Turning to the Virtual World for Advancement

From Zero to Hero

Real life advancement isn't all it's cracked up to be.  It doesn't exist the way it used to.  Companies have no loyalty to their employees and our generation will constantly be switching jobs and the companies until we retire.  We can't expect a company to take care of us the way our parents could.

The other day Tobold wrote "In my opinion games are for entertainment, not to "work" towards some virtual achievement."
I respectfully disagree.  I think we are turning more and more to virtual worlds for our sense of advancement because it's so hard to find in the real world.  Advancement in the real world no longer has a defined path.  Staying with one company for an entire lifetime of work isn't an option any more.  Real world advancement isn't a straight path up.  We move horizontally between jobs or get titles and responsibilities without a pay increase.  Promotions are hard to come by.  The path to advancement is harder to find than ever before.

What about us 20 somethings that can't find a job to save our life in this horrible economy?  Our entire lives we were told to go to college and get a degree so that we can get a great job and make a living.  That hasn't panned out the way it was sold to us.  We spent years working for a degree just to get kicked into a job market that has no place for us.

Is it any wonder that we turn to virtual worlds and MMOs instead of constantly wallowing in the reality of our situation?  MMOs are so appealing because the path to advancement is so clear.  Look at the World of Warcraft.  If you are willing to invest enough time you can advance to the highest level.  If you work for it, you can have the best gear or get into the best guild on your server.  The game clearly lets you know the way to move up in its world and there are no barriers except for a time commitment.  Anyone can participate and there is no unemployment in a virtual world.

No matter what, virtual worlds always reflect the real world in some way.  Why would we constantly grind away towards advancements and achievements in virtual worlds if we weren't deriving some satisfaction from it?  I think we may have been looking at the MMO/work relationship completely wrong.  People actually want a work-like activity with a clear path of advancement because it's so hard to find in real life.


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