Saturday, January 21, 2012

There's no such thing as a TYPICAL WoW Player

To all those people who are not gamers - or perhaps we should put this in the context of all those people who are not World of Warcraft players - what do they think is a typical player?

OK, that's just disgusting

More often than not people think it's a teenage boy, a twenty something male, or a nerdy (looking) young female.  You have your stereotypical antisocial male who is belligerent and goes around killing people IRL because people say WoW made him that way.  Or the teenage boy who is uncontrollable and abusive and all he does is hide in his room playing WoW.

And I bet you, that most of my readers, those who DO play World of Warcraft don't fit into those categories.  Ok, some of you do.  But there are a lot of 20 something males out there ok??? (You know who you are /points at guildies)

World of Warcraft is one of those games that allows people of all ages, all sexes, all races, all walks of life, to play.  I have always been a gamer, starting with the Atari when I was about 6 and moving onto PC games.  I preferred solo games (Simcity, Heroes of Might and Magic) and very old games (Nethack!) and I did enjoy the occasional racing car game if I was playing consoles.  I did love playing Starcraft though!  I would spend so many weekends having LAN parties of Starcraft.

World of Warcraft was my first MMO, and so far my only.  I am a busy working medical professional, with 2 young children - there isn't that much time for too much more if I raid 4 times a week for 2.5-3 hours, when you slot into that long working days and being on call.

Colleagues at work scoff at me, as I make no secret about the fact that I play World of Warcraft.  Quite a few shake their heads at me and say "Grow up!" and "Where do you find the time?" However, there are quite a few people at work who do play World of Warcraft - nurses, doctors, operation assistants (orderlies) varying from their 20s to their 50s.  So I'm going to talk about a few misconceptions about a World of Warcraft gamer

1. WoW PLAYERS ARE YOUNG PUNKS

I was musing the other day that I was getting closer and closer to 40, and that I was an "older" gamer.  However, when I thought about it, there are a LOT of older people who play World of Warcraft.

I noticed that things always come in 3s.  Just when I was thinking about my age something happened to my friend, Tome of the Ancient.  It was because of a slight against her that made me start thinking about age and WoW - the troll didn't slight her age, just her blog content, saying that because she didn't raid she wasn't qualified to talk about WoW.  Pfft.  But if she had made her age public knowledge, then they may have decided to pick on that, I was thinking.  

...even grannies can be GMs. Of raiding guilds. Who've raided since original Molten Core. And top the DPS meters. Wielding Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest. (So yes, that does indeed qualify her to tell you kids to "GET OFF MY LAWN!")

Meet Marthazon, the 70-year-old GM of Spartans on Dalaran...

Awesome.  I want to be like that when I'm 70!  And if you think that old codgers can only do questing and get "carried in raiding" coz they're slow, Marthazon said in the interview:
"...I turned to PvP when raiding slowed down or stopped. The fact that I managed to reach the PvP rank of Marshal prior to the first expansion says a great deal..."
Wow.  Truly, the awesomest grandma EVER.

Speaking of older people and PVP, my good friend Sevros, one of our "legendary" warlocks, his father plays WoW.  I often see Sev's dad online and he doesn't raid, he spends most of his time PVPing and levelling.  Now Sev is not that far off my age (well he's closer than he likes to think), so his Dad is in the "older" category.  And he's been playing since Vanilla!  So really, there are LOTS of older people out there who not only play, but enjoy and are GOOD at WoW.

Entertainment Software association Essential facts 2010 has some fascinating statistics on ages, gender, what games are being played and surveys on computer games and children. 26% of gamers are over the age of 50.  Gosh that will be me ... some time in the future.



2. MOST WoW PLAYERS ARE BOYS

In my guild, there are a few girls, and probably only 4 female raiders - me, Beauti, Souglyy and Faithless.  There are quite a few casuals too, like Pelemorra and Feli, but a lot of the other females in my guild tend to the partners of the other players and don't really chat much.  In fact you wouldn't even know if they were female if you didn't read the attached officer notes "SoAndSo's wife" which are on a few of those people.  So if you took my guild as an example, you probably wouldn't see that many girls.

But this is the case for most computer games, more boys play than girls.  In 2008, an article was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research saying that video games activate the reward regions of the brain in men more than in women.  In more scientific terms, men had more activation in specific areas of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex; the parts of their brain associated with reward.  (Interestingly, the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex are also associated with the sight, taste and smell of food as well as to stimuli associated with food reward! So perhaps the way to a man's heart is through his stomach and his computer games)

However, looking at the blog community, I would have to say the MAJORITY are ladies.  This might be because females like to write or have the urge to share their thoughts, not because more girls play.  That doesn't mean men are not good bloggers.  Big Bear Butt and Fannon are good examples of men who write eloquently - and neither of whom are crazy raid heads either.

A few of you may be familiar with a survey in 2010 sponsored by PopCap games (who made Bejewelled).  Their study of 1202 people showed that the average social gamer is a 43 year old woman.  Now, whether this is because women tend to participate more in surveys is unclear, but it clearly showed that women like social media games like the games you play on Facebook, or on your iPhone/Android smartphone.  And I think Blizzard has caught onto this.  Do you remember when WoW became more like Facebook (aka RealID)?  And more random networking (eg Cross server BG, dungeons, LFR)? And with Mists coming out we have pet battles which mean more mini game social media and less of the hardcore, hours of raiding things.  WoW is becoming more and more a social media game and less of the hardcore player game (though of course those aspects are still there - kudos to Blizzard for trying to keep everyone happy) which will mean more females playing WoW if these surveys are to be believed.


