Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pay it forward.... In MMORPG's

About a month ago something profound happened to me in Warhammer Online. Another player sent me a new pair of shoulders for my low level Sword Master in tier 1. At these levels getting shoulders early is really nice since they are somewhat rare. I met him in a scenario killing the enemy together. He sent me a tell in game and in role-playing chat told me in essence to use them well to guard against destruction. Of course I asked if he wanted compensation and he didn’t. This got me thinking about MMORPG’s and how “solo” they seem to be in some ways, this person didn’t benefit or have any reason to seek me out to give these to. Yet he did, so it got me wondering, what if I did the same for every rare blue drop I got?

Since then I’ve payed it forward to three other players, all very excited that someone would give them a nice blue for free. I’ve made alliances and formed bonds with complete strangers over such a simple act. The best thing about it is how simple it is, I have a conversation with them, ask them if they are in need of say a blade (or whatever the item is), then offer it up to them and tell them to use it well to defend against the evils of the world.

Now before I come off as looking like I’m some saint or something (I’m not) let me just say that in Warhammer this is sooooo easy to do. First off you don’t really need money, I have oodles of it for mounts/items. Maybe at end game and buying certain things you would feel like you need it, but I’m still not feeling it at the moment. Even so these items I freely gave away would have got me maybe 3-4g at best, nothing spectacular. Also I’m not looking for anything in return, if you are then maybe its not for you. I just want to help out another gamer somewhere, feel like they had someone in their massive multiplayer world looking out for them, and feel a little more immersed in the game. Not to mention get a nice blue upgrade they weren’t expecting.

I plan to take this concept into other games I may play in the future if they have the ability to. All because of one little gesture by some random guy in Warhammer. Imagine what might happen if someone I give an item to starts doing the same, could make our MMORPG communities better for everyone. Well that’s a pipe dream but still, in some small way I like the idea a lot. Do you have any stories like this? Does paying it forward seem like a good idea to you?

1 comment:

Cliff the Chum said...

Yea I've had plenty of pay it forward moments in my MMORPG career(which started with EQ1 in June'99)
It was honestly pretty much the way of the world, at least on the Quellious server. I think that game was probably the best designed for it, even though it may not have been designed with that in mind. I don't want to go into too much detail regarding the ins and outs of EQ because that could go on for hours.
So anyway my pay it forward story is as follows.
Back in my EQ days I played a young level 5 Dark Elf Shadowknight named Azazeal(Doomprophet was his surname). I was roaming the training grounds of Nektulos forest, killing ragged wolves and undead with my ol rusted 1 handed sword.
A more seasoned Shadowknight happened upon me as I was having a battle with a skeleton that was giving me some trouble. He dispatched it and of course I thanked him for saving me.
He took a look at me and asked me if I had anyone giving me a hand in game and I had a couple of RL friends but they were at the same level as I.
Without hesitation he asked me to follow him back into the city and to make a long story short he forged me a full suit of chainmail armor and a proper weapon without any thought of reimbursement.
I had absolutely no idea how to thank him and I offered him all the money I had collected up to that point. He declined saying i would need that money to feed myself (which was true since you did actually need to carry food and drink with you) and simply asked that I continue the trend and pay it forward.
I'm actually sad that I've forgotten his name, but it was 10 years ago at this point on time. The one thing I've never forgotten was the simplicity in such an gesture and how profound it was for my attitude towards the game. From then on I always stopped to help someone in need, and freely gave away whatever I could spare to someone in true need. In fact in true homage to the one who opened my mind I took up blacksmithing and performed the exact same event for someone else about 4 months later. I have no doubt that the young one I helped then did the same for another later on.

Anyway, pay it forward is always a good idea for you and the community as a whole. In fact the only thing I didn't like about CoH/CoV was that this concept could not translate to a lootless game.

Well thats my story :)