Skip

Maybe a little too prepared ...
October 16, 2008 3:45 AM   Subscribe

Meet Prepared, a World of Warcraft gamer who plays 36 separate characters simultaneously, with the use of an 11-computer rig - a one-man raid party who spends $5711 in subscription costs per year. In his own words: "I’m looking at it like it’s a hobby and there are more expensive hobbies out there than World of Warcraft."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (113 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nerd alert!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:48 AM on October 16, 2008


36 simultaneous characters, really? A person only has two hands. Anything more than two simultaneous characters is just showing off.
posted by tgyg at 3:49 AM on October 16, 2008


Third link seems to be having some MySQL trouble. If it gives you trouble, try this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:52 AM on October 16, 2008


How sad.

...and just a little bit werid too.

But sad. Yes, definitely sad.
posted by Mephisto at 3:59 AM on October 16, 2008


Hell is other people.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:07 AM on October 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


What else is he going to spend $5711 a year on? Romance? Ha!

Predictable yuks aside, doesn't the entire appeal of WoW reside in its social aspects? I've barely played it but I remember it being more work than fun until a friend took me along on an instance. Then it became, uh, slightly less not fun. To invest thousands of dollars and hours a year into a glorified Progress Quest beggars the imagination.
posted by bunnytricks at 4:07 AM on October 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


"I’m looking at it like it’s a hobby an obsession and there are more expensive hobbies out there than World of Warcraft obsessive crazies out there than me."

via Google translate, Crazy » bad English.
posted by mandal at 4:12 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Part of me says "whatever floats your boat. He's not harming anyone."

The other part says "Having a Life: You're doing it wrong."
posted by oddman at 4:19 AM on October 16, 2008 [9 favorites]


My son says, "Yay! I hate the Alliance, too! Stormwind sucks! Kill everyone there, have no mercy!"

Looks like Prepared has a supporter.
posted by not_on_display at 4:23 AM on October 16, 2008


doesn't the entire appeal of WoW reside in its social aspects?

Oddly enough, I think so. When I first started playing WoW I wanted to make it a single player game as much as possible because I didn't want to talk to my fellow gamers, who I assumed would be socially maladjusted. That, and I'm an introvert. As time went on I got to know a lot of hilarious people who were actually cool and well-adjusted, and then WoW was a lot more fun.

Not that you don't run into socially maladjusted people often enough, but I do think it's a bit much to have so many accounts you never have to talk to anyone ever. But people can do whatever they want, so if it makes him happy to tinker with that many accounts, well, okay. And it's not any more antisocial than a single-player console game, though a lot more expensive.

I bet part of the fun for him is just sitting that up to work well. I sometimes play a MUD where I don't talk to people just because I like writing scripts for it. Spending that much money on a game like this guy has is baffling to me, but I try not to judge.
posted by Nattie at 4:26 AM on October 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


I've said it before, I'll say it again: Is this something I would need my virginity to understand?
posted by Jofus at 4:29 AM on October 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


This holds a perverse appeal to me. I play games to indulge my introvert side, mostly because social interaction via computer is at best a pale imitation of face to face.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:31 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


$6000/yr is $500/month. That's a little high, but he's right that people do spend a lot more on pasttimes that, looked at objectively, are no less obsessive or nerdlike. I mean, what would you call a person that felt compelled to put on special clothes, go outside and repeatedly slide down a particular hill? Obsessive? And that paid $$$ to do so? Stupid? Usually we call them skiers.
posted by DU at 4:33 AM on October 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I like how the screen shot of his gear is surrounded by get-out-debt adverts.

So about this from another post about how our obsession with techno-crap is going to destroy the world...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:36 AM on October 16, 2008


Having played a MMORPG or two in my time, part of it is getting together with other people and just chatting while you took your little digital avatars and did whatever it was you were supposed to be doing. To paraphrase Red Green, playing a whole party in World of Warcraft yourself is really no different from playing one character, only without the fun.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:36 AM on October 16, 2008


that's dedication for you. I wish I had that much time on my hands...
posted by snowmonkey at 4:36 AM on October 16, 2008


This guy has nothing on me! I play chess simultaneously with 36 opponents while blindfolded! And I always win!

The hardest part is getting all of them to wear the blindfolds.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:37 AM on October 16, 2008 [14 favorites]


$5711 in subs p/a? Hell that's a gentleman's bar tab. A cheap one, who drinks alone.
there are more expensive hobbies out there than World of Warcraft
Don't I know it. Hey you! Fire up the helicopter. I'm going wolf shooting.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:39 AM on October 16, 2008 [10 favorites]


Now I don't feel so bad about opening 2 windowed copies of Quake II and starting match drama with myself / upping my frag count back when I was 18.

Ok I still feel a little bad about it, but it was funny.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:00 AM on October 16, 2008


Well, I know a few people people who used to pay for 6+ accounts on a BBS, so they could have 6 characters in MajorMud at once, all teamed up, all running on scripts, so they could optimize their exp/gold loops, and run big quests on their own.

Of course, with MajorMud, this didn't necessarily mean you didn't have a social life, seeing as it was all scripted anyway. You could set them going Friday evening, party all weekend, get high, get laid, and see if they'd leveled up my Monday morning.

You could do this. I'm not saying it ever actually happened.
posted by Jimbob at 5:10 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well I'm getting full value from my 36 mefi accounts, only cost me 180 bucks too!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:17 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


The main reason is to invade Stormwind and Ironforge...

It's not the cost or the solitude of the activity that's weird to me. If he spent that much time and money reading great books, I'd envy him. It's the triviality (to me, anyway) of the game compared to the investment he makes in it. When he looks back on his life, I wonder if he'll be happy that he spent so much time and money pretending to invade Stormwind and Ironforge?
posted by pracowity at 5:24 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


We've never actually seen a photo of matt, jessamyn, cortex and vacapinta together have we? I'm not suggesting anything, merely making an observation.
posted by panboi at 5:27 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


The whole 'this is an obsession' or whatever crowd, I think, might need to back off a little. Playing 4 characters at a time, I know, is relatively simple to do, and adding on to 36 can't be much worse. Granted he's probably spending a lot of time on this, and I'm kind of sad the article doesn't seem to mention the time investment. Still.

