Tobold's Blog
Thursday, February 10, 2011
 
Why there are no morons in World of Warcraft

Words have meaning. And while in the real world you can say "Yes, sir" and modulate your tone from anywhere between full subverience to open rebellion, on blogs and forums the only communication possible is verbal. Thus if you use words without adhering to a commonly understood meaning, you are basically just talking to yourself, or maybe a small fan club of people you taught "your" meaning of the words you are using.

A moron is a person with an IQ of 51 to 70. Which makes him cleverer than an imbecile (IQ 26 to 50), and much cleverer than an idiot (IQ 0 to 25). But these terms aren't used scientifically any more, because they became commonly used as insults. But words having meaning is true for insults as well. If you call somebody a "jerk", you not only indicate that you wish to insult that person, you are also saying that it was some sort of not nice behavior that made you choose this particular insult. Choosing "moron" indicates that you think that the other person is not very intelligent.

The reason why "moron" is not a good word to use in World of Warcraft to describe bad players is that there is little or no correlation between intelligence and how well a person plays WoW. Joke videos apart, it is almost certain that Stephen Hawking would be extremely bad at playing World of Warcraft, in spite of an IQ of 160. But even children with mental handicaps can become surprisingly good a playing MMORPGs. Neither World of Warcraft, nor any other MMORPG, are actually intellectually challenging. Training and dedication are much stronger correlated with performance in MMORPGs than intelligence is. The highest performance can in some cases only be reached if you *don't* think about what you are doing, but rely on muscle memory instead. The pinnacle of MMORPG performance is in raiding, and apart from the very first raiders who actually have to develop a strategy, the process of raiding does not require anything more than average intelligence, and good reaction time.

By specifically insulting a bad player's intelligence, you also express your belief that the situation is permanent, that this bad player will never become a good player, because of hardwired intelligence limitations. But in reality whatever keeps the bad player from doing better is almost certainly not hardwired. It might be a simple lack of training, a lack of time, or a lack of motivation. But if you take the guy who is currently doing 1k dps in a pickup group and offer him a million dollars if in 6 months he can get his damage output up to 10k, you would most certainly lose your money. Given time and motivation, anybody who got as far as just joining a heroic is also able to do very well.

The big disadvantage of reacting to any sort of bad behavior with insults is that this approach actively prevents you from coming up with constructive criticism. Even if we bloggers are just armchair game designers, identifying the reasons for why something doesn't work as we want wrongly can only lead to us proposing a wrong solution to the problem, or none at all. If you claim that the "morons" are holding World of Warcraft back, the only solution you could come up with is requiring an IQ test before being allowed to play the game. And as that is not the real reason for people playing or behaving badly, that solution would not improve anything.

Once you look at the "morons" discerningly, and really identify *why* they are behaving as they do, you can come up with a game design for a MMORPG which would actually be better. Game designers can fix bad behavior with social engineering and incentives, so you could lobby them to do so, if you had an actual solution. They can't fix the intelligence of their players. And honestly, they aren't even likely to listen to somebody who just throws around insults. As the philosophists say, "To insult is to assert or assume dominance, either intentionally claiming superiority or unintentionally revealing lack of regard." That only attracts a similarily trash-talking audience.
Comments:
For once, I would strongly disagree with this post. I think you would find an almost perfect correlation between WOW ability and intelligence. It's not that you NEED a huge IQ to be a top player. Having a high IQ means you can pick up the intricices of the game faster and improve quicker. It is harder work for those of low intelligence, and the vast majority don't want to work that hard on it.

While you get plenty of raiders with low intelligence who have worked hard to get where they are, I think you would find far fewer players of high intelligence being the "lolkids" with 1k dps.
 
Also, what was your point about Hawkin? I trust were not referring to his disabilities. Given that, what makes you believe that he would not be able to become a good WOW player?
 
Which word should be used instead of "moron"?

Its nice to have a label to apply to someone when they are genuinely bad at a game that they invest a decent chunk of their free time into. I personally like "baddies", but I'm told thats not a real word. We can't use "noob" either or any variant as it implies that they are bad simply because they are fairly new to the game.

Hmm...
 
Excellent points, Tobold! I would add to this that the concept of a bad player in WoW is very "fluid" as Blizzard is constantly tweaking the game to make it more appealing to a broader audience and as Gevlon shrewdly stated sell the illusion of being a good player. Surprising number of players are sold on the idea that they are good or "above average" not realizing that they are pampered by Blizzard the same way as so called morons.
 
