An Insiders look at an Online Role-Playing game

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I have written a 6500 word article about online role-playing games. The article is written to give a lot of information to a non-player who is curious about this type of game. This is not a step by step of how to play such a game, but is more of an in depth view into why over 19 million people play these games and what is to be expected in them. This article is written with a parent or non-player in mind so they may understand the many facets of a massive online fantasy role playing game. This article has a lot of specific information about World of Warcraft from Blizzard Entertainment, the largest online role playing game.

Inside an Online Role Playing Game

By: Joe Attanasio 2011


You may ask yourself, what is a ‘Online Role Playing Game’, and why are over 19 million people playing them worldwide as of 2011? ‘World of Warcraft’ by Blizzard Entertainment is the largest with over 12 million players alone. Most of the game specific information in this article pertains to World of Warcraft. Officially these games are called MMORPG’s or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games. This is a virtual game world where a great many players interact with each other. These games are called RPG’s for short (role playing games). Many of the RPG’s have a ‘medieval’ style theme, using magic, swords, etc to slay monsters. These games typically contain castles, keeps, horses, dragons, blacksmiths and leatherworkers etc.

People generally play this type of game for fun and adventure, immersing themselves in a fantasy world to meet others and challenge themselves. There is no particular goal in the game, although many people play to become rich, powerful, popular, maxing themselves to the highest level, like level 85. Some people simply play to occupy their free time with something new and fun and have no final goal in sight. They have no desire to reach their maximum possible level of 85. They may have 5 or 6 chars of a low level like level 9 or level 10 happily playing in their spare time.

Why do people play?

People play RPG’s for a variety of reasons. Some play because friends or acquaintances who play have encouraged them to play also. Some play to escape reality and lose themselves in a fantasy world. Some play out of boredom or curiosity. Some play to meet people and socialize. Some play for the adventure and the challenge.

Others play to share time and experiences with a husband, wife or to play with their children. Some play to get an advantage with a business contact, meeting them in a social environment.

Some play to get powerful and feel important and have bragging rights. Some only play to level up and get a character well geared, then sell the account for real money to people that want an instant powerful character. Selling chars like this is against the terms of service agreement in the game and is therefore illegal, but it still happens. People who are disabled and have to stay at home may play for recreation they can do at their own pace. Also, people with disabilities can play characters with no disabilities, helping them get the sense of feeling ‘whole’ again. Stay-at-home parents can find the game a relaxing place.

People play to be a part of something larger than themselves. Some just want to be cruel or mean to other people and get their aggressions out. People play to have an instant attentive audience of thousands of people reading and commenting on whatever they type. Others play because they are lonely, the game world is full of people at all times of the day or night whom they can keep company with. I once knew a man who was divorced and had limited visits with his son; he arranged for his son to get the game so he could share more time with him by seeing him online and doing things with him in the game.

Setting up to play

What is needed to play? A mid-range modern computer with a high speed internet connection. You must purchase the latest version of the RPG software and install it on the computer. You must purchase play time, which can be done in different ways. You can buy a monthly game time card from many stores that sell software and enter the code into the game account screen. You can give your credit or debit card account information to the game manufacturer and have a certain amout deducted each month. Companies like Blizzard safeguard your credit card information and are reliable. Monthly amounts vary from game to game but are generally in the $14 to $15 range.

Once you have the game on your computer and have purchased time to play. you ‘log into’ the game and create a character (char) to use. When you exit the game, your character will be saved in the place and state at time of exit and will resume in the same place and state when you ‘log in’ again.


Some games require you to select a faction (an alligence), like Yankee or Confederate, Earthling or Martian, Cat or Bird etc. With ‘World of Warcraft’ the two factions are called ‘Horde’ and ‘Alliance’. You have to pick one or the other and this cannot be changed after starting your char unless you are willing to pay an aditional fee. These two factions are essentially at war with each other; you cannot talk to or party (group) with members of the opposite faction. Each faction has their own cities and are not allowed in each others cities. If a Horde char enters an Alliance city, the guards will atttack and kill him.

