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Are You Gaming For the Right Reasons?

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the gotta-make-that-int-bigger dept.

Games 220

An editorial at IGN discusses healthy (and unhealthy) ways to play video games. The author says that while gaming is a perfectly legitimate hobby, it needs to be approached with moderation and an understanding of what you get out of playing. Without understanding your motivations and compulsions, it's quite possible to play video games in a way that's detrimental. From the article: "Games, especially modern ones, revolve around the principle that if you put the time in, you will be rewarded. Many gamers claim to not understand how anyone could put up with grinding in a video game. But grinding is comforting. Grinding tells us that, no matter what, if you keep playing you'll become more powerful. ... The real world does not operate this way. You can 'grind' at a job for 10 years and still be laid off. You can 'grind' at your physical health your whole life but if you switch to an unhealthy lifestyle you will immediately begin losing this progress. ... It's important for gamers to have mastery of their own mind. Are you grinding out a level in World of Warcraft because you're truly enjoying the experience, or are you doing it to replace missing feelings of self-worth that you don't want to confront? Do you revel in your virtual successes to avoid the uncomfortable internal dialogue regarding of your abandoned gym routine? Are you playing games because you're having fun, or because you have an unconfronted fear of failure?

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220 comments

You Game Like You Eat (4, Funny)

Subway Analogy Guy (2717033) | about a year and a half ago | (#41163977)

Sometime during the last year I realized that I was not eating healthy. My lifestyle mostly consisted of eating nachos and pizzas and playing World of Warcraft. While perfectly ideal lifestyle for young gamer, I realized I was getting too old for it.

Since then I've gamed and eaten healthy. I play with my Wii. I use Kinect for Xbox360. I eat Subway sandwiches.

And I feel better. You can't even imagine how good Subway's The Big Philly Cheesesteak and Subway Melt tastes. Omnomnom, some extra cheese and bacon to go. My choice of sauces usually includes light mayo and chipotle southwest in Italian Herbs & Cheese bread. I order all the veggies except for tomatoes. I don't know why but I just can't eat tomatoes on a subway or pizzas. Do you know what happens if my mom haven't bought me that days subway in my basement? I feel angry.

This new healthy lifestyle has not only improved the quality of my life but given me a reason to make it through Mondays. Sweet Onion flavor, mmmm. Ranch sauce.. Breakfast B.M.T gives me the extra power I require for Mondays!

Remember to game and eat healthy, folks!

Re:You Game Like You Eat (5, Funny)

Walterk (124748) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164001)

You try to preach the virtues of healthy eating and then proceed to advocate Subway "sandwiches"? Oh boy, wait till you learn about this thing called fruit!

Re:You Game Like You Eat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164047)

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I know.
Return.
You may return.
You can return.
You should return.
You must return.
You shall return!
Return... to Gamemakerdom!
Gamemaker's the best.
There is no reason not to use Gamemaker.
Gamemaker is capable of doing anything.
There is nothing Gamemaker cannot do.
There is nothing you cannot do with Gamemaker.
Gamemaker will transform you into a satisfied, upstanding True Programmer.
Without Gamemaker, you are nothing.
So, return.
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Return, return, return, return, return to Gamemakerdoooooooooooooooooooom!

Re:You Game Like You Eat (5, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164081)

To be fair, it is one of the more creative trolls I've seen, though... certainly more entertaining than the usual goatse or racist crap. I especially love the part where he says he gets angry if he hasn't had his daily subway, like he's as addicted to it as he is to video games... :P

Healthy eating is part of the equation. You can eat as healthy as you want to, if you're not getting enough of the right exercise you'll still have health problems. Humans evolved to move, and the sedentary lifestyle we live today is bad for our health.

Re:You Game Like You Eat (1)

mythix (2589549) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164579)

until evolution solves that problem for us, that is :)

Re:You Game Like You Eat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165377)

until evolution solves that problem for us, that is :)

It already is, by killing us off slowly.

Re:You Game Like You Eat (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165957)

It is amusing. But even still - it has a kernel of truth (like all really good trolls). If you're sitting around eating fast food and junk food, eating something like Subway instead is a marked improvement. Could you be eating better than that? Yes. But it's still worlds better than what you were doing before.

Re:You Game Like You Eat (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164151)

Oh boy, wait till you learn about this thing called fruit!

Unless it's served on sugared white bread lathered with butter, comes in XXL size with extra bacon and covered with sauce, I don't want to know about it.

Given the rest of his post, I think GP was being sarcastic. I mean; "Do you know what happens if my mom haven't bought me that days subway in my basement? I feel angry."... does that sound like something a grown up person would say?

Re:You Game Like You Eat (2)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164279)

Did you even notice his username?

I'm pretty sure this is PizzaAnalogyGuy. And Dr Bob (I think?) the chiropractor :p And I know who made Dr Bob since he slipped up one day..

Re:You Game Like You Eat (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165293)

Ah, that reminds me also about our dear friend BadAnalogyGuy [slashdot.org] . He seems to have had radio silence for pretty much exactly an year though. But hackers never die, they only disappear.

Re:You Game Like You Eat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164239)

His username might give some indication though...

Re:You Game Like You Eat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164327)

This must be a new advertising system. Slashdot puts ad-comments into the system rather than the more usual sponspoed links and banner ads.

Re:You Game Like You Eat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164749)

Last I heard, Subway's bread (in the UK at least) even included hydrogenated vegetable oil. Yeah, nice healthy food...

