My little brother introduced me to Everquest many years ago, and in turn, I’ve introduced him to WoW. Using the “Recruit-a-Friend” tool and the many free weeks of gaming that that provides, I’ve managed to lure him back to MMOs. He doesn’t play that often, what with a hectic work schedule (he’s an ER nurse and works nights), a toddler (“OK, the kid’s napping. Can you run me through Scarlet Monastery?”) and one-on-the-way, and a wife who hates video games (“Shit, she’s home. Gotta go…”). But he’s managed to level a little dwarf paladin to 40. He logged in on Sunday morning and promptly linked a quest to me — code for “Help kill” or “Help. Where?” I wasn’t certain. But K- and I were busy. “What are you hunting?” he asked. “We’re camping a rare spawn for K-‘s hunter to tame,” I answered. “Hour 8. Yay?” K- added. “Holy shit,” my brother replied, “Is it worth it?”
“Is it worth it?” — it’s a question we ask ourselves in game a lot.
I could go harvest herbs for an hour or so, or I could pay 20 gold for a stack. Is it worth it? Should I put an enchant on this item when I know I’ll see an upgrade in the next week? Is it worth it? Should I buy this item from the Auction House for my alt? Should I stay in this shitty PuG? Should I respec? Should I delete this quest? Should I work on this faction? Should we wipe on this boss so we reset the encounter and try again for the achievement? Is it worth it?
What makes something “worth it” in game? Time spent? Money saved? Quality of gameplay? Good companionship? A means to an end? Or something else?