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May 15, 2008 11:13 AM   Subscribe

WOW is the largest role-playing game in the world. Monster Camp is a new documentary that follows the folks that participate in a real life role playing camp/organization. A WOW camp. For some, this might be heaven. Here are some reviews: Variety, Rotten Tomatoes.

For some of us who are unfamiliar with the massive multi-player game. This could be quiet an eye opener, to a part of the community we don't see often.

I had to add something terrifying, like Tyra explaining the ugly side of WOW.
posted by octomato (81 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
WoW and LARPing are about as related as chess and paintball
posted by Fuka at 11:17 AM on May 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


Another documentary on another LARP group called Darkon. I'm sure the folks at Darkon would kill you if you said they did something like World of Warcraft.
posted by poppo at 11:17 AM on May 15, 2008


Also related: I recently attended a screening of the documentary Second Skin, which "takes an intimate look at computer gamers whose lives have been transformed by the emerging genre of Massively Multiplayer Online games." Fascinating subject--there's much much more to be explored.
posted by youarenothere at 11:20 AM on May 15, 2008


sooo... should i totally delete this.
posted by octomato at 11:21 AM on May 15, 2008


What Fuka said... WoW has pretty much nothing to do with LARPing. Some WoW fans happen to LARP incidentally, but so do some soccer fans. There's really not a connection.
posted by Nattie at 11:22 AM on May 15, 2008


You're free to say what you will. I'm free to state my opinion that the analogy is off-mark.
posted by Fuka at 11:24 AM on May 15, 2008


WoW and LARPing are about as related as Smooth Jazz and Echolocation
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:24 AM on May 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


LARPing scares the bejesus out of me. And for some reason, whenever someone brings it up I flash back to my grandmother telling me that D&D is the work of Satan because a couple of kids were once in the newspaper for killing some kid with a broadsword. Anecdote vaguely related.
posted by fusinski at 11:25 AM on May 15, 2008


There was a showing of this at ScreenBurn 2008 if I recall correctly. Got generally positive reviews (IMDb).

The documentary also won awards at the Rome International Film Festival and the Cinequest San Jose Film Festival.
posted by msaleem at 11:29 AM on May 15, 2008


Did Mazes and Monsters teach us nothing? It can come to no good, people.
posted by joelhunt at 11:33 AM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!
posted by BeerFilter at 11:36 AM on May 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


Fuka, who are you responding to? No one disagreed with you.
posted by Nattie at 11:39 AM on May 15, 2008


Fuka: Wrong!
posted by Mister_A at 11:42 AM on May 15, 2008


I put on my robe and wizard hat.
posted by yhbc at 11:45 AM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I cast "Magic Missile"...against the DARKNESS!

Also...WoW rules. :) Gnome mages FTW.
posted by metrocake at 11:49 AM on May 15, 2008


Metafilter: Once in the newspaper for killing some kid with a broadsword.
posted by CynicalKnight at 11:50 AM on May 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


Are you kidding me? LARP is what WoW players make fun of so we they don't have to think about all the Hot Pockets boxes on the basement floor.
posted by gnomeloaf at 11:53 AM on May 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


LARPing is to gamers what gaming is to non-gamers.
posted by Vindaloo at 11:57 AM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Just an FYI, if you play D&D, your immortal soul is going to hell. I don't want to be Scruffy the Tauren Druid anymore! I want to be Erin again!

I have no social life outside WoW, work and pen and paper RPGs, and even I would be embarrassed if someone thought I was a LARPer. Seriously.

(For the record, I did not sell my body for a epic flying mount. Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
posted by giraffe at 11:57 AM on May 15, 2008


Yeah, WoW and LARP have about as much to do with each other as staying home from prom and being a sci-fi junkie. Which is to say, quite a bit, actually.
posted by decoherence at 11:59 AM on May 15, 2008


LARPing is to gamers what gaming is to non-gamers.

Therefore, all people are pigs.
posted by fusinski at 12:00 PM on May 15, 2008


Flagged as innaccurate and entirely misleading. I've played WoW. I've played in LARP games. The only thing you've got linking the two are a foundation in fantasy lore. The trailer only mentions World of Warcraft in a passing review from a movie critic mentioning it as a "real life version of...".

