Lena and I played World of Warcraft last night. We usually play once or twice a week, trying to get online when we have several hours to devote to it. Yesterday evening we happened to meet up with Mudder and Rosamonde, another gaming couple in our guild who are right at our levels in the game. We grouped up and marauded the countryside, finishing about a half-dozen quests.
It has occurred to me before, that what games such as this are actually selling you is less an environment full of monsters and treasure, and more a telephone service. I’m being sold friends. I suppose that it should be intuitively obvious to any gamer that a chat service where you can talk to your buddies while you hunt Deathclasp, the Terror of the Sands would be more popular than one that merely has a picture exchanging feature, but I am not certain that those on the outside understand the draw. Would you post a letter in a mailbox where you had to shoot 3 of the 5 Nazi agents who popped in and out of the mail slot before dropping it in? Would you voluntarily put your quarter into a phone booth that required a complicated dance routine before you could be connected to your party? Silly as it sounds, I bet there are a lot of us who would. That’s what makes us gamers.
By the way, Rosamonde and Mudder first met back in Everquest for Macintosh in the founding days of our guild. In Real Life they lived on opposite ends of the country. At some point after most of us made the switch from EQ to WoW, they decided they dug each other enough to live together. So Rosamonde moved from San Diego to Connecticut to be with her beloved Mudder. They aren’t married yet, but I understand that plans are under way.
That’s a good game.