Character creation consists of choosing a faction (Horde/Alliance), a sex (male/female), a race (human, orc, troll, night elf, dwarf, etc) and a class (priest, warrior, hunter, rogue, mage, etc) then physically defining the char with the looks you prefer (skin color, hair, face, beard, ears, etc) and selecting a unique name for your character. In World of Warcraft you can choose from 6 races for each faction and 10 classes. You may end up with something like this: A Horde faction, male, blonde haired, troll mage (clean shaven with small tusks), named Rondell. Or a pink haired, female, Alliance, dwarf hunter named Foxglove.

Each race is only available to one faction. In World of Warcraft, you can only make a troll (race) char if you select the Horde faction and can only make a human (race) char if you select the Alliance faction. Because you are in a 3-D environment, this makes it a lot easier to distinguish what faction a person is in by his physical appearance in the game.

Some players choose to create a char of the opposite sex as themselves sometime during game play, after all, it is a ‘role playing’ game. Your char creation usually takes some time and thought. You will most likely have this char a long time and want to be comfortable with your creation. Most games allow you to create 1 to 20 chars if you choose, and you can delete the ones you don’t want at any time. Some games allow you to change your char for a fee, and this can be an option instead of deleteing a more developed char you’re not happy with.

First time online

Ok, it is time to start. You have now made your char, so what happens next?

Your char appears in a very very large 3-D virtual world. You see Non-Player Characters (NPC’s) - these are not other players; they can be friendly or hostile, and you can talk to them or attack them depending on their status. You also see other players (like yourself) moving around doing things, and you can talk to them or attack them depending on their status. First time players are often confused as to who is a real person and who is a computer generated person (NPC). This confusion does not last long as both types of chars (real players and npc’s), act differently. NPC’s typically stand still or move in predetermined patterns. If you talk to NPC’s you realize their speech is scripted or predetermined.

Most games start off new chars in a ‘starting area’ that has no hostile players and gives a new player a chance to get used to how things work. In World of Warcraft if a player dies in the game, he loses nothing but the time it takes to return to his corpse in ghost form from the nearest grave yard and resurrect himself, a very handy feature.

All new players start out at a low level of skill and endurance and with very minimal clothing or armor and weapons, usually as a level 1 player. As you gain experience points your level raises and your skills and amount of health increase. This makes you more powerful and able to withstand more damage before losing all your health and dying. Typically you gain levels faster when you are in the lower levels and much slower as you approach the higher levels. There is always a ‘high end’ level cap, like level 80 or 85 etc. You gain experience points in many ways; discovering new areas, questing, killing, crafting, gathering. You must train a profession to be able to gather or craft items.

Discovery: You are free to walk, run or ride anywhere in the massive lands, and by moving to a new area you are frequently given experience points. Certain areas may be restricted to you in some way until you achieve a certain level or accomplish a goal allowing entrance. Other areas will have monsters (mobs) so much higher than you that you cannot survive going there until you reach a certain level.

Questing: The NPC’s in the game will frequently offer quests for you to accomplish. In return, you receive gold and equipment and experience. These quests can be as simple as requesting that you talk to someone or gather certain items from around the area or kill so many of something or someone specific. An example of a quest would be: “Take this meat to Jones the butcher. He is in his shop just south of here, and he will reward you.” When you accept the quest the meat will appear in your pack.

Killing: The act of killing a monster or enemy (mobs) consists of equipping a weapon or casting a spell and attacking the mob until it is dead and you are still alive (yes – they hit back).

Crafting: You can sometime gain experience and skill by crafting an item with your profession. These include such professions as: Leatherworking, Tailoring, Blacksmithing, Jewelcrafting, Engineering, Inscription and Cooking. For example, a Blacksmith can craft a plate helmet using Titanium bars made by a miner that smelted the bars from Titanium ore he collected.

Gathering: The gathering professions are usually Herbalism (gathering flowers and plants), Mining (gathering ore), and Skinning (taking leather from animals that are dead). World of Warcraft also has an Archeology profession where you dig around the world for artifacts that tell the story of the in game inhabitants. Fishing is available also.

Most games include such amenities as the following: towns and cities, vendors to buy from and sell to, banks to store your items, packs to carry your items, an auction house to sell your items to other players, and public transportation to move between places.