One quick point is that while kids might be smart as far as kids goes, their behavior can be similar to that of an adult moron. A lot of the M&S are, simply, kids playing the game and not caring about doing things like EJ or looking stuff up or really any number of things.

That isn't to say that all kids are like that, and it's not to say all adults do those things - but I suspect a lot of the 'moron' category are actually functional morons as far as adulthood is concerned.
 
Krisps said: "I trust were not referring to his disabilities."
I'm pretty sure that is exactly what he was referring to.

Is there any correlation between IQ and muscle reflexes? How about IQ and motivation? Or IQ and sense of accomplishment? Performance in WoW is based on a lot of factors which are loosely, or not at all, related to intelligence.
 
@Krisps-

"I think you would find an almost perfect correlation between WOW ability and intelligence."

Yer totally forgettings the "give a damn" factor. In The Purge I runs with successful lawyers, university profs, and engineers what just ain't that concerned with how successfuls they is in a video game. They don't read up, they don't practice, they don't analyze logs. As a results, they's terribad raiders despites bein' damn smart buggers.

As far as Hawking goes, of course Tobold was referring ta his disease - the guy's nearly paralyzed from it and has been fer decades. Ain't like it's a secret or nuthin'. Glubbernuggin' brilliant and a helluva survivor, but he ain't never gonna earn no 2300 arena rating.
 
I don't understand why you feel the need to respond to Gevlon? He calls people morons, so you feel you need a wall of text arguing that technically they aren't morons? Why bother catering to him?
 
I would assume that this is why Gevlon always uses Slackers in combination with Morons. The old M&S.
 
I also would bring up the "give a damn" factor. Just because a person has a test IQ that would place them over moron level does not mean they apply it to WoW.

So the person may not be a moron, but the person may be playing WoW as if they were.
 
When did "Slacker" move from being a label for a particular kind of lifestyle, generally considered to be acceptable, even cool, to an insult? I've known many people who would be entirely comfortable to be called a Slacker, but I've never met anyone who was comfortable with being called a Moron.

These terms seem to have little to do with one another. Why are they being conflated?
 
@Steven

I think thats the simple heart of it. Its not like when the word "moron" is thrown around people are saying the player is actually a moron in the literal sense.

Really what is implied by one word is just short for "That player is playing this game so poorly he could be easily be confused for someone with an IQ equal to that of a moron"

Or perhaps "If a moron ever played WoW with me I believe the level of competence displayed with his class would be equal to or perhaps even exceed your own"

Its really just easier to call them a moron then typing something this out every single time...
 
I trust were not referring to his disabilities.

Yeah, you trust that because calling somebody a moron = mentally handicapped is totally okay, while making an oblique reference to somebody having a physical handicap would just be wrong.

So tell me, why would you balk at admitting that Hawking probably would have problems playing WoW well, given his disability, but feel completely comfortable labeling complete strangers as mentally handicapped?
 
@Bahgpuss, slacker was never an accepted lifestyle in all subcultures. I never had much affection for it.

And there are people comfortable being called morons. Moron is, for example, the preferred nomenclature of commenters at the Ace of Spades blog.

The two terms are conflated because the general routine is:

"You are so bad you must be stupid" (a moron.)
"I'm not stupid, I'm very smart. I know the right way to play, but I just don't want to play the right way." (slacker)
 
@Tobold: I used the word 'trust' because I hoped you had a different point. I used the word 'trust' because I thought you were above that. I thought we were discussing intelligence in general, not that physical disabilities might inhibit gameplay.

Also, can you point out one single post or comment where I have EVER discussed mental handicaps? Or used the term 'moron' or any other derogative term to describe someone of below average intelligence?

You can be unintelligent and not mentally handicapped. You response suggests that YOU think a lack of intelligence is the same as someone with a mental handicap.

I hope some wires have just become crossed here.
 
@Klepsakovic:

No doubt that some of these things are a factor. But to get muscle reflex or memory, you have to do something over and over. If you are doing the wrong thing over and over, then even perfect reflex is irelevant. And WOW rarely needs the twitch reflexes of an FPS.

@Ratshag:

That is also a factor for some, yes. But you said they are raiders, even if they are 'terribad' ones. The players I had in mind are incapable of reaching even that level.
 
There's an agenda here. Calling people morons (and noob which at this point has become a synonym for moron to WoW players) gets people scared to screw up.

Whether it's a deliberate style ("I don't suffer fools") or genuine frustration (arggh, how could you stand in the fire AGAIN????) many WoW players feel they are served by being rude to other players.

I imagine there are a lot of people who improve when shouted at, it's a tactic that's been used in many other areas of life.

