What WOW Teaches

The people on the internets are talking about David Sirlin’s Gamasutra soapbox piece, World of Warcraft Teaches the Wrong Things”. His main problems are:

  • The game rewards players who have the most time to spend playing, rather than players who have the most skill.


  • You must co-operate in 40-person raids in order to even have a chance at acquiring the best items.



  • You can’t get anywhere without a guild, and the guild system creates an “us versus them” mentality.



  • Blizzard uses the Terms of Service to restrict players from engaging in behaviour that exploits bad game design, rather than fixing the game so that players don’t exploit loopholes.


I largely agree with his rant, though Raph Koster did make a valid point about the time spent playing and skill — a player doesn’t become skilled unless s/he has made a time investment. However, the same point is valid when applied to the honour system. One counter-point is that MMOGs are meant to be played with people, and thus he shouldn’t complain about having to co-operate, however he does address this by saying that wanting to “be alone together” (referencing a recent Terra Nova post) is a valid way to play an MMOG. Anyway, Sirlin’s article does deserve a read through. Some of the points in the Gamasutra article have been touched upon in his blog, which is decent read as well.

EDIT: Gamasutra has published Letters to the Editor concerning David Sirlin’s rant.

  2 comments for “What WOW Teaches

  1. Tom
    27 February 2006 at 03:21

    Have yet to comment about his article yet. I feel it’s a little too outspoken and naive. His complaint that someone who has ground their way to level 60 in WoW and that being level 60 gives him a distinct advantage is like saying “It’s unfair that I, having just started playing Street Fighter today, can’t beat you who have been playing it for years.”

    I really must get around to writing more and not just leaving comments on other people’s blogs!

  2. 2 March 2006 at 05:45

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