The point of WoW, for a lot of people, does often involve the social aspect. But the thing about being a solo player by nature (I tend to not enjoy groups, and have only recently managed to find non-stupid guilds... and then of course canceled my subscription) is that you miss out on huge portions of the game. There is simply no way to access these things on more than a very superficial level (such as by playing a rogue or something and sneaking through) alone. And thus you have to be in a guild or grab a pick-up-group, either of which involves huge times of waiting and no guarantee of successfully getting where you want to be anyway.

At any rate, I can sympathize with the guy. There are a lot of game areas I'd love to at least see, but realistically this would be the only way I could probably do it. Of course, I'd rather he channeled that 5k a month elsewhere, but I know very many people who use it for things that are arguably more 'lame'.

If he's got the means, he might as well enjoy himself the way he wants to. Also, maybe after he gets all the sweet gear he's clearly after and levels he wants he'll sell off the remaining characters for major profit. Not all that bad of an idea, really.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 5:27 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, I was pretty addicted to EverQuest some years ago. But I reached the point where it was time to either go down this dude's path, or sell off all my stuff and go back to real life. So, I sold my stuff (for about $8,000, not bad for a time-consuming hobby), and here I am back in real life. I like real life better.
posted by jamstigator at 5:30 AM on October 16, 2008


Sorry. 5k per year. That's a much more reasonable number.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 5:31 AM on October 16, 2008


Wooo this made it to the blue! It had been circling around WoW circles for a little while. Hey, whatever floats his boat, right? I agree that the larger point of WoW is that it's a social/multi player enviroment. Yes -- it can be frustrating if you and 6 other folks get online and want to go storm the dungeon (the dungeon requires 10 people of varying skills/classes to be effective), and maybe sometimes you can't get it going because you can't find 3 random people to join up, but that's.. well.. that's part of the whole MMO'ness of it. So is sitting in city general chat arguing about Palin. :p

Having said that, Blizzard clarified their policy about 20 months ago and said - hey, shit, if you want to run multiple accounts (pay us for each account) on the same connection, go nuts, guys! And you started seeing these "multi-boxers", usually controlled by one keyboard and mouse and macros. Teams of 2, 3, maybe at the most 4 characters controlled by one player.. Why are they always shamans, I wonder idlely? Anyhoo -- the fact that he can run his own 25 man raid is pretty scarey. But from the looks of it he's just doing PVP, so ... wow.. 25 lightning bolts on one target...

I'm cavalier, and I play a [redacted] in the WoW.
posted by cavalier at 5:37 AM on October 16, 2008


Example of 5 character multibox - quick in game video clip of them doing some lovely choreography. (Note: METALLLLL)
posted by cavalier at 5:40 AM on October 16, 2008


I have a group of friends who are big WoW players. One of them gave me a trial subscription not too long ago. Holy moly, that game bored me to tears. Click, watch a bar fill up, repeat.

I suppose it's more fun with friends, but my friends were all super-high levels, so tagging along for adventures (err, make that "instances") meant I needed to scramble to tag the monsters before they were destroyed in order to get experience.

I consider myself a pretty big gamer, but WoW just left me cold. People told me the game really takes off after level 30 or so, but I just didn't see the point of grinding away in boredom for hours in order to get to something interesting. Maybe it's just me. I couldn't stand The Sims, either.
posted by Dr-Baa at 5:42 AM on October 16, 2008


Fascinating. I'm trying just two accounts at a time with no fancy stuff and it's a challenge.
posted by keli at 6:04 AM on October 16, 2008


Man with 11 computers likes to play with himself. Who'd have guessed.
posted by Phanx at 6:07 AM on October 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I mean, what would you call a person that felt compelled to put on special clothes, go outside and repeatedly slide down a particular hill? Obsessive? And that paid $$$ to do so? Stupid? Usually we call them skiers.

Yeah, your example is really lame.

I don't know how you do it, but when I go skiing I spend entire weekends hanging out and having fun with my friends, get lots of great exercise out in sun, have great dinners at night, stay in nice hotels, and so on.

And I certainly don't spend anything like US$6000 on it a year - for that I'd get in my mountain biking, weekends away, more than the entire budget for my little video making hobby, and probably still enough to pay for the weekly movie night with friends.

It doesn't really matter how you stack it up, this is fucking nuts. If it was even remotely social it wouldn't be quite so bad, but he's specifically set the whole thing up to remove that element.

Life is useless without other people to share it with.
posted by The Monkey at 6:12 AM on October 16, 2008


As an introverted computer games nerd, I can understand how you might get to this point. Pussy is almost always overhyped, and so goddamn unpredictable. When I try out a computer game just once, there is no chance that it will ruin the rest of my life...
posted by autodidact at 6:13 AM on October 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Clearly this thread is useless if I don't use it to reassure myself that I am well-adjusted and normal.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:19 AM on October 16, 2008 [12 favorites]


When I try out a computer game just once, there is no chance that it will ruin the rest of my life...

Well, there is Daikatana, so.. there's a gamble there too.
posted by Talanvor at 6:26 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some people prefer their own company. Some people prefer the company of others. And some other people prefer their own company times 36.
posted by Elmore at 6:34 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I play World of Warcraft for about 10 hours a week. It's enjoyable to me because I played the Warcraft series of real-time strategy games and appreciate and enjoy the extremely rich and deep lore Blizzard put into those games that now forms the foundation of many of the events/quests that make the "world" of Warcraft. I know people that are addicted to it, sure. Some people are obsessive about it (how does that guy "prepared" even play with EIGHT trackball mice?? And for god's sake how much electricity does he consume??). And then there's the ERP. Let's not even go there.

If you find a good group of people--it helps if you actually know them--then most of the game is open to you, whether you solo or choose to group up for the harder stuff. But, as with everything, moderation is key.

Ignore my flickrstream should you visit my profile page. IGNORE IT I SAID! I can stop any time I want to! I CAN!
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:36 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]



AE fear bomb him once he gets to Stormwind, and you ruin his whole plan! :)
posted by Xoebe at 6:37 AM on October 16, 2008


Any WoWers want to explain the technical details? Why all the shamans? Some kind of stacking ability? Or just easier to control when there's three dozen of 'em?
posted by echo target at 6:39 AM on October 16, 2008


If you play a lot of the same class, you can set up macros that allow you to control them all with the same keystrokes. I heard about a dude playing five warlocks at once, all Destruction spec- so when he'd come across an enemy, he'd hit one button, and they'd all cast Shadowbolt (a slow-casting, high-damage spell) together. The leveling was slow, since his characters were all splitting the XP among themselves, but he was pretty much annihilating everything that crossed his path. Since they all took the exact same footsteps, at a glance they all appeared to be one character.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:43 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


At least when he falls in love with a fellow guild member, he KNOWS she's really a dude...
posted by gnomeloaf at 6:44 AM on October 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


OK wait, these are the important questions that need answering first:

"wear is the barbar!!"

