I know what you’re thinking … how could an online fantasy game have any educational value? Aren’t games just black holes of wasted time? What could we possibly learn from playing an online game with faceless strangers? Well, in order to answer these questions, we must learn to reframe and look at games, especially Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games [MMORPG], as more than just fantasy environments.
First, we must look at MMORPGs for what they are: massive simulations. Games like World of Warcraft [WoW] are open environments that you can move around with almost absolute freedom. Through embodied cognition you’re able to experience and learn from an environment on your own terms. Unlike other games, you are not forced down a path of game plan that you can never diverge from. You have the choice in WoW to explore at your own pace, or take on missions.
One of the largest motivators for any student is being given a purpose, to have one’s actions have impact. WoW achieves this by giving players not only quests and missions, but giving them tasks that fit the level they are in the game. No task is too hard or too easy that the player loses interest. In the event a player loses interest, the game incentivizes coming back to the game by boasting how quickly you can level in the game. In addition, the game gives you relatively quick feedback in how you are doing by showing your progress, and rewarding you for the things you accomplish in the game [i.e. skill points, armor, weapons, trinkets, food].
Furthermore, WoW allows you to be part of a community that trusts you from the very beginning. The success of every player is in the communities interest. You have the option to attempt quests on your own, or have a social network that will aid you through the game. This community is also responsible for the second largest Wiki online, after Wikipedia.
One of the biggest appeals of WoW is that it is an escape from reality. While this might seem like a negative, it has been seen that people are as productive in the WoW game environment as they are in the real world. In fact, being immersed in a simulation might lead to creative problem solving for real world issues.
So are you ready to see first hand the potential of World of Warcraft?
First, choose a Faction by clicking on the images below: