Sunday, May 18, 2008

What I've Learned from Playing WoW

I know it's been forever since I've blogged and the title is some indication of where I've been, but not all. Last week was a busy week in the Geeky household. I traveled. Mr. Geeky traveled. I'm taking a week off this week, so there were lots of loose ends to tie up. I'm using this next week to do a serious GTD-style review of my household stuff, which feels largely out of control at this point. I'll also be doing some reading and thinking for my upcoming Gender and Technology course (suggestions welcome!), working on an article, and working on a book proposal. We'll see where I get.

So, the list of what I've learned from WoW, which I've been thinking about for a while now.

What I've learned about myself:
  • I like having concrete goals.
  • I enjoy being part of a team, but I almost equally enjoy working alone.
  • I'm reluctant to take a leadership role in a completely new situation. As I'm learning more about how the game works, this is less true as I can rely on my experience in similar situations to get through.
  • I like helping others, even if there's no direct reward for doing so.
  • I'm willing to do boring tasks in order to be successful.
  • I probably should have become a sociologist.
What I've learned about others or society in general:
  • Some people are just mean and selfish and stupid and there's nothing you can say or do to change that. It's best to avoid them or reduce their impact on the situation.
  • Gaming is one of the few social arenas where there's some age diversity and there's a lot to learn from that. For example, I was in a dungeon with a kid whom I'd place (on hearing his voice) at around 11 and another kid (based on his text msgs) at around 16 or so. The 16-year old was annoyed that the 11 year old was running around trying everything. He sent me a private message saying he was leaving cause this guy was being stupid. I told him that that's just the way 11 year olds are and that he doesn't know any better unless you tell him. In general I've found that older people learn patience with younger people and how to take more risks and younger people learn to be less selfish, overly confident, and rash. I find interesting examples of what different age groups learn from each other all the time.
  • Communication is important.
  • People are mostly generous.
  • People can form real friendships in virtual worlds.
  • People behave in game much as they would in real life.
There's probably more, but I think part of my addiction to the game is not just about the fun of the game itself, but what it's revealing to me about my fellow human beings and myself. I find it fascinating. There'll be more blogging this week, I'm sure, as I have a number of posts stored up in my head.