Browsing Category Theories

The Mystery of Ancient Hypergates

As long as I can remember, when you enter an Ancient Hypergates game, people gather up at left. Left is default. Both sides are just as far away, you could go either way. (Like in a Voidstar.) Or you could always go for a split, like in ranked. But no. Left is ‘ours’. Right is ‘theirs’.

Why?

In my short career in retail, I was taught that shoppers cruise predictably through a shop. Counterclockwise. And sure enough, once you know this, you see it. All of them moving around counterclockwise. Like programmed drones. Scary.

But, in Ancient Hypergates counterclockwise would mean right…

What is going on here?

So far I have two theories.

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Social Identity and Guilds in MMORPGs

As you might have noticed by now I am always keen to know the reasons why people choose to game, especially in MMOs. The answer to this can reveal so much. So please, humour me for a second and answer me this:

Which of the following reasons describes your motivation for gaming most accurately?

  1. I like competition and enjoy pushing myself to be better.
  2. As well as meeting new interesting people, I play to spend time and maintain contact with the friends I have made in game.
  3. I log in order to sometimes get a break from RL by exploring virtual worlds, characters and story lines.

Of course we are most likely effected by more than one of these motivations but it is possible that one of them is more dominant than the rest. Are you an achievement, social or immersion focused gamer? What is interesting in thinking about this question is that it can effect how important your “Online Social Identity” is to you.

How we are seen by others is extremely important to us in real life but it clearly also transcends to online gaming. Let me explain myself.

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Addiction

…, and some drug and bewitch the soul with a kind of evil persuasion. Gorgias

Are you an addict?

To define addiction, I will limit myself and use one of the definitions of Michael J. Kuhar: an addiction is seeking and taking drugs, in spite of personal distress and harmful consequences. An addiction is something that you do; it is a behavior.

Is there a connection between substance addictions (like cocaine, alcohol, painkillers) and behavior addictions (like gambling and gaming)?

In the DSM V gambling changed from being categorized as ‘impulse control disorder’ to the category of addiction or the ‘substance use disorders’. This means that gambling is now seen as best understood when it it regarded like substance abuse. In other words addiction to a substance or to a behavior works similarly. Gaming addiction is not (yet) officially diagnosable as an addiction/disorder.

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Why do we ‘troll’? – Guest writing for Rav!

Good morning fellow gamers! The other day my friend Ravanel kindly asked me if I wanted to guest write on her blog today. Of course I said yes. So since my sleeping routines are getting no better and my addiction for writing you guys new blog posts is getting worse (!!!) I’ve been typing away on a new article exploring answers to the question “Why do we troll?”.

“Everyday users on the Internet—as well as clinicians and researchers1–7—have noted how people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t ordinarily say and do in the face-to-face world. They loosen up, feel less restrained, and express themselves more openly. So pervasive is the phenomenon that a term has surfaced for it: the online disinhibition effect.” -The Online Disinhibition Effect, John Suler 2004

This is the subject examined in my latest blog post. To read it, jump over to the Ravalation blog and check it out here. Happy trolling everyone!

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Thoughts on A.I. – A journey through fictionalized philosophy

If A.I. is conceivable than it is arguably possible. Now if it was possible then we need to ask ourselves “Is it desirable?”. Let’s have a look at implications.

The movie Ex Machina successfully blurs the lines between man and machine.

NATHAN
I programmed her to be heterosexual. Just like you were programmed to be heterosexual.

CALEB
Nobody programmed me to be straight.

NATHAN
But you are attracted to her.

CALEB
This is childish.

NATHAN
No, this is adult. And by the way, you decided to be straight? Please. Of course you were programmed. By nature or nurture, or both.

– Ex Machina, The screenplay

Instead of asking how artificial intelligence resembles humans and their behavior why don’t we turn this question upside down and ask ourselves how we resemble artificial intelligence. As humans we are conditioned or “programmed” by our environment and experiences. So what is the difference between us and a machine?

