Tobold's Blog
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Copra on feeling heroic

Copra from BullCopra makes the interesting observation that being one of 10 or 25 people killing a raid boss doesn't feel very heroic. Quote:
"In a way this reminded me the weekly raid I accompanied, in which our guild took down Marrowgar. I was in there for the first time, we ran it like 4 times before the kill and for me it was a kind of anti-climatic experience. Like I wasn't contributing to the whole at all, like I was depending on others to do their job better while doing mine as well as I then could. The same happened to me with Onyxia and Sartharion, even though we ran Sarth with only 9 for the achievement: hollow, empty feeling, almost stating that I was glad it was over."
I know the feeling, in different variations. I hate being one of the less geared people in a guild raid (or an EVE corporation fleet), it always makes me feel as if I'm leeching from the others. But I also remember the intense frustration of doing Malygos with my healer in a raid where everybody was still alive at the end of phase 2 (thus impossible for a healer to do better), but having failed to have done enough damage fast enough to prevent the encounter failing due to the enrage timer.

In every game there are players somewhat more skilled and others somewhat less skilled, but in a MMORPG you get the additional effect of people being more or less geared. And with at least 3 basic functionalities (tanking, healing, dps) in a group, you're always just one contributing cog in a larger machine. Unless you play solo content, but World of Warcraft fails to provide solo content that feels heroic.

Nevertheless I don't agree with Copra that EVE does this better. He says:
"If this pilot sets her/his objectives right and has the stamina to stick to his/her dream, s/he may well become the hero in the corporation. But there will be only few pilots who's name will stay in the lore."
How many famous EVE players can you name? The answer range from "none" for most of us, to a few for people heavily involved in EVE. That is like telling people they can become the president of the United States. While technically true (if born in the USA), it is a hollow promise with no actual impact on your daily life. Not to mention that the people who *did* become famous in EVE all achieved that by acts of betrayal and treachery. Do you really want to become famous for being the biggest scammer in MMO history?

Of course there is a lot of truth in The Incredibles quote that "when everyone's super, no one will be". But how heroic can you really become from playing a video game anyway? Killing a raid boss with your guild is comparable to winning a match with your mates in some team sport amateur league. Isn't that nice enough? Would it really be worth spending tens of thousands of hours of effort on becoming the most famous player in some video game? I'd say that would be a pretty worthless achievement, given how much good you could have achieved in real life with the same amount of time and effort. You want to be a hero? How about joining the fire brigade instead of playing video games?
Trying to encourage feelings of individual heroism in a game based on having massive people playing together just seems very strange to me.

For at least the whole POINT of a MMOG is interacting with huge numbers of people and if I'm doing stuff with huge numbers of people it's pretty much impossible for a game to make a very average-skilled player like me feel heroic unless you strip away as much of the multiplayer interaction as possible and make the gameplay as much like a single player RPG as possible (and then what would be the point of paying a subscription fee?).

Trying to make all players feel like heroic special snowflakes seems like a dead end, a much better psychological strategy would be to go for getting players to identify with groups larger than themselves and focus on giving players the feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves (i.e. less "I'm the hero!" and more "Go Team!").
That is like telling people they can become the president of the United States.

No it's not.

Not even close.

How do you get from "hero in your corporation" (which is also perfectly achievable in WoW - who hasn't been rescued by their tanks?) to president of the United States?

How is saying you may get known by 50-100 people equivalent to saying you may get rather well known by billions?
But as you quoted, he never said you would become "famous" throughout EvE, only that you would become a hero within the guild.

The point he is making is that in EvE you set your own goals. So if you set a goal to become a major industrialist, with time and effort you could be manufacturing very successfully.

And since you accomplished this solely of your own determination and skill the personal rewards are much greater. It is more satisfying to accomplish a goal with your personal abilities then as part of a 25 person group in which you are either carrying weaker players or being carried by stronger ones.

And he actually mentions that "only a few" become truly famous, so you really are agreeing with him 100%.


I highly doubt anyone actually believes you will feel true heroism from playing a game. The point is that in a game like WoW you are portrayed as a hero. And the whole point being to feel heroic, when you really never feel anything of the sort this is a big letdown.

In other words, you want to feel like your character is heroic. Anyone hoping to get a real sense of heroism from a game is delusional.

As for "trying" to become famous, I would wager that the people who do so are in fact the ones least likely to become it. It is much more often a process of dedication, time spent on the game, and as a by-product of certain accomplishments.

I doubt that any of the few really famous EvE players set out purely to become so. Conversely, I would say that a large part of the top-end raiding guilds racing to get server-firsts is purely motivated by a desire for "fame". However of course this is a group accomplishment and as such bears little of the the fame an EvE player might attain.