It certainly stems from design - dependence on others plus anonymity plus lack of friendly fire mechanisms (ie I can't kill you and camp you all night if you call me a moron) - have led to rampant bad manners. The simplest design fix would be a player rating system, something I'd love to see.
 
Funny -- part of the disconnect seems to be that a lot of people don't see standing in fires as rude.

I do.

Calling someone who stands in fire over and over a moron is rude, but it certainly isn't unprovoked, and the one saying it isn't coarsening the game. The one who was wasting the groups time and effort by playing far below the norm was the initial insulter.
 
@Krisps-

Took us six months fer ta clear Naxx in T9 gear. I's pretty sure we's exactly what you had in mind.
 
@Rashtag:

OK, I did say ALMOST perfect :P

I'm not saying there aren't other factors, but if we plotted intelligence/ability I think we would see a CLEAR correlation.
 
@Krisps: Sure, WoW doesn't need FPS-level twitch. But next time a fire lands under your feet, tell me how much reaction time helps reduce damage. Next time someone needs a quick heal. Next time a boss is casting a major AoE.

As for muscle memory, I've found that muscle memory often involves doing the wrong thing over and over again in the process of learning.

@Phelps: Last I checked "he hit me first" wasn't even a valid excuse when I was a child, let alone for adults.

Also, the person saying it is coarsening the game. It indicates a mindlessness, an inability to problem-solve, which may be the exact same problem as the person in the fire.
 
@Krisps

There probably is a correlation between general intelligence and WOW playing ability, but that's true of almost very activity people get involved with. That's not the same as it being the only (or even the most important) factor.

IQ probably correlates to an extent with football-playing ability, but it's hardly the first thing you'd look for in a player.
 
I totally agree with the spirit of your post, that it's counter-productive to insult those that may not play the game as "efficiently" or "successfully" as you feel they should. Everyone has a right to play the game however they want.

Including only playing DPS if they want, which clearly takes less intelligence than tanking or healing. JK!

I do have to disagree, however, that intelligence, in it's myriad of forms, has no impact on being able to "successfully" play an MMO.

Of course "successfully" playing an MMO is subjective, but I think it's easiest for us all to just say, "like I do", or "like I think it should be played". Seriously. We're all intelligent(!) here, right?

Your example of reaction time is an important part of the game, and you may be right that intelligence is perhaps not a big factor on muscle memory; but IMO the more important part of "successful" play of MMO's is preparation.

Being prepared to play well (even at a casual or "average" level) takes organization, reading and internet search skills, evaluating the validity of suggestions, memory, math skills, self-discipline, adaptability, self-awareness, etc. I'm sure we could come up with a huge list of "job interview" types of qualities that help in managing the information overload in MMO's.

And we should be able to agree that those qualities are influenced, perhaps heavily, by what we refer to as intelligence.

I'm a well-educated professional. This game can be freaking hard on the brain. That's why I stopped playing twitchy, repetetive FPS's and have made WoW my primary hobby for the past 3 years.

The best players I have played with are the types with near-photographic memories, brains like a sponge, read prolifically, have limitless energy for playing MMO's and the 12 other hobbies that they excel at.

It's intelligence, man. That's not to say that you're not going to run into (intelligent) asshats/morons or slackers who can't be bothered with gems/enchants or who like to troll or get their jollies by creating drama and/or wiping your random.

But it still takes some smarts to play this game.
 
Everyone has a right to play the game however they want.

Sure. And I have the right to insult them, put them on ignore, and try to kick them from the group, as well.

I am astonished by the number of people who don't see civility as a two way street. Standing in a fire (not being slow on reaction, but simply never moving) is not acting in a civil way. It is acting in an entitled, arrogant way. Making no attempt to learn how to be better is horribly uncivil.

These things, to me, rank up with throwing your garbage in the street, stopping your car to have long conversations in the middle of the road, and talking in the theater. They all have excuses, and the excuses all boil down to "I'm more important than everyone else."

All of the people arguing against calling these people out have no problem acting like the elitists have an overblown sense of entitlement. What about the sense of entitlement that says, "I can waste the time of four or nine or 24 other people because I'm far too important to learn how to play a game that is easily mastered by an eight-year old"?
 
@Phelps-

Don't be such a wuss. If they stands in the fire, chop off they's toes. Burn they's girlfriend's house down. Make them watch ya barbecue they's dog. Put them in a box, put that box in another box, put that box in another box, mail it to yerself, and when it arrives SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER.

It ain't like you weren't provoked.
 
@Phelps

And I have the right to insult them, put them on ignore, and try to kick them from the group, as well.

No you don't have the right to insult other players. Please, re-read EULA.