3. GIRLS ARE NOT GOOD WoW PLAYERS


We all know girls who are good WoW players.  There are also girls who are not good players.  But that goes the same for boys.  There are some great male players and also just as many not so great ones. But this point is just silly, so I will move onto the next point.


4. WoW PLAYERS ARE LAYABOUT BUMS



We've all seen those videos and newspaper articles - the teenage son who refuses to go to school and threatens violence against his parents if they try to stop him from playing WoW, the young man who won't go looking for work and plays WoW all day and living with his parents, teenagers committing murder and telling their WoW guildies about it.  Ugh, horrible stories :( But they are clearly a minority.  Almost everyone in my guild goes to work, many are parents themselves.  Obviously due to my profession bias, I know lots of doctors who play WoW.  There are also a lot of armed forces players too - no doubt the team play and plenty of time at a base somewhere leaves plenty of time for things like computer games.  I know a couple of people with Ph.Ds, school teachers, plenty of people who work in IT.  Lots of people who work in retail as well.  So, you can see people from all walks of life, all professions, working or studying, play WoW.  And they're not the minority either.

One thing I have to admit I find in the minority is the number of people who are in the corporate world playing World of Warcraft.  I mean banking, finance, accounting, law.  I don't know many people who play WoW who are in those professions (actually, make that I don't know ANY) and I would love to hear from anyone who is so they an enlighten me on whether there are any lawyers in WoW!


Any stereotypes I've missed?  Add a comment and tell me your thoughts!

13 comments:

  1. You serious... Navi I work in a bank...


    Voe

    Lol!!

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  2. Me and a couple of friends are tradies and we always get a shocked look when we tell people we play wow. -Rosh

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  3. Interesting points. Interestingly I've had uni people come up to me and say "I used to play WoW, but because I am at Uni I won't". I asked why and they told me they would play it all day and night and never study, that it would stop them from doing their course. Um...So far I've done 3 years of Uni, passed them all and I play WoW...So the misconception of WoW stopping you from what you are doing is in the mind. You can't blame pixels for ruining your career, your relationships, your life.

    And those people that tell us we have no life, or some people in the WoW community state they have no life, that's why they play WoW. It's all lies, "have no life" is a brand that people have attached themselves too and attached it to those who play video games. It's ABSURD!

    Oh I could go on, but I won't. I've said my peace.

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  4. @Voe - oops!
    @Roshii - now I know a few tradies who play WoW! Pfft, why would anyone be shocked who plays wow, I have no idea :)
    @Faithless - Totally absurd I agree Faith! The number of people who tell me to have a real interest instead of wasting time... well it depends what they think is wasting time right? Does eating out at expensive restaurants count as more productive than playing games with your friends? Or going to the pub and getting blind every night? :P Even if I played some kind of sport, really, yes you get social interaction and exercise out of it (and also joint replacements early!) so I think WoW is a great cheap hobby :)

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  5. How does a room even get that dirty... I mean wow that's crazy -Roshii

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  6. Funny, you know I don't think someone poking a stick at me because of age would have bothered me. It's just something that happens and it will happen to them. Jokes on them!

    I know! I saw the 70 year old raider article. Maybe when I grow up and hit 70 I'll be raiding.

    And this is weird, your post gave me an idea too. Something I've always wanted to do, thanks Navi!

    The Ancient

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  7. You offer some valid points and there aren't many females in my Guild either. In case you haven't seen this role reversal video before, have a look at the following youtube video "if women ruled wow" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5FuZcKnDeI&feature=g-like&context=G2eca279ALTxld9QATAA

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  8. @Roshii - I know right, disgusting but I had to link it coz it was so omg
    @Ancient - Ooh I inspired someone! Can't wait to go look.
    @Cymre - thanks! I'll go check it out.

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  9. In my guild, we're probably 50/50 men and women. Our officers are 2 married couples who are friends IRL. (That would be me!) I work as a mortgage loan processor (finance!) and my husband is a computer tech for another finance company. So, while he's a tech person, it's for a financing company! My best friend is an accounting person and she plays too!

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    1. @ReluctantRaider - OOH! 2 financy people! That's fantastic Karegina, now I feel like the people and professions I know in WoW are not so skewed!

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  10. Our guild is comprised currently of 7 couples (most of them don't raid). Our ages range from late twenties to early 50s. We also have a lot of other friends that are more casual and have had players over 60 in our ranks.

    In our raid team, 3 of our 5 permanent DPS are female and consistently claim two of the top 3 spots.

    Our professions are all over the place, some of us are in the computer field from networking, programming to project management. We have Cops, writers, accountants, people that work in colleges. All of our players in our 20s are employed at the moment, I don't think any of them would qualify as bums!

    I am a blogger, I am male, I have a job and my wife is a bad ass warlock. So yea, some of the stereotypes could not be any more wrong.

    Great post!

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    1. @Logtar - hey, thanks for dropping by! I like your guild, it's 50/50 and a great age range, and it's exactly what I think people should see about WoW, that we are all normal every day people and we play a computer game! Your guild is the ideal "There's not such thing as a typical WoW player" because it's so diverse.

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  11. My guild has the following professions:
    Banker, software tester (for a bank!), truck driver, welder, stay at home dad, plant accountant, surgeon, and teacher. Those are the ones I know. we're actually around 40% female, as well. And the only reason why we have anyone online during the day on weekdays is that one of our members works second shift, and the stay at home dad is frequently online when the kids are in school, instead of when they are home.

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