Therefore, it can be ascertained that Copra is right in many respects almost without a doubt; the proof is there.

The most fame(heroism? the two are different but for the sake of your point let's say they aren't ;) ) a WoW player can hope for is that his guild is known for a short period as the first to beat some boss.

Whereas in EvE players actually become individual "celebrity" figures known not just in the game, but across all MMORPGs.

Therefore, as there is tangible evidence that an EvE player can conceivably set out to become a "hero"/famous and do so, I would contend that it is much more successful at providing the opportunity for a true sense of accomplishment and personal achievement.

p.s. The only really famous (across many games) WoW player is Leeroy, which I think sums this up nicely :P
I don't know any one from EVE except Tobold, and I don't even know who his EVE character is.

I heard about someone betraying their corp or whatever, but fuck if I remember his name at all.

You do not become famous for playing a game. Those who play WoW and ARE famous, are famous because of what they do outside WoW.

Leeroy Jenkins is only famous for the video, and if it wasn't for that video (outside WoW) on youtube, no one would know who he was.

Without looking up the name, who are the famous people in EVE? Who is famous in WoW? Now ask someone who doesn't play WoW... maybe they play only Halo and Racing games, and ask them who they have heard of in WoW or Eve.

My Wife played WoW, and she mentioned Nyhm. And that is because of the music videos he did.
I think you're comment about EVE is wrong, but I also think the one about WoW is wrong.

You can become a hero in WoW! Not at every single raid encounter. But I remember a fight against Nightbane, when I maintaked, dpsed and healed, and the boss was down after every single cooldown and drop of mana.

I remember telling my guild leader that he should let me tank Gruul, because I got better equip for that kind of fight. At at the next try he was down.
I remember people coming to me and asking for help, because they heard that I knew a lot about class XY.

I remember estabilishing a 10-man raid for Zul Aman and doing the whole instance in the very first evening. I had collected only the best players I knew. Server first.

I also remember becoming rich with the AH or meeting some guy one year after Battlegrounds were made cross-server and he told me: "Hey: Weren't you the guy who rained these deadly Blizzard down from the rooftop in Warsong? I've been Alliance then; hell these were bad".

I remember people telling me that they really liked the way I lead the raid, also 25 man. (Although I never liked that :)

So, you can be the 'hero' (of the day) in WoW and in EVE.
Without looking up the name, who are the famous people in EVE? Who is famous in WoW? Now ask someone who doesn't play WoW... maybe they play only Halo and Racing games, and ask them who they have heard of in WoW or Eve.

Ask a tribe with no conact to the outside world who Mr. Obama is.
By your standard nobody is famous.

I've known who Baskar is for years :P
It's quicker to gain fame through devious acts than noble ones, I agree.

Early in ATITD I made a controversial choice that to this day has been in the history of the game. Couldn't have asked for a better cancelled subscription :)
Actually, IMO the most famous person in EVE is known precisely because he is completely and utterly trustworthy -- Chribba.

But I see what you're getting at. In my experience the most famous people in EVE are such more because of their blogs than because of their in-game actions.

I know in my EQ2 experience, I've been "hero (for the day) with my healer in a few groups and raids, but that never extended outside my guild. My coercer's got a reputation as "decent" but people don't fall over themselves to try to get me in their groups either. In my current guild people more want my shadowknight to come mentor them than anything else, because a mentored SK is more or less an epic mob to the mobs. I'll admit to feeling kinda heroic when I do that ;-)

But overall, I'd say that I don't really feel like a hero in any MMO. I'm not out doing quests to slay a big nasty beastie that's terrorizing a village -- the only way to do that is to get a group of friends together.

And yet, I still have fun. Go figure.
>Do you really want to become famous for being the biggest scammer in MMO history?


Oh, and The Incredibles? AWESOME movie.
There is two schools of thought at play here. The first considers heroism to be relative. If you manage to save your guild from wiping on a progression boss attempt, you'll be their hero. People from the next guild probably won't care about that boss kill, but they do care if you arrange an interesting event.

In that sense, knowing about other guilds on other servers does diminish the sense of heroism, because you're just one snowflake among many. This also applies to the real world. Saving a kid from a fire counts as heroism to non-firemen, but for fellow firemen that's all in a day's work. As the group size increases, the harder it is to be special.

The flipside of this is the "Big in Japan" effect. The larger the group is, the easier it is to find something that hundreds or even thousands of people consider extraordinary. However, those thousand people might not include those that you care about.

