The Numbers Game

It’s hard to deny that any computer-based game is ultimately based on numbers, and WoW is no exception.

Until the Developers bless the bosses with Artificial Intelligence (AI), we are essentially a collection of numbers (toons) attempting to bring down a bunch of bigger numbers (bosses).

Even AI has numbers lurking in the background, so playing by the numbers won’t change any time soon.

So….we gear up by the numbers, dps by the numbers, gain levels by the numbers and count up our Achievements with arbitrary achievement scores that mean absolutely nothing.

Playing by the numbers is mind-numbingly easy.

Everyone with at least a Grade 1 education can figure out that a gear score of 5000 is bigger than a gear score of 2100, or that boss with 450,000 health points compared with your 1500 health points will probably stomp you into the ground before you can fire off one 465 dps shot.

Once we eliminate the “frills” (“I don’t care what it looks like what’s it’s iLevel”) and focus only on the numbers, we can create and use a variety of tools to help us play the numbers game.

We have theory crafters, spreadsheets and addons to measure every stat and tweak each piece of data to the very last decimal point.

The only “Quantity x” we can’t measure is the player behind all the numbers.

Or can we?

Social Intelligence

Social intelligence is a person’s competence to comprehend his or her environment optimally and react appropriately for socially successful conduct.  Sean Foleno
Source: wikipedia.org: Social intelligence

WoW, as with all MMOs, has two distinct components that differentiates itself from single-player games: 1) the game itself and 2) social interaction.

Many players have mastered number 1, but if you haven’t mastered number 2 yet, well…you’re only playing half the game.

If you have played the game for any length of time the odds are good that you’ve seen both ends of the social interaction spectrum.

At one end we have players that not only understand the game but know how to function effectively in a group whether it is as a leader, team player, or someone who takes the time helps a “newbie.”

At the other end, we’ve all seen players that rage, swear and purposely grief other players or disrupt the team with endless “drama.”

As the game is played in a virtual world, physical characteristics (age, sex, etc.) are generally unknown and appear to have little relevance on what we can see – the player’s behavior.

One prototype of Social Intelligence contains the following social competencies (Source:  Social Intelligence, John F. Kihlstrom, University of California, Berkeley and Nancy Kantor, University of Michigan):

  • Admits mistakes
  • Displays interest in the world at large
  • Is on time for appointments
  • Has social conscience
  • Thinks before speaking and doing
  • Displays curiosity
  • Does not make snap judgments
  • Makes fair judgments
  • Assesses well the relevance of information to a problem at hand
  • Is sensitive to other people’s needs and desires
  • Is frank and honest with self and others
  • Displays interest in the immediate environment

Sounds like the type of player one would want in a guild, as a raid leader, invite to your next raid or just turn up in PuG, doesn’t it?

Social Intelligence Numbers Game

Measuring Social Intelligence is a controversial and debated issue amongst professionals so there is no current methodology that would translate into an effective “SI Score” in MMOs.

Since my degrees are not in the Social Sciences I will defer to the professionals in that regard – however, while one bad player might be harassing another player about their gear score or spamming Recount, I’ll be estimating the bad player’s SI score….

Rage and swear a lot?  I’m guessing your SI score is 2/1000
Help a new player with their shot rotation to get their dps up?  I’m guessing your SI score is 900/1000
Need to fill a raid spot?  I’m inviting the player with the 900 SI Score.

Who knows?  One day you might be surfing the “Looking For Group” channel and see

“LFM ICC25 must have SI Score > 800”

Reins of the Bronze Drake

Yes, I know I’m probably the last person in WoW to get a Bronze Drake (except my Warrior friend who has lost the roll five times), but it was exciting to win the roll and get my Priest her first Drake!

Bronze Drake

Bronze Drake

I also finished up another set of city dailies at the Argent Tournament and received the Exalted Champion of Stormwind.

Exalted Champion of Stormwind

Exalted Champion of Stormwind

One more flag for my Squire to carry around!

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