Re:You Game Like You Eat (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164175)

Sometime during the last year I realized that I was not eating healthy. My lifestyle mostly consisted of eating nachos and pizzas and playing World of Warcraft. While perfectly ideal lifestyle for young gamer, I realized I was getting too old for it.

Since then I've gamed and eaten healthy. I play with my Wii. I use Kinect for Xbox360. I eat Subway sandwiches.

And I feel better. You can't even imagine how good Subway's The Big Philly Cheesesteak and Subway Melt tastes. Omnomnom, some extra cheese and bacon to go. My choice of sauces usually includes light mayo and chipotle southwest in Italian Herbs & Cheese bread. I order all the veggies except for tomatoes. I don't know why but I just can't eat tomatoes on a subway or pizzas. Do you know what happens if my mom haven't bought me that days subway in my basement? I feel angry.

This new healthy lifestyle has not only improved the quality of my life but given me a reason to make it through Mondays. Sweet Onion flavor, mmmm. Ranch sauce.. Breakfast B.M.T gives me the extra power I require for Mondays!

Remember to game and eat healthy, folks!

I like subway, how much do they pay you post messages like this? Free food? I want in!

Re:You Game Like You Eat (2)

BenoitRen (998927) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164275)

I order all the veggies except for tomatoes. I don't know why but I just can't eat tomatoes on a subway or pizzas.

Tomatoes are fruit.

Re:You Game Like You Eat (1)

donscarletti (569232) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164817)

Tomatoes are fruit.

So are green peppers, cucumber (pickled and fresh), hot peppers and olives. If you just want non-fruits, you're stuck with the lettuce and onions.

Re:You Game Like You Eat (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#41166003)

Hey, don't forget about spinach!

I always sub in spinach instead of lettuce if I can. Lettuce has no damn flavor. Spinach is probably better for you anyway.

Re:You Game Like You Eat (1)

Miseph (979059) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165327)

If tomatoes are a fruit, then how is ketchup a vegetable? Clearly you are mistaken, sir. Check and mate.

Re:You Game Like You Eat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165571)

Makes me wonder what ketchup is actually made of

Re:You Game Like You Eat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165987)

I play games (FPS on PC only) for a number of reasons:
1) After an intense day at work (not good or bad, just lots of things going on), I come home with work on my mind. When I go on a bike ride, I will be thinking about work. When I go out to dinner with the wife, I will be thinking about work. When I play a game, this forcibly (and enjoyably) purges work from my mind. Note: I really enjoy what I do, so 'thinking about work' for me isn't terrible, but I do want to shift to another gear when the work day is over. Games aren't the only thing that could do this, but they are immediately available and quite enjoyable.

2) When the weather is shit and I'm otherwise not inclined to go outside. I enjoy snowboarding and cross country skiing in the winter, but those generally need a full day's time for me to enjoy. When the weather is over 100F for several days in a row (as it has been lately), I'm inside playing games more.

3) When there's new game content, playing games will take a priority. This, however, really only happens once upon a game's release. When HL2 Episode 3 comes out, for example, I'll be taking a vacation day to build a three-day weekend of uninterrupted Valve. When Metro: Last Light comes out? Another three-day weekend. When Borderlands 2 comes out, it will just be the game of choice for options 1 and 2 (as I imagine this game will involve leveling characters, and that's not something that happens over a weekend for me).

4) Other - If people with whom I chat online actually manage to plan a play date for a game, I'll play. When TF2's Halloween Specials come out, I will play those. When my nephews ask, "how come I keep dying in games?", the master will appear.

Pffft... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41163991)

I play games to shoot people in the face. Call it end of day "stress-relief."

Re:Pffft... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164015)

I used to think that's what I was doing. Then I realized that, more times than not, the night ends with my blood pressure being higher than when I started and I'm inches from throwing the xbox remote through my TV.

Maybe I should pick games I'm better at. That or we euthanize known campers and snipers as a public health measure.

Re:Pffft... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164825)

Maybe you shouldn't play a FPS with a fucking controller.

Re:Pffft... (3, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165125)

Modded down for truth?

Every FPS game I've played on both Console and PC (when available for both, obviously), I enjoyed immensely more on PC, simply because I didn't feel like I was fighting both the damn physical and virtual interfaces just to play the game.

Re:Pffft... (1)

gomiam (587421) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164903)

Snipers are snipers. Campers, though, should only be allowed with a knife (at least that requires someability). OTOH, I miss the pre-Source Counter Strike times when you could actually move sideways so quickly a sniper would usually miss (tested with, AFAIK, quite good players; it annoyed the hell out of them).

Re:Pffft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165375)

Campers are campers too, and just because the grand parent is too dumb to deal with them doesn't mean we should cripple them.

Re:Pffft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165191)

FPS/any multiplayer stuff is just going to build stress most days. Just shoot for some relaxing adventure/rpg type games and stay away from things like Dark Souls.

Re:Pffft... (2)

febreezey (2718123) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165563)

The same thing happened to me whenever I played fighting games. I was never really good at them but I played them a lot because in my mind it was a way of getting out my frustrations, but I would leave a session of gaming feeling much angrier than before. After a while I just had to stop, it was making me feel miserable to not only lose a lot but also to walk away with my blood pressure high.

Re:Pffft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165707)

Hey not fair, I snipe but I dont camp. There is no fun in spawn killing etc. I enjoy finding little quirks in level design for a sniping point most rush and shotgun players never look at.

Re:Pffft... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164907)

Well, there is your problem. Pretending this way cannot be a healthy way of relieving stress, what you need to do is to get a real gun and shoot real people.

