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Week 4 final WoW – Corrina M

Today coughonppl introduced me to the friends that they play online with. We did a bunch of quests together and they acted just like each other. It was like they were all the same person, cracking the same kinds of jokes, dancing randomly, showing off. It was a bit weird but also pretty fun. Unfortunately, it was so fun, I forgot to take screenshots with them, but I will still attach some photos from today of my avatar in combat. Even without the screenshots, I learned some very valuable things from this group. I definitely confirmed that this game is more fun with friends and I really should join a guild. I also think I was right about my hypothesis from week 2, that people (or at least some people) play these types of games because of their friends, not necessarily because it looks fun on its own. It’s like when you go to Walmart with your friends. Walmart isn’t fun, but with your friends it can be. I think it’s similar with WoW because I don’t think anyone plays WoW for the never-ending quests. There are just too many of them all at once and it’s overwhelming. But with friends, you sort of forget you’re doing quests, you’re just running around and having fun. I think this was a valuable insight for me because it gave me a glimpse at the community aspect of MMOs. Before, I had talked to many people, but not at the same time. This was the first time I was actually in a group of players, and I’m sure it’s similar for any other group of friends who play together. Community is what brings the whole game together. That’s why MMOs exist. It’s so you can play and communicate with other people. Otherwise they would just be solo games, and I don’t think anyone would enjoy that as much. The only reason I enjoyed this game was because I was playing with other people a lot of the time, and so that’s the conclusion that I’m going to make for now. It’s not the game that draws people in. People don’t play WoW (and probably any other MMO) solely for the content. People play MMOs so they can be with other people. So they can interact with other people and play together. This is especially relevant right now when video games are one of the only ways people can communicate with each other during all of this social distancing, pandemic chaos. Humans long for companionship, and that’s what makes MMOs so successful. The community is the important part, not the world itself.

Fighting a Feral Dragonhawk Hatchling
I win!
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Week 3 WoW – Corrina M

I had another odd interaction today. I’ve continued to play with coughonppl when we’re both online, and today as we were wandering around trying to find the location of our next quest, a stranger approached us and said hello. Since the goal of this project is to talk to people, I engaged in a short conversation with him wherein he asked us what we were doing. We told him we were doing a quest over in Fairbreeze Village, and when he told us he was going there too, we invited him to come along with us. So he did, and it actually felt nice, like I was on a team. We had to stop every once in a while to fight off creatures and it was cool to fight with a team because on my own I probably would have died. But the odd part of the interaction came when we got to Fairbreeze Village. We all approached the npc we were supposed to talk to to complete the quest, and then our new friend turned around and ran off without even a goodbye. I know this is probably not strange to people who have played MMOs before and done quests with strangers (it could be completely normal), but since this is my first MMO and I haven’t completely gotten to know the people in it, it struck me as odd that he just left. Maybe he didn’t think of it as a team like I had. Perhaps he figured we were just all going to the same place at the same time and then he had somewhere else to go. This seems like a likely enough explanation. I suppose I still have some learning to do about how people interact with each other in virtual worlds.

stranger approaches
following coughonppl through town
headed to Fairbreeze Village
Headed to Fairbreeze Village with our new friend
The three of us headed to Fairbreeze Village
Combat cause why not?
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Week 2 Wow – Corrina Martinez

