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Engineering Altruism

When players are asked to describe memorable positive experiences from their MMORPG game-play, many bring up altruistic events that occurred unexpectedly. These experiences of altruism typically fall into two categories. The first revolves around getting twinked by a stranger - getting powerful equipment from a higher level character.

When I was a new player I didn't really know what I was doing. My husband had played UO when it first came out but there had a couple expansions since he had quit and we both started up playing so he didn't really know what was going on either. I chose to start with an animal tamer/mage which I found out later was a difficult template for a new player but I liked the idea of being able to have pets. So I wandered around taming low-end pets and selling a few here and there to make money. One day I was leading pets to the bank to sell and I stopped to talk to a friendly passerby. The person liked the name of my horse--MyLittlePony--and shared that his wife was also a tamer. From our conversation it was obvious I was new to the game. This man and his wife gave me several full sets of armor and clothes, 10,000 gold pieces (which seemed like a fortune to me then!), runes to several great spots for taming and several other items. Then, they took me to a place where I could tame forest ostards (which sold for a lot of gold at that time) and even tamed me a high-end pet for when I was a little more advanced. Over the next several weeks we kept in contact via ICQ and they spent hours working with me and helping me find what I needed. It was wonderful to have someone take me in and show me the ropes and give me a few items to get off to a good start in UO. Ever since, when I see a new character I go out of my way to help them out--taking time out of whatever I'm doing to give them some tips or answer some questions. I tend to be that way in real life anyway so it's natural for me to extend that in-game as well. [UO, F, 28]

I was a baby ranger, just becoming active in my guild. The then-Knight General (the guild has a very peculiar hierarchal pseudo-medieval set-up) and his RL wife (ranger/druid in game) ordered me to meet him at the North Freeport bank (we're talking 4 years ago here!)... I was unsure what he wanted... but when I got there he handed me a pair of Ivy Etched Leggings (then not only the ranger quest armor but a very valuable item, especially to a level 20ish ranger!). His wife said, 'Sting would never hand these to just anyone; he thinks you're very special.' Needless to say I was very touched! And they've never been turned in for a gem reward either! From that beginning grew a friendship that spilled over into real life. The druid is now my best girlfriend; her husband also my friend (and though a self-declared hermit always seems to look forward to my visits). I spend weekends with them as often as I can, given the 500 mile drive between us. I've learned to quilt from my friend, helped them with projects, and in general cherish the fact that a pair of virtual trousers has given me this wonderful real-life relationship. [EQ, F, 60]

From my 4 or 5 years MMOG experience Id say that simply helping others is the most memorable thing you can do. Sometimes I would blush IRL at the amount of thanks people would give me. As a higher level player you could totally make someone day just by helping them level for a little bit, or giving them a item that was no use to you. [WoW, M, 30]



 
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Posted on January 11, 2005 | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)


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