Escape reality (3, Interesting)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about a year and a half ago | (#41163997)

I play games to escape reality, hence I dislike the attempts at reality in a game as the current tech generation does not handle it very well. I also play games to socialise, and PVP is a great way of doing that, especially fighting games and shooters, but other arcadey genres are welcome too. There is a social aspect to gaming that I keep returning to when I am not busy playing Fallout 1 or Fallout 2 just one more time to get all the possible combinations of endings like I have done since 1996 and 1997.

Re:Escape reality (2)

gomiam (587421) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164943)

Interestingly, I have managed to get almost no socialization from other online players unless I played some kind of PvE or team PvP game. Pure PvP and free for all games seem (IMO) to make interaction a bit more difficult. Those I usually reserve for playing with people I already have some previous interaction.

WHOA !! DUDE !! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164005)

If you are GAMING and think you need any sort of reason, you are one messed up dude !!

Re:WHOA !! DUDE !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164985)

Word. What's even worse are these so called "Drinking Games". Like I need a freaking ping pong ball to tell me when I can get drunk.

because you have an unconfronted fear of failure (5, Insightful)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164017)

Or because it is a better means of escapism than reading cod-psychology online?

Re:because you have an unconfronted fear of failur (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164397)

Or because it is a better means of escapism than reading cod-psychology online?

Or writing cod-psychology online.

Re:because you have an unconfronted fear of failur (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165877)

Call of Duty: Psychology? Dude, when then did that come out? Imagine, gunning down the bad guys *and* rooting out their deep-seated anxieties! (Which are mainly about you gunning them down, but whatcha gonna do?)

grinding is for neckbeards with no skills (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164041)

all they have to do is play it 100 hours a week and they're gods. that's why i don't play multiplayer rpgs, i don't want to be in a "no life contest" with some unemployed fat guy in kentucky.

Re:grinding is for neckbeards with no skills (5, Funny)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165211)

quite honestly, in all truth, modern western MMOs (fuck that eastern masochism-as-an-mmo shit) are way better than trying to beat a 13 year old who has been off of school all summer at call of duty. kids today are inhuman, I swear.

I'll get my revenge though, by the time my own spawn is 13 years old, this current crop of kids will be in their mid-late 20s, and my boy will avenge his daddy! avenge I say!

Have no fear (2)

pntkl (2187764) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164065)

I confronted my fear of failure long ago. Now, grinding has more to do with my hatred of [unnecessary] failure.

It's time for another good idea, bad idea (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164075)

Good idea: Playing a game to have a good time, challenge your mind, and reduce your stress.
Bad idea: Playing a game instead of having a good time, boring your mind, and causing stress.

In other words, the moment a game starts interfering with your friends, family, work, marriage, etc, stop now! The game will be there for you if and when you come back to it.

Re:It's time for another good idea, bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164129)

Good idea: Playing a game to have a good time, challenge your mind, and reduce your stress.
Bad idea: Playing a game and ignoring real life

Re:It's time for another good idea, bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164375)

In other words, the moment a game starts interfering with your friends, family, work, marriage, etc, stop now! The game will be there for you if and when you come back to it.

Correct. That is what's called "an Addiction"! Put down and step away from the controller. Go and take a long overdue shower. Walk or jog a few miles and buy some colorful vegetables. Repeat daily. Give the game systems to your young nephews/neighbor kids. Get a job. Go back to gaming when it doesn't control/overtake your life.

Re:It's time for another good idea, bad idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164401)

Well, it'll sound like I'm preaching here, but I think it all has to do with maturity too. Some 5 years ago, I used to play a lot, usually alienating some friends and my wife. At some point, I realized that I wasn't getting anything for it but the satisfaction of the entertainment, which is empty in itself, if you think about it. So I changed my gaming habits - I still play often, but only when I have nothing else more useful or fulfilling to do, and I do it now with the conscious view that I do (and should do) it to have fun, not because I should win the game or be the best at it - I realized that gaming with that kind of pressure at some point actually takes the fun away. So once a gaming session develops into a grinding I just stop and resume at some other time. And it's kind of funny now that I see some colleagues at work play some FPSs at lunch, cursing at each other, and I wonder: how can they have fun this way? how being the best on the game will make them any better persons than the other?

Re:It's time for another good idea, bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165169)

I play games to get away from exactly those things!

Re:It's time for another good idea, bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165039)

Wrong, it's the exact opposite.

The moment your friends, family, work and marriage start interfering with your game you have to get rid of them.

Bad idea: having a good time, challenging your mind and reducing your stress.

Good idea: playing a game.

Re:It's time for another good idea, bad idea (4, Interesting)

Tempest_2084 (605915) | about a year and a half ago | (#41166091)

This is exactly why I stopped playing Final Fantasy XI all those years ago. At first I really enjoyed it, I was young, unmarried, and had plenty of free time to do the endless grinding the game requires. However as time went on I discovered that it was beginning to interfere with my life. I was staying up to 2 or 3 at night in the hopes that I might be able to claim some unique spawn that I needed for some weapon or another (along with about 100 other people I might add), I was farming monsters over and over again for materials for my linkshell and not even getting to the enjoyable parts of the game anymore. I even changed my character from something I enjoyed to a very cookie cutter build that was boring as hell to play because that was the only way people would invite you into a party. Sure I was 'winning' the game, but I was having a miserable time doing it. The game was becoming a second job, I was running home from work just to log in and start accomplishing whatever tasks I needed to do that night in order to keep up with the game. When I dared do something else like watch a movie or play another game, I felt guilty because I was falling behind the rest of the linkshell and then I felt stressed out because I hard to work twice as hard to catch up/

One day while I was sitting for my second or third hour looking for a party, the heavens opened and everything in my brain just clicked. Here I was sitting around in real life watching my avatar sit around in a game (MMORPG Inception!), neither one of us enjoying ourselves. So I logged out the game and never returned. My Paladin may still be sitting around in Jeuno waiting for something, but I'm not.

