2011/02/15

More on Social Behavior in WoW

My parent’s have looked at World of Warcraft with disdain. "A waste of time and energy" the claimed. My father once said to me out of deep concern, “These people in this game are not your friends, they won’t help in a time of need or desperation.”

I do think that there are people that do justice to this statement and others that would prove it wrong. The internet barrier that separates us from one another provides an amplification of our true personalities. I am much more expressive, animated, and passionate over the internet than I am in reality. I can say what I feel without the fear of being socially reprimanded because after all, I can always throw this internet reality away right?

I’m dealing with a full spectrum of personalities. On one end there is the social butterfly who embraces the social context of the game. The type of person who you know would be your friend in real life. Others, the ends justify the means. To me, there is no correct or incorrect with either side, but there is not one person passionate about this game that plays it alone.

In a recent discussion, an officer of mine mentioned “There’s a reason you don’t see people wondering around the game without a guild tag, it will drive you in insane.” Gevlon, in Why tolerate elitist jerks
states, “No one would wear a T-Shirt with Solitaire on it”

Even he, the advocator of the non-social does things just to “shake up the social”. I would argue anything done to get a social reaction is social behavior. In his post, he claims that Blizzard is selling the illusion of you being a great gamer. If this is true, then Blizzard is really selling the illusion of being socially acceptable.

The social in me proclaims that the reality that is World of Warcraft (and the internet) is not an illusion, but is real. Does face book, twitter, and myspace illustrate a social illusion? I’ve heard countess stories of strong and deep connections made through the game many concluding in marriages.

The non-social analyst sees how these websites and WoW skew your self-perception toward favorable social status with “fancy graphics”, “colorful status updates”, and counts of “followers“ , “admirers“ or “friends”. Do all of these sparklies tell me I’m twice as cool as I really am?

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