MMORPGs Come Of Age - WOW Reviewed on NPR

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World of Warcraft On my drive home today (being my last day at work. I’m now fully independent.), I was listening to the show “All Things Considered” on NPR. Much to my surprise there was a reviewer named Robert Holt who was describing his experience with World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role playing game.

If you’re not in the know (and I assume most of my readers are), an MMORPG is basically Dungeons & Dragons, but online in full color 3-D with surround sound. Holt describes an adventure in which he and four other real people are deep within the bowels of a thieves den, looking to nab the leader.

What struck me about this review is hearing it on NPR. As a kid, Dungeons & Dragons (or D&D for short) was a guilty pleasure. Guilty because I knew how stigmatizing it would be for people in some of the circles I ran with to find out I played. This was during the years where I was a bit of a closet geek.

It didn’t help when you heard from church types that playing the game would cause you to worship Satan, drink goats blood, and give you a “Go Straight To Hell, Do Not Pass Go” card.

Strangely enough, I’ve never killed anyone as a human sacrifice as a result of dabbling in the game. In fact, I felt that I learned good planning skills, improved my vocabulary, and learned how to tell a story as a result.

So now that RPGs have gone mainstream, I guess I can dust off my old D&D books, my oddly shaped dice, my back issues of Dungeon magazine, and display such items proudly. Until my wife gets tired of the clutter it would cause and kindly asks me to place them elsewhere. :)

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8 responses

  1. Avatar for Chris Serjak
    Chris Serjak March 16th, 2005

    I had to give up on D&D when I headed off for college, it would have ruined me socially. But I'm in when you fire up the Hughes Ave game.

    Reminds me of the last time I played. I had always wanted to play a beast-rider but if the DM had allowed me to have any kind of a cool animal I would have been too powerful and thrown the game off. The DM offered me a goat instead. I called his bluff and became Asgar the Goat-Master with his fierce mount "Lemon". It was great until the rest of the team turned on me and Lemon became supper that night. I lost my roll against my constitution score and went insane, running naked into the woods to be killed by trolls.

    Oh well, hand me the 20+ dice.

  2. Avatar for Chris Serjak
    Chris Serjak March 16th, 2005

    And congrats on your last day at the office!

  3. Avatar for Scott C. Reynolds
    Scott C. Reynolds March 16th, 2005

    if you never killed clearly weren't playing enough. :P wow = fun though.

  4. Avatar for Niels Hansen
    Niels Hansen March 16th, 2005

    Hey Phil,

    Doing D&D with Dice is still looked down on as geek with some freaks hanging out together. I would not recommend you go around telling your clients you play D&D! :)

    However MMORPG is completely different. YOu would be surprised on who is playing. Everyone I talk to these days seem to be playing WOW or EQII and are not afraid to talk about it. Hell I even know of Sales people playing WOW (gasp!) Its true!

    WOW = World of Warcraft.

    If yo go around saying World of Warcraft then your a newbie!

    Last week I was playing poker at a Casinio and my brother called me up to ask me about the game and I said the word WOW during our conversation and 3 heads went up. After I got off the phone one of them asked me if I played WOW. I said yes and the other two said they play also. Pretty funny stuff!

  5. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked March 16th, 2005


    The guy on the radio show said he played 160 hrs in the past two months. How much time do you spend on it? After hearing about it, I'm very tempted, but concerned about the addictive aspect to it.

    I don't play D&D anymore. I once got a game up at Solien in the conference room. It lasted one evening total. It's too difficult to get people's schedules to align. If I were to start it up again, I'd just tell people that I'm doing research into building the next great MMORPG.


    How much longer are you in Iraq? I'm working on Akumi, though she was one of the cool kids back in the day. But I'll convince her to join our "research" sessions.

  6. Avatar for Niels Hansen
    Niels Hansen March 17th, 2005

    Well it can be VERY adicting at first. I tend to play alot of the weekends and maybe a couple nights a week on the weekday for a couple of hours. Its very tempting to play all day because you get to meet alot of new people and hell of a time.

    What I've been doing is playing with my brother and cousin up in Canada and my other brother here in the States. Its great because its something we can all do together without actually flying a couple thousand miles to do so. We also have a couple of guys on the hockey team playing with us and when you have a clan like that you can become pretty powerful in the game.

    The games just amazing. However you have to make more out of it then just killing things because after a while you will get bored of the game.

  7. Avatar for RPGme
    RPGme March 19th, 2005
  8. Avatar for Chris Serjak
    Chris Serjak March 20th, 2005

    I'll be here through May 15 and then it'll take me about 5 days to get home. Today was my original end date, 4-month anniversary, so it's a little bittersweet. Keep working on Akumi, Susan never understood my video game addictions but she's enough of a dramatist to be attracted to role-playing.