In the sci-fi book “Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K Dick we are introduced to the self destructive nature of man by the character Phil Resch and his increasingly lacking ability to emphasise. Resch has lost all empathy for androids as well as any living thing. He kills not because it is his job to do so but because he enjoys it. When Resch eventually finds out that he is not an android he is in fact surprised. The main character of the book, Rick, can come to no other conclusion except that Resch has lost a critical part of himself that made him human. This is a part of the reoccurring theme of depersonalization discussed in the book. 

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RE: Red pill, blue pill @Noctua

To read the original post: https://gamersdecrypted.com/red-pill-blue-pill/

Sartre’s most famous quote has to be L’enfer, c’est les autres (Huis Clos): Hell is other people. To paraphrase a scene from this book: imagine being locked up with bad and humorless pug’s having to play warzones together eternally. Blame those pug’s! It’s not always delusional to do that. Sometimes it is them.

Yes, according to Sartre, man is doomed to be free, but this being free isn’t easy to grasp nor instantly clear.

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The Psychology Behind Character Creation

In real life there is no appearance modification station and in order to alter the way we are seen by the rest of the world we have to resolve to less flexible means. We can change our clothes, get tattoos or piercings. We can colour our hair, style it or choose to shave it. We can even go down a “body size” or two by changing our diet or going to the gym yet it’s pretty clear that our real life customization tools are far more limited than those in game. When we enter the virtual world of online gaming it is so easy to make the avatar representing us look however we want them to. So what lies behind the choices we make when we create these in game manifestations of ourselves?

Recent research is telling us that when our choice is not effected by in game mechanics (for an example choosing to be a certain class for a stat increase) we are prone to want to create slightly idealised versions of ourselves. This said we don’t necessarily seek perfection. Often a flaw or other resemblance to our own physical selves helps us relate to the character we are playing.

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Ranked PvP and why Bioware needs it

Every day millions of people all over the world interact with each other in online environments known as MMORPGs. Asking these players why they play reveals a wide variation of motives. Nick Yee made a study of this subject. Using this I will tonight write down a short and (hopefully) easy to read analysis of the long term benefits that could be gained from a functional ranked PvP scene.

Let us start by asking why people play these types of games. If we can first articulate the motivations then this provides a foundation to explore the methods of creating a satisfying in game environment. For game developers finding out more about player motivation is important since it can emphasise how certain game mechanics may attract or alienate different types of players. Though Bartle’s Player Types is a well-known player taxonomy it would be hard to use on a practical basis unless it was validated with more verifiable data. I will instead use the paper by Nick Yee: Motivations for Play in Online Games. In this study three main components emerged as the principal incentives.

motivation-to-play-online-game-7-728

If we now take a closer look at rated gaming in SWTOR we have two types of ranked PvP queues available (even if they are highly dysfunctional due to reasons like imbalance between classes and poor matchmaking resulting in the existing population feeling discouraged to queue).

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Hiding behind a virtual mask

The world wide web is filled with people behind masks. What do I mean by that? One of my favourite writers once said:

“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.”
– Oscar Wilde

This sentiment seems to be both true and untrue at the very same time. Oscar Wilde’s aphorisms often makes a person think “Yes, that is very true. Wait… Is that really true?”.

There seem to be things that people are more willing to reveal only when hidden behind the mask of animosity.

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Red pill, blue pill

You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”

Existentialist Jean-Paul Sarte said “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

Sartre was of the belief that ours is a godless universe. Thus there are no absolute guide or understanding in life, neither is there a moral code for us to follow. Sartre meant that we are all radically free. Free to the point of feeling abandoned and forced to take full responsibility for everything that happens, even though we probably don’t really want to.

He also famously said “Existence precedes essence” meaning one first exists, then invents oneself through the choices we make.

The responsibilities that come attached with this freedom can be quite intimidating.

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