Yes, I'm a nerd, and yes, I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about the two lifestyles. But I'll restate emphatically what a few other folks here have already said -- they're not linked in any measure other than both being rooted in the concept of fantasy.

Not sure where the rest of this post goes. Are there addictive personalities -- i.e. people who can become addicted to things -- that play World of Warcraft? Sure. Are there addictive personalities that may be addicted to LARPing? Bit of a stretch, since it's such a small subculture, but yeah, maybe. What you have then there is folks who have trouble managing their lives, not necessarily folks who are being unduly corrupted by WoW or LARP against the other.

I'd be happy to talk about either of these two activities, I don't mean to sound stand offish or rude. I'm just trying to refute a post that is trying to link them.
posted by cavalier at 12:03 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


metrocake! I have not seen that in AGES. Thank you!
posted by cavalier at 12:05 PM on May 15, 2008


Oh. My. God. Monster Camp, huh? Let me tell you a little bit about one of the people featured in that movie. I'll leave out any really personally identifying information, but other than that...

I went to high school (fairly recently - only graduated in 2005) with one of the people featured in that movie. He's the bearded kid who says "I had to fight my father" and sings a song in the trailer. Very nice guy, but he was in my graduating class and as far as I know still goes to the same school (3, almost 4 years later unless he's dropped out since). I really do want to emphasize that he's super sweet, means very well, but at the same time is also very socially awkward to the point of not being able to function in the world at large.

Junior year of high school or so, he decided that he was going to wear a cape and sword to school every day. It was a ridiculously oversized anime-style sword made of wood and painted silver, and sure enough he wore it slung across his back every day. Had to lean it against his chair when he sat down. He never got any shit about that from the school - I think they were just way too confused/bemused by the sight of it to consider it a threat. What kind of harm could he do with a ludicrously large wooden sword, anyway? I'm actually not sure why his parents let him do this; they were over-protective to the point that he had to tear pages out of his Warhammer rulebooks because they contained too much violence/evil.

This is the same kid who refused to listen to any CDs other than the Hamster Dance collection, the Pokemon soundtrack, and the Digimon soundtrack for months on end, at the age of 16 or 17. He was known for being extremely immature, a kind of basically intelligent but otherwise stunted dude. I'm not pointing at all these things to make fun of this guy at all - I always really liked him personally. What I'm saying is that he is super weird, and that kind of super weird behavior doesn't always bode well for one's prospects a little later in life.

It's very tempting to just point and laugh at people like this kid - I know I was as guilty of that as anybody else in school. The truth is, I don't want to laugh at him. I want to be able to look at what he does and say "hey, he's having fun - good for him!" The problem is that he's having fun (and has been having fun for as long as I've known him) at the expense of the rest of his life. His social skills are pretty bad, he is [or was - haven't talked to him in a few years] basically unemployable, and he has parents who are wealthy and eccentric enough to let him get away with it.

Long story short, I really want to see this movie (especially having known someone who's in it). From what I've read it looks like a great piece of documentary film-making and a window into a world that I honestly know very little about. I play Magic: The Gathering on the side and played some RPGs with friends back in the day, but I've never understood what it's like to have that be your life. I don't know what kind of message I'll get from the film, but I hope that this kid is doing OK. I hope he's finished high school, some how. I hope someday he's able to find a job and live on his own. If not, I hope he's happy.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 12:05 PM on May 15, 2008 [16 favorites]


Didn't Lore lay this all out for us years ago?

Also, I stand before you to admit that I've played tabletop roleplaying games, MMORPGs, and LARP. I say this to you because I am proud and unashamed of my gamer history (and, mostly, because you're all strangers on the internet and there's very little incentive for me to hide my terrible, terrible secrets from you).
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:09 PM on May 15, 2008


I'm honestly curious why someone who knows nothing about the intersection of LARP and WoW would be making a post about the intersection of LARP and WoW.
posted by Ragma at 12:17 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ooook I"m going to eat some of my shoe now. While not listed in the Monster Camp website or trailer, the Variety review suggests they follow one or more protagonists who besides playing LARP on the weekends also play WoW "40 hours a week" during the week.

So I can see where that took you.

I'd say that's a dude with a severe life-aversion issue, and kind of what Elvis said, you know, may have trouble intergrating out into society at large without some help. Having said that, I 'm not sure that paints WoW as the source or trigger or LARP and the other way around.