I still play games (classic and modern), but I only play games that are fun and stay far far away from MMORPGs. I also balance gaming with a decently active (for a nerd anyway) social life and spending time with my non-gamer wife. When a game starts to become a second job it's time to sit back and question what you're doing. MMORPGs are insidious in this regard because they demand constant attention. If you put a MMORPG aside for a few weeks to do other things then you're several weeks behind and have to work twice as hard to catch up. With any other type of game you can wait months if not years to finish it and your game doesn't care, it's still there waiting for you and you're right where you were when you left.

Pavlov Postings. (3, Funny)

Ostracus (1354233) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164093)

I'm 'grinding' to get 'first post'.

Re:Pavlov Postings. (2)

azalin (67640) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164521)

I was thinking of a bad joke that included the words "good time" "grinding" and "wife", but hereby refrain from writing it out.

Are you sure you're reading Slashdot for ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164109)

Are you sure you're reading Slashdot for the right reasons?

About the goals that people grind to reach (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164117)

Humans generally carry around a set of mythological symbols and constructs in their minds, as part of what's called culture.

For example, as a European: Farms are good. Animals are good. Money is good. Baking cakes is good.

Very many games with grinding systems basically play on these cultural symbols and to let people achieve them with minimal effort. Touch the screen a few times and you have a successful bakery shop. Wiggle the controller for a few hours and you have a thriving farm.

Essentially, achieving the same cultural symbols in a digital world just with minimal effort.

grind it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164131)

"Many gamers claim to not understand how anyone could put up with grinding in a video game."

hmm.. ok.. the other gamers realize they're all grinding in some sense.

"But grinding is comforting."

no, not really.

"Grinding tells us that, no matter what, if you keep playing you'll become more powerful.",

Well, in e.g. World of Warcraft, you grind to get to max level, because that's the entry point of the game. Or are they claiming that playing more makes your character more powerful? I'd sure hope so.

"The real world does not operate this way. You can 'grind' at a job for 10 years and still be laid off. You can 'grind' at your physical health your whole life but if you switch to an unhealthy lifestyle you will immediately begin losing this progress."

Well, sure, you can 'grind' fishing in a starting zone for years and make nothing.. There's many, many ways to grind in games and have nothing to show for it, just like real life. Grats.

Are they claiming IRL, working hard is meaningless? The "health" analogy sounds _exactly_ like a video game; a capped "health", a decay once an unhealthy lifestyle begins.

"Do you revel in your virtual successes to avoid the uncomfortable internal dialogue regarding of your abandoned gym routine?"
Really? I guess I can't abandon a routine I never had. Or have an uncomfortable internal dialogue about it.

Let's file "avoid the uncomfortable internal dialogue regarding of your abandoned gym routine" in first-world-problems.. actually, in the tiny corner of FWP where you put things that aren't problems.

Re:grind it (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165465)

Are they claiming IRL, working hard is meaningless?

Largely, yes. Look at the hardest workers around. Construction workers, nurses, loggers, wind turbine technicians. These people work fucking hard, and are lucky if they make it to the middle class.

Now look at the most successful people in the country. Lawyers, bankers, CEOs. They all sit around wearing pressed suits and charge tens if not hundreds of times the hourly rate of our hard working friends above. And they produce little or nothing of value for that time.

That's the world we live in. The more successful you are, the less hard work you actually do.

Re:grind it (2)

Miseph (979059) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165585)

"Are they claiming IRL, working hard is meaningless?"

This may sound strange, counter-intuitive, pessimistic, and maybe a even a bit misanthropic... but in many, perhaps even most, cases hard work _is_ completely meaningless. Most people who work hard for their entire lives, try their best to live within the law and their own ethical guidelines end up with shit to show for it, at least in a purely objective sense. When your boss' boss' boss loots the pension fund to buy a South Asian island populated with underage hookers, it doesn't matter how hard you worked or how good a person you are: that fuckbag just fucked you even harder than he fucks his 12 year-old ladyboys after years of making more then you make in a lifetime, just because he could get a little bit more at your expense.

TFA dude needs to chill (4, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164161)

Is it just me who reads TFA and things "this guy's just taken a basic intro-to-psychology course and is all excited thinking he can now explain the whole world"?

If you like gaming, are able to financially support yourself and your gaming and can do so without ruining the rest of your life, then play whatever the hell you like.

Also, the guy doesn't understand modern (Western) MMOs. These are MUCH less about grinding than is commonly considered to be the case. The level "grind" in World of Warcraft is so short as to barely merit the term. Going from 1-85 is best thought of as an extended tutorial where you learn how to play your class ahead of the real game, which begins at level 85.

And once you're at level 85, the game is fundamentally skill based. On the PvP side, that's so obvious that I don't even need to explain it. On the PvE side, it perhaps deserves a slightly longer explanation of what the commonly perceived "gear grind" actually is.

WoW's end-game PvE content is, over the course of each expansion, a series of co-operative challenges of increasing difficulty. The series starts with relatively short 5-man dungeons, which require fairly simple tactics. What then follows - released gradually via patches - is a series of challenges for larger groups (10 or 25 people) which require better reactions, better planning and more complicated tactics.

