Friday, February 24, 2006

World of Warcraft vs Street Fighter

No, this isn't the name of an upcoming Blizzard vs Capcom crossover game, which will be a launch title for the Nintendo Revolution and make full use of that funky Nintendo Revolution controller (I wish). Instead, I want to discuss the current Gamasutra editorial, World of Warcraft Teaches the Wrong Things, which argues that Street Fighter is like real life, World of Warcraft is not like Street Fighter, therefore world of Warcraft is bad.

The last time I played Street Fighter II, it was competitive and I did very well. I kicked ass in the game and got physically beaten up several times that night for winning. The tournament was held in a Church. Of course, the organizers encouraged everyone to meet for follow-up activities. The follow-up activity I attended was a rant-session where the Pastor roared about Jews wanting to take over the world. The fact that the last time I played Street Fighter II was at a recruiting activity for neo-Nazis speaks volumes about what kinds of of people really play Street Fighter. And the kids there? Well, it was obvious that their parents forced them to go to that Church for fear that they would otherwise end up in jail. The church later got trashed by Satanists, by the way. I swear I had nothing to do with it.

I started playing World of Warcraft last week. It was the first game I really got into since I finished KOTOR, and I'm quite liking it. The world feels solid, self-consistent, substantial. Like Blizzard's other games, it gives you dozens of things to think about at any one time. Walk into a new town, and twenty people ask you for favors. At this point, it's basically Diablo III: do quests, get treasure, sell it, repeat. At first you do everything solo. Form a small group if you want. Want money? Get a profession and keep practising until you get good. My friend, who you may know in the game as Rothgard, is at the stage in the game where you do everything as part of a large group. The guild he's in, the Primacy guild, is one of the most hardcore in the world. This seems like a good metaphor for real life, where you develop yourself as much as you can but eventually find that you need other people to do anything.

Which game sounds like it's better for you?

According to the Gamasutra article, it's Street Fighter. I happen to disagree.