By now, I’ve been playing WoW for a week or two, and I’m getting the hang of what I’m supposed to be doing. The first time I played, I was killed twice trying to fight creatures, so I’ve been working on my combat while scouting for other players. I haven’t yet purchased the paid subscription because I’m still trying to figure out if this is a game I want to keep playing or if I should switch to a different game. So far I like WoW and I will probably be sticking with this one, but for now I am still playing the free version. That means I haven’t joined a guild yet, but I have found a couple people to play with. I only frequently play with one person whose username is coughonppl (yes, a very strange name but I suppose an attempt at humor during these strange and unfortunate times? Proof that the pandemic is influencing online worlds). Despite the strange name, it’s been fun playing together. I met them while wondering around one morning when the city was surprisingly empty. They were the only other person there besides me so I decided to try out an informal interview on them. I will attach pictures of the chat to this post. Though our chat may not look like much, I was able to glean a few things from it. The first is that Classic WoW seems to be the more popular of the games. I am not entirely sure which version I am using, but I will probably check on Classic WoW to see what the difference is. I also got a sense of why people play games (at least if this player’s mindset is anything like other players’). When I asked why they decided to play WoW again after stopping for a while, they said that they missed the nostalgic feeling of logging in every morning, so it seems that some of these games hold sentimental value to some players. Perhaps it’s just a revisiting of one’s childhood, or one’s past. They also told me that they are playing because their friends are playing, which tells me that WoW, and probably other MMOs, is/are a community based game. I already knew that, but their response just confirms this. It’s something to do with your friends, and as I have experienced, it’s much more fun with friends. It appears to be the group that draws people to these games (at least partially), perhaps not even the game itself. I will try to look more into this as I progress and meet new people. I have made plans to play with this person again, so perhaps I can glean more information from them at another time, too.By now, I’ve been playing WoW for a week or two, and I’m getting the hang of what I’m supposed to be doing. The first time I played, I was killed twice trying to fight creatures, so I’ve been working on my combat while scouting for other players. I haven’t yet purchased the paid subscription because I’m still trying to figure out if this is a game I want to keep playing or if I should switch to a different game. So far I like WoW and I will probably be sticking with this one, but for now I am still playing the free version. That means I haven’t joined a guild yet, but I have found a couple people to play with. I only frequently play with one person whose username is coughonppl (yes, a very strange name but I suppose an attempt at humor during these strange and unfortunate times? Proof that the pandemic is influencing online worlds). Despite the strange name, it’s been fun playing together. I met them while wondering around one morning when the city was surprisingly empty. They were the only other person there besides me so I decided to try out an informal interview on them. I will attach pictures of the chat to this post. Though our chat may not look like much, I was able to glean a few things from it. The first is that Classic WoW seems to be the more popular of the games. I am not entirely sure which version I am using, but I will probably check on Classic WoW to see what the difference is. I also got a sense of why people play games (at least if this player’s mindset is anything like other players’). When I asked why they decided to play WoW again after stopping for a while, they said that they missed the nostalgic feeling of logging in every morning, so it seems that some of these games hold sentimental value to some players. Perhaps it’s just a revisiting of one’s childhood, or one’s past. They also told me that they are playing because their friends are playing, which tells me that WoW, and probably other MMOs, is/are a community based game. I already knew that, but their response just confirms this. It’s something to do with your friends, and as I have experienced, it’s much more fun with friends. It appears to be the group that draws people to these games (at least partially), perhaps not even the game itself. I will try to look more into this as I progress and meet new people. I have made plans to play with this person again, so perhaps I can glean more information from them at another time, too.By now, I’ve been playing WoW for a week or two, and I’m getting the hang of what I’m supposed to be doing. The first time I played, I was killed twice trying to fight creatures, so I’ve been working on my combat while scouting for other players. I haven’t yet purchased the paid subscription because I’m still trying to figure out if this is a game I want to keep playing or if I should switch to a different game. So far I like WoW and I will probably be sticking with this one, but for now I am still playing the free version. That means I haven’t joined a guild yet, but I have found a couple people to play with. I only frequently play with one person whose username is coughonppl (yes, a very strange name but I suppose an attempt at humor during these strange and unfortunate times? Proof that the pandemic is influencing online worlds). Despite the strange name, it’s been fun playing together. I met them while wondering around one morning when the city was surprisingly empty. They were the only other person there besides me so I decided to try out an informal interview on them. I will attach pictures of the chat to this post. Though our chat may not look like much, I was able to glean a few things from it. The first is that Classic WoW seems to be the more popular of the games. I am not entirely sure which version I am using, but I will probably check on Classic WoW to see what the difference is. I also got a sense of why people play games (at least if this player’s mindset is anything like other players’). When I asked why they decided to play WoW again after stopping for a while, they said that they missed the nostalgic feeling of logging in every morning, so it seems that some of these games hold sentimental value to some players. Perhaps it’s just a revisiting of one’s childhood, or one’s past. They also told me that they are playing because their friends are playing, which tells me that WoW, and probably other MMOs, is/are a community based game. I already knew that, but their response just confirms this. It’s something to do with your friends, and as I have experienced, it’s much more fun with friends. It appears to be the group that draws people to these games (at least partially), perhaps not even the game itself. I will try to look more into this as I progress and meet new people. I have made plans to play with this person again, so perhaps I can glean more information from them at another time, too.