It's a common misconception that the only difference between the bottom end raids in a WoW expansion and the top end raids is the gear requirement. Yes, you will need better gear to tackle the top-end raids, but this can essentially be thought of as a skill-check system. Before you can progress to the top end raid, you need to prove that you have the skill to defeat the easier, lower-end ones. If you don't have that, then you'll end up banging your head against a brick wall, no matter your gear level.

So back when I was most deeply into the game, in the Burning Crusade era (1st expansion), the bottom end raid was Karazhan and the top end raid was Sunwell Plateau. Karazhan's bosses required fairly simple tactics, with generally just one or two mechanics that players needed to respond to during each fight. The difficulty increased substantially throughout the raid, culminating in a fairly tricky final boss. Said boss was, however, massively simpler than even the first boss in Sunwell Plateau, which required each player to keep track of a large number of factors at once, with any failure resulting in more or less instant death. Also, as you are level capped for this, the fights are not magically getting easier just because you put more time and effort in.

So the attraction in modern, Western MMOs isn't the grind at all - it's about team-work and overcoming challenges co-operatively. Indeed, Western gaming in general has been remarkably successful in eliminating "the grind" - you don't tend to spend much time running in circles doing random encounters in a Bioware game, or one of the Witcher games.

The grind does still live on in some Japanese gaming and in some Eastern MMOs - but that's likely just due to the conservatism of Japanese and Korean developers. It would be great if at some point during the next few years, a high profile Japanese RPG developer (perhaps Square) could take the step of eliminating grinding from its games.

Re:TFA dude needs to chill (3, Insightful)

Exitar (809068) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164345)

Raiding Ice Crown or Dragon Soul for one year isn't considered grinding? Expecially in WotLK, when you could find yourself doing the same raid FOUR time a week (normal 10/25, heroic 10/25)? Kill Marrowgar 208 times in a year?
"Hardcore" players try to justify themselves saying that raiding isn't grinding, but actually it is.

Re:TFA dude needs to chill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164899)

Most 'hardcore' players stop after a few runs. Its ironically 'casual' players that tends to spend far more time here, especially if one considers the time actually spent in the raids in question. A hardcore player does them in one evening, a casual? Several.

Re:TFA dude needs to chill (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165051)

The reaction of most half-way decent guilds to the late stages of WotLK and Cataclysm has been to raid less, not to carry on grinding.

My own guild, having been a hardcore 25 man guild for most of Cataclysm, is down to a single 10-man run of Dragon Soul Heroic each week (which takes around 3 hours). Note that this isn't to grind gear - it's just to make sure there's a core team of players still "in the game" to pick things up when the next expansion comes out.

Re:TFA dude needs to chill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164953)

Also, the guy doesn't understand modern (Western) MMOs. These are MUCH less about grinding than is commonly considered to be the case. The level "grind" in World of Warcraft is so short as to barely merit the term. Going from 1-85 is best thought of as an extended tutorial where you learn how to play your class ahead of the real game, which begins at level 85.

Leveling is no longer much of a grind, no. But if you think gearing up isn't a grind, it's obviously been too long since you played. And each patch adds more to grind!

And once you're at level 85, the game is fundamentally skill based. On the PvP side, that's so obvious that I don't even need to explain it.

People want to think this, but all it takes is a quick look at the patch notes archive to see how much has changed, back and forth, down the years. Until the rulesets are separated between PvE and PvP, WoW PvP will never be anything more than a little fat kid showing the world how great he is when the odds are all stacked in his favor. This is part of the reason WoW was kicked out of MLG.

On the PvE side, it perhaps deserves a slightly longer explanation of what the commonly perceived "gear grind" actually is.

Here we are most in agreement, as I've recently rediscovered the joy of relaxing with a couple drinks after work with friends and going through some PvE encounters. However, I have several points on this:

1. Keep in mind that once the raid is released on live, it only gets nerfed more and more from there, never buffed. The cumulative stacking buffs introduced in ICC are a good idea, but they definitely weaken your argument that raiding is some sort of ultimate challenge. They're just static AI scripts that are designed to be beaten and farmed.
2. I find the biggest 'challenge' is often trying to figure out who it is in your group that is too drunk or high to step left, then right, then hit a button along with everyone else. Managing people is much more difficult than anything the game's raids throw at you; individual skill is so diluted in them that when you realize that some people are just bad at listening and following basic instructions it tends to sour your view of raids somewhat, particularly when you consider that this will (especially now in Cata and again in MoP if beta is any indication) can and will result in the death of the entire raid.
3. The "tactics & strategies" required are easily looked up on youtube, and once you do it the exact same way 10 times no one wants to try anything remotely different. Then, after 100 times, everyone starts to get so bored they'll often try to wipe on purpose just to keep things interesting.
4. You know that one item that you really, really need but it absolutely refuses to drop for months on end? Yes, the one that then dropped the one week you happened to be unavailable to raid? With all the other innovations WoW has introduced over the last 3 years I find it staggering that they still use this ancient, outdated RNG loot b*tch.

You can't seriously argue that raiding's not a grind; raids are fun the first few times, then the above four points start to wear on you after awhile.

Game to pass time. (4, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164165)

I game to pass time. It helps winds down the time till I die. One of the games I play is Everquest II. You end up doing a lot of grinding in the game. But grinding for purpose, not because it makes my mind numb. I grind to level up toons, for a quest, or probably to get a rare item to drop. But grind because I think that is what life is about? No.

