Thursday, July 3, 2014

If real life were a video game, I'd still be broke.

While I'm not quite the 1% currency-wise in any of the games that I play, I'd say that compared to the Rockefellers bidding max on BMAH mounts and the few people I know who wouldn't be able to raid if their guilds weren't paying for repairs, I'm pretty middle-class. That's not to say "middle class" in a video game translates to "middle class" IRL, for it's so much easier to make money in WoW that not being ridiculously wealthy in it is actually a failure. Honestly, even with as much gold as I have, translated into the real world, I would be just as upper-middle-lower-class as I am in real life, and my in-game tactics for making money are just as inadequate as they are outside.

Unsurprisingly, the money-making lessons one can glean from gaming are pretty analogous to what we see outside of it. Sure, there's meritocracy, working hard so one can save and eventually become rich, both feasible and tantalizing mythical in either environment, for then there are the real methods of making gold/Simoleans/Neopoints/money en masse: stealing, cheating, wage slavery, etc. As much gold as one has, it's nothing compared to what Chinese farmers make teleporting to mining nodes and paying teenagers a few dollars a day to spam in trade. Nothing makes more Neopoints than running an auto-buying program, nothing is as quick and easy to earn Simoleans as good old "motherlode," and there's nothing that makes more money in the real world than organized crime, drug trafficking, and sex slavery.

It's a rather negative but realistic sentiment. I'm not promoting the use of bots nor suggesting that everyone smuggle heroin. In fact, the consequences of subversive activity can be just as harsh in-game when one equates the potential real life losses (assets, freedom, life) to the punishments for cheating (inventory, characters, life-long ban), and many people do equate them. However, it doesn't stop tons of players every day from taking those risks to get ahead, accumulate wealth, or pull themselves out of destitute situations, because for better or worse, in-game societies are a reflection of the ones in which we actually live and are full of the same stratification, inflation, and artificial prestige-laden consumerism that we experience in real life.


No comments:

Post a Comment