)

Daniel also said, "I want something and dont care for others."

You're not alone in feeling this way. Our culture is changing to support your views and attitudes, for better or for worse.

What's My Main Again? said, "I disagree. When people join lfg they are in it to complete the dungeon not to create deep and lasting social bonds."

I respectfully think you're missing the point. The article didn't dispute your view; rather, it commented on the fact that people are moving away from intimacy in gaming, towards more impersonal and temporary social groups. Elnia wasn't trying to say that everyone who PuGs really wants to make deeper and more lasting social bonds - quite the opposite.

The questions then raised are, "Why do people seek less intimacy today than previously?" and "What effects do the loss of intimacy have on our culture?"

River said...

Excellent post. Said thing is the LFG is really like Casual sex. As Dps It takes me a while to get either. LOL!


Where's the porn boothes in WoW!

Shy said...

Hmm..so do you have your perky pug already?

Hel said...

When the new LFG tool came out I tried to articulate to my husband how weird the idea felt to me. Grouping with a bunch of strangers who will more often than not stay completely silent creeps me out. The only analogy I could come up with it's what I imagine it would be like having sex with strangers who don't talk.

Thanks for an interesting post.

Bristal said...

Holy cow you sure nailed it (pun intended, but does not indicate sarcasm).

I've done about a PUG a day. I've noticed that when the functionality first came out, it started with pleasantries and possibly inspecting, like you would greet guildies. And there was a minute or two to buff and chat a bit.

That clearly changed over time and now I've had several completely silent PUGS, and pulls often start the instant you zone in.

A few nights ago I got in with a group of 4 who clearly all queued together. The were pulling fast and chatting away with each other, it was all I could do to keep up. Their chat was quick, some unfamiliar abbreviations, and I really wasn't sure what they were talking about.

At the end, I teleported without a thanks. Kind of forgot, really. I typically thank the group.

Last night my guild was running heroics and we needed to queue for a healer. Successful run, my guildies chatting, having fun. After the money shot, the healer dropped group without a word, and someone said "what a dick he was, didn't say a word."

Wonder if they said that about me?

The new LFG is clearly changing the social norms in WoW.

And I'm going to give up porn. For Lent. Maybe.

Stripes said...

Prior to the new LFG tool I made some friends in PUGs. Recruited some guidies from PUGs. Added people to friends lists and invited them to stuff later.

Since the new LFG tool I've made no new friends in PUGs, recruited no new guildies, and there was only one person I would have added to my friends list if it had been supported.

For me the main point of grouping isn't making friends, nor recruiting new guildies. It is to run stuff. However I'm missing the "other stuff" a bit. Yeah, runs are faster (and as the healer, I'll point out sometimes *too* much faster -- I have told some tanks "if you start a pull while I'm drinking, you get no heals until I'm done", many don't believe me until after the first time they nearly die...or do die).

Faster isn't always better though.

I _do_ like the new LFG, but it is a shame it has destroyed the old LFG. If cross realm chat and group invites show up in the future then I think most of "the old good stuff" will come back.

What's my main Again? said...

@Foolsage
I think when you break it down the reality is that this genre has to support two types of players. Those who come from an RP back round and are looking for intimacy in gaming... those of us who group up with a video game backround who are looking for ways to "beat" the game.

I'm fully aware that WoW isn't a game to be beaten but that doesn't change my desire to always improve my playstyle and characters. For me mmo's have never been about intimacy. However, I do have intimate gaming sessions when I have friends and family come over to my house and play WoW together.

There are many people who don't like pugging and tend to stick within a guild or social group. LFD does nothing to change that. This change was more intended for those who just want to get a group for group required content. They aren't losing intimacy because the intimacy was never there to begin with.

What I'm saying is that people aren't moving away from intimacy. They just weren't intimate to begin with or were intimate because they had to.

Elnia said...

@what'smymain.

One point I think you are over looking is that many people who play this game are teens. It's much easier when you are an adult to negotiate the contours of intimacy. When you are 16 years old those boundaries are not so clear cut as you would have them be.

I actually think you make a cogent point that it's wrong to force intimacy one those who aren't looking for it. But my response to that is the fact that there is a wide variety of age groups that play the game is both a blessing and a curse. There is no doubt that this new tool is a boon to those who have been looking for the quick silent run all along. But maybe this really isn't the right approach in a game marketed towards teens.

Ophelie said...

The LFD tool does feel like a one night stand to me. When I write about it, I even purposely slip in sexual innuendos to give the reader the same impression.

But at the same time, I wonder if comparing the risks faced by porn actors to the risks of pugging with people from other servers is somewhat pushing it. AIDS, loss of intimacy, loss of self are far more destructive than a few silent heroic runs.

On a different train of thought, even before the LFD tool came about, my 5 man pugs were all business. I just ran a lot less of them.

Now I run way more 5 mans. I have a lot of one-night-stand PuGs. However, the tool makes it easier to run 5 mans with friends too. Chaining heroics with my guild has brought me much closer to several of my guildies.

The only main different with before, other than the amount of pugging I'm doing, is that I can't add new people I meet to my friends list.

So yes, the lack of intimacy in pugs is more noticeable to me now because I'm pugging more. Yet on the upside, I'm also pugging more with a guildie or two by my side. That has forged some friendships I wouldn't have had otherwise.

G-Rebel said...

Thought provoking. I will think about this more tonight. I pug alot, but mostly because I am shy and don't have any friends that play. The new LFG tool helps me to this.

However, the attitudes you describe I have noticed and have yet to find a worthy analogy to describe them. This may do just that. But I still have to think some more.

Fitz said...

