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Chris Schmidt's Journal


crschmidt

photogeek
5th April, 2009 at 10:47 am

Stasis

I haven't been writing much recently, but the primary reason for that is that most of the time when I think about writing things, I realize that my life as a whole is pretty stable. I take the girls to school, I go to work, I come home, I chill out, I get on the computer for a couple hours, and I go to sleep.

I suppose that there's a lot of other stuff going on that is important and I just don't really think to write about. My birthday party last weekend was pretty cool, and I didn't talk about that at all, for example. But on the whole, my life simply isn't changing as much as it used to, which is why you don't see me writing much anymore.

I did pick up World of Warcraft about a month ago. I'm still not sure if it's going to be an utterly life-destroying time suck like I know it can be. It's very pretty, and it's a nice way to spend a little bit of time when my brain is dead, but I've seen it mess up a lot of stuff for people due to its addictive nature. I've encouraged a *lot* of people I know not to play, for exactly this reason.

I think that a lot of this is the fact that most of my friends are, to some level or another, geeks. I tend to find that the same qualities that make someone a geek tend to lead to very obsessive behaviors. The problem with World of Warcraft is that obsessing over doing *everything* is very unhealthy because everything is ... well, huge. The physical size of WoW may be something along the size of Delaware -- but its' Delaware as if every subdivision had 10-20 tasks you had to do, some of them repeating daily, some of them taking an hour on their own. Some of the more 'completion'-oriented tasks require you to do literally thousands of quests -- where each quest ranges from a minute to an hour, with probably 10-15 being the 'norm'. 500 hours of playtime to do that, which is a hell of a lot. When you add in the fact that there are different play types for both different character classes -- a priest and a warrior are going to play very different games -- and the 'good'/'evil' sides ('Alliance' vs. 'Horde') there is a *lot* of time you can invest and not feel 'done'.

As a mapping geek, the "How big is the world" comments are actually somewhat interesting as well -- some of the comments go into "What determines how big a world is?" I can say that I definitely find that WoW *feels* big, regardless of how big it is -- and a blog comment suggests that this is similar to how traveling through Europe can seem much larger than traveling through North America despite absolute sizes, because there is more *stuff* in Europe. The concept that the physical size of something is far less important than the actual amount of stuff as far as a mental model of stuff is kinda cool.

Anyway, this probably isn't news to anyone, but I'm still trying to work out whether WoW will be absolutely terrible for me. I'd like to think the answer is no, but having watched it screw up so many other people's lives, I don't know if I can believe that.

| Comment | Read 5 | Link
From: shahrizai
Date: April 5th, 2009 - 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I tend to get pretty addicted to a lot of things, which did worry me when I started playing WoW, but in the end it was okay for me and I didn't even play every day in the 10-day trial, whether or not buy the game. The one thing I absolutely hate in RPGs is level grinding. If I have to go back and level grind before I can enter a new area, it pisses me off.
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