A large number of diverse mounts will be available in all games. These can vary from horses to flying dragons. These travel at much greater speeds than walking and allow you to get around the world a lot faster.

Who is playing these games?

There are no true world study/surveys revealing the age and gender of RPG players. Having personally played RPG’s for so many years I have a good idea of who is playing. I know of four-year-olds that are allowed to play under mom and dad’s supervision and I know of sixty-five-year-olds that play regularly. The largest percentage of players seem to be in the 15 to 35-year-old bracket.

An ever increasing number of females are playing for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that the game manufacturers are changing the game to make it more inviting to them. You can make and wear clothes that are fashionable not just practical. You can visit the barber shop in town and change your hair style and looks. The in game ‘story lines’ include weddings and romance. You can earn and purchase ‘vanity pets’ like cute little bears or penguins to follow you around. All the players can dance, each race has a popular dance associated with it. The recent estimates put the average player’s age at 28 years old and the male/female ratio at 5 males per 1 female. It is not uncommon for a player to know three or more other players from real life outside the game.


The game is played on realms or servers. These are separate but complete copies of the game world. Each realm or server is isolated from the rest. People on each realm can only interact with other players on their realm. Each realm will consist of several thousand players. These players will be further divided socially by faction. You can only speak to and group with members of your own faction. In World of Warcraft the two factions are called Alliance and Horde. If an Alliance char talks publicly near a Horde player, the Horde player only sees gibberish or mixed up meaningless letters. An Alliance char cannot whisper a Horde char. However, a small amount of preset physical emotes is allowed between factions. An example of an emote would be typing /hug to another player and the words on the screen say Player ‘A’ hugs player ‘B’.

If a Horde player emotes to an Alliance player that he is sorry, everyone in the area will see (Player ‘A’ tells player ‘B’ he is sorry). There is a limited number of emotes and they can only convey a few basic ideas.

However, between players in the same faction there are many ways to socialize and communicate. You can say something publicly, and all people of your faction in the same area can read it. You can yell something, and all people can see it in a much larger area. You can whisper another player, and only you and the other player can see what you said. You can say something publicly in the regional chat, and every player from your faction in the entire region can see what you said. If you are in a city and say something in the ‘Trade chat’ then every player in every city can see what you said at the same time. Since people tend to congregate in the cities, this would be a large percentage of the players online at that time. This is a huge audience, just waiting to hear what you said and comment on it. I am sure you must realize the power this gives every player, to be heard and read by so many people each time they say something.

There is also ‘in game mail’ and you can mail a letter to anyone in your faction. This in game mail also allows you to send certain items to other people in the mail, like a package might be sent.

When people group together to accomplish a goal, they form a ‘party.’ While in the party, these people share a ‘party chat channel’ and only party members can see that chat. Party chat can be seen anywhere in the game world.

In addition to the previous ‘chat channels’ there is a ‘chat channel’ reserved only for guild members to talk amongst themselves. A guild is like a fraternity or sorority or club or gang of people that have joined together to enjoy the game with each other and help each other out. I will talk about the guild a little later but suffice to say for now, their chat is only for their members to see, no matter where the members are in the game world.

Live talking between two or more players is also allowed using a microphone and speakers, very much like a telephone with party chat if you will. This can be very helpful for people with disabilities and poor typists. There are also ‘third party’ programs (not provided by the game manufacturer), that allow people to talk with a group. These programs are often used during dungeon raids to make it easier to communicate lengthy ideas, or when you are so busy that typing is awkward.

Making Friends

RPG’s encourage in game friendships. In the starting area, many people ask other players a question like, Where is something? How do you do something? Who do you talk to? This encourages players to help others and be helpful and share knowledge of where people and places are and how some items are used.

In World of Warcraft, you have the ability to add anyone in your faction to your ‘Friends List’, which alerts you anytime that player enters or leaves the game and makes it easy to whisper them and say hello. You can have 50 people on your friends list in each realm that you play on. On the other side of the coin, you have an ‘Ignore List’ that you can add people to and they no longer have the ability to whisper you. When someone on your ignore list tries to whisper you, they are told that they are being ignored by you.

