Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why men will prefer World Of Warcraft over Second Life

If the earlier explanations weren't clear on what is Second Life (SL), this video (Introduction to Second Life) might help.

Whereas this video (World Of Warcraft Trailer) will show you why men, especially men, will prefer something like World Of Warcraft (WOW) over Second Life!

[You can play both videos directly from this post]

In many ways, both WOW and SL are (to use this term that Walter said to me) "avatar based socialisation models". I've not played WOW. From what I understand, WOW is a role playing game, much like an extended Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). Players team up with other players online, go through missions that involve battles and/ or engage in trade and crafts (like Blacksmithing) and gain experience points in the process.

In SL, there's no battles or killings but there's the trade-craft/ economic element (i.e. creating and selling objects). There's certainly the gaming element, for instance there are role-playing islands (like Star Wars), and bars/ music clubs/ casinos. There's also the educational element that WOW won't have. Read these posts -- by Vanessa Tan (on Learning Environments in Second Life) and by Kevin (How not to teach in Second Life).

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  1. Anonymous9:05 am

    Over 600,000 players of WoW are women. There are about 60,000 active players of Second life total. Thats makes over 10x the amount of women playing WoW over Second Life.


    Also you havent even played WoW and your critising it as being a 'male' game? Marketing and actual play are two very different things.

  2. Hello M., thanks for the links to the supporting posts. A few points to clarify though: (1) I'm not criticising or comparing anything. It was just a tongue-in-cheek preposition why men prefer WOW over SL (and you have to watch the links to the videos for context). (2) Granted, that preposition could be flawed bec. there's no basis to my remarks other than my personal observation. I didn't say anything about WOW being a 'male' game -- I wrote that men prefer WOW over SL. There's a difference between the two statements.

    Anyway, thanks for the links. I've found those readings useful. Cheers.

  3. Anonymous11:22 am

    Hi Ivan, as a woman who has played WoW (among other games), and visited the SL world, I have to respectfully disagree with your analysis. I don't think WoW is any more "male" or SL any more "female" - it's all a matter of personal preference. I personally find WoW far more engaging than SL, and that's because I find there's a lot more to do in WoW. Adventuring with others, learning tradeskills, exploring, and chatting. And the interface is much less clunky than SL. The WoW economy is as vibrant and active as the SL economy!

    SL to me seems like a graphical/somewhat 3D interface for chat and interacting and meeting with others. I don't consider it a true game at all (even with the role-playing islands). It seems to be an attempt to try and transpose RL events, practices, buildings (even organisations) to a virtual environment, and is interesting for this reason.

    I'm sure we could discuss this endlessly - but my point is that I don't believe that the preference is gender-determined.

  4. I am female and I play WoW too. Online, I meet whole families (grandparents, parents and their children) playing WoW.

    The educational element in WoW may not be a direct imparting of real-world knowledge per se but there is ample opportunity for creativity (especially on role-playing servers), trade, social interaction, group work, organisational skills (imagine managing Guilds that have hundreds of members) etc.

    Your title "Why men will prefer World of Warcraft over Second Life" does imply that women prefer Second Life. :p

  5. Anonymous11:55 pm

    I also dispute that SL has more of an educational potential than WoW. SL is a blank tablet - in many ways this really turns people off it; what do they do when they get there - since they have to go and 'find' the world within SL (in itself very hard to do). The learning curve of design and object manipulation in SL is also extremely hard. In short, it's easy to get turned off fast.

    WoW is a sustained world - it's already there and the tools to use it are simple and well explained. Unlike SL, however, it is a game (thus comparison between the two is somewhat recutive, since they aren't the same thing). This means that whilst the educational space isn't in place, the tools for learning are. WoW has already been used to teach autism students how to interact more fully (since nuance, which they often don't pick up on, is not present), as well as the much more obvious tools of articulation, organisation (mentioned above), and second language learning - many people communicating in a language they need to learn. Arguably the space of SL means this latter is cicumvented.

    I think the key point remains however, that the two are not comparable. As a female player of WoW, the argument that I am doing it simply to be one of the lads, because I am playing a 'mans' game is not only rather offensive but untrue.


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