10 ways MMOs have changed the real world for the better


Are MMOs pointless time-wasters, the bread and circuses of the modern era, or do they make positive, meaningful contributions to the real world? Well, considering that writing about these games has paid for my golden SeaDoo (yachts are so 2014), I’d agree with the latter.

But if you’re looking for examples on a much larger scale, then boy howdy, do I have some for you! Ten of them, as a matter of fact, which is twice as many as most websites will give you but one fewer than some that are being cute by counting to 11. What were we talking about again? Oh yeah: How MMOs have changed the real world for the better. Proceed!

1. Revitalized the Latin language

What was previously a dead language taught at patriarchal schools and mangled by J.K. Rowling has witnessed a second renaissance thanks to MMOs. Guild leaders across the world united in an astounding effort to preserve Latin by embracing it in their organizations’ titles in a way that is neither pretentious nor overused. Nowadays when a gamer comes across a guild wielding the power of Lantinese, it is common for that player to stop, take out a lexicographical aid, and expand his or her knowledge of the language. Et tu, Hogger?

2. Stood up against Slap in the Face Syndrome (SITFS)

For countless years, helpless gamers could only cry in isolation when developers would drive to their houses and deliver a derisive blackslap to their faces. With the advent of MMOs, however, communities united to call out devs for their face-slapping abuse. Slap in the Face Syndrome has subsequently seen a remarkable 68% drop in occurrence since 1997.

3. Proven the link between drugs and violence

For years scientists and sociologists suspected that drugs might make people take up arms, but it wasn’t until an extensive study by the Oxford Department of Gamers in 2009 that a link was proven. In most case studies, players in MMOs who took drugs — or “buffed” themselves up with “potions” — would immediately go on a violent rampage. World governments have targeted developers as the source of the drug supply.

4. Boosted the self-esteem of the socially awkward

If you’ve found yourself nervously navigating parties or struggling to sustain a conversation, then you now have an example of people far, far worse than you. In fact, most MMO NPCs are so inept in creating and maintaining social bonds that they will retreat into repeated patterns of dialogue and never move from a single spot. That’s got to feel good in comparison!

5. Increased national math scores

You know how you suffered through algebra class and came out wondering, “When in tarnation will I ever use this?”

In MMOs. The answer is, “in MMOs.” Indeed, the complex mathematical underpinnings of online games was developed by working hand-in-hand with math teachers and professors looking to establish job security. You can thank them the next time that you have to break out your old Texas Instruments 515-button calculator to figure out the exact hit percentage that you’ll need to generate with your gear to down that raid boss.

6. Combated old racial prejudices by inventing new ones

One needs only to look to the general chat channel to see evidence that racism (and many other nasty -isms) are alive and kicking in 2015. Instead of merely assigning GMs to tell those mean players to wash out their potty mouths, studios have gone one novel step further by programming all sorts of delicious new racial prejudices into MMOs. The idea is that by providing a fictional outlet for irrational hatred, players will be more inclined to be mean to Elves and Gnomes and not so much each other.

This has been a spectacular success.

7. Helped to educate the less fortunate

In the past, discovering and retraining “noobs” was a painstaking process that mostly functioned via the honor system. With the advent of MMOs, however, the community has proven that it can police itself.

The second a valiant, loud soul targets another player with the accusation of “U NOOB!” a special task force swings into action to abduct these witless wonders to a Noob Reeducation Center where they are taught gaming mastery while expunging all lingering traces of manners and teamanship.

8. Revolutionized modern medicine

For years the medical industry has been treating patients with guesswork diagnoses and barbaric pointy things. Now that MMOs have demonstrated that there is a much faster, safer way to cure the sick and infirm, hospitals and clinics worldwide have begun to wield light magic granted to them by nonspecific deities. A typical session with a doctor these days lasts 45 seconds, as the physician will summon a green beam of healing light that will blast all of the sickness out of the target. Naturally, insurance companies now charge twice as much for the procedure.

9. Exploded the baby population

Despite some naysayers predicting that video games would strike us barren and establish us as eternal virgins, quite the opposite has happened. MMOs have served as interactive graphical overlays to an age-old feature: the personals ad. Now gamers can find their true loves from anywhere in the world (unless they choose the wrong faction) and meet up with them. One raid and nine months later, a baby is born, wondering why it has more of a craving for experience points than milk.

10. Toughened up players for the harsh events of life to come

Life is tough; anyone who says different is selling something. With that painful fact in mind, MMO developers took on the role of our mommies and daddies by teaching us how to toughen up. Their method? Player-versus-player combat.

Compassion, generosity, and kindness are drummed out of any soul that is wrung through the works of a PvP battleground. As a player is mercilessly ganked, looted, and has his or her corpse comically violated, a lesson in developing thicker skin is absorbed. The armed forces, tax agents, and Girl Scout troop leaders already use MMOs to train their recruits in survival techniques that will come in handy in future encounters.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
Previous articleElite: Dangerous is now available on Steam
Next article‘Big damn patch’ arrives in H1Z1

No posts to display

oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments