The Benefits of Playing MMORPGs
How Online Gaming has a Positive Effect on People
The benefits of playing MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) include learning to relate to others and practicing teamwork, learning to set and achieve goals, increased self confidence through positive reinforcement, and a safe outlet for relieveing frustrations.
**Note: While the author believes in the positive effects of MMORPGs and their like, online gaming, as with everything, should be practiced in moderation.**
Relating to Other People and Teamwork
MMORPGs bring together people from around the world. While some games break servers down into language and time zone brackets, others welcome everyone into the same community. Having open channels of communication allows the players to socially interact in a global community where they can befriend and learn more about others. Many of the games include a guild or clan system which allows for even tighter knit groups of people working together and sometimes using programs such as Ventrilo or TeamSpeak to vocally communicate as well.
Game activities such as quests, dungeons, and PvP (Player vs. Player) battles encourage the formation of parties or raid groups in which anywhere from 2 to upwards of 50 people unite to help each other in a common goal. Each person has a role to play within the party and communication, and cooperation become important. Through experience, players learn to adapt to others, and those who develop good leadership skills can shine.
Recently employers have begun to recognize the value of people who have shown the initiative to manage MMORPG guilds due to their organizational, morale building, and leadership abilities.
Setting and Achieving Goals
The games themselves provide many pre-set goals for the players such as completing quests and reaching new levels. Quests generally require players to collect certain items, explore new areas, or defeat monsters while experience points help them to reach the next level. By using these pre-set goals, players can set themselves with personal goals such as to reach a particular level in order to open up more game content. As the games follow specific rules, it is easy for players to set themselves on a path to reach the goals they set. Often there are multiple ways to accomplish the tasks which allow each person to choose the direction that they as an individual are most suited to perform.
By exploring different styles of play, players are learning more about their abilities as a person when it comes to decision making. A wealth of information about the games is available on forums, wikis, blogs, and personal websites. Players that choose to utilize these resources also increase their researching skills and internet savvy.
Self Confidence and Positive Reinforcement
In today's world, there's just not enough positive reinforcement. The reward for most people doing their best at work is the same paycheck week after week with the occasional bonus or raise. Some lucky folks have a boss who takes the time to let them know when they are doing well and that their efforts are appreciated, but this isn't always the case.
MMORPGs, on the other hand, are all about rewards. When players complete quests, they are generally rewarded with experience points as well as in-game currency and/or an item they can use. When they reach new levels, they open up new game content and increase their character's potential. Not only do the games reward the players, but other members of the communities do as well. Players congratulate each other on their accomplishments and tell each other when they are doing a good job at something. Major accomplishments are sometimes recognized on game forums where players who may not even be familiar with someone can pass on their congratulations for achieving a tough goal.
The positive reinforcement that players receive gives them a sense of accomplishment which in turn builds up their self-esteem and self-confidence. It has been found to be so effective that some companies have begun using it as a business model and some teachers have incorporated it into the classroom.
Tension Relief and Venting Frustraion
There' s an old model that relates: A man has a bad day at work. When he gets home, he takes it out on his wife by yelling at her over something minor. She, in turn, becomes upset and takes it out on their child. The child, having no one he can yell at, goes off and kicks the family cat. Rather than creating a chain of aggression leading to violence against felines, many MMORPG players find that a great way to relieve tension is to slay internet monsters or engage in PvP battles until their anger has been spent.
The frustration is vented against creatures consisting entirely of computer code and pixels rather than family and friends (or cats.) MMORPGs create a safe environment for people to get the woes of their day worked out of their system from behind a screen and a keyboard.
Wrapping It Up and Links for Potential Gamers
This article has listed some of the benefits of playing MMORPGs. It should also be noted that beyond what has been mentioned, these games are fun. That's right, they're games and games are fun. There are MMORPGs available for pretty much every age and interest group. Below are links to various game sites with brief descriptions. The links listed as Children's Games all include safety features which prevent children from being exposed to explicit language as well as keeping them from being able to inadvertently revealing personal information.
MMORPGs which require purchase and subscription fees:
- World of Warcraft: A fantasy-themed MMORPG based upon the Warcraft series of games.
- Final Fantasy XI: A fantasy-themed MMORPG based upon the Final Fantasy series of games.
- EverQuest Universe: A fantasy-themed MMORPG.
- Warhammer Online: A fantasy-themed MMORPG based upon the Warhammer series of games. Includes an endless free trial with restricted play.
- Lord of the Rings Online: A fantasy-themed MMORPG based upon the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Will become free to play Fall 2010, open Beta available now.
Free To Play MMORPGs:
Aeria Games: A collection of MMORPGs with Fantasy, Historic, Futuristic, Oriental, and Anime themes and more.
- Dungeons and Dragons Online: An MMORPG based upon Dungeons and Dragons
- Pirates of the Caribbean: An MMORPG based upon Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean.
Free To Play Children's Games:
- Wizard 101: Young Wizards join forces and battle monsters!
- Disney's Pixie Hollow: Create a fairy, meet friends (and Tinkerbell), play games!
- Disney's Club Penguin: Make a penguin, meet friends, play games!
Game Information Sites:
- Aeria Games Blog
- MMORPG.com: A review site for MMORPGs.