MMO Games - Enter The Second Reality
Like it or not, apart from the current selections that we already have, more and more MMO games are emerging and soon will be flooding this considerably active portion of gaming market with numerous major titles announced almost every quarter of a year since these past recent years. What does this means to us? More games to play, without a doubt but more importantly, would the accelerating pace of releases hurt the market in general? would it in time affect the target market itself - us, the players? There a lot to crunch with stats and stories all over the web regarding this issue and the future that some predicts with supporting facts but in this article, I'll elaborate and discuss only a part of it, focusing on the topic in as stated :)
--Enter the Second Reality
Some would say, which include myself sometimes, that riding the MMO games bandwagon is somewhat safe as long as we're in control. That is if we keep our priorities straight. Well to talk about that, before MMO games become one of the main agenda for almost all online gamers that participate, we used to have those supposedly less interactive offline (and some online) games with AI slapped to bots, mobs, and a whole bunch NPCs. We sure did have a lot of fun and most of us used to slain those AI slapped enemies, for countless hours, completing level by level, mission by mission, but the addiction from that alone has been proven to be enough for some to neglect their responsibilities, swapping their life priorities based on their addiction without realizing it and even distorting some basic need for self like meal times and etc. That is when it was just the player with some scripted a.k.a AI slapped things. The excitement is enough almost persistently retain adrenaline rush for extended hours. If that's the case, what about now? With MMO games, the bar is now raised much higher as for the needs and the level of commitment required. From just the need to rush through levels, and communicate with pre-scripted bots for pathways, we now have the actual need of talking to people online, planning raids to Ogrimmar (for the Horde!?), organizing a simulated LAN session through WAN by initiating the usage game servers and portals, trading items, or just plain socializing in the means of talking to tribe members, clans troops, oh..the list is virtually endless but the point is the increasing number of do(s) and not much of don't(s) have acted like somewhat of this hot-new-kind of morphine where most just wont let go. In other works, it's almost impossible. Thus, enter, the second reality where MMO games without most noticing, have started to function and serve as everyone's second reality, a much fun version compared to those ever-growing list of social networking websites of course, but this have somehow become a more complicated version compared to addiction to games we played back then on NES or other offline consoles before. It's the need to compete with the people around you now. And here comes - "I need to collaborate!" "I have a raid!" "I need to level up and equip!" "Ah!~ There're all in the instance already :(" "Oh there's this new games that everyone is playing and i need to take the lead..damnit!~ I'm still stuck at level 20" Well the list of needs that drives these people goes on and on as well. It's real people this time -- with real people waiting, real people organizing, real people pwning you. Oh did that bring out rage? Ah, we're the steady peeps aren't we? Our rage meters are far to be filled, right?...R-R-Right~ ;) Well with all those, i personally have no doubt that MMO games have weave right through our conscious guards to tear down the already-thin barrier between the reality and this second reality of hours. Again, enter, the second reality.
--Enter the Second Reality (Part 2 - Achieve The Impossible)
The good thing about opening this new dimension, specifically a second reality in this case is that it allows some, or most of us to achieve and reach out the impossible. Here, for fun, and to satisfy our naturally imaginative and demanding mind, we can do all sort of things. It's endless! For example, is nothing weird for you to find yourself flying a dragon around the "sacred lake or mountain or epic ruins of some sort", perhaps even a phoenix? Well it's all, really, is up to you. Never fear our true stamina level, anyone can slain those over-sized swords for countless hours, running here and there, traveling from a continent to another. Don't like beast slaying? Wanna go Green? Well you can choose to dance to the groove for countless hours with dancing skills from years of consistent training (if possible in real world to everyone that is) in a blink. Just want to loiter around, dress up and socialize? fear not, tons of choices are here in the second reality in the world of MMO. Designer's restrictive size hates you? No worries for that as well, you can look as good as you want. Imagination is your only limit (well of course, excluding the need to wait for publishes to publish new contents/add-on).
Seriously, apart from that, it also *cough* enable long range communication, leaving player with virtually no barrier to interact, well of course interactively, among them. It's where users contribute, collaborate, and form healthy communication skills which can perhaps be used make better the same thing in their real life. Now i sound like a CM from some publishers huh? ;) This is in fact a very noble ideology but in reality..well i'll leave that to you to decide. Besides, we're all in it, aren't we? :)
--Enter the Second Reality (Part 2 - Which is Which Again?)