But that connection is there in the review. So I'm going to chew on my sole now.

FWIW, I am a "professional" with a "professional career" and several "life activities", one of them being WoW, and uh, it's a really sweet game, but if I play it for more than 2 hours or so my eyes start to get a bit twitchy and my brain wants to go read a book or cheat and watch House, MD. Oh he's so sarcastic!
posted by cavalier at 12:22 PM on May 15, 2008


I hope he's finished high school, some how. I hope someday he's able to find a job and live on his own. If not, I hope he's happy.

Oh good, because you know, from the sound of it, I'm sure he was just dying to know what you hoped for him. Fuck you for pointing and laughing, even if you didn't want to, but it was just so difficult.
posted by poppo at 12:29 PM on May 15, 2008


Woah woah, what's up rage cage? Dude's offering his observations on a webpage, not attacking the dude. Which issue did he trigger for you?
posted by cavalier at 12:30 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Selling your body for an epic flying mount would be a pretty good deal, actually. Epic flyers are around 6000 gold, and gold sells for about $30/K right now, so you'd be looking at $180 just for a half hour's work. Much better than dailies, better exercise too.
posted by felix at 12:36 PM on May 15, 2008


WoW and LARPing are about as related as "Leeroy Jenkins!!!" and "Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt! Lightning Bolt!"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:37 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Fuck you for pointing and laughing, even if you didn't want to, but it was just so difficult."

Condemning someone who would point and laugh at a person with a disease or a handicap is one thing. Because people in that condition have no choice or control over the situation. I'll even go so far as to say it's obviously wrong to point and laugh at someone who is simply grotesquely socially inept.

But someone who chooses to wear a cape and fake sword to school is inviting it. They are choosing to be the object of ridicule. His sword, his cape, his choice.

This is also why WoW players (a group of people who admittedly have no life and are addicted to video games) are trying so hard to distance themselves from LARP - These people are freaks, by choice, and not the good kind.
posted by Ragma at 12:40 PM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Woah woah, what's up rage cage? Dude's offering his observations on a webpage, not attacking the dude. Which issue did he trigger for you?

Uh I thought he was condescending and holier-than-thou, but you're right, I'll turn down the anger dial in my rage cage. It shouldn't have produced the "Fuck you" part at the setting I had it at.
posted by poppo at 12:45 PM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


And I'll have to admit I love this thread even as I poop on it for being wildly inaccurate. It's got to be fun for outsiders to watch MMO addicts make fun of LARPers for being silly.

"It's completely different!!! The two have nothing in common. WoW players may sit in front of their computer for 12 hours a night seven days a week. But physically acting that out in costume is just insane."

My nerd can kick your nerd's ass.
posted by Ragma at 12:46 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is also why WoW players (a group of people who admittedly have no life and are addicted to video games) are trying so hard to distance themselves from LARP - These people are freaks, by choice, and not the good kind.

Fuck you too

Whoops dangit I can't get the setting right
posted by poppo at 12:47 PM on May 15, 2008 [5 favorites]


LARP - These people are freaks, by choice, and not the good kind.

Hey, now. See Lore's flowchart above, it's pretty rocking. I love the concept of LARP as the idea of "This dice and this paperwork is too stodgy! Let's just run around and use rock-paper-scissors or foam bats to handle the game logistics!". I love the idea that it's essentially improv theater with RPG thrown into it. A good LARP game with a good cast of folks is a rollicking good time. Editor's note: Last time I found such a group was 9 years ago. Ahem.

Do people get carried away with stuff (in other people's opinion)? Sure.

Dude who collects 400 animes and has a wall covered in Pokemon? Extreme?
Dude who likes leather working and wants to try to build armor for a Renaissance Fair? Extreme?
Same Ren Fair dude wanting to take his armor and use a cardboard sword on a Saturday? Extreme?
Dude who is a Steelers fan through and through and paints his body in Steelers colors head to toe every football game? Extreme?

