Monday, March 23, 2009

7 Habits and MMORPG's

Something that just occurred to me over the weekend...

Massively Multiplayer Online Video Games are fun, and probably most players have used the term "addictive" whether in truth or with some degree of jest. We have all heard the stories of people whose real life has been robbed by the games.

We can all think of many reasons for this. To name a few: MMORPG's have an endless number of activities/quests to do, people don't want to give up their characters which they have invested days' worth of playtime into, people grow familiar with their game's world and grow a fondness for it, and friendships made online could potentially be lost by leaving the game. But I wish to make an interesting connection with a principle taught by Stephen R. Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

My mom taught a class at a community college on 7 Habits/Time Management, so I grew up with this stuff. One important lesson is given about Time Management involving a chart into which all activities can be categorized.

Time Management---Urgent---Not Urgent

Important ------------------1-----------2-------

Not Important------------3------------4------

Explanation of Chart: It's composed of four "Quadrants," and it helps us classify our activities.
Quadrant 1-Important, Urgent
Quadrant 2-Important, Not Urgent
Quadrant 3-Not Important, Urgent
Quadrant 4-Not Important, Not Urgent

Experts recommend spending most of our time in Quadrant 2. This means we should spend our time planning, preparing, building family relationships, learning, and preventing problems.

Why not quadrant 1? Quadrant 1 is important, right? Well, Quadrant 1 represents Crises, Pressing Problems, and Deadlines. Wouldn't it be better to Prevent those things from turning into last-minute issues? Thus, quadrant 2 is preferred.

How am I relating this to MMORPG's? We must admit that single-player video games fall under Quadrant 4. Sure, it's okay to spend a little time here, we all need some relaxation and hobby-time. But here's the interesting part...When you take video games into the online realm, the game suddenly becomes Quadrant 3. Now you have friends who are asking you to join for a dungeon or a raid, and events arise that must be played during a certain week or they might be missed.

This ties into why MMO's can be so much more addictive than other games. They give Urgency to an otherwise laid-back gaming experience. But I'm not here to criticise people--I just thought it was an interesting connection. As long as we are responsible about our time, it's okay to lose ourselves in fun now and then. Just remember, it might be a little harder to do when that game makes you feel like you have to play it NOW.

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