Life is the grind. Does it make sense? No. Do you always get rewarded? No. Is it going to change? No. So is it so weird that we grind in a game for rewards? No, I don't think so.

And who is to judge why people play games? Does it really matter? The games are for escape, we all find our own way to escape reality. So what if someone is making up for whatever from their day job in a game? As long as they aren't being abusive towards others, I think whatever they want to do is fine.

The article? Stupid. I'm not even sure what the problem is. Apparently, if we play games where we do good, and in real life we are doing bad, the video games are bad for us. Because we are trying to get over are real life failures online.

Here's my take. Dude is a gamer that is hitting middle age. He's think back on all his wasted time in life and what he's missed out on, and want to blame it on video games. yes, another person blaming Real Life on video games.

Get Out of the Skinner Box (1)

ideonexus (1257332) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164193)

This article should be required reading for kids today. This is an issue I find myself wrestling with from time to time. I spent two years [ideonexus.com] wasting time in Star Trek Online with the purpose of wasting that time. It was a pretty game and I decided this was where I was going to grind away in thoughtless leveling-up--and it was brainless, repetative nonsense. I basically voluntarily put myself in a Skinner Box [wikipedia.org] , holding down the "fire" button while runing around for hundreds of hours in order to get that little hit of dopamine each virtual reward of experience points brought me. Finally, I decided it was time to just uninstall the damn thing and walk away from it incomplete (not that it could ever be completed).

That one was voluntary, when Skyrim came along, I got sucked in again, playing heavily for several months before my family and job responsibilities forced me to shelve it for six months. I recently started it up again long enough to complete the main quest, and that felt like a chore. The months of not playing broke the spell, so that I didn't feel connected and invested in the rewards anymore. Why the @#$% would I spend hours saving to buy a virtual house or read a hundred vitual books about a virtual world when I've got the real thing to work on here? Skyrim was epically beautiful, but so is a weekend hike in the mountains.

Gaming is an important, healthy activity [wsj.com] . It increases mental alertness and improves reaction times. I think all kids should play video games--or rather, play the right kinds of video games. My new rule for games is no more "forever" games like MMORPGs and Skyrim. I'm currently looking for a new game, and the most important characteristic is that it that it take <=20 hours to complete. I'll pay $20 to see a two hour movie with my wife, so $50 enjoying 20 hours of Portal II is a bargain.

Re:Get Out of the Skinner Box (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164367)

I wont play skyrim, I remember the months wasted on Oblivion and the other rehashes called fallout 3 and it's expansion pack new vegas. Slyrim is nothing but a grindfest, In fact it's no different than Oblivion right down to the massive bugs you find everywhere. yes I tried it and have several friends sucked into that time waster.

If they had a better storyline path that was actually HARD and required though to solve puzzles and tactics for battle other than ,stab,stab,stab,fireball,stab,stab,stab... I would be interested. But if you grind around until you are level 20 the story path is effortless. Oh ho hom, a big boss. Smack he is dead.... Yay more magical ebony armor... Throw it in the pile over there with the other 80 sets....

Re:Get Out of the Skinner Box (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165539)

Slyrim is nothing but a grindfest,

Huh? You can grind in Oblivion and Skyrim, but what would be the point? The biggest flaw in both games is that all challenges are scaled to your level, so you never need to improve before battling anything or to start specific quests like you do in MMOs. In some ways this is good, in other ways, it makes getting better equipment and leveling up completely pointless, which makes both games unique among RPG by having completely pointless and thereby non-addictive, and non-interesting levelling mechanics.

Re:Get Out of the Skinner Box (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164687)

It took you 20 hours to finish Portal 2?

Woah, u suck @Portal, newb!

Re:Get Out of the Skinner Box (1)

Dunge (922521) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164839)

I wouldn't call Skyrim a "forever" game. Sure it have lots of content, but it's not like MMORPG. Each quest have dialogs, some story, something special to do. I actually completed the game to 100%.

Sweet mother of Mitra!!!! (1)

meglon (1001833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164225)

"....it's quite possible to play video games in a way that's detrimental."

Say it ain't so!!1!1!!1

Maybe a different grinding analogy? (1)

Zocalo (252965) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164255)

I definitely don't look on grinding as an aspect of gaming that has no real world analog. While the implementation varies from game to game, it can almost always be looked upon as akin to saving up for what you want, which definitely has real world parallels - especially if you equate things like optional side missions to volunteering for overtime and so on. Sure, you can 'grind' at a job for 10 years and still be laid off, to use the example given in the article, but you will still have been earning during those 10 years and will have probably put away some cash for stuff you wanted; cars, gadgets, a home, holidays, etc. Grinding in a game is no different, only the stuff that you are saving up for is more focused on the needs of the game world than real life; abilities, vehicles, weapons, etc., and just as in real life if you stop grinding for whatever reason then you are going to find it a little harder to acquire/retain those trinkets.

Fear of failure? (2)

Zibodiz (2160038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164299)

Are you playing games because you're having fun, or because you have an unconfronted fear of failure?

Umm that's why I don't play games. Nothing says 'failure' like getting killed repeatedly in quick succession.

Re:Fear of failure? (5, Funny)

jeti (105266) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164415)

... by twelve year olds

Re:Fear of failure? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165033)

.....while they curse and yell gleefully at you and call you a gay noob.

Re:Fear of failure? (1)

Dunge (922521) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164865)

In multiplayer maybe, but thinking like that for single player games is stupid. Most games are designed so five years old and grandma could complete them at easier difficulty.

