Wednesday, August 20, 2008

D is for the Dramas

Not unlike notes passed in class between teenage girls, World of Warcraft is an excellent medium for the drama. Last night the guild I currently sit on the outskirts of (I'm new) had a bout of the dramas that almost had the guild leader quit permanently. The details and dirty laundry are inconsequential and I only heard about it through third party accounts any way. Having experienced plenty of guild drama in my days as a guild officer and through countless accounts on WoW news sites, it is safe to say that it comes with the territory.

It is easy to chalk it up as the law of large numbers, not this one, but putting 10-250 people together in a group (mostly 15-30 year old males) and expecting them to gel and accomplish goals. Jealousy, greed and people who just plan don't get along are just some of the scenarios that can play out on a day to day basis. As an officer managing that many personalities can be stressing to say the least.

An interesting comparison of game genres is the juxtaposition between first person shooters and MMOs in regards to group cooperation.

1. MMOs give rewards for a large groups accomplishments to a small number of its participants. Over time the group as a whole is rewarded, but getting everyone on board for the concept of the whole before the parts can be difficult. It is a system that can harbor jealously, unhealthy competition and greed. Outside of high level sponsored FPS teams the only reward is winning and maintaining a win to loss ratio.

2. While there is a reliance on your fellow gamer in first person shooters there seems to be less emotion tied to it. Granted this is not a statement that can be made across the board given leagues like CEVO and LANs for monetary prizes. Every raid group in WoW from the lowly Kara only group to the fourth Thori'dal, the Stars' Fury Sunwell raid has to rely on each other to achieve victory. Factor in the consequence of failure being lost rewards and wasted time and you have a potential powder keg on your hands.

3. Finally the idea that there is continuity and a lack of finality in MMOs that is not present in FPSs. Week in and week out everyone is building up the same character or toon in an MMO. Over time small things can build into large drama, the concept is called gunny sacking, not this kind, this kind. FPSs leagues are usually set up in seasons, like the NFL, no prior match has any bearing on coming matches and when the season is over there is usually a period to take a break before the next season. MMOs and the guilds that play in them usually have no off button. It is a race to no finish for the life of the game.

Site Watch
I finally found a good 40k community site after slogging through tons of sites that looked like they were built in 1996. They have a ton of up to date guides and what appears to be a very large and active membership.

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Recently Finished:

The Wise Man's Fear
Dynasty of Evil
100 Bullets Vol. 07: Samurai
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100 Bullets Vol. 05: The Counterfifth Detective
100 Bullets Vol. 04: A Foregone Tomorrow
100 Bullets Vol. 03: Hang Up on the Hang Low
100 Bullets Vol. 02: Split Second Chance
30 Days of Night
100 Bullets Vol. 01: First Shot, Last Call
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