Letters to the Editor

Whatever Happened To…


To the Editor: There appears to be a mistake in the article “Don’t Ever Take Sides Against The Corps Again” (Issue #10), by Mark Wallace. Mr. Wallace interprets a study by PlayOn as finding that in WoW, players that belong to guilds level faster on average than players who don’t. Looking at this study, it appears that the results are quite the opposite. In the chapter “Guild Affiliation and Leveling Time“, PlayOn claims: “…we found a significant, but small, effect where characters in a guild have a longer leveling time than characters not in a guild”.

I’m a devoted WoW player and cooperation and chatting are my favorite parts of the game, so I would have loved it if the results where different, i.e. that being in a guild would reward the individual directly by yielding faster level advancement. Although this isn’t the case, it is my opinion that being in a guild is well worth the sacrifice, because it rewards you with companionship, widerhorizons, and the joys of giving and receiving.

-Aviv Hurvitz

As a result of this letter, we wrote Nick Yee in an effort to clear up the matter. In addition to clarifying a graph, he commented on the findings of the study:

“Characters who solo level faster. The biggest caveat in interpreting this data, though, is to keep in mind that players who solo are probably different from players who love to group in more than just that aspect – that they prefer to solo for a set of reasons etc. In other words, we’re looking more at a difference between achievement vs. socialization rather than a direct difference between grouping and soloing.”

Mark Wallace wishes, also, to speak to the discrepancy found between his article and the study:

I’m sorry to see I misinterpreted PlayOn’s statistics. But although their data doesn’t support my thesis, I continue to see guilds and corps as beneficial for new immigrants to virtual lands. I value my own time in MMOGs by howmuch fun I have in them and how compelling a story I can create there. So, even if I do level more slowly in a guild, I’m happy to trade a few hours of playtime for a richer experience.

-Mark Wallace

To the Editor: Matthew Hector’s piece in this most recent issue was a reasonable case against this wave of legislative fervor aimed at games. Outside of the futility of arguing reasonably and rationally against any issue which can be framed in “what about the children?” terms, Mr. Hector appears to have forgotten the lesson of the Supreme Court’s disasterous decision in Gonzales v. Raich. If growing medical marijuana on private property for local use affects interstate commerce – and can then be acted upon via the Controlled Substances Act – then surely selling video games falls under federal jurisdiction as well.

The Commerce Clause is now much like “what about the children?” – it applies to anything and everything, and is difficult to counter. That political concerns are geared against liberty and adult behavior in our current cultural climate is about asremarkable as water being wet; it’s a shame, however, that it takes personal attacks on hobbies for game players (as a whole) to notice this trend, as it has been applied many times in many places against a whole host of rights and liberties for far longer than most of us have been alive.

-Michael O’Connor

To the Editor: I’d like to offer a counter point to Mr. Nolan’s view that the article on The Syndicate in issue 10 was “slightly misleading.”

The real core of the matter is what is meant by “successful,” as a definition of success is necessary to determine whether claims made are misleading or not. The definition of success really is one of personal choice. There are no defined standards of success in the online gaming world. Some people measure success by specific game related goals.

Some measure success by the size of their guild. We feel that we are successful for a number of reasons that matter to us. Some of those measures of success, that matter to us, include:

Our Yearly Conferences: For the past four years we have been holding yearly guild conferences, each one larger than the previous, with this year’s reaching over 130 people.

Our Internal Unity: Despite being a huge guild, we are extremely close and, over the years, have grown into a group with very nearly no infighting, no backstabbing and no internal quarrels. Our early days, where we were fleshing out our rules, policies and direction, things were certainly more dynamic but, for many years, we have had smooth sailing. More than half the guild has been with us 4 or more years.

Longevity: With hundreds of guilds rising and falling each day in the online world, and 99% of all guilds failing before they reach even the two or three year mark, being around 10 years is an important success factor, for us.

Our Developer and Community Relationships: We sit on many of the developer’s player council boards. We do chats, roundtables and feedback sessions with them online and at our conferences. We regularly participate in internal alpha/beta tests. We areproud of our relationships and we seek to continue to use them to make online gaming better for all gamers.

Certainly everyone has and is entitled to an opinion. One person’s success may not be the measure of another’s. In nearly 10 years of existence, we have had our challenges and made our share of mistakes. Yet, here we are, stronger for overcoming those challenges, and we are committed to each other and the path we are on. We are extremely proud of our accomplishments with every expectation of an even brighter future.

-Sean Stalzer

Regarding “The Coward:”
To the Editor: Couldn’t resist throwing in a bit of Bush bashing? I’m sick of loony liberals who have to insert their Bush hatred into everything they write.

How is anyone suppose to take the rest of the piece seriously once they realize the author is a moonbat?

-Robert Davis

To the Editor: I found Mark Wallace’s article “We the Avatars” pretty well covered the bases in terms of what games provide what level of interactive economies. However, I do feel Star Wars Galaxies should have gotten a mention.

From the moment a new player enters the game, they are part of the economy. Every resource they gather is used in every weapon, armor, furniture and building created. While it’s no Second Life, since everything a player can build is coded-into the game by SOE, it’s far more advanced in what players can opt to do.

And that “opt” is the most important feature. SWG is by no means perfect. It comes with a huge array of longstanding bugs and has gone through a number of overhauls. However, it also is the broadest experience an MMOG fan can get. From PvE to PvP to running a semi-real business with partners, contracts, and employees, to dabbling, you have the freedom to live a virtual lifestyle most other games don’t have.

While it’s fun to watch the emergence of real money trading (RMT) and project the eventual establishment of codified social constructs, we shan’t forget there are some games designed as games simply to explore the depths of social interaction and what players would do in a near-boundless environment with no accountability.

RMTing, and à la carte financial relationships between developers and players changes that immersion. Players are no longer motivated by the desire to Escape. Now they need to worry about the finances for doing so.

Sad in a way, something lost.


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