"When engaging in Chat, you may not: ... (vi) Harass, threaten, stalk, embarrass or cause distress, unwanted attention or discomfort to any user of the Game;"

Now this is just a video game. In real life is it customary for to insult people who do not perform to your expectations?

Making no attempt to learn how to be better is horribly uncivil.

I often enjoy a quiet game of chess with my friend. It is not very competitive. Though we are not beginners we play at a relatively low level. We have been playing for several years without really trying to improve just enjoying each other company. Does it come across as "horribly uncivil" to you?
 
Now this is just a video game. In real life is it customary for to insult people who do not perform to your expectations?

Absolutely. Say I'm trying to get in the door to a business. There's a guy leaning against the door. I give him a moment to move. He doesn't. I clear my throat. He ignores me. I ask him, "excuse me, could I get through?" He looks at me and keeps leaning. I say, "I need to get through." He looks at me and keeps leaning.

At that point, I tell him, "look, a-hole, get out of the way or I'm going the knock the s- you call brains out of your skull."

I often enjoy a quiet game of chess with my friend. It is not very competitive. Though we are not beginners we play at a relatively low level. We have been playing for several years without really trying to improve just enjoying each other company. Does it come across as "horribly uncivil" to you?

No, but if you were on a soccer team, and he spends all his time on the field talking to his friend on the sideline, it is. Especially when the one time he kicks at the ball, he scores an own-goal.
 
You can be unintelligent and not mentally handicapped. You response suggests that YOU think a lack of intelligence is the same as someone with a mental handicap.

Krisp, I suggest you follow the link to Wikipedia I provided and look up the definition of moron there. Yes, it is *defined* as a lack of intelligence in a given range of IQ scores. Thus calling somebody "moron" and calling him "mentally handicapped" is exactly the same thing.
 
"It is acting in an entitled, arrogant way"

This is very common and if you think about it it's nonsense. If someone stands in fire you have no idea what's going on at their end. Maybe their 2 year old fell and hurt himself. Maybe they are lagging. Maybe they simply don't know that the stuff on the ground is bad and don't understand the interplay between healer and group and have simply never realised it's their job to help the healer. It's not that obvious.

If you moved to a higher level of play, like for instance Paragon or Ensidia, you'd be bad. Not rude, just not at their level.

Frankly it seems rather entitled to view anyone who doesn't contribute as much as you wish to your gear progression as rude. You get to be rude back, call them noob, moron etc, without feeling as you should do that you're a dick.
 
@Phelps
At that point, I tell him, "look, a-hole, get out of the way or I'm going the knock the s- you call brains out of your skull."

And do you typically follow through on your promise? How is it working out for you in real life?

No, but if you were on a soccer team, and he spends all his time on the field talking to his friend on the sideline, it is. Especially when the one time he kicks at the ball, he scores an own-goal.

Sigh... Either you never played in the Sunday soccer league or you are just making stuff up.
 
@stabs: I'll go ahead and repeat myself:

They all have excuses, and the excuses all boil down to "I'm more important than everyone else."

"My connection sucks. Carry me."

"I want to play games instead of taking care of my kid. Carry me."

"I don't pay attention to the game that currently has 100% of my attention. Carry me."

"I thought you were supposed to carry me. Carry me."

Make all the excuses you want, but they are still wasting the rest of the group's time, and the rest of the group is justified in resenting that.
 
And do you typically follow through on your promise? How is it working out for you in real life?

Never had it come up in real life, because people don't pull the lazy crap IRL that they do in WoW.

Sigh... Either you never played in the Sunday soccer league or you are just making stuff up.

Or I've refereed them for years and watched people nearly get beaten up by their own team for far far less.
 
@Kepsakovic

I am not denying that those things are valuable. But at least in your example they know that they have to get out of the fire and aoe. They will know when things are coming (or could be coming). Unless they have far, far below average reflexes then they can still be good raiders.
 
@Tobold:

The first line states that it is a term once used. That isn't what it is used for in this day and age which we live.

By current definitions, you need an IQ of 51-70 AND meet two other criteria from a selection. It is estimated that this affects 2-3% of the population. So this alone cannot be the cause of so many bad players.
 
Until someone does an exhaustive study of the actual intelligence of the WoW player base, ANY assumption on the intelligence of ANY player is baseless. And I would argue that it is not very intelligent to make any such assumption.

A brain surgeon comes home from work. He has been up for hours, and saved a few lives. He grabs a Coke, sits down in front of the computer, and decides to waste an hour or two playing his favorite game to relax - WoW.