"how do can i go to northrnd"

"ware iz the lexocn of power/????"
posted by Brocktoon at 6:58 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


11 computers? It seems to me a few computers too many. Can you run WoW from a VMWare guest? He's just running this on laptops now, it is not like this game is that graphics heavy.
posted by geoff. at 7:07 AM on October 16, 2008


Hey, from a technical standpoint -- the rigs, the displays, the software -- it's pretty darn cool.

From a social standpoint, it's epic failure.

I think there's a lesson in there.
posted by LordSludge at 7:08 AM on October 16, 2008


I wish I could have back all the time I spent reading crap sci fi, looking at porn, watching TV commercials, stuck in traffic, and taking dumb courses.

And once I got all that time back I'd spend it being bored and probably decide to do those other things all over again except hopefully with better quality sci-fi, porn, courses and commercial free TV.
posted by srboisvert at 7:38 AM on October 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'd like to sneer along with all the rest, oh, this guy must be a virgin with no life, blah blah, but the truth is that I'm taking comfort that my MMORPG habit isn't that over the top. And, actually, it's a genuinely interesting technical accomplishment. I'm thinking of dual-boxing myself, say, with a healer/buffer following my melee fighter around. I mean, beyond the cost of an extra copy of the game, it's, what, an extra $15 a month or so? That's the equivalent of three pints of good beer.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:42 AM on October 16, 2008


Can you run WoW from a VMWare guest? He's just running this on laptops now, it is not like this game is that graphics heavy.

Yes, but depending on the system, they can only host so many apps. When I first started playing WoW, it was on a Sonly P4 2.4 MHz laptop and I couldn't see the minimap in major cities. I'd always assumed everyone was that way until I got a real computer.

Also, raiding can use a decent amount of power with multiple instances on one computer. Back in the glory days of 40-man raids, my aunt's computer would shut down because the on-board graphics card overheated.

So, yea, while WoW is far from being a demanding game spec wise, it does require some horsepower under the hood for multiple instances.
posted by jmd82 at 7:52 AM on October 16, 2008


I played Wow for a while and had to stop because, in order to grind and level up to get to the really fun stuff, I had to put too much time into the game. I couldn't manage that and interact with my family as much as I, and they, wanted me to. My kids still play, and love, Blizzard's Starcraft, and sometimes Guild Wars (yay, free subscription games!), which was created by former WoW designers.

I would love some more background for this story. He plays 36 characters so that he can make raids by himself, without having to drum up big groups. I kinda get that part, the why behind it. But what I don't get is the how. How does he find the time and the money to support his habit? You can't manage that kind of set-up on say, ten hours a week like casual players (Wolfdaddy, for instance) invest. So what does this man do for a living?

I do think it's a bit snobbish to say it would be okay if he spent all his time reading "great books." Who decides which books are great? The same people who decide which games are lame?
posted by misha at 8:04 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


My guild is composed almost entirely of people with real lives and jobs, families and mortgages -- average age around 30, with the guild leaders at 42, 40, 38 -- and is the 2nd most progressed guild on our faction on our server.

It's eminently possible to have a life and play WoW -- you just have to be pretty disciplined about it.

The reason why people choose shamans for multiboxing is that 5 shaman casting simultaneous chain lightning pretty much wreck anything they're aiming at, plus two unlucky nearby targets.

I bet this guy gets more out of trying to understand and cope with running 36 simultaneous accounts than any human being has ever gotten out of reading a "great book," and I'm a literary snob.
posted by felix at 8:18 AM on October 16, 2008


misha, back when I was a diehard WoW player, I played about 60 hours/week while holding down a well paying 40 hr/week job. 1-2 hours before work. 6-7 hours after work. 12+ per day on weekends. It's completely doable.

That said, I'm pretty happy that I only play about 10 hours per month these days.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:43 AM on October 16, 2008


This seems like a long way to go to have this singular experience, but who am I to judge:

Prepared: I'm going to kill you

Enemy: Yeah, you and what army?

Prepared: [gestures behind him] That one.

Enemy: ...oh.
posted by quin at 8:48 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Part of me says "whatever floats your boat. He's not harming anyone."

The other part says "Having a Life: You're doing it wrong."


I think there's nothing contradictory about holding both of these opinions.

Hobbies like this one, or puttering type activities in general, are good or bad depending on the extent to which one indulges in them. It's all about balance.

I don't know anyone who never does any inherently kind of useless activity just to relax. I don't think it's possible or even wise to be a maximum capacity super producer all the time. I do a fair amount of needlework. I've got a cross stitch project on the go right now that calls for approximately 35,000 stitches. I'm maybe about a third done at present. Yes, I will have a nice picture when I'm done (and you can bet I'm going to have that sucker professionally framed and put it where I can see it every day), but I could have painted a similar image, or earned the money to buy one, in much less time. The same argument applies to my knitting. But then I confine my needlework to what would otherwise be "dead time" — the time I spend in planes, trains, and automobiles, and in watching movies or TV. It doesn't interfere with my social life (and in fact probably enhances it because other passengers seem to love to talk to me about what I'm doing) or with my career or homelife. It affords me a lot of pleasure, and other people benefit as well because I've got a number of handmade gifts to hand out every Christmas.

My internet habit, on the other hand, is somewhat out of control. I do learn something from all the reading I do and I've made friends online, but I spend too much time surfing and I need to curb myself so as to accomplish more in terms of my personal goals.

So yeah, his life, his choice. But the fact that one needs to respect other people's freedom to make choices does not mean one is required to believe all choices are of equal value. Non-producing hobbies like this are supposed to be a garnish to one's life, not the main course. This man is making a meal of ketchup.
posted by orange swan at 8:51 AM on October 16, 2008 [8 favorites]


I've said it before, I'll say it again: Is this something I would need my virginity to understand?
Take my word for this: I have had sex. With a woman. Who I did not pay (directly, at least.)

