Mods and User Interface in WoW (blog option 1)

In The Complex Status of Emergent Culture found on page 188 of Digital Culture, Play, and Identity, the usage of user interface and how it can be used to make the game more enjoyable and not the stereotype of cheating the system in order to level up faster is being argued to the reader. The author encourages the reader to use these mods correctly in order to make their gaming experience more enjoyable. One might think that the use of mods give the players using them an unfair advantage, however although the gameplay is adjusted, it could be done by any player and if used correctly, the gameplay is still as enjoyable if not more. One of the mods discussed is damage meters and how they can be used in a positive and negative way. These self-explanatory mods show the amount of damage a user is doing to their opponents and can either be seen privately or in a chat channel for all players to see. This mod can indeed be a nondiegetic machine act if not used properly. They can glitch and may not catch every action that happens if not reset on a regular basis. Some players view this mod as a negative for a guild, and that people will only play for themselves to look as good as they can as opposed to play for the guild’s overall success. This can be monitored by who can view the damage meters or only allow them to be seen after a raid. The author argues that by using these mods effectively and in not a selfish way, it can enhance the gameplay for all players. The author describes all of these mods as “an extensive network of tools and functions that consistently monitor, surveil and report at a micro level a variety of aspects of player behavior.”

CTRAidAssist (CTRA) is the next UI mod discussed in his essay. In the game, using this mod allows somewhat of a surveillance system where players can watch one another including guilds watching one another. This is used in order to see the progress and who is performing well which is kind of similar to the mod described before. The argument from people opposed to these tools is that they are basically an unfair advantage that, although people can access, it makes the game play not the way that it should be played. The author admits it is a small line that barely separates the uses of UI and an unfair advantage being used by some players. In my opinion, I am in favor of the uses of UIs and mods. From my understanding, they are mainly used by guild leaders, therefore making the guild more organized and more successful when playing together. Anyone is able to start their own guild, therefore (from my understanding) anyone would be able to access these features to make the game a lot smoother and more organized to see who performs in your guild. The two mods I mentioned are considered as cheats to some players of World of Warcraft, however the author argues that they enhance gameplay and make a more organized and enjoyable experience to WoW players.

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6 Responses to Mods and User Interface in WoW (blog option 1)

  1. I agree with the author on this one. I recently downloaded the Recount damage mod, and it’s a great tool for seeing how well your strategies are working. Since Blizzard freely allows mods, and it seems like every experienced player has them, I don’t understand why it’s considered a cheat.

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    • exelsisxax says:

      Mods can very easily become cheats. Imagine a mod that keeps track of the cooldowns of enemy players, both in open world and in battlegrounds. You’d know exactly who was ready to murder something, and who was an easy target.

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  2. cjc112 says:

    This goes with Rettberg’s argument that WoW is a fairytale version of capitalism. We are told that success comes through working hard and any sort of get rich quick scheme is immoral. But like you said, these mods are available to anyone and if they improve the gameplay, why not take the opportunity to use them?

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    • blueshoes324 says:

      Some players like the original format of the game and would prefer to play it like it was designed. For them any add on to the game mechanics not created by Blizzard is cheating and thus might take away from the fun of grinding through the levels. I am not one of those people though. GIVE ME MODS TO MAKE MY CHARACTER FASTER!!!

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  3. pjm92 says:

    In deep agreement with blueshoes, i would freaking love to go faster haha, but i think that the grind is so important to the game. And as you grind mounts get faster, you are rewarded for your dedication…Cheating is stupid and boring lol

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