Saturday, June 9, 2012

Go back to PvE - fighting each other vs conquering the universe

In Hobart I used to hang out often at the Dr.Coffee. One Sunday I was sitting around drinking coffee and sketching, I met somebody preparing a lesson for a church gathering. We started talking about what each of us did and eventually I started describing, 3D modelling and game design. How a game has to have balance, PvE (player versus environment) and PvP (player versus player), how often at low levels the player is made struggle against the environment and some choose to keep doing it or on a game like Guild Wars with low level cap they choose to play PvP after having attained a certain level. Keeping on playing against the mind less monsters in the environment is considered grinding or farming, and generally looked down upon, unless you are a gold farmer who exchanges game gold for real world gold.

At the end of this conversation the believer in God left me a few words - "While you design and play games do not forget who designed you and which game you are living in.". This theme has been a common refrain since the advent of gaming. The overlap between virtual worlds and the real world is growing and is captured in a lot of cyber punk such as REAMDE. Currencies are changing hands by being sacrificed to gods in game world only to be converted to fiat in real world. Religions pose a similar dogma in real world, proposing to convert our material wealth, faith or in certain cases lives to real wealth for our players in some world beyond this one. The central premise being this is sort of a game world and we should indulge in PvP against players of the opposing team(religion, colour, nation, whatever label seems appropriate) to earn points, which will be converted to rewards in the world in which this simulation is running. The grand illusion of material world ideas have been around for a while, not as long as the 14billion year long illusion, but if you believe in such weirdness, time itself is an illusion anyway.

We seem to have reached a level cap for the time being in our evolutionary progression and become so heavily embroiled in PvP i.e. taking it out on each other that we have no time to engage in conquering our environment and making our society stronger. Widening our play ground, instead of squabbling over the invididual grains of sand in the sand pit. There is a favourite refrain among elite PvP players - "Go back to PvE". The politicians, financial magnets and all those playing to beat other humans in the game of life are PvP players looking down on those attempting to conquer the environment, be it in exploring new frontiers in medicine, space or fabrication.

If this does happen to be a game, why not figure out the mechanics first and become masters of the environment before going around shouting from roof tops about religion and judgement day, and why we should serve the games master i.e. a deity if we want to finish with a good score. We should just get along and keep playing the game of life, all eschatology aside. Our indulgence in gaming world seems to have helped in expanding the boundaries of real world through the likes of Elon Musk, we just need more people to stop playing against each other.
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