However, there is also the notion that heroism can be measured in absolute terms. One such yardstick is saving a life. It remains heroic, no matter whether it's witnessed by one person, two, millions or nobody. I can't think of an in-game equivalent in MMORPGs.
Trying to achieve fame in a trivial environment such as a videogame does sound a bit pathetic at first. But in a world where a lot of people dont have to worry about the lower echelons of Maslow, self-esteem becomes paramount. Subjective and personal, it can be derived from anything, even your performance in videogames. Fame can be the result, but only within the niche of videogames.

It is certainly interesting to observe these processes. I remember one character in WOW by name, Gutrot, whose mission it was to level to endgame naked, no weapons or armor. Now here is someone who even created his own category to be famous in, and convinced others to recognize it as such. Trivial to the extreme, but i still remember the final `ding` to 70 where hundreds (!) of trolls gathered, celebrated and raided Stormwind. One of my most memorable moments in MMOs.

Oh and i do remember one game where you could be evil, respected and famous at the same time: UO. It was very exciting to meet a notorious PK and even more so when getting away alive...
Maybe this very topic is why I pine and yearn for a return to the Vanilla style of WoW raiding. Not 40-mans perse, but the general overall feeling of accomplishment we had when downing Lucifron in MC for the first time without the aid of strategy guides and wiping more times than I care to remember.

I made a name for myself on my server as being one of the top Paladin healers back in Vanilla WoW, and due to that reputation I was frequently invited by the top raiding guild on my server to be a healer whenever someone was a no show due to whatever reason. That makes you feel very special in a way that defies putting it into words.

Feeling Heroic to me is all about having a solid reputation of someone who gives their all in any encounter and is asked back time after time because people respect your class knowledge to the n'th degree. It's the main reason I maintained my pally as my only level 80 until WOTLK, when the addition of the LFG tool made levelling my Priest to 80 worthwhile. Once at 80 with my priest, I made sure to msg everyone on my friends list from the other raiding guilds to let them know I now had a second toon, and my reputation earned with my Paladin has earned me the same sort of recognition with my Priest where being invited on ICC Heroic runs is concerned.

I wouldnt trade my reputation on my server for any amount of real world money. It means that much to me and I feel heroic in a sense because of it.

Trying to achieve fame in a trivial environment such as a videogame does sound a bit pathetic at first. But in a world where a lot of people dont have to worry about the lower echelons of Maslow, self-esteem becomes paramount. Subjective and personal, it can be derived from anything, even your performance in videogames. Fame can be the result, but only within the niche of videogames.

Actually, thinking of such a thing as 'pathetic' reveals ignorance more than anything else.

Why whould people be famous for putting balls in specific locations (soccer), following artificial rules to move figurines on a board (chess) or even moving arms and legs in a predifined way (dancing)?

Do not look down on people just because they feel differently. It is naive.
Emphasis on "at first", after which i elaborate. I dont look down any road people take to feel better about themselves or even achieve glory. I also did make the sidenote that the videogame world is a relative small one, and fame therein will be of similar weight as a result.
It would make more sense if you replaced "heroic" with the word "respected".

the nature of most MMO environments is such that you only have the opportunity to respect people in close proximity, ie same guild. There's too many people and no real mechanisms for them to stand out. Even if you knew who were the top arena players, you might never run into them or experience their skills.

A possibility in wow could be guild points for activity or events that led to some guild leader table. because there are a lot less guilds and more members. So there would be much better chance of knowing well known guild names and especially if ones guild was vying for position. friendly rivalries.
"How about joining the fire brigade instead of playing video games?"

That's not an either/or :) I'm sure there are plenty of people doing heroic jobs who play video games. How do you know that guy in your raid group isn't in the fire brigade, or whatever profession you consider to be heroic?
Famous WoW players that I can name because of their in game achievements:

Leeroy Jenkins: We all know why he's famous.

Famous EVE players that I can name:

Mynxee: Female player and former CEO of the only all female pirate corp in EVE the Hellcats

Sir Molle: Former leader of BoB (in game alliance, now defunct)

Darius Johnson: Former leader of Goonswarm, Now leader of Goonwaffe.

The Guiding Hand Social Club (Corporaton): Infamous metagamers and masters of espionage and subterfuge

Larkonis Trassler: Member of Council of Stellar Management who abused his position to make a few ISK and got caught.

CrazyKinux: EVE blogger and the unofficial 'blogfather' of EVE. Famous for nothing more than blogging about EVE.