Crafters advertise their wares in the city trade chat channel. This reaches a lot of people. They have the ability to list a recipe for something they can make. People can gather the items required and ask that crafter to make it for them. It is customary to tip a crafter when using your items and his skill to create an item. Players frequently add a good crafter to their friends list so they can ask to buy items from them at any time.

Of course if you know anyone on your realm in real life you will probably want to add them to your friends list as well. During game play there are many instances where a group of people need to be ‘partied together’ or grouped to accomplish a goal. The most common group is 5 people. When people enjoy grouping with someone for a quest or goal, they often add them to their friends list.

When you join a guild you will instantly have many potential friends as guilds are primarily a social organization. Even for the shy players, seeing what their fellow ‘guildmates’ (other guild members in your own guild) are talking about all the time in guild chat makes them more familiar to you and helps you to learn about each of them.

As you might expect, some real world friendships are actually started by people meeting in the game, then meeting in real life later.


Guilds start out at level 1 and can mature to level 25. A guild grows by its members deeds. The higher level the guild the more in game ‘Perks’ or advantages its members receive. A guild has its own bank the members can be given access to deposit and withdraw items and this is a great way to share. One of the in game perks is ‘10% faster riding’ for all members.

A guild can be started by anyone who can get 10 other players to sign his ‘guild charter’. They are not required to stay in your guild if they sign the charter. They must not already be in a guild to qualify to sign a charter. Frequently, players forming a new guild will offer to pay people to sign their charter reminding them that they can leave immediately after if they want.

When a guild is formed the guild master (CEO, President, Monarch, Dictator) must name the guild. A guild master has total control of all aspects of the guild. Anyone can leave a guild at any time, but they cannot join a guild unless invited. Players can be expelled from a guild by the guild master at any time.

The guild master may promote any other guild member to guild master if they choose to. The guild master determines ranks within the guild and can promote or demote members as he sees fit. Each rank can have certain advantages determined by the guild master.

Guilds, like players, start off at level 1, and can grow to be level 25. The guild grows by its members’ deeds in the game. A large active guild will grow quickly, but a small guild may take many months to move from level 1 to level 2. As a guild ‘levels up’ certain ‘in game’ perks (advantages) become available to all its members.

Guilds can openly recruit players, and players can read guild advertisements and apply to the ones that interest them.

Guilds can have up to 500 members. As you can see, guilds are an important social structure in the game. Guilds with many well geared and knowledgeable players can help a fellow guild member advance and get geared as well. Guilds with a few friendly people can be a comfortable and enjoyable ‘home’ in the game. Most players join a guild.

Guilds are the premiere ‘social structure’ of the game. Choosing a guild that suits your maturity, play style, goals, size, serenity (or drama), friendliness and whether they are demanding or let everyone do things to their own liking, can be difficult. Creating and managing your own guild can be demanding but can also be rewarding. Keeping most of your members happy is a full time commitment. Trying to coordinate guild events with members’ play schedules is particularly challenging. Not everyone is suited to running a guild, in spite of what they think. It is akin to managing a large social and business organization with friends and family. It is estimated that 12% of all players will at one time or another be a guild master, with many giving it up as a thankless job that requires a lot of time and work.


PvP is an acronym for “Player Versus Player”. When and where pvp is enabled players of one faction can attack and kill players from the opposite faction; no player is safe from attack and can be attacked at any time. This can create animosity for the opposing faction. There are entire realms or servers that are ‘PvP realms’ and there are only a few safe refuges from attack in the entire world. Realms where PvP are limited to only a few small areas are called PVE (Player vs Environment) realms. It is this PvP scenario that fuels ‘faction hate’. To further instigate friction, players can use emotes. Emotes are like ‘body language’ which can convey a message between players. Emotes can be as simple as smile or hug or apology.

Here is an example: An Alliance char on a PvP realm is busy doing a quest and is almost done and a Horde char attacks him from behind and kills him, the Horde char can emote (he spits on your corpse) then he emotes (he laughs at you). This in turn might infuriate you. When your ghost returns to your corpse and you elect to resurrect (become alive again) you do so at half health. The Horde char can ‘camp’ your corpse (stay in the area waiting for you to return) and upon seeing you alive at half health, uses his advantage to kill you again and laugh again.

Human nature can take over and the animosity escalates. Emotion is very much a part of RPG’s.


