Tobold's Blog
Thursday, August 02, 2007
 
Chore Wars

Via Penny Arcade I stumbled onto Chore Wars. Chore Wars is a website onto which you and members of your household can log on as an adventuring party, getting experience points for every chore you perform in your household in real life. The party agrees on a list of chores, like doing the dishes or vacuuming the house, and assigns an xp value to the chore, based on the time it takes to do. Then every time somebody does that chore, he can go to the website and claim it, earning xp, gold, and treasure in the process. You can just do it to see who levels fastest, or you could agree to exchange gold or treasure for real world rewards.

Sounds pretty crazy, but of course it does pose a serious question to MMORPG players: Why are we willing to grind a boring task in a game just for getting a virtual reward, while at the same time being relucting to perform equally boring chores in the house for a much more real reward? We're willing to kill a thousand ethereals for Zaxxis Insignia to gain reputation with the Consortium, to gain a tradeskill recipe or two. But we don't want to vacuum the house, although that takes much less time, and would not only gain us important wife faction, but also a cleaner and healthier house. In the time you use for your daily Netherwing reputation quest you could as well do the dishes every day. I don't think Chore Wars will change much in our attitudes, but the attempt to channel the desire for xp and virtual treasures into something more useful than grinding mobs is commendable.
Comments:
The final boss at the end of the "Clean my Room" Questline really slew me.
 
:) agreement and second victor's opinion
 
Because the real world chores require physical effort, which raiders can't handle, and because there's no skinner box design to real world chores to get you hooked, and because real world chores aren't designed to be fun with a flashy UI, random loot drops, and your guild chatting with you.
 
I dunno -- this was the first time I'd heard of the site, and after seeing it I definitely thought it was neat. I mean, if you have to do chores anyway, anything you can do to help make them more enjoyable/less boring is worth a try, right? ;)
 
I saw that on Penny Arcade and laughed hysterically. If only my children were a bit older, I might find that site really, really cool. But for now, I think I'll just keep it hidden from my wife.

On a serious note though... I think a lot of it has to do with a sense of accomplishment. Who's gonna get all excited for you that you vacuumed the floor? But finally getting exalted with the X Faction will get at least a few, sincere "gratz" from your guild or whatnot.
 
I think the underlying question is: why do you play the type of MMO that you do? I mean, nobody is going online to virtually rake their lawn, and developers aren't falling all over themselves to create an online office cubical RPG (although I haven't been paying much attention to The Sims, which might have gone in that direction).

No, I think an MMORPG is about the same escapism that reading books is about. And just as some people prefer Sci-Fi and some people prefer fantasy, I'm sure there's a largely untapped romance genre that would receive far more interest than Chore Wars.

Personally, I find it more interesting that the fantasy MMORPGs are so disproportionately popular. From an abstract point of view, there isn't a big difference between casting a spell on an orc and shooting a laser at an alien, or any number of other ways to represent a fight. How about a discussion on what makes a good MMO beyond things that are skin deep?
 


Anonymous said...

Because the real world chores require physical effort, which raiders can't handle, and because there's no skinner box design to real world chores to get you hooked, and because real world chores aren't designed to be fun with a flashy UI, random loot drops, and your guild chatting with you.



You should have signed your post. It's too good not to take credit for )

And kudos for mentioning the Skinner box. A lot of mmorpg fans, who started with WoW, aren't familiar with the concept and should research it.

On a side note, when a post about chore wars gets more replies than a post about Tabula Rasa, it can't be a good sign for Richard Garriott.
 
On a side note, when a post about chore wars gets more replies than a post about Tabula Rasa, it can't be a good sign for Richard Garriott.

That comment made me laugh out loud. There is a curiously low amount of hype for the upcoming games, with the possible exception of WAR. Hmmm, I think I'm going to write a post about that.

And kudos for mentioning the Skinner box. A lot of mmorpg fans, who started with WoW, aren't familiar with the concept and should research it.

Ooooh, another good subject for a post. Thanks!
 
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