Chribba: Long term EVE player, epic miner, programmer and administrator of a variety of EVE websites and online tools. Also: Forum Whore (No offense mate :P)

I could go on, but the emphasis in EVE has never been you as the hero but more on the groups you can be a part of and their achivements. It truly is a game where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Individual characters usually have to do something truly monumental to become part of the history of EVE, or be leaders of larger groups, just as it is in the real world. Normally its the organisations that get the spotlight, as they can achieve the monumental with greater ease than an individual can due to large numbers working together.

Unlike WoW where a PUG can run a raid with reasonable expectation of success if each player knows their role and performs it well. EVE relies on you knowing the people you fly with, trusting them, knowing how they will react under pressure, and working with them far more closely than in WoW.

Thus it is the groups that get the fame, as a well practiced team can win against what may seem to be insurmountable odds. And by association, the leaders of those groups become symbols and figureheads for the groups themselves. Their only achievement is becoming leader. Much like George W Bush, and Barack Obama they are famous not for anything that the have personally done, but mainly because they are symbolic of a large group whose achievements outshine those of any individual within them.

In WoW no-one is a hero because everyone is.
In EVE no-one is a hero because its more like the real world.
The epic story of Eve is really just beyond anything you find in any other game. The scale of the game is larger in every way. The single shard means that everyone in the game experiences the same events, not just the folks on your server. Second, because an alliance is made of of several thousand players and combat involves hundreds if not thousands of individual battles making up a war, the emotions over events are massively amplified compared to a raid with 24 people.

And being part of a huge alliance means that you can take part in these events even if you're not one of the "household names" of Eve. And yes, there are household names. Lots. This is a game where even DBRB's dog can become a famous!

Almost every Eve pilot in a big alliance has stories about what parts we played in the great events of Eve and that's what puts our stories in an entirely different category from other games. Our experiences affected and were shared by thousands if not tens of thousands of other players. Every event is a world first. Nothing is scripted. It's real.

Of course, it requires training and experience to get into these big fleet battles--about ten hours to train into a tackle frigate.

So where are we today in Eve heroism?

In the last several months, the North has been at work fighting off Sir Molle's invaders. This is really just a continuation of a long series of wars that have been going on for years. The Mittani's act of "treachery" that you refer to was just another chapter in a story that is still going on.

In the current invasion of our space, there were battles large and small. Exchanges of propoganda--Madame Molly declared he would divide the Northern Coalition, so our theme and battle cry has been BFF: Best Friends Forever. We have had espionage. Black ops by mercenary corps striking at the South's home systems. All the things that great stories are made of. And all daily things in Eve.

This weekend this phase of the war came to what may very well be the climax with a huge four day battle over the North's capital staging system in H-W resulting in the destruction of thousands of ships, including a Southern Coalition Titan, and an absolute victory for the North.

I'm just a random low end pilot in a hurricane, but I was there. I was one of, to steal Molly's thunder, one of the "happy happy few." (BFFs!)

Does being just one small pilot among thousands in a low level ship and putting my 7 medium guns on a few dozen battleships and capitals make me feel like a hero?

Absolutely. Big damned hero sir!
The feeling of being heroic comes from fighting insurmountable and unknown odds to win. It was that way in vanilla WoW. There was no gearscore, no formulas available from wow. We didn't know what hit was in vanilla WoW and almost didn't care. We killed a big dragon named Onyxia because we all gave our best, without knowing the limits. And it was epic and heroic.

On the way to The Burning Crusade, the formulas were reveleaded and alot fo the internal mechanics. Now if you lose its because you didn't follow the script Blizzard set forth with the proper numbers and actions associated with your character. No longer heroic or epic.

The problem also is people constantly seek to average out the fun by knowing the numbers and striving to min max.

Heroic and epic have some mystery associated with it. Once tankspot posts the video the mystery is gone.
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@Nils, I'm not trying to make every discussion based on EVE vs everything else. It just so happens that EVE is where the majority of may MMO experience lies, just as Tobold's lies mainly with WoW.

Its perfectly valid to compare the two with regard to heroism and what it means in an MMO.

I picked WoW because it was the one MMO that everyone here will at least be familiar with, but the same (No-one is a hero because everyone is) could be said about pretty much every other WoW clone MMO out there. In my experience EVE is different in that you get to be a hero, but only in a limited sense. You're not the one defeating the evil Lich King and stopping the zombie horde or whatever, you are simply one pilot among many. Only together can you achieve things which will change the face of the galaxy, alone you can't really do very much at all.

The whole point of games in general is to put you in the shoes of the hero, to let you do all the amazing things that heroes do and to escape from your humdrum mundane life for a while. In most MMOs they do it by diluting the value of being a 'hero', making everyone else playing it a hero as well. EVE doesn't do that, its one of the things which makes it pretty unique.