Characters have many ways to get rich in the game. They earn gold from finishing quests as a quest reward. They can sell items they looted (removed) from monsters or mobs they killed. Some mobs have gold as loot also. The items you acquire can be sold to vendors or other players.

World of Warcraft has an Auction House for each faction that works a lot like e-bay. Items can have a bid or buy out price. Players can search the auction house to buy or sell items by name or browse a category like ‘shields’. The Auction house takes a small cut of the sold items as a fee.

Crafters can create items for sale from the raw materials they loot or buy, and sell those items. Each realms auction house prices will vary greatly as to the specific economy on that realm. Prices will also fluctuate widely by supply and demand as in real life. The Auction House is so popular that people have the ability to buy and sell using their smart phone from anywhere in the world at anytime of the day.

Crafters can create items using their own materials and sell them. Crafters also can create items for other people using the other persons materials and often receive monetary tips for their services.

Game gold is sometimes sold for real money by ‘gold farmers’ that work for organized companies taking advantage of players need/greed for more wealth. These gold farmers use cheats and scripted move/attack/loot moves in the game to amass a large amount of game gold, then their company advertises it on web sites and in game for sale. The way it works is that you send money order or credit card and buy $10,000 of game gold for $47.00 of real money and they get your characters name and realm and deliver the gold to you in the game within 30 min of payment clearing in real life. This is a highly organized and lucrative business and is generally discouraged by the game manufacturer. People buying this gold online are sometimes victims of schemes to steal their account information. These people can use a stolen account to conduct further illicit transactions. When a lot of players on a certain realm buy large amounts of gold from these ‘gold farmers’, the economy of the realm suffers. This often causes the prices on desirable items to be out of reach for the average player, thus gold buying is further encouraged on these realms.


Are RPG games addictive? Most everyone that plays know the answer is a resounding “yes!” Truth is that many video games are addictive but RPG games are especially so for many reasons.

Everyone starts out at a low level, weak, and poor, and wearing tattered old broken gear if any at all. They have very little skill at doing anything and have only one way to go ….. UP. As you discover more of the world and start to get money and gear and skill, you have a intense feeling of accomplishment. You are making something of yourself, advancing under adverse conditions. This is very satisfying and you want more. You go to bed tired but proud of your accomplishments.

Also, the game world is a huge richly designed 3-D world, but because areas are level restrictive (a level 1 char cannot move in a level 40 area without constantly dying), the game world unfolds slowly for you. This means there are always unexplored areas that you have never seen just waiting to be discovered. Once you have advanced substantially in the game, you don’t want to quit and give up all that you have earned, all you have, all you know. You don’t want to abandon all your new friends you made playing the game. You are hooked. If you consider $14 a month spent for all the fun times and accomplishments, it seems like a bargain.

A note to students, whether living at home or on your own, this game can consume a lot of time that maybe should be spent on school work and studies. Students particularly must limit their play time to not adversely effect their school work. In fact, all players must realize the need to balance their ‘play time’ with their duties and responsibilities in real life. It is far too easy to get absorbed into playing more than you want or should. Parents have the ability to restrict play times and amount of time allowed to play at each time from the account management screen, this is password protected so children cannot override it. Unfortunately, very few parents ever take advantage of this ability.


Emotions run very strongly in RPG games. Happy, sad, angry, frustrated, proud, embarrassed etc. This is a game of egos. This is very much a part of the game that attracts people. The game is complex, and it is easy to look or feel foolish when you are not on top of it. Certain aspects of the game require manual dexterity. We are not all created equal in this field. When you are in a party of 5 people and you are required to jump from one cliff to another to continue through a huge cave, and the other 4 people have no trouble doing it, but you continue to fall, holding up the progression of the group, it is embarrassing and frustrating.

When a player of the opposite faction kills you easily and they are 3 levels lower but better at fighting than you, this is embarrassing and frustrates you and makes you sad and angry all at once. When you get swamped by 4 mobs your level and you know you are going to die, but by quick thinking and expert playing, you best them all, you feel very proud of yourself (a real ego booster).

