Thursday, January 04, 2007

Massive Multi-Player Gaming - Part One

About a month ago, I decided to experiment a bit with massive multi-player gaming. For quite a while, I've been fascinated with this online phenomenan, which enables people around the world to interact in rich virtual worlds. Some games, like Worlds of Warcraft, consist of millions of gamers, and have spawned entire independent industries created to serve them. These industries will buy and sell the virtual items used in these games (i.e. online 'currency,' weaponry, armor) for real-world money. For example, an online player will pay $20 to recieve, within the game 500 gold coins...which he can use to advance more quickly within the game. The companies who offer these items sometimes have legions of low paid offshore (for example, Chinese) workers who spend their work hours trolling the games and accumulating items for sale to the highest bidder. Some call it cheating; others call it entreprenuership. Either way, it's people spending real money on something that doesn't actually exist for the benefit of dominating a non-exist world with imaginary characters that in turn represent real people you may never meet. This begins to sound like contemplating the origins of the universe...

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