initiating contact and testing out an informal interview.
this is where I get the sense of community. The game is better with friends
Making plans to meet again
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Week 1 WoW – Corrina Martinez

Today, I started playing World of Warcraft. I’ve never really been much of a gamer, so this is my first experience with an MMORPG, and it took me a little bit of getting used to. Today I mostly focused on exploring the world and figuring out what I’m supposed to do. This game is very quest-oriented, and while I enjoyed being told what to do so I didn’t just stand around looking lost, I can see how it could get boring fast. Once I got the hang of things and leveled my player up a bit, I stopped following the quests and just explored Falconwing Square. I was really amazed by the level of detail that was put into this game. The architecture is beautiful, I took a picture of the castle, and the square itself is beautiful, too, with the different colored leaves on the trees and the fountain in the middle. Other than admiring the architecture, I did learn a few things that will help me the next time I play and begin the actual project. For example, I mastered the controls of the game which we very confusing and clunky to me at first. I had to stop every few seconds to turn, but I’ve got it figured out now. Second, I learned how to use the map, which will be helpful in my exploring different cities to find interesting people to talk to. Third, I learned how to dance which is probably the greatest accomplishment of all. And last, but not least, I discovered that there are a ton of people everywhere. At least, today there were. I was surprised by how crowded it was in the streets and the squares, and when I would arrive to do some of the quests, there would be a group of people just standing around, waiting to kill the boss when it respawned. It was super interesting, but at least now I know it shouldn’t be too hard to find people to chat with when I come back next time.

The castle in FalconWing Square
FalconWing Square
Finally learning how to dance

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MMORPG – Black Desert Online, Post 4

Like with most games I’ve encountered, leveling becomes harder and more time consuming the higher level you get. Getting to level 50 is going to be harder than I thought. But, I found more things to look forward to!
There are underwater ruins that you can explore and a place called Star’s End which is the site a meteorite crash.

I wish I could explore more now, but there is still a lot I can uncover. I ended up going to places early and having to come back later for quests, so it seems that exploring on my own might be pointless for the time being.

The map is very well designed, showing the sun’s position and easy to understand icons that can be turned on and off. You can see where high-level monsters are so that you can avoid them or try seeking them out I suppose. It also is a really easy way to see housing. Housing is still something I am working through, but it seems that you can decorate it how you would like if you can buy the materials. If that is the case, that is something I am also looking forward to.

As a player who really loves exploration and having my own slice of the world, the houses and map excite me the most but I also like how fluid the combat feels. It does make you feel empowered, even when grinding. This is definitely a game I will continue to play. Disappointing that the more interesting parts take a while to get to though.

It seems like you can have two characters, so I made a new character to try out another class. I was then remembered how much of a pain the beginning tutorials are, so that might actually wait until another time. Since I went through character creation again, I am reminded of how it is weirdly both constricting and not. I can alter a character’s facial structure, but they are very limited options like hair and tattoos.
I also saw how the Striker and Mystic seem to be male and female counterparts, but for some reason, the Striker has more control with everything else being the same. I think it’s really stupid and makes me question why anyone would choose the girl except for looks. Pretty annoying, but also minor in the long run. Being a dude is chill with me, but I just don’t get the difference.

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MMORPG – Black Desert Online, Post 3

So, clans have up to 15 players and guild have up to 100 players. Players cannot be in a clan if they are in a guild. Both guilds and clans fight in wars, but clans cannot participate in guild wars.
Being in a guild adds rewards, skills, and a guild-exclusive chat.

The game does have PvP, but a player cannot participate until they are above level 50. One place to do this is in areanas.