When grouping with people you just met and they comment at how good you play your char or how smart you are, you feel pride. When grouping with people you just met and they comment how bad you play and how much you ‘suck’ at doing anything right, you feel sad, mad, and get upset at them and maybe yourself.

When your ‘friends’ seem to form a ‘clique’ (hang out together but exclude you) you can feel hurt and left out. Remember a dungeon raid party consists of no more then 5 people in most cases, and being told, “sorry we are full this time, catch you next time,” gets very old fast when repeated too often.

Fortunately, with so many people playing, it is easy to lose ‘fair weather friends’ for new ones.

Trade Chat – nearly global

As I mentioned before ‘Trade Chat’ is broadcast live in every city like the only radio station in the world. Whenever you type in the trade channel, your name followed by what you say is seen on every other persons screen that happens to be in any city, this is often a few thousand people. They can comment publicly in the same channel about what you said or anything at all. It is not uncommon to see more then 10 posts every minute in the trade channel. There is also software available to bring the live trade chat channel to your cell phone, so you can monitor it wherever you go. You could turn off the trade chat channel entirely but because of its legitimate use, most people don’t. The trade channel was created to ask others for crafting services and to take advantage of advertised services and goods.

There is a ‘Language Filter’ that can be turned on in World of Warcraft. This is a feeble attempt to shield people reading chat from ‘bad words’ that many people find offensive or vulgar. Only a few vulgar words, if spelled correctly, will get caught by this filter and show ‘+@#*’ in place of the ‘F’ word. It is practically useless given that the trade channel is frequently ridden with foul and vulgar ideas, which can not be filtered anyways. Most seasoned players tend to ignore the foul language and filter it out as they read. Many articles have been written about the ‘Trade chat channel’, I will go into some further detail.

The term ‘Trolling’ is used in the trade channel. When someone ‘trolls’ they make an outrageous or insulting statement so as to provoke comments from other players. In other words, like trolling for fish on a boat, they are trolling for comments in trade chat. Some players recognize trolling attempts and refrain from comment, but alas, a lot of comments usually follow thereby encouraging the troller. Frequently the troll will say something about a current event or make a racist statement to provoke a response.

Players also use trade chat to test their idea of humor, trying to get a favorable audience response.

Sometimes players use trade chat to make untrue claims about other players in public, and try to ruin another players reputation in the game. Or they ridicule another player publicly, trying to embarrass them. It is not unheard of to hear someone call another person gay, or talk about the things they have done with the other person’s mother. The whole ’mother’ thing seems to be way out of control these days. For example, “I will be right with you as soon as I get off your mother.” It seems popular with the teens, but one never knows the age or sex of the person typing in chat.

It is documented that some players will create a char ONLY to use in trade chat to be rude and outrageous. That way they never blemish their own good name while being a jerk. They rarely tell their friends or fellow guild members that it is their char.

Some of the more outrageous trade chat jerks become realm ‘folk heroes’ of sort. Other players have seen them so often in trade talking that their name stands out and they become ‘infamous’. I can think of one popular troll that was being talked about 2 years after he apparently quit playing or changed realms.

Trade chat always follows big news sports and disaster and political stories and discussions. People were discussing ‘Sarah Palins foreign policy expertise based on her seeing Russia from her house’ for weeks. If something BIG happens in the world and you are in a World of Warcraft city, you will hear about it before most of the country.

I suppose someday politicians may use trolls to spread bad rumors about their competition and praise about themselves, taking advantage of such a huge audience. During the last presidential elections, the trade channel was filled with political talk.

The trade channel is also used to sell extremely hot (desirable) and expensive gear in the game since it reaches such a large audience and the gear itself can be linked into the chat so everyone can see it.

Playing in other languages

On the United States servers of World of Warcraft, you can only play in English or Spanish. To play on the European servers you need a European account. Many language packs are available on the European servers. You can play in Italian, German, French, Russian etc. All the in game text will be in that language, a good way to keep your language skills up and meet people from different cultures. Many European players choose to play in English if they can speak it.


