The Internet versus Immersion

A Response To “WoW And The Evolution Of Games And Gamers”

It’s no secret that the MMOs we know today are quite directly built out of the tradition that Dungeons & Dragons laid down so long ago. Many of the core principles translate to the digital age quite nicely – namely its overt reliance on stat manipulation to create gameplay mechanics. What doesn’t translate is information inequality, specifically between the players and the dungeonmaster. In traditional D&D, encounters are planned exclusively by the DM. Unless the DM chooses to reveal information within the campaign, valuable strategic data about the environment, NPCs, and encounters are known only by the DM. As a result, a sizable portion of the game is spent in siphoning information out of the DM through skill checks and challenges. The medium of voice communication itself further limits how much can be shared, as all of this has to be described in words by the DM. Human error is also a factor; incorrectly recorded or misunderstood information gets passed occasionally between players, especially when there are simultaenous events to track. Players will debate each other at length simply to verify the accuracy of their knowledge. These sorts of challenges are appropriate for pen-and-paper, but they just aren’t relevant when the interface is a computer with internet access.

Think about the experience of a single-player game. Using a strategy guide to progress through a game is more or less considered cheating, and not simply for elitist reasons. A properly designed single-player game demands no guide because all the information the player needs will be found within the game itself. As in D&D, encounters are designed on the premise that the player possesses only the knowledge that the developers have deigned to reveal, which will be minimally sufficient to progress. It’s for this reason that the types of puzzles and encounters found in a single-player game don’t scale well into multiplayer. The first person to solve the riddle is also the last. That’s why most MMOs don’t bother making meaningful logic puzzles or riddles, outside of the handful you might find in the occasional quest chain. In a genre where time efficiency is highly valued, it’s hard for a mere riddle to compete against alt+tab -> google.

Continue reading The Internet versus Immersion

It’s Beer!

I’ve known about these for a good year, but Zach and Paul reminded me of them recently. For your viewing pleasure.

One, Two, Three, Four!

These are in fact beer commercials, you are warned, for whatever reasons.


I’m up to level 26, making rather nice progress. I’ve been through the stockades and deadmines, and have yet to go through BFD. In true rip off style (because ripping off is in), here are some amusing screenshots.

Here we see a glitched gnoll, and 4 people all leveling their weapons by leaving their guys there for hours. Amusing. Even more amusing, was that I came back 5 minutes later to find them all naked. True story.

A classic joke.

Sometimes, immaturity is funny.

Zach has funny moments. This is one of them. This was queued from me saying “I can start making silk soon.”.

When LFGing goes wrong.

I have funny moments too. D:




Church wasn’t as exciting as normal, since Greg wasn’t teaching Sunday School. The Mapes did it, and of all the topics to pick, they did evolution, which was minorly awkward. I kind of wanted to jump out and say “uh, no…” a lot, but, I can save it for another day. One thing that I didn’t get to comment on was their belief that God should be included in public school teachings. As much as I’d love for that to happen, I’m fully aware that other religions exist, and if we’re to be a fair country (and not a theocracy), it’s either everybody’s playing field or nobody’s. This plays in with my disagreement with ID beliefs, as well, fully bringing to mind the concept of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (do a google on it). Benjamin and I had a good few chuckles glancing back and forth at eachother, anyways.

So, plans for college. I might have mentioned it before, but hey, whatev. I’m pretty darn sure I’m off to TC3 after the good old high school is over, for two years, and then it’s off to RPI or RIT. What’s nifty is that the tech classes get me credits at TC3 and RIT (that is, if I pass the tests RIT gives out). Irony. The AP classes are less likely to earn me credits than the tech classes. We’re looking at a work ratio of 3:1. But the AP classes are cool, so it’s all good.

Off to homework. Woo.