As part of my study, it was and still is, currently, my job to complete a thesis. As a quick heads up, I will be posting regularly to both justify the worth of my theoretical arguments as well as update myself on the progress of the thesis.
I am now coming to the home stretch of my work and as part of that, it is now the most critical time for self-analysis, as part of the construction of a conclusion leading to an overall thematic argument. So far, the arguments I have (gleaned from my iPad, thanks goes to my supervisor, Dr. Mark Finn… Hi there!) that thread this 80 odd page document together (eventually) are:
That while meritocracy does not help MMORPGs as they are currently implemented. There is currently no viable alternative paradigm to motivate players of this genre of online worlds.
The MMORPGs through the natural evolution of systems of “play”, from theatrical role-playing (Comedia Del’arte), to role-playing games and miniature war games, through to the most direct spiritual link of pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons, have come to represent meritocracies. It could be argued that this drive to the social construct of a meritocracy is a function of human society, so called, social Darwinism.
Lastly, in order to reinforce the relevance of meritocracies in MMORPGs to the earthly reality, using Singapore as an example of a meritocratic technocracy (a variant on meritocracy, as no other society that strictly follow meritocracy exists, or, it could be argued, could ever exist), I will attempt to provide a case that the systems that have evolved over time in MMORPGs mirrors the real world attempts at achieving a meritocracy within a society.
As a final ditty, and as a response to those who simply dismiss this type of work as an excuse to be lazy and get attached to games, i.e. trivialize it, the idea of this thesis is to promote the image that a game is a social structure, whether it is single player with elements of multiplayer (implicit or explicit) or it is an entire virtual world.
[insert grand sweeping statement]
Feel free to debate the issue (I would love it) as it can only force me to focus on the core issues of my argument and refine it… refine it down to a sharp needle spike made of titanium, wrapped with a page of Oscar Wilde’s saying and dipped in a vat of lemon juice with see salt sprinkled on it at the end.
As part of my catharsis I may decide, for some unknown reason, to begin a video documentary about my late night sessions typing away occasionally on the computer, but mostly, mousing here and there and clicking.