What comes first is obvious in most cases to almost everyone. For example, a plan to go for a casual evening walk and to have a good meal right after could easily switch places as in sequence if one gets hungry in the first place. But we can deny that there are indeed other forces that may change that, not just one, but both. Overriding everything planned. Something with a greater pull to our attention. Lets just say, there's something happened (well lets just say something weird, something really rare, thus - providing somewhat a greater pull of attention) - like a meteorite strike in the park nearby. Most would, without a doubt, rush to see, trying to figure out by ourself what's happening. Is it real? What is it like? OMG OMG?! :p It's nothing to be ashamed of, it's just us, being normal people. It's our nature.
The point is, some have suffer severely without even realizing that they're suffering from the matter in discussion. Now how severe is that? :D *chuckles* It's obvious to some, especially to those around them, where, some are players too. I have basically come to a conclusion where only a player with a "lower level" (well these group don't realize their addiction either) can see and realize the issue on these severely suffering people -- or i call them "the higher levels". Observing alone is enough. I started to realize the addiction myself after founding myself delaying and stretching dead-lines to my tasks, from one to another, and so forth. It starts with a disorientation and clear changes in priorities. Then changed/inappropriate meal times, the lesser need emerging to speak and communicate with the people around, urges to keep self online, urges to participate, extreme frustration from losses and lesser excitement when doing other things than playing online follows. I I can go on with some fact-supported health-related issues but i guess we all already have enough of that from the media :) There's a bunch of other things too but these are the main things that i see, that i witness and thus, realize.
Enter the Second Reality (Part 3 - The Part Where Most Skip)
The interesting about variables is that some really can drastically change anything that counts them as dependency or variable. Lets put this whole variable to relationships, shall we? or should we skip this and ignore it like most do? :D Well it's happening..and it sure is real. Lets get to it, alright? I'll try to make it as short as possible. This is the hard truth -- it does affect relationships in a very bad way (in most cases). We're talking about serious addictions here, not those "baby-mmo-junkies" ;) Believe it or not , there's only conditions. If one is severely addicted, that one with ignore the other and the other would suffer (i will elaborate this later). On the other hand, if both are severely affected, they would most probably end up ignoring each other and focus on what "really matters" which is to be online and to keep playing (well keep playing is considerably relevant to the urge to keep up) :D *chuckles again* I somehow found this hilarious, sorry if some of you found this offensive or such but seriously - to me it's actually both sad and funny. Funny as in the second case where both are affected, they turn out to survive a considerably long term relationship ;) The sad part is when only one is taking the severe ride. This is where the other would suffer. What's worst compared to ripping out essential components in a relationships? lessing conversations more and more from time to time? moods driven by experiences in the second reality? The other at some point would be left wondering. Perhaps one would missing the days where a nice simple joke trigger a healthy amount of chuckles, carving smiles on the faces of their loved ones? Where a simple evening walk or dinner was highly satisfying. One would even think of a way to match same or perhaps to give out better excitements compared to the never-ending grinding experience gained by their mate. Some may also be left wondering and thinking what could possibly spice up things again, make things better until they're left clueless with hopes far from reachable horizon. Well this is the actual reality where things are rather limited, circled by limitations. Too bad huh?
Relationships don't only cover there close and intimate ones, friends are one should be taken in account as well. We're talking about real-life, high-school mates, colleagues, and life long friends here. Being severely affected, some have actually believe that they're taking a good care of these actual valuable friends that they have, believing and living in a false reality (or should i call it an alternative reality), with gaming friends (most in distance), taking into account those in-game experiences they have together more than anything they used or they had with their friends outside here. Perhaps, did they forgot the hiking? What about hose fun-filled camping and those beach ball games with everyone in the summer where they used to say "I'll remeber this for the rest of my life!". I guess only they can tell, that if one day, they realize what they're actually missing out from this life they're going though?
The hours burned. Was it worth it if done in such way? Like what i said earlier in this article, it's safe to hop on the MMO bandwagon and enter the second reality if we know how to get back out (timely and appropriately), or at least knowing who to hitchhike to get back. If it's done in such way, feel free to get back in and out. Besides, this is actually how it was meant to be, i suppose. A ride to the other side, an alternative reality, a second reality, a virtual reality -- call it what ever you like. Just remember, it was suppose to be those most awesome rides (back and forth) to this whole MMO world without severely affecting our life. People, lets keep it that way, lets keep what we can keep, lets keep the fun! Now, shall we? :)
Note: Digg this, bury this -- do what you think is appropriate :) Feel free to comment. Besides, this is just an expression of thoughts. I'm ordinary enough to have flaws ;) Did it affect us, or have we affect other people without realizing it? Someone we know perhaps? How do you manage your time? Share it with the rest. Again, drop a line. Lets all look at ourself and those who we care about. It's really a waste to take this ride for granted, to the wrong way, don't you agree? ;) Anyway, for those who read this, thanks for your time! Perhaps, I'll be back with more writings :) Perhaps. Later guys!