We've all got our activities. Some of us take it far. Some of us take it waaay far. Doesn't make the activity necessarily bad....
posted by cavalier at 12:50 PM on May 15, 2008


As much as I want to join in all the pointing and laughing, my life for the past week has consisted mostly of 1) working, and 2) playing Grand Theft Auto IV. I doubt I'm the only one.
posted by naju at 12:51 PM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ok, granted, I think it's just the 4 of us meta moderating (overly participating?) in this thread, but I can totally understand seeing Elvis's stuff as condescending.... I just really saw it in a more honest and non condescending, friendly concern type matter. "I hope he's going to be ok, because, man, every day in highschool he wore a cape, you know"? Ok, summarized that does come off a bit more judgey, but really truly, I read it as, hey whatever floats that dude's boat... hope it gets there! With the hope it gets there in sincere warm wishes smiley face part.

WoW, LARP, Extreme Golfing. I have no problem with fantasy. I have a concern, as more of a help my fellow man/woman, for excesssive escapism.. but regular everyday escapism is okie dokie in my book. Escapism can take any form tho.. from reading a comic book to watching TV to fishing. Whatever helps you get out of your self for a few moments, I reckon..
posted by cavalier at 12:55 PM on May 15, 2008


I'm surprised there is no Warcraft LARPing yet. Although I imagine it would be less like LARPng and more like Civil War Reenactment. Except in Azeroth. Maybe it's taking too long to recreate the Dark Portal.
posted by Gary at 12:57 PM on May 15, 2008


Fuka, who are you responding to? No one disagreed with you.

this-
sooo... should i totally delete this.
posted by octomato at 2:21 PM on May 15 [+] [!]


In other words, I don't think the post should be deleted.

I worked in the game publishing industry in the 90s and I have had extensive interaction w/ boardgamers, cardgamers, MMOplayers, Tabletop gamers and LARPers at large and small trade shows.

Personally, I find the lumping of the different geekeries to be distasteful. Its not that I don't like LARPers or WoWers (both are good fun) but honestly - while it appears on the surface that there are parallels, this is a very shallow and misleading assessment for both sides.

Additionally, my opinion is that the makers are attempting to create a tie-in to cash-in, not because a genuine strong connection exists. I find that a teensy bit icky.
posted by Fuka at 12:58 PM on May 15, 2008


"A good LARP game with a good cast of folks is a rollicking good time."

I have no doubt you are correct. But they are still freaks.

While I've never been involved in LARP per se, I did spend many year playing nightly D&D, and I spent many years in SCA bashing people in the head with clubs. So I've seen plenty of LARP from the sidelines. These people are freaks. I'm sorry.
posted by Ragma at 1:00 PM on May 15, 2008


SCA, now there are some scarey bastards.

-erase erase erase-. I kid. Kind of. Whatever floats your boat, you know, that's where I roll. But let's be frank with each other, we're talking about LARPers on keyboards from hundreds of miles away. Cast not the first stone, judge not, yada yada.. and I dunno, freaks is just so... freaks!
posted by cavalier at 1:02 PM on May 15, 2008


I'm surprised there is no Warcraft LARPing yet.

Actually, I was involved with a Warcraft LARP -- I played a warlock. Unfortunately, it broke up when my spirited and wellmeaning push towards realism made by infecting all of the other players with SARS, Norovirus, flesh eating bacteria and AIDS was met with, I thought, somewhat unsportsmanlike condemnation and the involvement of the authorities.
posted by felix at 1:04 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


my life for the past week has consisted mostly of 1) working, and 2) playing Grand Theft Auto IV.

Well, you're in luck. I'm starting a little thing I like to call Bellic Camp. First session is in Brighton Beach later this summer. Bring your own rocket launcher.
posted by dersins at 1:06 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is also why WoW players (a group of people who admittedly have no life and are addicted to video games)...

Hey, thanks for the info. Millions of players, and every one of them is a loser that's addicted to video games. I'm glad you came through with that info, because before I read that, I was under the impression that a lot of WoW players were normal people with average lives. Glad I didn't voice my ignorant point of view in front of a bunch of people who might know something about it, because that would have been embarrassing. Phew!
posted by Nattie at 1:07 PM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh good, because you know, from the sound of it, I'm sure he was just dying to know what you hoped for him. Fuck you for pointing and laughing, even if you didn't want to, but it was just so difficult.

