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Braid creator rips on WoW, talks artificial rewards and social gaming

Samuel Axon

In an interview with Gamasutra, game designer Jon Blow (who created the critically acclaimed Xbox Live Arcade game Braid) had a few things to say about World of Warcraft. His criticisms could be just as easily leveled against any Diku-based, WoW-like MMO.

He began by saying that WoW employs "artificial rewards" as opposed to "natural rewards." In other words, players play WoW for achievements like leveling up that have little real meaning, and they'll sit through a lot of boredom to reach those goals. That's not an unfair analysis; leveling up is a very empty and artificial kind of catharsis. Perhaps the most controversial statements he made were related to the social aspect of the game.

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He said that while many people tell him they play MMOs for the social aspect, he believes that "social interaction in real life is way better ... if what they really cared about was rich, social interaction, they would be out there in the real world."

But what about folks who play WoW to keep in touch with old friends and family in far away cities? Or folks who mix it in with other social activities such as sports or dinner parties for variety? Surely WoW is not enough as a person's sole venue for social interaction, but in most cases doesn't it supplement other forms of interaction rather than replace them?

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