(I can't believe I forgot the Mittani in my last post, but then due to the nature of his work, he'd probably rather I did :D)
I don't think every discussion on this blog should be about EVE vs. the rest from now on :)

We all agree that heros are limited in number by definition.
This applies to everything humans do. If every guy jumped into a burning house to safe the children, the one who got the water to safe the houses in the neighborhood were the hero.

Humans value almost everything that is rare. (If it doesn't harm them). Even if it is something utterly useless, like gold in nowadays real life.

What MMOs, and all social activities can do, is allow you to gain respect from other people within a limited group. That's great.

Single shard games, like EVE, can also add a sense of community and add more meaning. That's not unsimilar to one-shard battlegrouds in WoW a long time agao, just more massive and thus more meaningful.

Since in the future smart humans will have more money (even more so than today), they will be offered MMOs that are catered towards smart people. And smart people like smart stories. At least that's my hope.

One difference between EVE and other MMOs is that in EVE the stories that are told are smart and credible. While the stories that other MMOs tell are catered to 8-year olds.

Why did we build a colloseum in Northrend?? Why did NPCs capture terribly powerful 'boss mobs' in Northend, brought them to the colloseum to have us test ourselves? Isn't that a little bit inappropiate allocation of rescouces? Weren't we there for the Lich King? Didn't we have a limited amount of time? If they really, really think they need this colloseum, why don't they build it in the old world? Should be a lot easier is the absence of the Lich King and his minions.

Why does the LK teleport to the Colloseum right into the center of all his joined enemies? Why doesn't anybody try to kill him the second he is there? How credible is it that this colloseum is built on top of Anub'araks cave? Didn't we kill Anub'arak before in some heroic? Why doesn't the Lich King do something about this flying city right next to his citadell for months ? What did he actually do at all exept for waiting for us to kill him? .... And then Blizzard actually stopped caring about story altogether: Onyxia?)
The story that Blizzard tells me is worse than EVE's GUI :)

On the other hand, the story in WoW that I write myself: My guild, my raids, my BGs: These stories are credible, they are meaningful, powerful.

In EVE the 'official' story is consistent with these stories:

In WoW I may be respected, because I played very well on one of many Night Bane kills. In EVE I am respected, because 'I killed Night Bane'.
I would say that even in a raid with 10-25 people, if you play long enough you eventually get the opportunity to do something "heroic". I might not have had the opportunity personally since I didn't raid much, but I can think of several times in 5-mans and in 10-man battlegrounds where I alone did something that made a huge difference in winning. WoW has that advantage over Eve.
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Stop trolling, JDangerouS. If you are paranoid, seek psychatric help.
What exactly am I paranoid of?

-someone making contentions he can't possibly back up?

-utterly false statements?

-someone misusing/misunderstanding the word "heroic"?

-responses that are confused and unrelated to the original statement?

-having my point be so irrefutable that it has to be removed?

-claims that are completely unfounded and incorrect?


Anyways, Tobold insists on calling me a troll, despite:

1) E-mailing him to explain that not only have I always just wanted healthy debate, but that I have great respect for Tobold and have been a fan for years. I even read through most of the archives dating back to 2003.

2) I deliberately refrain from personal insults (unlike Tobold it seems)

3) I litter my posts with ;) faces to ensure they arent taken to heart. And so that people don't get offended by my debating.

Anyways, its too bad I didn't copy my post (will do so in the future) so that I could show everyone exactly how ridiculous your claim that it was trolling is.

If you seriously can't refute a point, you know its possible to just admit that is so humbly?

What sucks the most is I particularly respected Tobold among bloggers for his humility and dignity.

It's like a kick in the balls to find out that was such a foolish belief.
Oh and you know an argument has been lost when accusations of psychiatric diseases start flying around.

Also, its one of the most despised forms of trolling in existence. I know lots of people with loved ones affected by mental illness, and I sure as hell wouldnt let someone make a flippant remark about it to their face.
"you know an argument has been lost when"

Actually I know an argument has been lost when people start talking about who's winning and who's losing instead of discussing the issue.

Tobold's place, his rules.
See, now I'm curious as to what Jdangerous said...

I find the best way to combat a troll is to continue the discussion, meeting everyone of the points they bring up with a reasoned, polite and rational rebuttal.

Calling them a troll and deleting their posts just gives them what they want; attention and notoriety.

Being nice to them just infuriates them even more ;)

But as was said before: Tobold's blog, his rules. (I'm still curious though)
Back on topic:

I alone quite often do something that makes a huge difference to the success of a group in EVE.

