View Full Version : 'Elitism' in Gaming
09-05-2007, 10:58 PM
This is largely pertaining to the world of online rpgs (though other online genres classify) that seem to lump people together into categories of 'elite player' and noob. Those that know what they are doing are considered elite if they can prove it to everyone else.. those that can't, are assumed to be too new at the game and shuffled off into the dregs of that online society.
Online RPGs have now become a place that people create a name for themselves in, and it's something I've never been too enthusiastic about. More so in that people seek to create that name by proving (or more often simply claiming) that they are better than everyone else - thus encouraging them to refuse to assist others in reaching their own level of expertise - than I care that they are attempting to earn a level of respect through a digital medium.
The issue that I have with myself on this.. is that I consider myself an 'elite player' to the degree that I wish to be the best, fully knowing that such a claim would be impossible if everyone was 'the best'. This is of course asuming that people don't make mistakes (and I always asume this to be the case).. and so it only matters what choices in equipment, race, class, spells, and so on that are made that determine if that person is 'the best'.
How does this create an 'issue' ? Well... 3-6 hours spent outside of a game trying to determine what the absolute best mix of these factors is, and refusing to play as anything else unless everything is properly in place, because someone else had chosen the correct ones for that given class, and would be better intrisictally thus making my efforts pointless in comparison... is causing me stress.
And I find that I cannot help it. On the one hand, I want to ensure that I am contributing as much as mathematically possible to the group (and the game I'm referring to has a very strong group dynamic), and on the other, I would prefer to just sit down and .. well PLAY.
This mindset isn't just isolated to video games either.. but since gaming was the topic, we'll stick with that. Does anyone else have a similar issue? Or just random (related) thoughts to add?
Either would be fine :P
09-05-2007, 11:21 PM
I've generally only given sufficient time to one MMO to respond to this. There came a point after release of Shadowbane that guilds started to develop theme groups, e.g. all centaurs, all flyers, etc. depending on what was seen, at the time, to be the most effective way of dispatching another group. I admit that I could never really get into that mindset; I wanted to play a character I liked, not one that I had to roll to be allowed to go out and PK. I'd try and make someone useful, to be sure, but I also was known for coming up with off the wall, possibly effective, but definitely original concept characters. I too spent hours planning the character before starting it, partially because endgame in SB was a chore to get to, but also because I liked to have it laid out to the last training point. Finally, I will simply say that I've never been particularly good at coming up with "godly" or "uber" templates...though there was that one rogue barb who tore people up pretty fast :)
09-06-2007, 07:23 PM
I became unhappy with World of Warcraft for this reason.
For starters, there's the time sink issue. Being one of the top players goes hand in hand with dedicating a ridiculous amount of time to the game. A progressing raiding guild will usually have several raids scheduled a week. Lets say it's only 3 nights a week (and yes, many guilds do more than that), with the raids taking between 3 and 5+ hours, depending on experience with the content. That doesn't include the time it takes to gather gold and materials that the character will need in preparation for the raids. And now, with the new system, you have to spend time hitting the same content over and over repeatedly just to get your reputation up enough to be allowed entrance into each of the raid instances in the first place.
Then, you lose your freedom to really customize your character and experiment. The guild I was in never had talent requirements, but there was always that nondirect pressure from others. "Our priests are great team players who want us to do our best, that's why we have so many with X spec without being asked, but go ahead and do what you want". Yeah, right. Like mentioned in the OP, I would spend a significant amount of time doing math with the gear/spell numbers, finding the most efficient spell combinations, and reading websites about pros and cons of each talent.
It got to the point that it felt more like having a 2nd full time job than having fun playing a game. I don't think I'll ever raid again unless the system is changed drastically. From what I've heard, other MMO games only get worse with many of these issues, so I haven't been inclined to try anything else out yet.
09-06-2007, 09:48 PM
I'm waiting for the game that allows you to start at endgame and PvP. Guild Wars lets you jump into the Arena at level 20, but I'm not familiar enough with the PvP there to really know how well it works.
09-07-2007, 08:12 AM
Guild Wars had an iteresting concept of allowing your character to immediately start at level 20 to participate in PvP, while still providing a story and leveling element during solo or group play. However, much to my chagrin, the PvP portion did not include all of the items and/or spells that were necessary to compete. Sure you could start at level 20, but the other players would be 20 +10-20% extra stats, and in same cases, much more powerful spells, that could easily rank them at 50% or higher effectiveness.
Now this isn't to say that PvP wasn't fun... but it was depressing knowing that you would always be playing at a handicap unless you first grinded through the single player portion. And while the single player portion did include some interesting story, near the mid-end game part of it, it just felt like grinding again. Though granted I didn't put anywhere near as much time into it as most mmorpgs, it just didn't have enough to offer for me to stick around with.
World of Warcraft had a great deal of promise with the 'Instances' they developed.. but the community ruined them by creating a 'raid' mentality. Effectively degrading any potential plot or story into a grind for items and equipment. Leveling in the game at least had some entertainment value.. though the quests performed midway through these levels were often nothing more than retrieve and deliver. Kill x# of things, or craft some item or two.
WoW happens to keep a higher place in this regard that most other MMORPGS however.. as the vast majority simply focus on leveling and acquiring equipment. The name 'RPG' which used to refer to a game that a player could 'Role-Play' a given character, has now been bastardized to mean: Game that allows a character to obtain multiple levels of power. Sad.
Currently I'm playing FFXI, which I went back to because I remember the horrors of being slaughtered constantly - EI How difficult the game was - and how important it was for the other players to work together cohesively as a team. I don't even care about levels simply because earning up is in and of itself fun ^^. But... It may start to wear on me after the story elements dissapear and I've maxxed out a character already... we shall see.
09-13-2007, 04:54 PM
World of Warcraft has some positive aspects -- there's actually RPing on the RP servers (that's a big one). Granted, there isn't much, but even a d(RP) is more RP than most other games have. The game is eyecandy, and the music is good at setting the mood. But, the game is a grind most of the time. It's too repetitive and menial to be fun, so I don't play anymore.
I don't really understand the playing games for self-esteem angle that most of these "Im pro, ur nub" kids take. But, if they need to build their self-image on something so trivial and inconsequential as a video game, I suppose I shouldn't deprive them of the one petty joy they seem to have in their lives.
Of course I don't mind spending my own time on something as trivial and inconsequential as a digital world as long as it is fun to do so: that's the utility of a game, and that's what makes it worthwhile. Lately, I've gotten into the strategy and war games you can find at the local hobby shops. I've also been thinking of developing my own (actually, since I have more time than I'd like on my hands at the moment, that might not be a bad way of making some money).
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