The 3-D landscapes in World of Warcraft are very rich in texture and detail. There are over 60 regions in the game. Each region has a unique theme. There are desert regions, plains, forested hills, frozen wastes, jungles, river delta areas, swamps, mountains, etc. There are over 90 towns, villages, camps and cities in the game. You can swim under water and in fact there is an entire region that is under the ocean with very colorful reefs and sea life abounding. There is shadow detail in the game and as day passes into evening, the shadows do indeed get longer. When a dragon flies overhead his shadow streaks across the ground. There is weather in the game that comes and goes, this includes rain, dust storms, fog, and snow.

Life learning from RPG game playing?

There are in fact many areas of learning and growing that can come from playing RPG’s.

Role playing games can use a lot of math. There are many character statistics to manage. Character stats include: Strength, Agility, Stamina, Intelligence, Spirit, Dodge, Hit, Parry, Speed, etc. Managing your ‘stats’ to provide you the maximum benefit you desire can be complicated. Fortunately companies like Blizzard Entertainment have made this task a lot easier lately by doing a lot of the math for you.

Some games have weight limits to what you can carry, and others have space limits. Your bank has only a certain amount of spots to put things. Maintaining a large inventory teaches organizational skills.

Buying and selling from the auction house teaches economics. You must decide how to dispose of unwanted items in a way to maximize your financial gain. Being ‘broke’ in the game is no fun at all.

Learning to work the dungeons and quests in parties of 5,10 and 25 person groups teaches teamwork and respect and manners. If you are rude or lazy in a group, you won’t be invited back. Also, working in groups can teach you the proper way to both give and receive good constructive criticism. Some people may get their feelings hurt even when being politely told how to improve their play, but good criticism can go a long way toward helping you address your strengths and weaknesses.

Crafting items requires a list of materials and the proper skills to make what you need, this requires planning and organization.

Time management is taught throughout the game experience. Running out of time part way through a dungeon run and leaving your team short one person looks bad on your record.

Learning to laugh at yourself sometimes over a blunder can he healthy, after all it is a game, no reason to be too serious. Learning to ignore a rude comment about your play, especially when it is out of order (totally uncalled for), helps you learn to cope with that sort of behavior.

With the MMORG’s being so vast in nature, there is a lot of information to be read and understood. Skipping over what you don’t understand will often come back to haunt you.

Running a guild or leading a dungeon group teaches leadership and responsibility.

Losing the rolls for loot from bosses helps teach you to deal with disappointment. Often everyone in the group uses a random roll feature in the game (1-100), and high man wins the loot.

RPG’s can help teach you about sharing. Often if you share or let the other guy have something you won, it will come back to you many times over, plus that good feeling it gives you to be charitable.

These games teach patience as it is required in many aspects of the game. You must ‘set-up’ attacking a group of mobs; if you just rush in, a lot of times everyone in the party will die. Strategy is very important as the ‘mechanics’ of most ‘boss’ fights are quite complicated.

Having to fail many times before being able to defeat most boss mobs teaches both patience and the fact that determination will often be rewarded with success.

Planning is required through the entire gaming process as the game is very much ‘goal oriented’.

In closing…..

I hope this article gives readers a good overview of online RPG games. In fact these games are much more involved then I am presenting in this article. For further information, you may visit the game manufacturers websites, where they not only have much information but also usually have online forums where players ask questions and other players respond. I personally have enjoyed playing these types of games for over 25 years. In the spirit of the online game world, I would like to say, “Well met and good karma to you all. Hope to see you around!”

Submitted: October 04, 2011

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Add Your Comments:



Nice to see a fellow gamer. Your writing was very informative for a non-player was well as those just starting out. Kudos. Sherry

Wed, November 30th, 2011 1:05pm


Ah, something in common I see, very nice to share with you!


Wed, November 30th, 2011 7:23am

Angie Blake

Wow. I didn't know that RPG's had so much to them! I also didn't know that people sold high rank characters. That's just stupid. Not to mention illegal! This is a very well written and informative article! I thank you so much for doing all the research that is necessary to get this article written! You did great! :)

Tue, August 27th, 2013 4:59pm


You are a fast and avid reader. This was my first attempt at writing and pre-dates most of my work here. It pleases me that I did this in a manner that you could relate to and understand. The sheer volume of information and complexities in a MMORPG like World of Warcraft is truly overwhelming.

Thank you again for your time and supportive comments.


Tue, August 27th, 2013 10:12am

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