I remember one particular time quite well when the op was officially over and we were making our way home. I was the rearguard scout, in a disposable tackling Rifter, there only to make sure we hadn't picked up a tail. This being the case I was a couple of jumps behind the main body of the fleet and was just jumping into our home system when I spotted an outlaw Demios (heavy assault ship, more than a match for my Rifter) aligning for warp. I decloaked, got a point and web on him to stop him escaping and held him there for a good 30-40 seconds. Long enough for my fleet mates to reship at our home station and come back to pop him. I lost a Rifter with a value of about 200k ISK and he lost a Demios which is worth a cool 100 million plus. I'll tell you that made me feel pretty heroic, even though it was not an event any different from hundreds of similar events which happen daily across New Eden. I got a pat on the back from the CEO and a gf in local and a private convo from the Demios pilot.

My point is, after that ramble, that heroism is relative. Trying to say Game A makes people feel more heroic than Game B is meaningless in the long run as the experience is entirely subjective. I'm sure there are more than a few of you who could tell very similar tales to the one above about your MMO of choice (some of the best I've read have been about Planetside this one in particular). All you need to do is change the terminology.

If the game you play makes you feel like a hero then it has done its job, whether it's an MMO or not.
I agree with Tobold's final thought that becoming famous for a game would pretty much be pointless. Unless someone does something in game that creates something positive in the real accomplishments are arbitrary and irrelevant.

IMHO, even thinking that some semblance of heroism or fame can be acquired from playing a video game makes that person a little narcissistic, delusional, and in general, shallow.

And the above mental/personality disorders are relevant to this conversation. The idea of heroism or fame centers around an individual doing something noteworthy, with other people considering those noteworthy actions as generally positive.

We can argue semantics about the term famous and heroic, but I'd have to argue that it's damn well impossible to do anything noteworthy and positive inside a video game that even comes close to doing the most trivial positive thing in the real world.

I'd consider someone more of a hero for giving a ride to a stranded motorist than someone who simply does something positive in a video game, based on playing that video game.

In fact, I'll go one step further. I'd argue that the only way you can be famous, heroic, or in another sense "good" inside a video game requires that person to do something outside the video game, to benefit another person/group.

Hence, someone in a video game gets a message that a fellow player is choking; if someone is able to notify the requisite people, who then save the choking person's life. They might become famous, or a hero. And they did a generally "good" thing.

But what they did wasn't done as an action inside a video game (such as raiding, taking over another corporation, winning a tournament, etc) but was done in real life. To me, the only way someone can be considerd famous or heroic from a video game would involve something in the real world, with the video game world as the matrix in which the "hero" confronted a problem...before solving the problem in the real world.

Otherwise, it is simply fanboys making a big deal about something in the video game they choose to play, that is really irrelevant to the rest of the universe.

World first WoW kill! Maybe 5 million people care...all of which are WoW players. EvE player disrupts something in EvE...maybe 500 thousand people care.

The numbers appear large, but numbers don't mean anything out of context. If you aren't a player of that game, you probably care more about a piece of lint on your shirt. And I can guarantee that a substantial number of people appreciate others removing foreign matter from their clothing on an hourly basis across the world than care about some WoW or EvE guild doing something entirely meaningless in a virtual computer world.
@n1ck: Its not about real heroism though, its about whether a game succeeds or not in making you feel heroic. Its all about fantasy and escapism, not being a hero in the real world.

Your point also stands in the real world too. The doctor who works his ass off in an ER saves lives, nothing more heroic than that. But he's only a hero to his patients and their families, and even then they may never know his name, we certainly won't. There is a difference between fame and heroism. Most heroes are unsung, accidental, and simply in the right place at the right time.

We talk about 'war heroes' all the time, but we'd be hard pressed to name any, and even if we could they probably wouldn't acknowledge their heroism. They were only doing their job, is what they would say, anyone else would have done the same, etc etc.

You have to remember the thousands of people, if not millions, who spend every day doing jobs that we would normally call heroic but who are unknown. They're not famous, they're not rich, and they probably just want to be left to get on with it.

I think we're conflating fame and infamy with heroism, which is leading to misunderstanding.

You can never be a real hero in a video game, but you can be an unreal one. That is what games are for, they let us believe that we can be more than our mundane little selves. We can save the world, make a difference and get the girl in the game, when the real world hardly notices we're there.