This has already been addressed a little up higher on the thread, but my point isn't that I don't want to point and laugh (but do it anyway). I'm not pointing and laughing at all - rather, I understand that the choices this guy has made have the consequence of making life in mainstream society more difficult for him and I wish him the best no matter what he's doing.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:09 PM on May 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Millions of players, and every one of them is a loser that's addicted to video games.

You say "loser" like it's a bad thing!

Oh..



..oh.


/cry
posted by giraffe at 1:19 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


If it didn't cost so much to transfer characters between WoW realms (yeah yeah, $15 a character is cheap and all, but I have an armada of characters on one server) I'd be hitting you fellow MeFi WoW'ers up for a little MetaFilter Guild action. Like Steam, but with less efficient voice chat!
posted by cavalier at 1:24 PM on May 15, 2008


"Glad I didn't voice my ignorant point of view in front of a bunch of people who might know something about it, because that would have been embarrassing. Phew!"

The WoW guild I run with my wife has over 150 accounts, close to 400 members total, has 11 scheduled guild events a week, and the members are pushing me to get shirts and mugs printed. I've been playing since launch, have six 70s with three in full raid epics, PvP in both BGs and arenas, and can't wait to attend another BlizzCon in Oct. In the three plus years I've been playing WoW I would estimate I've interacted substantively with over 1000 players.

In addition, my guild is limited to folks 21 or older. In other words people who will be forced to balance real life families and careers with gaming. It is very common for members to share the vague outline of that struggle for balance.

I don't think anyone could legitimately claim I wasn't something of an authority on whether the majority of WoW gamers "admittedly have no life and are addicted to video games".

Trust me. I live this shit.
posted by Ragma at 1:27 PM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


LARP - These people are freaks, by choice, and not the good kind.

While I've never been involved in LARP per se...These people are freaks. I'm sorry.

One of my friends – a serious, hard core, run-the-plot-committee LARper - died recently. He was one of the most well adjusted, happiest, unabashedly real people I’ve ever known. Did he dress up in costume and wave a foam sword in the woods? Sure. Did he throw bean bags and call them lightning bolts? Undoubtedly. Those were his choices.

But I’ll tell you this: he had more fun and brought more joy into this world than I ever will.

Ragma, I wish you knew him. I wish you saw half the shit he lived.
posted by Izner Myletze at 1:30 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


On the intersection of WOW and LARPing:

I know a lot of LARPers, most of which go with the NERO model, though some have been trying to break off and form their own system altogether.
I don't know anyone who plays WOW.

I don't do either.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:32 PM on May 15, 2008


"Did he dress up in costume and wave a foam sword in the woods? Sure. Did he throw bean bags and call them lightning bolts? Undoubtedly."

Just from what I've posted in this thread I hope everyone can see that I realize I'm being a hypocrite. I am in my glass house, pitching stones as fast as I can.

Cherry picking LARPers who are not freaks doesn't change much. That is the nature of cherry picking. But even so........ I've known plenty of LARPers who were wonderful, kind, fascinating people. Most of them were also freaks. And most of them would admit as much.
posted by Ragma at 1:41 PM on May 15, 2008


True, LARPers /= WoW.

LARPers are looking for a real alternative. WoW players are looking for a non-real alternative.

Nevertheless, the Fantasy Lore common bond is ignored at the peril of both groups. Wait, WTF? No not really.
posted by Xoebe at 1:43 PM on May 15, 2008


Ragma, I played since beta and my experience has been completely contrary to yours. Before I quit playing very much, my guild was one of the top raiding guilds on the server and there were only two people in the guild that had no life and just played WoW constantly. Everyone else had jobs (on top of college if they were still in school) and most had significant others. During the daytime there were usually not many people online. Again, I reiterate, these were raiders in a top-end guild.

It's completely misguided to make a blanket statement that all WoW players have no life based on your anecdotal experience. All it takes is for someone like me to say, "No, not really." None of my friends outside the guild were "no life" types, even. A surprisingly large number of them were in the military. If anything, the biggest problem we had was that people found it difficult to raid because their real life took up so much time; they weren't having difficulty finding room for real life because WoW took up so much time. Many of them came from quite different walks of life, too; plenty weren't generic gamer-types.

