The Digi-Cult

A New Religion for a Digital Age

Social Interactionist Perspective of WoW pt2

Posted by Susan on October 20, 2008

OK. This has been a huge week for the World of Warcraft!

With the newest expansion of the game looming, Blizzard is getting prepared by getting everything ready. Therefore players are excited about new features of the game, and more powerful characters. Therefore, the interest in the game has peaked. Players are spending days online, rather than hours.

Anyway, with the new influx of people on the game, and committed time to the game I thought that I would look at the motivation of WoW players.  The first thing about motivation that we have to remember is that it is not only a psychological concept but also a social one.

Imagine for one moment that you are the typical WoW player. You begin by discovering a game that is has a simple formula = the more you play = the more your succeed in game. Both are contingent on each other. It wouldnt make sense for Blizzard to make a game that you achieved more by not playing.  With each achievement, a player has more “status” and therefore, players may be motivated by recognition of achievements from the social group that consists of other WoW players.

This makes others think, why not succeed in the “real” world, and achieve success there instead of online, with people that you do not see? The answer is simple: INSTANT GRATIFICATION! Take my priest for example; I started the character mid-september and as of lastnight she is now level 32. Now, I have only played an hour or two a night and a little more on the weekends, I have logged a grand total of 4 days 6 hours 43 minutes and 15 seconds.  So over a month I have logged 102 hours; thats about 3 hours a night. So the questiong is Why?

On the weekends, I notice that if i have the day off from work, I can play the game ALL DAY. And I mean all day, I got up on saturday, and played from 9am to 6pm. Thats a full days work!! But what kept me going was the instant gratification that I got from levelling, I would achieve a level, and see how long it took me, and then try and do the same or better for the next level. Each time you level you gain more power, more spells, more abilities, and more status. The lower the level, the more frowned upon you are by other players. But that still brings us back to the question: Why are we looking for status in places that are not real in the first place, why do the opinions of people that we do not see matter?

Look at it this way, in your everyday “real” life, do we have people congraduating you daily? Every hour? Do we set goals on a daily basis and achieve them in hours? Do we feel confident? Can you take your frusterations out on people and beat the crap outta them? Ok, maybe thats a little extreme, but how great would it be that if you had a rough day to take it out on someone?

The fact of the matter is, WoW makes you feel like you have purpose. And the feeling is immediate. People not only look up to awesome players in game, but also need them to achieve greatness themselves. And that is the motivation of WoW players.

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