Monday, November 29, 2004

Understanding MMO - Part 1

This week (wk12) , Wiley introduced to the class the world of online MMO gaming. The game reviewed is Lineage .


The aim this week (I think) is to relate how online gaming via MMO to ‘first principles' that facilitate learning. Dave ‘Elder' Merrill advocates that Learning is facilitated when:



  • Learners are engaged in solving real-world problems.

  • Existing knowledge is activated as a foundation for new knowledge.

  • New knowledge is demonstrated to the learner.

  • new knowledge is applied by the learner

  • New knowledge is integrated into the learner's world.


So, I tried my hand at Lineage to see if activities inherent within MMO environments could achieve these ‘first principles'. Jose has a hybrid version (MMO learning & teaching) of Merrill's 5 star instruction boarding on copyright infringement :)


My approach in doing this game as an assignment is similar to Mark Mason 's approach. i.e. ‘to experience the game as it exists with no explanations other than what I would find in the game itself.'


Recap of Adventures in Lineage


Fun with the class



• I explored HV with some of my classmates who arranged to log-on at same time. It was a nice feeling to be moving around together in a group. Ability to ask a question, and have them respond because they knew you and wanted to help was a very comforting thing. Earlier before the pre-arranged meeting, I had some frustration with the game. Granted I did NOT read the 184 page PDF which could have greatly helped, but instead wondered around and asked (shouted more likely) questions when I came into a fix.


• I had the good fortune to meet a knowledable and helpful veteran player who explained certain commands and concepts to me. He went beyond the call of duty, even giving me items for free! He brought me to the avatars that were actually disguised as online tutorials. These tutorials helped us understand better the intricacies of the game. Even Kami agreed with this.



Fun on my own



• After my fun trip with the class, I explored the lineage environment on my own for a bit.


• This time, I consulted the 184 pg PDF doc by the guides to get some sense of direction. But I still made errors. E.g. errors include: killing cows for meat was wrong. (But I like beef!)… Cost me honor points. I only realized this when passersby told me about it.



First Impressions:



• Some super-friendly individuals (remind me of myself *blush*) completely took me by surprise. How willing strangers were willing to come lead me through certain things (E.g. get a skeletal shoe to have permanent haste applied on my character. He gave me entire loads of cash and items via the trade menu for nothing in return. I was embarrassed but took his offer anyway). It was unconditional help, and it surprised me how this can take place without prerequisite trust earned…


• Later when we had time to chat, he said that he was similarly helped on the first day when he first played the game. So, he is just returning the favor. I had a jolt at this point! During my post grad at USU, I was in an exact similar position. Experience. I had some seniors (Ms Allen) who really helped show me the way and made my life easier at USU. It was strange to me why they showed so much compassion and help to me. But it made me want to return the favor to others. So, a year later, I found myself helping others in my situation. Be it student housing, school work, projects, relocating, etc. I was offering help to others much to their surprise. Some people responded warmly, others never returned a wink. Reminds me of a movie ‘play it forward' (played by Haley Joel Osment). Such a simple concept, that actually works in online gaming environments.


• The 3 different personality types was a good touch. Whether you want to be law-abiding citizen, neutral, or evil they rate you based on your style of game play.



Online character bio:



  • character's name: classified (secret identity!)

  • class, race: knight (human)

  • weapons: long sword, scimitar, long shield, skeleton boots (haste), bows, brave pots, healing potions, etc.

  • appearance: macho looking knight. Male.

  • Fav creature: a Diablo looking demon with flames surrounding it. (realized later that it is because the player had a full demon suit on him)

  • Frequency of death: uncountable

  • Most embarrassing death: getting killed by a wild boar.

  • Most honorable death: fighting bare-handed in the dungeons of HV!


Insight1: Even online, you have to obey laws (E.g. there is a price of everything, the guards within lineage are unkillable, etc.).


Insight2:‘Did you know that you could get married within lineage?' How's that for social software!


Cheers,

BH


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