MMOs add something into this heady brew of fantasy and escapism; other people. We can be well known among the inhabitants of our chosen virtual world when no-one in the real world knows who we are. Unlike a single player game like Assassin's Creed or Splinter Cell, your actions in the MMO have the chance of being noticed by the other people playing it. in the real world you are one in six billion. In the virtual; one in five million or five hundred thousand. The odds of you being noticed in the virtual world as opposed to the real are orders of magnitude higher.
Being a hero or famous within a game is all about context. A great hero in a video game may be literally insignificant when compared to a kid who gives his ice cream to his little sister in real life, but it’s the context that’s important. I hate hearing a point made about doing something in real life while talking about video games because it’s hypocritical. We don’t play games just to test our skills, socialize with friends, or train for real life. We play for fun and escapism. Feeling like a hero in an MMORPG heightens the escapism experience for a lot of people.

In real life, all of our predispositions towards certain actions and behaviors are things that we as humans have given meaning to. Everything around us is inherently meaningless; it’s us who gives physical and mental properties significance and value. A video game is just a big bundle of meaning. Contextually, it is no different than the significance we give to things in real life. Being famous in a game is just as arbitrary as being famous in real life, but cultural norms have made us more accustomed to the latter so we give it more importance.

Spending so much time to become famous in a video game may seem worthless and pathetic to some, but many people do enjoy it which makes sense in a world where personal desire ultimately comes before all else. “…given how much good you could have achieved in real life with the same amount of time and effort” is a very superficial and conformist point of view. I could understand that thought process being praised in a collectivist culture, but I’ve always lived where individuality is highly regarded.

Claiming people should focus on the priorities that society assigns them instead of their own interests is just as shallow as someone who wants to be considered Great within a game. Most people spend a third of their life sleeping, a third working to support themselves, and the last third split between various social obligations. That little bit of personal freedom they have left shouldn’t be pressured by those who would rather they spend it for the good of society.
Also, I’d say people are seriously overstating the feeling of being a hero. I agree with Mandrill’s post just above mine, it only really matters if you feel heroic, not necessarily if you’re famous. Those are two entirely different things, but both are still obtainable within the context of a game.

Back in vanilla WoW my guild downed Onyxia and stuck her head on a post in Orgrimmar, giving everyone a buff and announcing our victory. That made me feel heroic within the context of the game. Also in vanilla WoW I was the guild leader of an exploration guild who used that old wall climbing exploit to traverse undeveloped areas and people would constantly message me asking how I got to some location or praising my guild’s niche occupation. I doubt over a hundred people knew about me, but that made me feel famous within the context of the game.

Back in Star Wars Galaxies I built the first jetpack on my server after months of dedicated work with my friends and guildmates. That made me feel heroic within the context of the game. Also in Star Wars Galaxies, I was one of the top Droid Engineers on my server because of my high quality materials and ease of access and I’d constantly get requests for droids from new and returning customers. I doubt over a hundred people knew about me, but that made me feel famous within the context of the game.

Many people here are thinking of fame and heroism only in the context of real life situations, which simply does not scale to MMORPGs.

Being famous in a game is just as arbitrary as being famous in real life, but cultural norms have made us more accustomed to the latter so we give it more importance.

Agreed. It may seem strange to some commenters here, but MMOs are part of real life. Just like all the other activities Real Life consists of.

For most people RL doesn't consist of a lot, by the way:
Work, familiy, a hobby or two, vacation, some friends.
That's it.

There's no reason why a hobby that requires a computer is any less 'real' than a hobby that doesn't.
Of course any adjective - heroic, good, competent - is in the context of a game. You would be doing "better" if you never played any game or watched any TV and just worked for your family, God, Country or retirement fund.

i think the great thing about EVE is that is *not* heroic. Myths with heroes like Achilles or Hercules did not take into account odds or manufacturing base. Between the machine guns of WWI to the atomic bombs of WWII, the idea of a lone hero was changed.

With enough people sole purpose resources, you can accomplish whatever you want. Even if the children on the other side have much better twitch skills. a/k/a "God is on the side of the big battalions"

EVE does this modern paradigm well. There is a reason they are called corporations.
"We can argue semantics about the term famous and heroic, but I'd have to argue that it's damn well impossible to do anything noteworthy and positive inside a video game that even comes close to doing the most trivial positive thing in the real world."

You could make this argument about any sport yet a vast amount of people spend a massive amount of time involved with these activities. Nations even send their representatives to participate in these competitions for nothing more than symbolic victories. All accomplishments are relative to the participants' community.
I would never consider a sports athlete a hero. They might certainly be famous, but not a hero. Not for playing the sport itself, anyway.

A lot of you misunderstand the context I'm speaking about. It's just my opinion, but being famous in a video game doesn't mean much. You're only really known by people who play that game. And subjectively "feeling" like a hero can be done inside and outside of a video game, through countless means.