This guy is more obsessive then I was about WoW (10 level 70s, 8 on a PvP server), but what I think most of you have missed is that the "obsessive" part to what he's doing it getting this going. If you really think about it, all the hard work he did was in the setup.

It's not THAT much money. If he can afford it, it's not a big deal at the point where he is now.
posted by Critical_Beatdown at 8:51 AM on October 16, 2008


Jesus, that rig - it looks like he's a day trader on the Gondor Stock Exchange.
posted by trondant at 8:55 AM on October 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


The advantage of the Shaman is that you can damage and heal moderately well without changing form or speccing one way or another, I would imagine, because as soon as you've specced differently for a single character, you need different controls. This would cut down on the downtime spent recovering between fights.
posted by Sparx at 9:04 AM on October 16, 2008


And yet, having dealt with the homophobic, racist thirteen year olds who populate most servers, I'm intrigued by this...
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:21 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


With 44 viewports, you'd think he'd have time to claim "metafilter's own"

The fact that he hasn't clearly indicates that he has no life.
posted by 7segment at 9:26 AM on October 16, 2008


A lot of the fun of MMORPGs is in the social aspect of the game. What may not be obvious is that there's no reason to assume he's any less privy to that than anyone else playing. There's nothing stopping him from using the various chat channels on his "main" screen, and indeed his niche celebrity status may expose him to more new people than most others.

Another big "fun" aspect is the sense of achievement. Sure, it's a really superficial Pavlovian response, but when you learn a strategy and go through the steps and kill a boss, you get rewarded with a bright and shiny trinket and it feels good. Maybe not as good as nailing that 720 indy nosebone, maybe not as good as scoring the winning touchdown, maybe not as good as finishing War and Peace. But maybe to this guy, this feels exactly as good or better as all of those activities feel to you.

I won't go so far as to say "since pleasure is subjective, you can't judge! nyah nyah!" because I don't believe that. I'll just ask you to think critically about what exactly makes you so dismissive of virtual world accomplishments, but so respectful of similarly arbitrary real world accomplishments. Make sure you have a real objection, and not just a conditioned "NERRRRRRRD!" reflex.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:35 AM on October 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I don't understand how he "raids by himself." Are there pre-set commands running on the gang of characters that is not actually under his active, minute-by-minute control? As in "Follow this character and attack whatever he attacks using moves A-B-C in that order."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:40 AM on October 16, 2008


Guild Wars (yay, free subscription games!), which was created by former WoW designers

If WoW were half as pretty as Guild Wars, I'd probably play fifty times as much. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible (last I played, at least, which was about two years ago) to play Guild Wars solo. But DAMN it is just a gorgeous, gorgeous game. And free is awesome.

Blizzard has made the new continent of Northrend very pretty however, and it's less cartoony looking than any prior content. Again, please do NOT look at the Flickr set I have going. Just don't do it. Don't.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:40 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Patton Oswalt performed at this year's Blizzcon and had some funny things to say about the 'get a life' crowd -- all kinds of people come to the end of their lives and realize they've "wasted" them. At least RPG players can say they got to spend a lot of it pretending to be a 10-foot giant with tentacles that shoot lasers!
posted by mattholomew at 9:40 AM on October 16, 2008


No, he's largely playing one TYPE of character.

He hits one button on one keyboard, all 36 shaman attack the same monster at the same time with the same attack, hopefully killing it.
posted by Critical_Beatdown at 9:41 AM on October 16, 2008


Bah. $5000 a year? Real gamers did that in, you know, 1992. Before the advent of the american peso. With ONE character.

Yeah, we paid by the hour.
posted by Justinian at 9:45 AM on October 16, 2008


The Monkey writes "I don't know how you do it, but when I go skiing I spend entire weekends hanging out and having fun with my friends, get lots of great exercise out in sun, have great dinners at night, stay in nice hotels, and so on.

"And I certainly don't spend anything like US$6000 on it a year"


6K is easily doable skiing.
  • Season ticket to one or two localish hills: $1000-2000
  • Costs per weekend at the hill: $280-$430 per weekend
    1. 1) Two nights for a nice hotel at the hill: $150-300 easy
    2. 2) Meals for three days at a cheap $40 per day: $120
    3. 3) Drinks two nights for a modest drinker: $20
    4. Equipment: Not wanting to have a Sonny Bono moment I have no ideal but I'm guessing it would be easy to spend $1000-$2000 a year on skis (most serious skiers have multiple pairs), boots, bindings, multiple layers of clothing, gloves, poles, goggles, chapstick, water bottles, maybe even a snowboard and boots, helmet, etc.
    5. Say a $50 per weekend on variable costs for transportation (gas, oil, tires, mileage)
    6. I know many people who justify an SUV because they go skiing. So add $1000 annually for the cost of a four wheel drive that you might not otherwise need.
    So you are looking at $3000-$5000 on fixed costs and $330-$480 per weekend. A pansy only skiing every second weekend over a three month season could spend $6000 without even trying hard. Especially if they never venture off their home hills.
    posted by Mitheral at 9:54 AM on October 16, 2008


    I play WoW about 40 hours a week (really) and even I find this person to be a complete dork. In a game/culture that rewards obsessive and addictive activity, he has gone too far.

    Sure, it would be fun to have your own pocket raid group. But paying that much money for it is stupid. Getting a raid group together is as simple as posting in general chat a few times.
    posted by Ragma at 9:58 AM on October 16, 2008


    You guys all making the same totally non-obvious or played out "gamers = virgins" joke are just fucking hilarious.


    Seriously, I'm laughing my nuts off over here!
    posted by adamdschneider at 10:12 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


    this makes my guitar habit look modest.
    posted by chuckdarwin at 10:14 AM on October 16, 2008


    I'm just happy playing 'Oblivion-The Elder Scrolls' on my X-Box 360. The game never ends.
    I go on quests after quests. I can finally be the good guy and beat the bejeezus out of the bad guys and the townspeople love me for it. I can't get that in real life. So night after night, I'm the friggin hero...I say what goes. Who goes there? Me Gods! It's a troll! Enguard!
    posted by doctorschlock at 10:16 AM on October 16, 2008


    Hell is other people.

    Hell is 36 imaginary people.
    posted by rokusan at 10:17 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    <-- Wow Player, although casual by every definition of the word, so my mileage definitely varies. (For the record, 31, female, engaged, certainly has a life and 'real' hobbies, as the big ass scrape on my arm from my belt test attests to. Ow, this thing really hurts today.)

