Friday, April 10, 2009

The WoW psychology

I'm not a psychologist, my girlfriend is. I'm a sociologist. Life's funny that way. Anyhow, I take a deep interest in all things related to how we interact and how we think about stuff we do. WoW is a great place to look for new mechanisms that give a clue about people's behaviours. There are some funny things I noticed along the way.

First up, battlegrounds! Once you hit 80, finding a BG is not a problem, as most of the player base seems to gather in the top-end bracket. The intriguing part is the lower lvl BG's. For whatever reason it would seem that finding a full lowbie BG on a PvE server is easier than on a PvP server. Now I have a vague idea about battlegroups and how they mix up all types of realms, but the fact is at lvl 35 I wait an hour to get into a BG on Ravencrest EU (PvP) and mere minutes on Aerie Peak EU (PvE). Could it be that the world PvP is so engaing that less players on PvP realms can be bothered? Is it possible that from a PvP player's point of view it's smarter to roll a toon on a PvE server, since getting BGs there from the get-go is so much easier? Maybe someone smart knows these answers.

Another thing is the Shaman and all his shiny totems. Besides the standard perks you get from plopping these fellows down here and there, they have a psychological effest. If you put them down right on top of the flag, the opposing players are visibly less willing to attack. 3 players without a shaman look like just 3 players. With 3 players and 3 totems, we're talking about a lot of shiny stuff and a crowded-looking group. It works!

Then there's taunting. I Just came out of Warsong Gulch, where 3 rogues worked nicely together and camped the alliance graveyard. Too bad they were hordies. Anyhow, after getting backstabbed a few times, I created a /laugh macro and used it on them. Apparently all of them became so fixated on trying to kill me they not only lost their guard, but apparantly the ability to play too. Sure, we didn't win that one, but after my small /laugh diversion I steamrolled each rogue a few times.

So here's a tip. Use psychology and do it smartly. Don't go for the obvious.

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