It seems level 50 is fairly significant, as it is also changes some of the main quests. It is recommended to do all of the black spirit’s quests, because “although the Black Spirit can get a little annoying sometimes, it only means the best for you. So treat it with affection and carry out the quests it gives you”. This is mainly so you gain experience in combat and get the rewards from the quests.

The central market seems to be more simple than I initially thought. I suppose the amount of text was the more intimidating part. The central market can even be accessed from a mobile web page, which seems really unique.

I definitely like the auto running and how you can still look around and hit the sprint without interrupting it. You can also mute the nearly constant notifications about guild wars and the central market. It seems that eventually you can get a boat and explore the ocean, which sounds like an amazing time and not something I’ve seen another game do. There’s sea monsters and this place called Sea of Silence, which sounds interesting. It does require a level of 50, so I got a bunch of grinding to do!

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MMORPG – Black Desert Online, Post 2

I find the quests to be tedious, but there isn’t much else to do besides grinding my level. I would say that there is too much information to absorb and I’m sure there is much more to the game, but I’m not really sure where to start. I get the feeling that I’m still on the surface level of what the game has to offer and having never gone in-depth in an MMORPG before, I don’t have prior experience to guide me.

The classes are very confusing and seem to also be gender-specific, which is very frustrating. The women in the game also seem to be sexualized, but this is the sort of thing I expect to see anyway. This is an example of some male and female classes in their wiki (to be fair, they are not all bad):

I’m not very invested in the main quest and I couldn’t honestly say what the story is really about. The world is very beautiful and the map is extensive.

There are also clans and guilds, though I’m not really sure how I would join them. A lot still left to learn

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Week 16+17 (May 11th – May 17th) – Field Notes (4/4)

MMORPGs and Meaningful Player Learning (Part 2)

Bryan Afadzi

In the previous blogpost, I brought up the point that the amount of player-to-player interaction vastly differs when considering a single-player game in comparison to an interaction driven experience that is an MMORPG in regards to the learning of a virtual world and its intricacies. During my one of my play sessions, I tried to talk to players in order to figure out how accessible Final Fantasy XIV was and in the following encounter, I believe it highlights one of the biggest aspects that makes the genre so enticing: genuine player-to-player interaction.

Another sweet encounter

While adventuring through Gridinia, completing quests and progressing in the story, I came across a played named “Kai Usagi” who had been defeating enemies in a joint event known as a “FATE” where players join together to clear a certain objective. After this particular FATE, I engaged with Kai Usagi, saying a simple “hello” and giving an expression of joy. From there, this player started responding back and we had a full-on conversion…while being surrounded by an annoying amount of hornets.

Having a chat with a random player atop a large tree branch.

In our chat, after introducing myself, I asked this player several questions such as, “are you new as well?” and “do you have any tips for a new player like myself?”. While I am still new to the world of Final Fantasy XIV, it was apparent that despite their level, this player still had a great amount of knowledge due to talking about “leveling this character” and using game terminology I had never seen before.

Through our chat, not only did I get advice about the leveling curve of the game (information which would not have been given through an in game tutorial), but I also got pointers on how to handle the progression of my character class and how to go about gaining experience to level up efficiently.

Imagine trying to have a meaningful conversation while being surrounded by swarms of hornets. How bothersome.

A welcoming community

Throughout my time playing Final Fantasy XIV this semester, the one thing that I’ve noticed is just how welcoming and open the community is, whether it be within my own free company or even in talking to strangers. The community that makes up the life of this game is always open to helping out fellow players, especially newer players who are just getting into the game. Everyone (within the community) knows that Final Fantasy XIV is a dense JRPG with many complex systems and that for a newer player without any prior exposure to the game, can be incredibly daunting to tackle it. In my time with the game, those who I’ve chatted with have not only been reassuring in this endeavor, but they have also supported me by giving me tips and humoring my conversations.

A member of my free company logging on and recieving a warm welcome from various members.

I believe MMORPGs’ biggest strength lies in the player interactions one can have where instead of being a lone adventure with single player games, becomes a team effort where even the newest of players can find support from all around. Furthermore, due to the interaction driven nature of these games, it provides a unique experience where even if completing the main campaign is not the main focus, there is still something worth continuing to play for in playing with others alongside yourself.