    I think multiboxing goes against the spirit of the game, but because Blizzard has shrugged and said "Okay, whatever.", it's down to a personal decision for me. I don't multibox, and I don't group with people who multibox obsessively. (ONE extra account I could tolerate, but past that, it hurts my head to think about)

    This guy takes it to such extremes that I'd probably wonder about him if I knew him in real life, and I'm certainly glad he isn't on my server - but I generally take a low view of people who PvP obsessively. Again, my mileage varies.

    The best comparison I can use for this is masturbation. Sure, there's nothing wrong with wanking it - most people do it, it's fun, it's a good way to relieve stress. But do it too much, or too often, or at the exclusion of other things and you lose out on having a more rich and varied sex life.

    In this case - multiboxing 36 characters? Sure, there's nothing wrong with playing WoW, it's fun, it's (for some) a good way to destress or relax. But too much and you lose out on having a more rich and varied life outside your computer.

    This guy is pretty much wanking it, and he's wanking it in a world where he could with -less- effort do the same things by just talking to people and getting organized. It doesn't make him a bad person, or even a total loser, but it's also not likely to be healthy behavior from a well-rounded individual.
    posted by FritoKAL at 10:28 AM on October 16, 2008


    C'mon; if you're going to spend this much time and money, you should try doing something really fucking cool.

    And when you're not gaming, use your rig for some badass research.
    posted by kaibutsu at 10:33 AM on October 16, 2008


    A friend a work has been talking about his 4 box setup that he's setting up to play on Wow. I showed him this and he agreed that it was overboard.

    Multiboxers use a program that takes commands from one keyboard/mouse and sends it to all wow instances on the different PCs. It would be difficult to manage using different classes, but with 36 shamans it's probably not that much more difficult than playing with one, although I can imagine inventory management is a PAIN.

    The shaman is the jack-of-all-trades in WOW. Some ranged DPS, melee tanking, debuff and heals, meaning that the shaman can do a somewhat decent job in most roles. For these 40 man raids you need a decent mix of all these roles to be successful.

    One year of WOW subscriptions for me back in the day an I managed to get my shammy to lvl 60. Then I typed /played and saw that I had spent over 35 days logged into the game. I cancelled my account and took my social life back, but now that I'm engaged I've gone back to MMOs. I routinely put a full weeks worth of game time into whatever I'm playing in the first month, whether it is COD4, AoC, or Warhammer Online. That's while having a full time job and spending time to cook dinner and spend time with my SO every night.

    Of course it helps that I had a decent guild in WoW (Garona's Dread Legion), but the main difference between this guy and myself is that I'd rather go out and get 20+ ppl to join me on a keep raid rather than pay a ridiculous amount of $$$ to do it myself. Did this just last night in War and it is immensely more satisfying that watching whatever is on the boob tube.
    posted by daHIFI at 10:46 AM on October 16, 2008


    Thanks for that first link, kaibutsu, because it's a useful example of how I think a lot of people are missing the point.

    Would you look at that VR Quake 3 setup and say, "big deal, Quake 3 is like nine years old and didn't have a robust single-player storyline!" or "man, I enjoyed Quake 3, but these guys are obsessive about it!"?

    No, because playing Quake 3 isn't the point. Sure, you could play a mean deathmatch on $200 hardware these days. Sure, you could pick up 39 other people in WoW's general chat and raid perfectly well. Sure, you could just carry the marble from point A to point B instead of constructing an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine to do it. The fun for these folks is to do a relatively mundane thing in a unique and complex way.

    (yes, the Quake 3 people are doing it for academic purposes, but I think it's fair to assume that they chose that particular project because it appealed to them personally)
    posted by Riki tiki at 10:52 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    The Cave (as it is called) cost somewhere over $100k to build; it's primarily used for research, but the programmers used some of their spare time to build the Q3 level renderer. It's an open source engine that runs on Linux machines, so it probably wasn't that difficult to re-purpose existing code.

    In posting that, I was trying to make the point that, yes, human ingenuity knows few bounds, but that one can harvest obsessive gamer tendencies for some actual use. I think WoW has probably done far more harm than good. I know at least one very smart person who has dropped out of graduate school on account of a WoW addiction gone to far, and many, many people who have lost whole months playing various MMORPGs. It simply isn't doing any good, and has, arguably, harmed a fair number of people as well. I'm not saying we should outlaw it or anything, just that there are better things that people could do with their time and obsessive tendencies.
    posted by kaibutsu at 11:07 AM on October 16, 2008


    kaibutsu: I'm a WoW player, but I agree with you wholeheartedly. I've seen what the game can do to people when left unchecked, and I do think that it feeds addictive tendencies (cough).

    I just don't think this is the example for that. This guy didn't make 36 accounts because he needed more WoW and was "upping his dose." That doesn't make sense because you don't get more of the same by playing multiple characters at once. Instead, this was a technical venture and the fact that WoW was the game in question is mostly incidental.

    If this is addiction, then I think it's more along the lines of audiophiles who drop hundreds of thousands of dollars on stereo equipment. They're not addicted to music, they're addicted to tinkering.
    posted by Riki tiki at 11:29 AM on October 16, 2008


    I used to dungeon when I was young but I haven't actively gotten into any of these games at all, I don't own a console, about all the gaming I do is Flash things from here and of course Go online...

    But I still don't quite see what's unreasonable about this (modulo that we're truly sick of America's obsession with physical goods and purchases, of course).

    This guy is actually pushing the envelope in a competitive human activity. If he was a world-class player at curling or some other accepted sport you might not really care but you wouldn't make fun of him either.

    People regularly spend $100K on a stupid car or something like that, where they're simply taking some expensive item that someone else made and using it to make them look good.

    This guy's putting together something unique in keeping with his own vision. It's not one I share but I'll bet this guy gets a footnote in the history books 20 years from now when (if we aren't fighting for rats in the ruins of Western Civ) I imagine this sort of thing will be pretty common.

    (And yes, I agree he should get out more. Still, I think being "the man with two dozen characters" will get him laid at least a bit.

    (And yes, on preview I agree that these games are a lot like addictive drugs, and generally there are better things people could do with their times... see "Semper Fi" by Damon Knight.

    (I was in an obscure neighborhood in Brooklyn a few months ago and wandered past a community center. There was a lovely, lovely basketball court there, all lit up like day - and about three kids in the place. It was a Saturday night. I thought, "Where are they?" and then realized, "They're playing video games or watching the TV." It was sad.