He is still preoccupied with the condition of a couple of his patients, and, though normally a very good player, is not playing his best at all tonight. In fact, some guys named Krisps and Richard, just called him a moron because he made a couple of mistakes during a dungeon run, and booted him from the group.
 
@Tonyp51:

These are merely theories and opinions - no-one in this thread is claiming otherwise. Discussion of debatable issues using valid reasoning is surely a sign of some intelligence?

And clutching at straws a little now aren't we, with your brain surgeon tale? Anyway, I wouldn't call him a moron, I would just remove him from my group. While I admire him saving his theoretical patients, it's easier to just move on and get someone else.

That is why I don't bother with any name calling - We kick from the group to speed up our runs, any name calling defeats the object.
 
Discussion of debatable issues using valid reasoning is surely a sign of some intelligence?
...
That is why I don't bother with any name calling - We kick from the group to speed up our runs, any name calling defeats the object.


If you mean what you say in those statements I cite, then you should admit that I have a point with my post: The name-calling, especially the one insulting the bad player's intelligence, is bad.

I don't argue against your right to kick bad players from your group. I'm just saying that there is no relation with them playing badly and them being less intelligent.
 
@Tobold:

Certainly, I do agree that name-calling is pointless and counter-productive. But I still believe that the majority of these players that I, and many others, want nothing to do with have, on average, a lower IQ.
 
But I still believe that the majority of these players that I, and many others, want nothing to do with have, on average, a lower IQ.

I read your blog post on the issue, and you are right that a more intelligent person can *learn* to play well quicker. But frankly, how much time does it take to learn to play WoW? Even somebody of average or slightly below IQ can learn to play his class well in a few months. Claiming that people who are bad players after years of WoW are held back by their IQ is just not likely.

You are just succumbing to a social reflex, where you consider YOURSELF as a good player, and more intelligent than the people you don't like.

Someone from the bad player crowd could simply use the reverse argument, saying that highly intelligent people have more important things to do with their time than training how to play a video game well. Thus the bad players are previously mentioned brain surgeons just playing occasionally, while the good players are the low IQ people who are unemployed and sitting in the proverbial mum's basement all day to play.

Of course neither of these views is correct. It just shows how people will always argue that THEIR group is smarter than the ORTHER group. In reality there is no correlation between WoW playing skill and IQ.
 
Am I the only one who would like to ban the "IQ" concept and the label "intelligent"?

I swear, this whole habit of quantifying and classifying people according to very wonky criteria is responsible for more pain and suffering in the world than malaria.

I have met a huge number of people in my life and I can honestly say that barring an infinitesimal number of disabled persons I wouldn't be able to tell who's the more "intelligent". No, I'm not trying to be clever here. Wow players, street wipers, Fortune 500 CEO's, barbers, brain surgeons, painters, rocket scientists, poets, lawyers, professors. You name'em – no one group of people has struck me as more "intelligent" than another. This is not saying we're all the same – quite the opposite. We're all different. And a huge number of people certainly spend less of their time thinking about stuff than others, use less of their brain's capacities. But this is by choice or by circumstance.

Perhaps I should have explained that by "intelligence" I mean, and I understand most people here and elsewhere to mean, an objective measure of intellectual capacity – a quantifiable measure of a man's worth if you will. I feel it's as old and useless as "moron" and should be included in that Wikipedia entry.

But as I said – it's obvious that people are different. In principle I think everyone could be a brain surgeon (that job is mainly about having guts and a steady hand, by the way ;)), but everyone most certainly won't be. Circumstance and attitude rules.

How does this relate to WoW? Well, what we see there we also see out here. It's not that different, although the anonymity allows us to shed quite a few of our inhibitions, leading to a lot more direct communication.

Now, as to "moron"... isn't it obvious that in daily use it has two meanings – used both to describe someone as possessing lesser intelligence but also simply as a pejorative term meant to deprecate another person's judgment with no actual bearing or assessment of that person's intelligence?

I don't believe in morons of the first kind and when I use the term (which I do only very sparingly and only in spoken language, really) I only use it as a general value judgment – in the Gevlon way, if you will. I think most people do.

So I agree with Tobold. There are no morons in WoW, just like there are no morons in real life. That doesn't mean that a lot of people act like jerks in WoW. They do. 99% of those jerks are brought together by making little to no effort to communicate. They are both the "bad players" and the "elite". Just like in real life.
 
And... sorry for the long comment! TL:DR – we're all good people, but some fail at communication.
 
So the general suggestion I get from this is to call unintelligent obviously immature people Morons and people who behave like assholes, assholes?

