WoW & Work

Framing motivations for play of games like WoW as Yee does seems to frame play within a kind of “given” framework; that is, taking the choice for play as a given and then finding out what appeals to players. Even if it calls them motivations, this paper almost implies they could be rather rationalizations or appeal, rather than motivators.

When I play WoW, I wonder what I am seeking – what truly motivates me to get on – and what is being displaced. From an economic model perspective, I wonder what WoW’s substitution goods are. If I weren’t playing now that evening for 3 hours, what would have replaced it? Another form of entertaining media such as TV? A mix of work and entertaining media? Spending time with the family? Napping? Taking a walk?  Lifting weights? Finishing all my work? Curing cancer?

I think in terms of my own motivational self-analysis, this is the most pressing – and mysterious – question. I often play WoW at the end of the day when my brain has turned to some kind of mush. I highly doubt my work or curative suggestions would be of much value, even if I were able to focus my bleary eyes on them for long.

Is WoW simply replacing my former TV and sci-fi book consumption habits? Or is it trading off time with other more socially/personally noble pursuits?

Sometimes when I’m bored I start doing work for lack of better things to do. Maybe it’s not the best work, or the “real” work, but it is vaguely productive. WoW has absorbed much of that boredom time, and in those cases, surely the game displaces some productive activities.

Otherwise, though, I highly doubt I would be getting anything done at 9p. on a school night – I’m just too fried to concentrate by that hour.

Rationalizations? Perhaps. These are my musings for today, though.


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