Or to put it another way, I think, a hero is created by the culture itself, considering someone's actions especially good/courageous, etc. Most people who get labeled a "hero" will even make clear, quite often, that they aren't a hero, don't feel like a hero, etc.

i.e. the public makes people heroes.

Now, helping a lowbie in WoW can make you feel like a hero. Helping someone in any game can make you feel like a hero. I'm not saying it doesn't give you that feeling. In fact, I think any type of game does that specifically to reward you into playing it; especially MMOs (where you literally play as a hero).

But this whole topic started with the notion that a game might be able to make YOU feel more heroic than another game. Saying that EvE does more than WoW, or any other two games compared, is just an opinion.

Feeling like a hero yourself is a somewhat prideful notion (and I don't mean that pejoratively). It doesn't require other people to think it about you. You feel this way because YOU feel like you did something especially good.

Which means that whatever game you play is going to give you those feelings about your actions (because you're playing it). Whether its WoW, EvE, or GTA IV, there are going to be times when you especially kick ass, or do something "good", which by design makes you feel heroic. The game itself often tells you that you're a hero, after doing something the game itself forced you to do.

And I think that feeling heroic has nothing to do with what the game rules are, or how they play compared to other games...but has to do with feeling of you playing the game itself. And because of this, no game is going to be inherently "better" at giving you that feeling. Whatever game you like the most probably makes you feel the most heroic, among other things. Else you wouldn't be playing it.

Maybe I should have started here, but I was just agreeing with Tobold that fame and heroism are almost always mutually exclusive from video games. I sorta skipped the above and focused on Tobold's last point. I'm fairly verbose, so saving space is a good thing. :)
See, now I'm curious as to what Jdangerous said...

He said, and I quote: "I realize you are trying to discredit EvE here for some reason" and "All it looks like is vindictive bashing, and ineffective bashing at that.".

To answer his "having my point be so irrefutable that it has to be removed?"

I hope everybody can see that if I allow him to derail every thread here in which EVE is mentioned by paranoid accusations that I'm just trying to discredit EVE and am vindictively bashing that game, we will never get anything discussed here. His deleted post wasn't even at all about feeling heroic, it was all about me being unfair to his favorite game. The guy is a pseudo-religious nutter, and I'll keep deleting his attack comments if he continues them.

I don't know if anyone has a good definition of trolling, but "attacking the author instead of discussing the subject" is certainly a central part of what makes a troll. I won't allow it.
On the subject. IMO Mandrill has captured the essence of my thinking in his comments, something which kind of was added on top of my thoughts by Tobold. I wasn't asking for fame or fortune in the post: as the topic says, "feeling heroic".

This feeling is very much subjective and is very much connected to the involvement in the game. While the levelling game in WoW is a splendid journey for the first few times, the player is lead to believe in heroic deeds awaiting. At the cap, no-one is special because everyone is, and the 'difficulty' of the encounters are measured by the gear composition on the players.

What the LFD tool did was that it removed the last possibility to gain the kind of recognition within the server of which several commenters tell about: it added a new layer of anonymity in the PUGs. And because there is no fear of losing anything, it has made the pugging even less meaningful as it was.

It's about the subjective feeling in the end. In a game with instant resurrection and no fear of losing anything this feeling is watered down to a point that it causes no feelings at all.

I still haven't tried EVE to prove my point even to myself: I'm flying my eyes closed in this one. But from the comments you can already see that it's all about the subjective feeling: feeling of a job well done. Something I reported lacking in my WoW experiences.

C out
@copra I just wrote an article about my feelings on the 3.3 LFD tool, which actually led me to leave WoW for the sandbox of Eve, despite Eve's playstyle being very contradictory to my own.

To me, patch 3.3 pushed WoW over some line where because it no longer had any feeling of world, I just lost interest. Dalaran isn't a city, it's just a game matching lobby.
@Tobold: fair play re JDangerouS, your site etc etc. But I think you may have been surprised by the response of his fellow EVE players to his diatribing. I would certainly take great pleasure in tearing his delusions to shreds. We don't need rabid fanbois like him representing us to the world at large he gives us all a bad name.

Have you thought of adding something like Disqus to your blog (don't know if its compatible with Blogger). It and other services like it allow you more control over who comments on your blog and lets you add frequent posters to a whitelist and frequent trolls/spammers to a black list so that it automatically moderates these people for you.
Turns out that for services like Disqus to work, all commenters will have to open an account at Disqus. Which not everybody will be willing to do. So I'll live with this more primitive comment moderation system.
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Instead of heroism, what about being the villain?

A great read about an Eve Scammer. Almost makes me want to try out the game.
That's an incredibly good read!

Thanks :)
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