    (OK, perhaps I take it back. Perhaps this guy is sad. But a trailbreaking sadness, presaging a future generation of vidiots....)
    posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:32 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    This man is making a meal of ketchup.

    Succinct, as usual. Well said.
    posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:39 AM on October 16, 2008


    Multiboxing should be a sport. Having just two guys in the ring is getting kind of boring.
    posted by adamdschneider at 11:46 AM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Either that or turn boxing into Thunderdome. Two men or not, that could never be boring.
    posted by adamdschneider at 11:47 AM on October 16, 2008


    That's nothing. I participate in MeFi threads using 37 simultaneous sockpuppets.

    the joke would be improved if I could actually follow-up this comment from some sockpuppet account I'd created
    posted by WCityMike at 11:50 AM on October 16, 2008


    For those of you interested in how multiboxing works in practice, check out v-boxing.net - it has a lot of information about how to build macros for such a setup. It's pretty cool actually, I'd be tempted to do it if it wasn't so much work and money.
    posted by pombe at 11:51 AM on October 16, 2008


    to me what's wrong with the picture is the blind bug-eyedness of his cockpit- the screens all showing the same perspective 30 times over, & not really neat looking with the laptops, more like a junkie's den. I hope some kids will find him in the game and beat the crap out of his mini army.(Good on him for the trackballs though)
    posted by yoHighness at 11:51 AM on October 16, 2008


    Still, I think being "the man with two dozen characters" will get him laid at least a bit.

    As a woman, I can tell you that you are incorrect. "Actually talking to other people" will get him laid a lot more.
    posted by chowflap at 11:59 AM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


    I have two words for you: Porn.
    posted by swift at 12:06 PM on October 16, 2008


    Actually, you can apparently get laid by giving her 5000g in WoW gold.

    Warning: gaygamer link, might see two males nuzzling or a goodie trail or something.
    posted by WolfDaddy at 12:10 PM on October 16, 2008


    I just want to know what he used to do with his time and money before WoW.

    ... 37 simultaneous sockpuppets.

    37 in a row?
    posted by filthy light thief at 12:18 PM on October 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


    The problem is, as I see it, that this doesn't lead TO anything. His little private army will get more powerful in the WoW world and... well... that's it. You can't change the game world, and he's not going to end up competing in any kind of competitive league or anything. Even if such things exist in WoW (and I suspect that if they do, the nature of the game with rare drops and such prevents them from being very fair or skill-based) he's not training in any way that will enhance his skill in them. I doubt they'll accept his 36 man army as a valid entry, and it'd probably be easily slaughtered by a large group of independent players with different classes and good teamwork.

    The only positive I can see here is that he can probably sell his characters for a fortune when he finally gets bored of it.
    posted by Mitrovarr at 12:23 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    WoW does have a competitive league, and multiboxers are fairly common in it. A five-shaman team recently attained a rating of over 2200, which puts that player in the top 5% (or more probably 1%) of competitive arena teams.

    Having played against that team myself, you'd be surprised. "Good teamwork" often means synchronization. A multibox team has perfect synchronization because they all do the exact same thing at the same time. The only real way to beat it is to cause the team to go out of sync. Certainly charging in and eating a CL NS CL EM ES combo is a great way to watch your entire team evaporate in about 5 global cooldowns.
    posted by felix at 12:41 PM on October 16, 2008


    felix: WoW does have a competitive league, and multiboxers are fairly common in it. A five-shaman team recently attained a rating of over 2200, which puts that player in the top 5% (or more probably 1%) of competitive arena teams.

    Yet another reason I'm glad I don't play that game - if one person controlling five characters of the same class has even a slight change against an independently controlled mixed team, the class balance is terrible and the gameplay mechanics are pathetically easy.
    posted by Mitrovarr at 12:57 PM on October 16, 2008


    I'll just ask you to think critically about what exactly makes you so dismissive of virtual world accomplishments, but so respectful of similarly arbitrary real world accomplishments.

    For me, it's mainly because real world accomplishments come with both emotional reward and some degree of physical achievement, even if it's as minor as "I turned all of the pages" or "I completed 3600 brush strokes on this canvas". Virtual world accomplishments have only the emotional response: there's nothing IRL which changes when the Shining Helm of 100,000 Clicks drops, as opposed to the usual Rags of The Crap. And precisely because these games are designed to minimize extinction of the conditioned response through random reward patterns, the game itself eventually becomes the reward, often to an unhealthy degree.

    Also, the fact that it is impossible to truly fail in WoW (or, indeed, the majority of modern games, especially MMOs) makes it much less conducive to growth than the physical world, in which failure is not only possible, but likely.
    In WoW, the greater player has clicked the mouse more times, and the lesser player fewer, bar a few exceptions on either end of the bell curve. This is a game in which success is not only directly related to, but actually measured by, hours-played. That makes any "achievement" one accomplishes seem rather empty. I know many WoW players who have complained about the lack of skill involved, and about the major role of grinding in determining one's success. To put it simply, it's not a difficult game, and the challenge involved is not the sort which stimulates growth. Patience, perhaps, and the ability to deal with monotony, but certainly not growth.

    I don't consider virtual worlds to be "worthless" or anything like that, but to be honest, there is some degree of inequality between virtual games and the real world, and I think it's worth re-examining our modern tendency to dismiss the physical in favor of the mental and virtual. Mark Rippetoe said it very well in Starting Strength: "Physical strength is the most important thing in life. This is true whether we want it to be or not. [....] We are still animals -- our physical existence is, in the final analysis, the only one that actually matters. A weak man is not as happy as that same man would be if he were strong. This reality is offensive to some who would like the intellectual or spiritual to take precedence. It is instructive to see what happens to these very people as their squat strength goes up."

    Video games are by no means the only thing which contributes to this modern malaise (hello, television!), but I think they're a major part of it, especially with regards to young people. They're certainly not a bad thing, in and of themselves, but I think we should all honestly ask ourselves whether or not they are good, especially at more than minimal doses. A life in which one spends twenty to forty hours a week doing something which is merely "not bad" seems sub-optimal at best, and a waste at worst. And yes, I understand that work is like that for many people, but work at least enables one to do good things, whereas WoW does not.