The game has millions of subscribers. Of course there's going to be the addicted types there, just like with anything else people do for a hobby. But it's not. at. all. the majority of WoW players, not by a long shot.
posted by Nattie at 1:56 PM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have never LARP'd or WoW'd, but I do MilSim using Airsoft weapons and full combat gear. Stuff that looks so real that if we didn't play on dedicated private property, we'd definately be getting a visit from a SWAT team. Wouldn't be a bit surprised to find that some gamers think this is "too violent". Running through the woods with a sword or an M4; all good fun.
posted by Standeck at 2:04 PM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


chess and paintball

Holy shit that would be awesome.

"Rxd5 *pop pop pop*"
posted by Mikey-San at 2:05 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Shit, I couldn't even get through the first half of the trailer. I was too embarrassed for them.

These people are freaks, by choice, and not the good kind

Bingo. And a pre-emptive dismissive yawn to anyone who gets offended by that truth.

I don't think anyone could legitimately claim I wasn't something of an authority on whether the majority of WoW gamers "admittedly have no life and are addicted to video games".

You're an outlier, as are the people you play with. According to the various censuses, only about half of WoW players have even one 70. You have six. Most WoW players have never raided, not even in Karazhan. You organize eleven raids a week. Most WoW players don't have a flying mount, much less an epic flyer. I'll bet that each of your toons has an Onyx Netherwing Drake. Most WoW players log in, on average, once a week. My guess is that your guildmates play an average of 30 hours a week and that 20% of them play 80 hours or more.

The players you deal with are generally hardcore; you're not going to have much interaction with the casual players which make up the vast majority of the game population, just as I have virtually no contact with anyone with even one piece of Tier 4.

You may have no life, but I don't think it's fair to say that most WoW players don't.

So, yeah, I think I can legitimately claim that you're not an authority. Your opinion is driven by confirmation bias and interaction with a relatively small player niche.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:12 PM on May 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


WOW : LARP :: FPS : paint-ball

I haven't LARPed, myself, but I don't see how it's much less cool than paint-ball, which nobody really hates on. Go play, have fun, be happy!
posted by LordSludge at 2:25 PM on May 15, 2008


According to the various censuses, only about half of WoW players have even one 70.

Do you have any links? I'd much rather see actual data than this battle of anecdotes. (I'm not being snarky, honest. The surveys would be interesting.)

The closest I could find was this sampling from 2005 that put the average at 10 hrs/week. (The actual number may be higher because it didn't sample people who played on multiple servers).

Is 10hrs/week an indication of no life? Or just people who enjoy warcraft more than TV or whatever the majority of folks are doing on a Wednesday night?
posted by Gary at 2:39 PM on May 15, 2008


Do you have any links?

This census site says, for example, that out of 6,243,588 surveyed characters of level 10 or higher on US and European servers, 2,699,367 are level 70. This looks at characters, of course, and not players, but it doesn't survey characters under level 10 and can only survey characters that are logged in while the survey snapshots were taken. As such, it will not include characters that very rarely log in, lapsed accounts, and so forth, but these accounts will rarely have level 70 characters.

Anyhow. With something like 7M players in Europe and North America and less than 3 million level 70 characters in total, "about half" was liberal. It's probably more accurate to say that only about 30% of WoW players have even one Level 70 toon, since a good number of the 2.7 million 70s will be alternates, like Ragma's roster of six.

I don't have an average play time link handy; I can only assert what I have often read.

I've been playing since Beta, and by my calculations have put in eight hours a week, or less time than I spend doing household chores or in transit. I've been on two raids in three and a half years, have a single Level 70, and am unguilded. Players like Ragma are bright and shiny things. Successful guilds get written about in the fan press. Players like me are invisible. We're also the vast majority.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:58 PM on May 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess it all depends on how you define "WoW player." Yeah, technically anyone who has an account is one, but thinking of the casuals as "WoW players" is about as honest as calling folks who throw around a pigskin at family reunions "football players." By similar loose definitions, anyone who has ever thrown on a costume of any sort and pretended to be someone or something they're not is a LARPer.

So yeah, there may be many, many people who play 3 hours a week as a side hobby, but there are a lot of folks, the ones who proudly or sheepishly call themselves "WoW players" who spend many more hours doing various things in that game. For every elite guild made up of working professionals who only play 10-12 hours a week and still make progress in Black Temple and Sunwell Plateau, there are about 30 guilds who are full of asocial dorks who succeed or struggle at various levels of the game, and make up for time-management and social organization skills with sheer time and effort.