We could also use different terms as idiot, jackass, dope, dork, pillock, jerk, eejit, turnip, fuckwad, nitwit, amadaun, blockhead, dipstick, galah, goofus, ninny, nong, num(b)skull, pranny, tit, wally or zombie to vary between different terms of "idiocy".

If someone joins up an instance as a physical dps wearing cloth fully aware of the situation that the group has to carry him since his performance will be close to zero, what do you call him in a correct matter of defenition?
He is possibly not a slacker and just wants to annoy people.
Someone who constantly insults people.
Joining up with the words 5 min. afk as a tank?

I personally like the illusion that they are simply morons and that no intelligent person would behave like this, but this fails on reality.
 
I agree that "moron" as a term signifying low intelligence gives little meaning in the WoW context, as we don't generally have the data to judge someone's intelligence correctly based on their playing alone (cfr the "Is bad a valid style of play"-post).

I am however doubtful about if "Choosing "moron" indicates that you think that the other person is not very intelligent." always holds true. I believe that the choice of insults is often picked for "insulting power" rather than accuracy. To provide a different example: if you call what someone in game do "gay" to signify it was bad, you do not always make a judgement about their sexuality, you might just show what sounds scary/bad to yourself. If you accuse someone's mother of being a prostitute, you are stating that you believe insulting someone's mother hurts, not that you think you know something about this person's mother.

TL;DR calling someone a moron might just mean you are intellectually unsecure ;)
 
@Oscar:

Do you honestly believe that, on average, that brain surgeons do not have a higher IQ than, say, cleaners? Or do you not believe there is such thing as intelligence at all?

I'm not saying that it is impossible for someone of average intelligence to become a surgeon with hard work. Nor am I saying that all cleaners have a low IQ. But I can't comprehend how you can think that intelligence isn't a factor in your profession.

Also, malaria kills up to 3m people a year. In what way has the concept of intelligence caused more pain and misery?
 
I have a quite high IQ, yet I never was a good player of any MMO I played. I never really got all the rules of some of these games.

Lack of time and motivation is probably causing most of the players to fall behing. There are other things to do for some people instead of spending time in front of the screen for hours.

Sure, high int helps to figure out how stuff works and what to do in critical situations, but in games there's only so many possible critical situations nad ways to deal with them, that anyone wanting to play somewhat well can lose some valueble time and learn it. Not me though - whenever I am driven to start I stumble upon the question: "Whay am I doing this?!" and leave. I have a lot of learning to do alsewhere, and playing a game is supposed to be fun. Learning how the game works is fun, but training isn't. People tend to optimise things too much, to the point where following them would stop the game from being fun.
 
Krisps,

No, I honestly believe that a person's IQ is a measure of a person's capacity of looking at squares real quick. I don't believe, however, that a person's IQ says anything about a person's intelligence. I also believe that the way people tend to label others as "intelligent" or not – based, not rarely, on IQ scores and other blunt instruments – has nothing to do with those people's intelligence.

I simply don't believe that "intelligence" as a quantifiable measure is a very intelligent concept. :)

As to the malaria thing, I believe these notions of "intelligent people" breeds elitism on a wide scale. I am fully convinced that some people's feelings of superiority towards others underpin dictatorships around the world and is responsible for wars. Call me a hippy if you will (I'm not), or naïve (not that either), but yeah, I think that the world would be a much better place without "intelligence". Of course, I'd love for some smart scientist to find a cure for malaria too! ;)
 
I think there is a definite subset of "hardcore" players that really, really want to cling to the fact that their achievements in game mean something, and thus associate them with intelligence. It makes them feel good inside that they have proof of their intelligence rather than, say, proof of their reaction time, reflexes, or free time, simply because intelligence is a more socially appreciated aspect of a person than any of the above.

But yes, I fully agree. Some of the smartest people I know, both in the real world and within the game, are pretty bad at the game. They can intellectually grasp everything that needs to be done, but simply don't have the reaction time or coordination to put it into practice.
 
No, I honestly believe that a person's IQ is a measure of a person's capacity of looking at squares real quick. I don't believe, however, that a person's IQ says anything about a person's intelligence.

I hate to break it to you, but your belief is scientifically wrong. IQ correlates very strongly with g, which correlates very strongly with all the other "IQs" out there (like spatial IQ and emotional IQ and social IQ.) g is what the psychometric researchers consider to be your innate intelligence, and it is highly hereditary and not influenced much by environment (another uncomfortable finding.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_intelligence_factor

(Malnutrition can hurt g, though, so we should be feeding kids as well as possible.)
 
There are no morons in WoW. But I have played with alot of idiots, jackasses and douches.
 