    We have but one life. Is "achievement" in WoW really worth a significant portion of your lifetime? Even if that achievement is multiplied by 36?
    posted by vorfeed at 1:00 PM on October 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


    Granted he's probably spending a lot of time on this, and I'm kind of sad the article doesn't seem to mention the time investment.

    For those interested, the third link - a multiboxing forum - is the primary source for this story. Anything anyone knows about Prepared's set-up is based on what he's said about it, and so any omission of the time he spends on the game is because Prepared himself hasn't talked about it. The closest he's come to it is in the comments section of the OP: one poster jokingly remarked that it must take him 3 hours just to log in, and his reply was:
    "It takes maybe about a minute in total including entering the password and the Blizzard Authenticator. Octopus starts up all of the instances for me with one right click. It sends my keystrokes to all instances once they've been started."
    He's using Octopus for everything, so the time he spends on WoW might not actually be that much greater than someone with only one account.
    posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:10 PM on October 16, 2008


    “It's not THAT much money. If he can afford it, it's not a big deal at the point where he is now.”
    &
    “Another big "fun" aspect is the sense of achievement.”

    I think what a lot of people lack is perspective. I’m not going to go off and say ‘5 grand a year and there are children starving in Africa.” It’s true. But I’ve blown money on hobbies of my own (hunting, training, etc) and humans need that kind of time. It’s just a matter of means really. So that’s proportion not perspective.

    And it’s obvious that we have so much more in means that it’s easy to lose touch with what $5,000 means to someone else. Meh, saints are hard to come by. We all bear the load we can. So the moral thing, I don’t cast stones.

    But - look how much effort, how much real work, time, hell even our own bodies (in the case of the woman sleeping with someone for fake gold and in terms of wear and tear sitting at a desk for hours and hours maintaining one posture) we put into this for a “sense” of achievement.

    I’m not saying this particular guy is a loser because he’s wrapped up in an illusion.
    I’m saying so much of it is an illusion. Part of what is beneficial about human contact is forming those interdependancies where you can lean on someone if you need to or they can lean on you if you need them.
    It’s been my experience that being needed is as rewarding as needing is (or should be) without shame and revealing of human grace and compassion.

    This guy has built himself an island there where he does not need anyone. Purposefully.

    Seems like the ‘social darwinists’ (not saying this guy is one) are the types that do that where they haven’t needed a hand (or at least have blinded themselves to the benefits they’ve recieved) and so don’t think anyone else should get one. The whole “religion is a crutch” crowd. Many things are crutches. Like, y’know, crutches. Not ‘religion’ specifically, but the whole needing something outside is shameful sort of characterization.

    So, ok, life is a river and this guy is a stagnant fen. His choice - but in exchange for what?

    It is an illusion. Not better or worse than any of the myriad ones that surround all of us every day.
    But that’s my point.
    So much money invested in only the ‘sense’ of ‘achievement’ when real and valuable and nurturing achievements lay fallow and unexplored. I love fantasy. I grew up with Conan, Elric, Gandalf and AD&D. But there are countless real worlds out there that are far more interesting.

    We avoid it proclaiming it too pedestrian and march into (say) superheroic worlds of fearsome dragons and unparalleled courage.
    When in fact it’s far too real and we’re showing no courage because it’s actual danger and change that we’re avoiding. For any number of reasons, maybe failure. Maybe death. But a death in an illusion is akin to the thousand deaths of a coward. A real death is worth the effort. Even failure is an illusion because you at least learn from it.

    And again, it’s not just because of this type of thing, World of Warcraft, etc. People with their Prada bags or Eddie Bauer edition this or that, or their damned cars, their “I went to Aruba” or “I experienced this or that” as though an insulated ‘tourist’ could ‘experience’ something - and one-upmanship and all that other crap that we strive so hard for that isn’t real experience at all, that has no authenticity and worse - buries real human contact and feeling.

    I mean I’ve had some great hours and hours long conversations with people, made connections, learned about people’s lives, that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’m sure some of you have had that or something similar. That can happen anywhere (here, online, maybe even in WoW, tends to be more fun face to face, but that’s me). And then you get involved. You build things, you forge a real sense of identity and become part of many different disparate but integrated communities. Like Bill Murray at the end of ‘Groundhog Day’ you give and take, you touch and are touched by people.

    Yet we (I say we because I do it too) we wind up jerking off alone over illusions like this guy and pay others like whores to make it happen for us and forgo the real, exciting, albiet messy and muddy, world of contact.
    posted by Smedleyman at 1:12 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    (poorly said, but hopefully the gist is clear. I think a some people make a lot of money trading inauthentic experiences and illusions of achievement. I’ve never liked the card game ‘Magic.’

    For a variety of reasons, the connection with money among them. But I used to play poker with some friends of mine, literally penny ante, just to get together, talk, etc. And it grew into a regular game and some new people started showing up and the game evolved into more money and one day some guy I didn’t know said ‘are we going to bullshit or are we going to play poker?’
    So I took a walk.
    For me the game was just a pretext for being together, relating, an instrument to amuse us while we spent time with each other. Screw this actually playing noise. But you see those guys all the time, busting their asses trying to relax. It’s not enough to just lay in the sun. They need a boat. They need a yacht. They need a cruise. Diogenese vs. Alexander.)
    posted by Smedleyman at 1:26 PM on October 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


    (Oh my god it's WoW related and I haven't replied yet!)

    I don't think anyone actually answered why the guy plays a bunch of shamans.

    I suspect the reason is because chain heal is ridiculously awesome, and dealing damage can be whittled down to something as simple as casting single ranged damage spell over and over again.

    Basically, you don't have to run into melee range (awkward), and greater survivability than a mage (also a chain-caster, but quite squishy).

    I definitely had a period in my life where my WoW playstyle could be described as "unhealthy" (as in, was unemployed, wasn't treating my depression, playing 12 hours a day). I don't blame the game, because it really was me. I can't judge this guy.
    posted by giraffe at 2:05 PM on October 16, 2008


    Man with 11 computers likes to play with himself. Who'd have guessed.