You've had some good hits and some misses in your time behind the bar here Elnia, but let me be the 100th person to say...

Bravo!

Flex said...

Great post, and I completely agree, but I remain completely ambivalent about this change in WoW: Counterstrike and other internet-ready shooting games have been this way for a decade or more.

Toes said...

It's an interesting thought to be sure, and I agree with the common traits you attribute these random PuG's. I agree far less in how this is a bad thing.

Instead of going even deeper into metaphorical concerns, consider that very few of the "old style" PuG's ended up anywhere the current randoms don't - meaning, they were close to the same level of commitment. The only difference is that it wasn't automatic, the part of finding these people was removed.

Perhaps some people did put a lot of care into the personality of those who were invited to their dungeon groups, but I am certain we are talking about a minority. The aim (ha!) of a dungeon group will be to get loot.

When I now say that "this is a game", I don't mean that as a statement ending the discussion or taking a high minded route dismissing all concerns, but consider how most non-MMO games function. The norm is that you press the quick play button, or sort servers by ping, and join a server without people you've ever met before. Finish game, leave, next time, find something else. WoW has gained the option to be gamey'er. (Wordsmithing; Caution, wet paint.)

On the flip side, people like myself, preferring to dungeon with RL friends and online friends, little has changed, of course. The main attraction is misdirecting to my priest roomie or talking trash, atop a successful run.

What I'm getting at is that this is just a change that streamlines something that was always about the loot, always about randomness; the process where you say "LFM" in trade chat is the exact same one as the system uses, just more laborious; You're willing to take in a random person.

I'll grant you this, though; The minimum of conversation/interaction required has taken an additional step backwards, downwards, awaywards; whichever, yes. And I think an analysis of this all is very worth while, too, so I salute you for this post.

For now, I'll be queueing up for random one-night stands and bumping uglies with guildies both. Best of both worlds.

gnomeaggedon said...

Very thought provoking.

I wonder what the 6-9 months of quickies will do to the upcoming Cataclysmic Guild bonuses.

The old LFG was similar in many ways, but not the same. I have always tended to pug 5 mans, even raids more than done them with regular groups. I did have my group of friends, but more often than not I was the 6th, so I had to get my gratification outside the "home".

When I pugged old style, I would consult my black book and invite friends 1st, then grab the odd stranger.

The new LFD has changed that dynamic. More often than not when I look up my black book my mates have been sated by strangers and thus that becomes my only option as well.

Of course, if I am online 5 minutes before them, they will catch me in bed with strangers as well...

Anonymous said...

To be honest, this is all a rather over-wrought metaphor for the real issue in Wrath of the Lich King: the final transformation of WoW away from the older, persistent-world model MMO and into a more casual, mass-market multi-player game, a la Diablo 2.

Look back at WoW on release. You'll see a huge number of design decisions expressly implemented to enforce some sense of cohesion on the world. Remember when you had to travel to the entrances of the Battlegrounds to use them? Or when all dungeons had a ramp-up elite area outside the entrance, such that you needed a group to even zone in to the instance? Most of today's WoW players probably don't.

Over the last five years, Blizzard has consistently lowered or removed these types of game play elements in favor of more immediate alternatives. I assume it was originally done out of sheer expedience, and was so popular with the player base it leaked into every facet of the game.

The logic went something like this: Why force players into 20 minutes of travel time to get to the entrance of Warsong Gulch when they'll need to wait another 30 minutes for enough Horde players to create a game? Why not just make a Battlemaster who can queue you from anywhere in the world for a battleground? Better still, why limit the battles to players on just your server? Why not make entire "Battle groups" of servers so you have a larger pool of players to fight? Heck, why not just get rid of the Battlemaster and let players queue up from their UI?

This has carried over into every element of the game, making it less of a persistent world and more of a normal game. That's where the loss of "intimacy" you're decrying comes in - the need to "know" other players decreases in direct proportion to your freedom as a player in the game.

Back in the days of 40-man raids, your freedom as a player at level cap was very limited. If you didn't know (and in-turn were not known by) enough other players, you had no chance in getting into a good guild, no chance of doing any real raiding, and no real method of advancement. By TBC, the number of players you needed to know had been sharply reduced with the contraction of the raiding game to 25-mans, and the advent of Arenas opened up an alternate advancement - provided you really, really knew at least one or two other players well enough to succeed in 2v2/3v3.

Now, in WotLK, the game has changed again, and is much more like Diablo 2:LoD than the original WoW. You can level up on zerg runs through dungeons that you instantly teleport to. You can mow down any outdoor mob with almost zero risk to yourself (compare the kill rate of a freshly-minted level 80 with the infamous "Warrior Killrate" of Indalamar, which got the warrior class massively nerfed back in vanilla beta). You can PUG every single instance in the game now, and most are successful.

The core philosophy of the game has shifted. It's not about an intimate, persistent game world where you matter. It's an online amusement park. Blizzard wants you to get on and start having fun, fast. They want you to ride the rides, see the sights, get the loot.

You're stuck in the old paradigm, where instances are commitments and grouping and knowledge and intimacy matter. But, in the new way of WoW, the question is: who really wants to build an intimate relationship with the other people on the roller coaster? Just get on, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

Azryu (former writer of The Arcanery) said...

I still absolutely love this article. I recently read the article by PZ Meyrs about him, as a young man, going to porn shops in the 70's to buy science fiction novels.

The way he worded it---passionately and eloquently, brought me back here to this post. I sincerely think is one of those posts that you simply do not forget, and will continue to resurface to my mind's eye over the years.

I really do miss reading this blog. It was truly one of a kind.