Furthermore, I've seen more anti-Semitism and homophobia on the WoW server and accompanying forums than any other place online or in real life that I've cared to visit. It's not just a few social cripples, but rather anyone who bothers to stand against such sentiment is flamed out. Such bigotry really does seem to imply a large degree of social problems, even if it's of a different cloth than the freak flags flown by LARPers.
posted by explosion at 3:06 PM on May 15, 2008


thinking of the casuals as "WoW players" is about as honest as calling folks who throw around a pigskin at family reunions "football players."

That's the biggest load of horseshit I've seen in months. Well done!

Blizzard says that it has ten million players. It doesn't have ten million hardcore raiders. Hell, Blizzard even counts the people who signed up for a month, canceled and never came back. I don't buy their definition of "WoW Player" and more than I buy yours, but at least theirs I can ascribe to marketing. Yours, I can only ascribe to laughable elitism.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 3:12 PM on May 15, 2008


I am just here to say I play WoW moderately. And with my girlfriend. And we look pretty damn normal (dare I say, good). She is an assistant principal (34) and I am a web developer/consultant (36). Occasionally I get sucked into a dungeon raid which is "supposed" to last an hour or two and end up looking at my watch and it's 6 hours later, but after those I end up hating myself for a while and log in only to trade on the auction house and do a soloable quest or two. When my current favorite character ("toon") starts to demand too much of my time (read: after hitting level 70), it's time for a reroll (either that or PVP I guess). (I have two 70's, currently on a 54 druid.) Maybe it's my training in psychology (and knowing I'm on a hedonic treadmill), but to me the diminishing returns become very pronounced after you've been 70 for just a little while.

If you can MODERATE your time, it can be a fun way to spend your time. Especially with a girl or boyfriend. But as with everything, moderation is key. There is enough content to go through all the levels 3 or 4 times without seeing much of the same things. And it's fun to cooperate with other real people you know.

Another note- I met at least one married couple that was separated physically (husband is in Iraq, in one case) and they keep in touch partly by playing WoW together. I thought that was pretty cool.

Admittedly, GTA4 has been robbing plenty of time from WoW lately, but when I'm on the road, it's nice to fire up the game on the macbook pro and go to a familiar place for a bit.
posted by Lectrick at 3:17 PM on May 15, 2008


But...are there any girls there?
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:58 PM on May 15, 2008


Thanks ten pounds of inedita, I'll check that out. I'm guessing those numbers might even overstate the "hardcoreness" of players, since very casual players probably won't bother installing census UI mods.

But...are there any girls there?

Joanna, Fire.
posted by Gary at 4:04 PM on May 15, 2008


Oops... unless you were referencing the Summoner Geeks... Then my deepest apologies.
posted by Gary at 4:18 PM on May 15, 2008


I don't watch TV much - so somebody please set me straight.


That Tyra clip was FUCKING HORRIBLE, right?
Even by talk show (or whatever you call those train wreck shows) standards?

When I see shit like that, it makes me want to kick my foot through other people's televisions.
posted by Tbola at 4:18 PM on May 15, 2008


That Tyra clip was FUCKING HORRIBLE, right?
Even by talk show (or whatever you call those train wreck shows) standards?


Yep.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:55 PM on May 15, 2008


monster camp good, jesus camp bad.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:29 PM on May 15, 2008


Boots of escaping!!

Lightning bolt!!

Ok this is too much work just browse the related videos.... :P
posted by samsara at 5:53 PM on May 15, 2008


Oops... unless you were referencing the Summoner Geeks... Then my deepest apologies.

I was, but I'm always happy to see that comic again.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:33 PM on May 15, 2008


How do you kill that which has no life?
posted by Camel of Space at 7:26 PM on May 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm a LARPer, of sorts. We call one-off convention-based events "freeforms", here, and usually reserve the term LARP for a more long-term game such as the Camarilla, where one is likely to be playing the same character regularly for months. Some freeforms split the difference, in that the authors of particularly good ones sometimes are encouraged to write sequels.