Phelps,

I have to admit that I'm not broken. Wikipedia still has a *very* long way to go obtain a monopoly on scientific truth.
 
" Also, malaria kills up to 3m people a year. In what way has the concept of intelligence caused more pain and misery?"

Took a lot of smart people to dream up the weapons that has killed millions over the past hundred years or so. Took a lot of smart politicians to start those wars too.
 
How many malaria deaths has intelligence prevented each year? At the very least, intelligence is why I'm alive, so I'm going to go ahead and say that intelligence is pretty awesome, when applied correctly.

As for those intelligent wars and weapons, wars tend to be fought by the stupid or caused by the stupid. Any war which isn't for either freedom, security, or limited, vital resources is stupid. So that makes the majority of wars a result of stupidity, not intelligence.

For something relevant to this post specifically, and intelligence in general, look up Scott Adams' concept of the "induhvidual" and the ways in which all people, at some time, in some way, are stupid.
 
Klepsacovic,

I think I agree with you 100%. The problem is that those stupid people who start wars would most likely (guessing here!) be considered "intelligent" in the common use of this term.

In fact, I think you very eloquently summarised the point I tried to make: when the label "intelligent" is regularly applied to stupid people, it's outlived it's usefulness.

Or to borrow from Stephen Jay Gould's "Mismeasure of Man" – he didn't like

quote
…the abstraction of intelligence as a single entity, its location within the brain, its quantification as one number for each individual, and the use of these numbers to rank people in a single series of worthiness, invariably to find that oppressed and disadvantaged groups—races, classes, or sexes—are innately inferior and deserve their status.
unquote

(thanks to that biased Wikipedia article for the reference!)
 
In other words, it is not refined, the same way that even Hannibal Lecter in the movie The Silence of the Lambs despises discourtesy no matter what action or opinion is expressed. Gevlon has admitted before to simplification of arguments to express opinions on a popular blog in a way that the audience can understand, although this does not excuse any logical inconsistencies as a result of simplification.

If the purpose of a blog is improvements by the immediate changes in choices or attitudes by its readers, then the optimal approach is different from a blog with some other goal. Machiavelli said... in a quote I am completely unable to find... that he was unable to assure the reader that his advice was moral, but that it seemed to be effective where a morally correct course of action would not be.

But back to the point:
"Once you look at the "morons" discerningly, and really identify *why* they are behaving as they do, you can come up with a game design for a MMORPG which would actually be better. Game designers can fix bad behavior with social engineering and incentives, so you could lobby them to do so, if you had an actual solution."

Really, is it so easy as that? MMOs in particular, even more than other types of entertainment or industry sectors, have numerous examples of proposed solutions to various problems which were ineffective. (Side note: governments/militaries are seen as a common source of ineffective solutions, but are remarkably effective when a goal is seen as having enough national benefit for effective people to be assigned or volunteer to work on it, instead of a goal such as "be able to kill anyone in the world given their exact location in 10 minutes instead of 30".)

If it's so easy to identify the problem, and a solution, why can't you offer up one yourself?
 
If it's so easy to identify the problem, and a solution, why can't you offer up one yourself?

Who says I can't? In fact I've already proposed numerous solutions over the years on this blog.

The only impossible task is the miracle solution that makes everybody happy. For example anything that improves the community by forcing players to work closer together will be to the detriment of soloability of the game.
 
Since this article is part of a blog conversation with Gevlon, I will take the problems proposed by Gevlon and yourself in the posts that have been part of this conversation.

1) (proposed by Tobold, in conversation one year ago linked by Gevlon in recent article) The game of WoW is, or at the time was, not challenging for the vast majority of content that most players have access to.

2) (proposed by Gevlon) This is due to the existence of, and attempts to accommodate bad players in the group content that is a hallmark of MMOs. (The assertion at the time that "social = less effective player" is irrelevant to this explanation for lack of challenge that existed then.)

3) (proposed by Gevlon in recent post) The recent buff to LFD means that DPS players in guilds will have longer queue times because of tanks and healers using LFD more often. This is the ONLY substantive problem mentioned by Gevlon regarding the LFD buff.

4) (NOT mentioned by Gevlon, but argued by other commentators on the LFD change and observed in Tobold's initial article on it) Some players become upset when others can play the game at a 'lower difficulty' and get the same in-game achievements or items.

5) (proposed by Tobold) Players with high gearscore or dps are calling other players "morons".

6) (implied by Gevlon, but not mentioned outright as a problem!) It is not the intention of Blizzard for difficult 'achievements' to continue to remain difficult as time goes by, regardless of their present difficulty.


