Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Harvest is pwn3d by the Raid

Most fascinating factoid of the week so far: There are now more World of Warcraft players in the United States than there are farmers. (This doesn't mean, of course, that the two groups are mutually exclusive; it's certainly possible for Farmer Brown to come in from plowing the back forty and going on a raid after supper, and it's even more likely that Farmer Brown, Jr. does the all-night raid first and then goes out to help Dad with the chores.)

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit, where a reader writes,
My wife and I both enjoy WoW and we are both employed professionals. Many of the players that I meet are in similar situations as ourselves. Few other post-workday entertainment options offer the same level of human interaction and mental activity. While this has almost reduced TV-time in my house to nil, it certainly hasn't impacted my productivity in general.

As for benefits: The most challenging events in WoW requires the coordination of 25 people working closely as a team. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the same situations that occur in the real-word when organizing 25 people, occur in virtual worlds as well. Problem-solving, politics, leadership, communication, team-building… just to scratch the surface.

Here's a prediction for you – right now there are teen aged kids gaining more practical experience leading and organizing in WoW then they'll ever learn in college. 10-20 years from now someone will cite WoW as the formative experience that they built on to become political or business leaders.
I think he's probably right. (The above was written in response to a commenter in the BoingBoing article who said that gamers were "opting out of life and making room for those who would rather do than consume." The reader mistakenly thought that, by linking to that comment, Reynolds was endorsing its views, but he points out that he has written in support of gaming on several different occasions.)

I've never played WoW myself, but a couple of my friends are hardcore gamers; they're all either gainfully employed or pursuing a degree (in fact, two of them are double-majors, with music being part or all of each of their degree plans). And although I don't game, I do spend a decent amount of time online, talking to friends, listening to music, and, yes, blogging. I don't think it's hampered my productivity very much at all (seeing as how I'm sneaking some work in between all the other diversions). Like the Instapundit reader above, it's eaten into my TV time; I'm pretty much down to two shows and Jay Leno's Headlines, at least until 24 returns in the spring. On occasion, the online things have kept me up a little past "bedtime" (whatever that is), but the increased interactivity and reconnection with old friends is worth the tradeoff.

What's your favorite so-called time-wasting activity? Do you ever have trouble keeping it in check? And do you feel that technology has made for more or less interactivity in your life?

Gamers would say that this airport code really sux0rz: After going through a mediocre list of possible alternatives, Sioux City, Iowa has grudgingly accepted the three-letter code for its airport: SUX.

So-bad-it's-good video of the week: Give it up for Star Wars Trumpet Girl. Evidently, this is from the "talent" (?) portion of some sort of regional beauty pageant. The main problem is not just that she's playing her trumpet solo in C, while the pre-recorded accompaniment is in B (how did that happen?), but that she does is again and again and again without adjusting. (As I was writing this post, I sent its link to a friend on AIM who hadn't heard it yet. Afterwards, he said "She needs to stay in the Cantina Band and not show her face outside again." My reply was that I don't think they serve her kind in there either.)

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