Another perspective... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164303)

It's interesting to contrast articles like this one to the findings of people like Lynda Sharpe.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/05/17/so-you-think-you-know-why-animals-play/

Yes I am.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164325)

I play mostly FPS games, and I get sheer enjoyment after a long day at work of blowing the heads off of the "enemy" Lately I have been getting extra joy out of doing it creatively.. Like falling off of a building directly behind the guy and shotgunning his legs off.

It's very stress relieving and calming.....

Fun is not always it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164341)

If "fun" were the only motivation behind gaming we would be missing out on gems like Flower and Journey, those that support negative consequences would be missing out on Dark Souls (don't try to tell me dying is fun either, you rage and you hate it and you convince yourself it's worth it but it's not fun). IGN arrives at a conclusion contrary to what gamers have been trying to hammer home for about 10 years now: just like movies are not always fun, neither are video games. Gaming has just a wide an array of emotional consequence as movies and books do.

No fun playing games anymore (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164343)

I'm 28 now, and I'm finding I just don't get much enjoyment out of videogames anymore. I don't know if I'm depressed, or this is just part of getting older - but my mind just balks at the thought of spending many hours playing a game.

Trouble is, I just don't know what to fill the void with now. I'd work on my software development hobbies, but most weekdays I just don't have the brainpower left after work.

It's like drinking or taking drugs. (4, Insightful)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164357)

Slow news day, it seems, both at IGN and Slashdot.

Gaming can be a fun past time, but if abused, it'll consume your life, much like drug or alcohol abuse.

Nothing to see here.

...or playing sport. (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165579)

An editorial at IGN discusses healthy (and unhealthy) ways to play football. The author says that while football is a perfectly legitimate hobby, it needs to be approached with moderation and an understanding of what you get out of playing. Without understanding your motivations and compulsions, it's quite possible to play football in a way that's detrimental

Sports, especially modern ones, revolve around the principle that if you put the time in, you will be rewarded. Many sportsmen claim to not understand how anyone could put up with training in a sport. But training is comforting. Training tells us that, no matter what, if you keep training you'll become more powerful. ... The real world does not operate this way. You can 'train' at a job for 10 years and still be laid off. You can 'grind' at your physical health your whole life but if you switch to an unhealthy lifestyle you will immediately begin losing this progress. ... It's important for sportsmen to have mastery of their own mind. Are you training to be better at football because you're truly enjoying the experience, or are you doing it to replace missing feelings of self-worth that you don't want to confront? Do you revel in your sporting successes to avoid the uncomfortable internal dialogue regarding of your [insert any of the 100's of neuroses sportspeople suffer from]? Are you playing football because you're having fun, or because you have an unconfronted fear of failure?

Re:...or playing sport. (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165893)

Didn't want to interfere with my above post by adding thoughts to the end of it.

I've seen so many examples of superstar sports people being complete asses. It's so prevalent that it makes its way into almost EVERY american movie and/or TV show. you have the Jocks who bully the nerds. So many sports people have this hugely inflated ego, and you hear so many stories that they only did it to get their parents attention/affection or approval. So many of the mega stars were forced into it at a young age and know nothing else. I won't go into any detail about the physical risks of sport (the article is about the mental health aspects).

The people who are professional competitive sports people have a really unhealthy attitude towards it. You see the looks on their faces when they lose. I recently was watching the Olympics and there were people with really angry/dejected looks on their faces for only getting a silver or bronze medal. How hung up on something can you get that when you are placed SECOND IN THE WORLD (-ish) at something, you are considered to have lost the race? Sure, there were lots of people too who were overjoyed with their silver medal, but so often I heard people describe it as "only" a silver.

There's enough unhealthiness in sport to overshadow gaming 10 times over. Gaming, unfortunately is an easy target as it tends to be dominated by the non-jocks. Until someone can explain to me why gaming as a hobby is any worse than golf or snooker, then I'll ignore the advice they try to give me to give up my 'unhealthy' ways.

And, BTW, you can 'train' at your job, it's called up-skilling. You add to your CV (resume) with everything you do at work. So you get laid off? You apply to another, with all the experience you gained in your last one. Also, if you REALLY grind at your work, you are less likely to get laid off.

Shoot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164369)

There is no philosophy on playing 1st person shooting games...

Kill other people, drink a beer while playing and reduce stress is enough to me.

Grinding isn't always successful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164423)

You can grind away in WoW all day and still not get anything, just like the job example. However in the real world, you now have 10 years of experience to put on a resume, unless of course you dicked around the whole time and treated it just like a daily grind. Maybe that's why you got laid off.

Just replace the words where you like (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41164513)

Are you grinding out a [paycheck] in [employment] because you're truly enjoying the experience, or are you doing it to replace missing feelings of self-worth that you don't want to confront? Do you revel in your [monetary] successes to avoid the uncomfortable internal dialogue regarding of your abandoned [other factor]? Are you [working] because you're having fun, or because you have an unconfronted fear of failure?

I'm Not Bitter (2)

dodex1k (2712675) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164607)

If someone really was using games to gain a sense of self-worth I don't think they want some smart-ass article diagnosing their problem. It's not even posing a solution. It just exposes people to a problem they might have and then leaves them in the cold.
"Hey J. Random Gamer. Are you gaming to to hide from your own short comings? If you are, then that sucks for you. Avoiding social situations with games is a BAD thing. I bet you never thought of that, now did you? You should really get control of your life, like I did."
I don't think this article is helping anyone.

