Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ecological Thinking and Sustainable Questing

There is alot of talk about thinking ecological and living sustainable today. And people playing WoW often joke about the fact that so many "creatures" are slaughtered on a daily basis that they'd have to go extinct sooner or later. But as we all know, the creatures just pop right back up sooner or later and this doesn't really teach us WoW players much about sustainable playing. On the contrary. We can just run out, kill 100 rhinos for their skins and meat and they'll all be back there some minutes later.

The beauty of digital media is that it can't really end, since it's so extremely easy to duplicate. Mother Nature has to work with something as slow working and crude as materia while the digital world works with energy (which makes me think of Poweraid for some reason). And energy is eternal. Oh well, this isn't going to be a musing over the facts of life. Rather, I've noticed that eventhough digital media is close to eternal, some clever programming can make it appear like it isn't. And that forces us to think ecological and play sustainable even in a game like WoW.

There is a quest in Western plaguelands that really has taught me the value in sustainable killing. "The Wildlife Suffers Too" is about killing different diseased animals that roam WPL. Sounds easy enough, yet another "kill X mobs and return to me" kind of quest that has made WoW so famous. The problem however, is that the Diseased Wolves that one is supposed to kill for the first part of the quest share their spawn points with Carrion Lurkers. This poses an interesting problem.

Since Carrion Lurkers aren't killed for anything, they're not part of any quest, they don't drop any good items and they're not skinnable, they quickly take over the place over the Diseased Wolves. I am asuming there is a 50% chance when one of the two is killed that one of the two will spawn. But if only wolves are killed and the spiders constantly spared that means there will soon be very few wolves around. One could almost talk about a form of digital extinction.

So every time you want to do that quest you first have to spend 15 minutes killing off all the Carrion Lurkers to get some Wolves to spawn. Wouldn't it be better if we implemented some ecological thinking here? I am sure some of the problem lies in the fact that many people simply don't know about the shared spawns. This is just as in "real life" where people ruin ecological systems without even knowing they have. They simply don't know about the chains of nature where disrupting one part will inevitably disrupt every other part. Kill the wolves and you get too many mooses as in sweden (and we can't have too many mooses, they will take our children!), or in this case too many Carrion Lurkers.

So the first step would have to inform people about this fact. If A then B. Ecological thinking! That's the easy part. The difficult part is to have people care enough to act on their new given information. People rarely do, and in a game probably even less. "Ok so whoever comes after me has to kill Carrion Lurkers for 20 minutes before he can start his quest, tough luck" is probably what most people will think. But some sustainable questing doesn't even have to take alot of effort. A simple solution would be to kill one Carrion Lurker for each Diseased Wolf, that way the biggest part of the problem would be reduced significantly.

What kind of world do you want your children (read: alts) to grow up in?! If you don't take these steps, no one else will either and the next time you come to this area the mess will be just as bad, or maybe even worse. The Wolves/Lurkers aren't the only ones keeping this delicate relation to eachothers spawnings, this kind of behavior can be seen at many places in the game. This must encourage us to take our responsibility in keeping our surroundings and eco system (the eco system of wpl is pretty screwed already) in as good shape as possible. We can't just run in, do our thing and hope that it won't have long lasting effects. So take a moment to think about this the next time you're on a killing spree and we can all make Azeroth a better and well balanced world.

No comments:

Post a Comment