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Week 16+17 (May 11th – May 17th) – Field Notes (3/4)

MMORPGs and Meaningful Player Learning (Part 1)

Bryan Afadzi

A random Youtube video about a man and “the lady he lives with”

A couple weeks ago, I was browsing YouTube searching for video essays and other videos to play in the background when I came upon a video entitled “What Games Are Like For Someone Who Doesn’t Play Games“. In the video, the creator, named “Razbuten” discussed an experiment with his wife (dubbed “the lady he lives with”) in which he had her play video games despite her not having much experience playing them before. What he came to find out is that for people who have played games for years, they have acquired a sort of video game language that allows them to understand controls and game design that isn’t explicitly stated. For his wife however, it was a trying experience as these givens were not understood by someone who hasn’t developed this “language of games”.

Thumbnail featuring a brief (and cutoff) description of Razbuten’s video.

This video got me thinking about how games teach their systems to players who haven’t developed or even been exposed to this kind of language and in particular how MMORPGs go about handling this issue. Over the course of this and the following blog entry, I’d like to discuss this topic, speaking from my years of experience with video games and my experiences playing Final Fantasy XIV this semester.

Dedicated tutorials

For JRPGs (Japanese RPGs) it is customary to have some sort of story explanation that sets up the main conflict, characters, and setting for the game, whether it be through some movie or an introductory movie. From there, depending on the game, usually the player takes control of the player will take control of the protagonist and continue on in the story.

In turn-based JRPGs the main gameplay loop consists of fighting through battles, traveling from location to location, and progressing the plot by triggering some event. As a result of the menu-based combat, usually tutorials will focus on the mechanics that goes behind controlling a character and facing off against enemies. For example, take the smartphone gacha game Kingdom Hearts: Union X [Cross] (KHUX from hereon).

Screenshot of the tutorial page in-game.

In this game, it features a dedicated tutorial section that goes over all of the main aspects to battles, collecting medals (main forms of attacking and what the gacha elements revolve around), and participating in group battles against large bosses to gain a large amount of experience points (points that go towards leveling up the player character). The interesting part about this tutorial is that if a player were to be confused about a certain aspect, while there may be a “Support” function that allows for contacting the developers or a help line for further questions, the player may not get the immediate feedback they are looking for. Instead they might turn to internet forums or other online help to get feedback from actual people that they may deem more relatable.

Different games will have different ways presenting information to the player, whether it be a character telling the player what button to press or on an on-screen text prompt giving the player information. Final Fantasy XIV is a massive MMORPG and has a lot of intricate complex systems that can take time to learn. Final Fantasy XIV also has a dedicated help system where it can show all the tutorials that have popped up to the player whenever they encounter a new system, serving as a handy resource whenever the player is unsure of the various systems in the game.

A screenshot of the help menu inside Final Fantasy XIV containing past tutorials the player has encountered.

In spite of both of these JRPGs having tutorial sections in order to guide the player, there is still a big split in how a player goes about learning a single-player JRPG like KHUX and an open MMORPG such as Final Fantasy XIV. That difference lies in the amount of player-to-player interactions that happen.

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WoW Post 4

I still rarely see any other players outside of quest areas and quest turn in spots, especially socializing. I was curious about if this is the way the game normally is so I asked my cousin who plays more than I do and from what it sounds like it is a bad time to be on since it is towards the end of an expansion that nobody really liked where they are about to overhaul a bunch of the starting area mechanics as well as some other changes to the game. So at least I have somewhat of an answer to the behavior of other players I’ve come across so far, despite what seems like a great time to pick up a MMORPG game. I still think it would be interesting to take a psychological approach to how different mechanics of the game affect the chemistry of the brain, like I mentioned earlier with the questing. I think it would also be interesting to see what effects things like selling old equipment has, or leveling up, or discovering a new part of the map. Additionally it could be interesting to see if there is a certain level of frustration that can build up that causes a player to cave in an buy one of the bundles or boosts to bypass the monotony and grinding through quests.