Gaming... (2)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164619)

I have a paycheck, a house to live in that is paid for, and no debt. I may not have a wife and kids but that isn't as big of a deal really since I'm surviving. I think my gaming is just fine.

dark night (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164645)

Are you playing games because you're having fun, or because you have an unconfronted fear of failure?

I play games because I fear death. I realize every time I play that's what I'm doing. For that short period, in the game, I am not an aging, fragile, cowardly creature balanced on a ledge surrounded by darkness, but for that short time, I am immortal, eternal. For that moment, my life has a shadow of meaning.

I also play because I'm hoping to see Bayonetta's camel toe.

Game genres are different (1)

Dunge (922521) | about a year and a half ago | (#41164789)

This article is about World of Warcraft addict, and I totally agree with the fact that most WoW players don't gain any positive experience from it. It's just mindless zombie grinding and repeating the same action over hundreds and thousands of hours. I personally play single player campaign games, I love following the story to completion just as I would watching a movie and everything is always excellent. Each game I play is different (about 5-10h each) and I would never stop doing it for anything in the world. Unfortunately, it's only a small percentage of gamers that think like me.

Finally someonein psychology101is paying attention (2, Interesting)

airishtiger (1223838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165063)

I found that the thing that kept me investing time into two types of games (fps and mmorpg) was the camaraderie of my clan and guild (respectively.) I was absolutely substituting my lack of friends in the real world with faceless avatars of the digital. When I came to this realization about 7 years ago, I almost completely quit playing games except for the occasional single player campaign. Since I've cut back, my life has blossomed in countless ways, I have a stable career, a girlfriend I always have time for, and a multitude of hobbies ranging from sleight of hand to martial arts, to sketching and foreign language, to writing fiction and beyond. There will be those who quickly dismiss this article. There will be those who claim the author has only taken one psychology class and thinks he knows everything. But I think a lot of you are just afraid to admit how much your personal gaming holds you back in life. There are countless arts to master in this world. Ancient traditions that hold wisdom and have been passed on through countless generations are all around you and ready to be learned. Maybe I was born in the wrong generation, who's to say? I just know that the accomplishments I've made in the 'real world' far outweigh anything I've done in the digital. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against video games but yes, people play them for the wrong reasons and they could be putting their real life time towards things like curing cancer. You want to master the art that is artificial? Say it to my face that this is your heart's desire and I will beat you until you decide it would be better to invest more time in self defense classes. (I tried to put a less than sign and a 3 here to make a heart but I couldn't get past the filter so just pretend this comment was lighthearted and we'll all get along)

Re:Finally someonein psychology101is paying attent (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165575)

I did the same as you, however it did not result in finding friends or a partner. It did free up my time to read more books though, but I suspect that this might become more unhealthy for the mind, as my social contact has been reduced over the years since I have stopped socializing in games online (by not playing them) and not managed to increase my real world socialization.

Oh boy... (1)

dutchd00d (823703) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165141)

You have to have a reason to play games? And it has to be the right reason?

Damn. All those wasted years, doing it wrong...

I grind for love (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41165333)

I am simply grinding away so that I can meet that beautiful Orc, get married, honeymoon in Orgrimmar and live happily ever after.

Rocksmith (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165519)

I'm actually learning how to play guitar and bass guitar by "playing" Rocksmith. I took lessons for about 18 months to get a foundation and have now played almost 300 arrangements, some as many as 40 times to really learn it (most under 10 though). I find there are actually rewards when playing :)

[John]

Union work (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165673)

If you're in a union, you can grind for 30 years and end up with a really good paying job and 78% of your last year's pay in annual pension payments.

The grasshopper says "uh, no" (1)

spopepro (1302967) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165699)

The tag at the end of TFA says "Justin... thinks a lot about the role video games play in his life & in modern culture." I might suggest Justin read more, and think less. That does seem to be the issue with nearly all armchair philosophists. In this case, he might be well served by "The Grasshopper" by Bernard Suits. Then he might realize that most of what he just thought, and wrote and published, is bullshit, and things are much more complex. Then he can go back to thinking, but hopefully about some of the ideas as to the nature of work, gameplay, and life that the book raises.

I think I'm good (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165749)

Last night in DDO I lit myself on fire with blue fire, turned into wraith mode, and floated around throwing banked pumpkin head grenades at unsuspecting players in the main area, calling myself the ghost of Halloween past. It caused some lols. :-P So I think I'm good.

Competition and challenge factor (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about a year and a half ago | (#41165865)

I game for these so I'm able to exercise my brain on a regular basis. Sports competitions are a test of discipline, pain tolerance, and genetics, but don't require as much mental effort as do computer gaming and its predecessors like chess. Gaming is the opposite. Its the mental fulfillment I need to be happy, considering I unfortunately can't get that kind of mental exercise at work. Whether you challenge yourself through your career, your education, or your entertainment shouldn't matter as long as you are able to be a functioning member of society.

It's all about your goal (1)

Sectoid_Dev (232963) | about a year and a half ago | (#41166023)

I've known for awhile that I'm getting my fix of 'false accomplishments' playing games. I've always enjoyed empire building games, but that has fallen off over the years as I'm getting into my 40s and wondering what the hell happened to my 30s? Plus the games today suck, but that's a get off my lawn sentiment.

Sometimes I just love killing zombies in L4D. I don't care about 'progressing' into the harder levels, I just want the thrill of killing zombies. OK, maybe I should strive for less than 5 friendly fire 'accidents' a game. Yeah that sounds like a good goal. Yeap I suck at multiplay, but I don't care -- I'm here to kill zombies.

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