It is, on balance, my favorite form of roleplaying. In many ways it's like acting, but with a script developed on the fly, and without having to actually look like one's character. I'm a big fan of the "signifier" approach to costuming, ie the priest gets a clerical collar, the doctor gets a stethoscope, the king gets a crown, etc - so you can tell, at a glance, who the character is supposed to be. Some folks go all the way with costuming; I'm generally too lazy, and I like to pack light for out-of-state cons. :)

I also play WoW, and WoW is not, in any sense of the word, "role-playing". It's more like Counterstrike with spells, AI-driven enemies, and a vast variety of game items (not just weapons). While there is some overlap in the people who are interested in both role-playing and computer games, it is, as Fuka said, chess and paintball. Or maybe chess and poker.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:43 PM on May 15, 2008


Lighten up. Anyone who takes the time to craft a monster costume from "...about 5 foam mattresses, over 50 sticks of hot melt glue, and 8 cans of grey and black spray paint" has gotta be cool in my book. And if there are a bunch of WOW fans playing LARP sessions, they're probably saving their monthly $15.00 for trainspotting.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:15 PM on May 15, 2008


Those who are hungry for more data about what populations of WoW players are like may find good fodder about a few things here.

And seriously, when you hear "gay" on a WoW server, I think 99.3% of the time it's not homophobia, it's someone using it to mean "lame" or "stupid" or "something I don't like". I was in a big raiding guild at one point and our guild leader was quite openly gay and it was just No Big Deal.

But then, I play on an RP server (Steamwheedle Cartel) and I think overall the players there tend to be more mature than on other types of servers. I don't really actually RP. It's a very minor thing that occurs here and there occasionally among a small minority of the people on the server. I hang out in the evenings on the Orgrimmar bank a lot, giving free portals to people. Look for me if you want one. (I use the same name as here).

And for crying out loud, ignore the forums. Or at least ignore the stupid people who post bullshit on them. You might find the occasional useful thread or two though, amongst the bitching and complaining and posturing.
posted by marble at 10:04 PM on May 15, 2008


Needs more barrens chat.
posted by now i'm piste at 11:03 PM on May 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


And seriously, when you hear "gay" on a WoW server, I think 99.3% of the time it's not homophobia, it's someone using it to mean "lame" or "stupid" or "something I don't like".

That's homophobia; it isn't some arbitrary co-incidence that it's the word "gay" that's used in that way. It's homophobia-light, but it's still based on setting gay people aside as something inferior, ugly, and stupid to compare your opponent to.

I encounter it all the time online and it doesn't really upset me, but I don't believe that pervasively joshing people as gay doesn't have a stigmatising effect on people who actually are gay, your anecdotal guild-leader notwithstanding. I'm sure it's largely uncoscious on the part of the average 15-year old moron, but that doesn't make it much better.
posted by Drexen at 4:15 AM on May 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I would argue Drexen that it makes it even worse. When its so casual to use that term without thinking about what the word coming out of your mouth really means its a horse of a different color.

Perhaps thats your point as well, but it bears repeating. Its a reprehensible thing.
posted by zennoshinjou at 5:58 AM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please, dear heavens, not more Barrens chat... :P

I'm an officer in a 30-person "friends and family" guild on Feathermoon. :) Our biggest issue is that we all have too much "real life" going on -- folks who want to raid have had to be substitutes raiders with other guilds, 'cause we're just not all on at once. I got married two weeks ago -- I introduced my husband to the game. :D We may even have a "WoW Wedding" because some of our Guildies couldn't make it to the real one. Most of my Guildies are married, with kids, or in long-term partnerships.

WoW can be addicting, no question, and some folks do spend waaaayyyyy too much time in their seat, not enough outside of their house. I simply haven't encountered many players who are at that level -- could be 'cause I'm on an RP server, could be they're a stereotype that's the exception, not the norm.
posted by metrocake at 7:28 AM on May 16, 2008


Nerds.
posted by tkchrist at 9:38 AM on May 16, 2008


LF Horde FnF 21+ Guild on a PVE Server EST preferable. :p I've given up voice chat with any guild I was in, because I'd always get real sad at realizing the main tank was 12 or 13.. oy.

Oh, and where is mankirk's wife? Rawr!
posted by cavalier at 1:14 PM on May 16, 2008


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