According to these 'problems' proposed by various parties: "forcing players to work closer together" would fix problem 1, but at the cost of increasing the negative effects of proposed problem 2, worsening problem 3 (as seen by comparing Wrath dps queues to cata queues), and worsening problem 5. Group vs solo content is, on the other hand, not an issue if solo players are content with progressing on a different axis of progression than what can be done in a group, and of course this is exactly what WoW did so well with solo quests vs higher quality item rewards from quests and drops in dungeons. Blizzard eliminated many of the perceived problems with previous MMOs while developing WoW, so it's not as if progress cannot be made. However, ignoring an argument that a problem exists (such as #2) is not as effective as either fixing the problem or demonstrating that it does not exist. It's true that an argument is indeed much more effective if it uses words with the meaning that people expect them to, but this should not deter conversation between people who understand the meaning being used.

Gevlon's rhetorical position is that the "M&S" are responsible for the high failure rates of LFD groups that led to the buff. Your rhetorical position is that it was elitist "jerks" that were responsible. Obviously, both explanations are to at least some extent a simplification.
 
Hey Tobold -
I'm replying in part to your comment on my blog post.

First, I never said I was a genius, nor was it my intention to transmit such a message. Also, you DID say that you believed there was no such thing as M&S (that it was nonsense created by elitists).

I think the whole problem in this debate is that people are defining "morons" as different things. I don't disagree with you that in relation to what is considered to be normal intelligence, there are few morons.

I think people generally call others "morons" ingame because they are actually slackers. As seasoned players, we have expectations that we believe are "common sense," that to newer players (or just casual players) may not seem so obvious, even if they are of average IQ.

Furthermore, normal intelligence doesn't mean you will be good at games. But then of course, there are those who will judge your character based on your ingame performance (which is fine, but only to extent), but that is another discussion entirely.

Anyways, your comment on my blog was a little hostile. Hope you don't hate me, I'm not at all looking for confrontation :)

Peace!
 
Also, you DID say that you believed there was no such thing as M&S

Read again. Nowhere, absolutely nowhere did I deny the "S" part. I *specifically* limited myself to saying there are no morons. That the elitists call the less good players mentally retarded, handicapped, and that this isn't right. You are totally right about there being a lot of slackers, me included. But that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence.
 
@Tobold
Response here:
http://owlkinfrenzywow.blogspot.com/2011/02/player-types-in-world-of-warcraft.html

Cheers.
 
I agree going around calling everyone morons isn't helping the problem.

But to me it is a problem, i'm a healer & ah junkie. In guilds it is always the same. The moment players realize the amount of gold i have they want some. And not some, no epic flying, full gear sets. All enchants. easily numbering in the 10's of thousands. I can't afford to pay that for every guy joining the guild. Instead i always offer them help to make money, and a seed to get them started. ( i've proven by lveling on a new server that you can have lvl 40 & 5k gold in under two weeks real life, with limited play time. Easy as hell actually only takes around 1.5 hours a day and mindless questing with mining and herbalism.

Still i'll give them the 5k to get started, help them with professions, explain about nice markets, enough for them to generate an income of 500 / 2k gold a day. They won't get goldcapped but have enough to comfortably raid / get their gear and skills up. Yet NO ONE ever follows through, its fine for the first weeks, but they will spend their seed, refuse to farm for a new start and end up broke again. Not willing to put in effort to make any money. Wich is fine, flipping trades will still give you a good income but it means you must keep a reservoir for the initial investment, yet they use that to buy the new cool blue sword from the ah. ( Wich will be replaced the next quest they complete )

Same goes in instances, i'm healing my butt off, but they can't get out of the fire, they won't attack boss from the side. refuse to step out of voidzone's. Don't step back to use a bandage or click a lightwell. Will not interrupt boss abilities. And cant seem to get a decent spec or rotation together.

I played without even knowing of EJ for 2 years, but my spec was pretty similar & so was the rotation. What they're doing isn't groundbreaking, its simply prioritizing to min / max, the dps difference will put you at 5 - 10% over what blizzards tooltips will tell you. All it comes down to is choices like is arcane shot better or worse then aimed shot. Anyone can do the math themselves. Its slacking not to know you're exact haste vs crit statweights. Its imbecile not to know you have a spell called Blink.

In essence those are often the same players, yet the amount of slacking off there is so severe one might question their intelligence. All they had to do in the end is open up their spellbook to find it.
 
What is the practical difference between someone who who is too dumb to get out of the fire and someone who is too lazy to get out of the fire? It's all the same to me.
 
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