    At least he's not one of those sicko whackjobs who recompiles fucking Linux kernels all day.
    posted by turgid dahlia at 2:40 PM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


    (Err, not meant as a dig at anyone in particular, and while, yeah, this guy is not somebody I aspire to be, I've also seen my fair share of Linux boffins "multiboxing" and basically spending days, if not weeks at a time, dicking around, doing precisely fuck all of any real world value. It's like, so you have customized your grep command? Well, good. Good for you.)
    posted by turgid dahlia at 2:49 PM on October 16, 2008


    Whats with all the Alliance hate in here? It's even worse at Blizzcon with 'For the Horde' being spewed constantly. Hey, we can tell you are an orc without you shouting at us.
    posted by UseyurBrain at 2:59 PM on October 16, 2008


    Outside
    posted by fixedgear at 3:36 PM on October 16, 2008


    I bet this guy gets more out of trying to understand and cope with running 36 simultaneous accounts than any human being has ever gotten out of reading a "great book," and I'm a literary snob.

    Wha-huh? He logs on as 36 characters, uses them in sync as 1 (like the Power Rangers, right?) and destroys the Alliance in raids by himself. He's playing a MMO by himself but I don't think it's super complicated, just slightly costly. So ... what's he getting out of it, aside from a newspaper article?

    I am not a literary snob, but I think that one book (one page, one word, etc.) can change your views on everything. I believe that a video game can maybe change your life too, but I'm not so convinced he's "getting a lot" out of his efforts, aside from the financial value of his characters/virtual equipment/etc.

    What's he learning? How is he developing his real-life character? Wouldn't someone who smokes cocaine and sells sex on the street corner likely to "get more out of that" than any human being has ever gotten out of reading a great book? I guess I don't know what you mean by "gets more out of"...
    posted by mrgrimm at 4:33 PM on October 16, 2008


    The problem is, as I see it, that this doesn't lead TO anything.

    Lots of pass-times don't lead to anything. This one is just more visibly different from your common big-cost pass-times, like sports, social drinking, or any level of active collecting (wherein you actually pay decent money for vaguely rare items). All those are social, though, so there isn't the secondary stigma of becoming an internet hermit.

    Spectator sports can get expensive, especially if you get into expensive seats, traveling to watch the team(s), official merchandise, etc. Social drinking, as noted above, can be very expensive very fast. Buy a few rounds for friends in the course of a week, and your tab will add up fast. I know people who have their own wine locker at a bar, and I think that involves renting space for costly alcohol to be kept cool and available at all times. Collecting ... yeah, that can get pretty expensive, too.

    In the end, you know more about your teams and you were there when something did or didn't happen; you had an enjoyable time with friends and strangers over drinks; you have a few more items that are prized by a limited population. Is any of that really impressive? Maybe you make connections with people who know people, or you can sell something for more than you found it. But it's still an enjoyable pass time. Time passed, you were happy. There doesn't need to be a greater goal.
    posted by filthy light thief at 4:54 PM on October 16, 2008


    You could tell this guy to get a life, but you can't deny that he has one whether your approve or not.
    posted by bardic at 5:17 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Still, I think being "the man with two dozen characters" will get him laid at least a bit.

    !??!???
    posted by BrotherCaine at 5:53 PM on October 16, 2008


    Cheaper than a country club membership.

    And you they won't let you play golf naked.
    posted by krinklyfig at 8:11 PM on October 16, 2008


    I saw this on Stumble yesterday, but I thought it was a joke.

    He is the bad guy from South Park WoW, in meatspace.
    posted by paisley henosis at 8:39 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    I think it's interesting and sad to see so many people judge this guy negatively.

    He is doing what he enjoys, and harming no one. So what if what he enjoys is not something you would do? I don't really see how people should be in a position to judge the merits of what he does.

    It's all so subjective, really.

    I think it's cool. And yes, there are women who would sleep with this guy either totally or largely on the merits of his badassery. Probably not women with very high social status, though. But they exist.
    posted by marble at 8:43 PM on October 16, 2008


    Probably not women with very high social status, though. But they exist.

    Tell them to MeMail me.
    posted by turgid dahlia at 9:09 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


    Doctorschlock, you're right: Oblivion is an incredible piece of work. The breadth and depth of that game, all one one little DVD, is pretty awe-inspiring. I don't think any other console or PC game has come close.

    In fact, I think it's a better 'open world' sandbox-type game (explorability, near total open-endedness, and a huge, rich immersive environment) than any of the Grand Theft Autos, though it's not often considered in that category because of its fantasy-RPG setting.
    posted by rokusan at 9:47 PM on October 16, 2008


    My wife said: "I take it he's not married."

    "Shit. I hope not."
    posted by chuckdarwin at 1:36 AM on October 17, 2008


    My wife said: "I take it he's not married."

    This is way more commitment than mere marriage.
    posted by rokusan at 5:08 AM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


    maybe not as good as finishing War and Peace.

    Funny that. I read War and Peace. I carried that sucker around with me for two months in a brown paper bookcover to hide the fact I was reading War and Peace. I read 1300 pages and I get to the end and the last 40 are an essay on the nature of history or something. I couldn't slug it. My friends were flabbergasted that I didn't "finish" it. You get to the end of a marathon and stop after 26 miles, 0.2 short of the Finish. But it's not like I get an T-shirt or anything for finishing. There are no Xbox achievements for reading. And no more Book-it pizzas at this age.
    posted by yeti at 6:59 AM on October 17, 2008


    mrgrimm:
    I am not a literary snob, but I think that one book (one page, one word, etc.) can change your views on everything. I believe that a video game can maybe change your life too, but I'm not so convinced he's "getting a lot" out of his efforts, aside from the financial value of his characters/virtual equipment/etc.

    What's he learning? How is he developing his real-life character?


    Networking together 11 computers to act in synchrony, and figuring out the workflow, and resolving conflicts, and understanding and designing a raid to be able to accomplish your goals, solo, is the sort of Fundamental Thinking About Complex Things that quite a lot of people get paid pretty well to do all day.

    Not the least important thing he learned is the degree to which he can stick to a problem. Most people give up on multiboxing after dabbling around with 2 accounts. He had the focus to try to work through all the scaling issues and create something probably a million people around the world are looking at and saying "jesus. I could never do that." Even if their next words are "and I would never do that because I have a life," that's a nontrivial accomplishment.
    posted by felix at 11:46 AM on October 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


    I think this is awesome and I want to play some WoW now.
    posted by Secretariat at 12:40 PM on October 17, 2008


    Achievement Unlocked: Completed 3600 brush strokes on this canvas.
    posted by Durhey at 3:11 PM on October 17, 2008


    « Older Poetry mashups: These are not the beats you were...   |   Yes, exactly like a hole in the head! Newer »


    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



    Post