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Welcome! I am teaching law at St. Petersburg State University and engaged in legal practice with the international law firm Dentons. Major part of my research is connected to virtual worlds and massive multiplayer online games (a broad field which includes Internet law, video game law, virtual law and game studies). My legal practice is focused on providing support to computer game companies. This interest derives from my passion for computer games which I consider as one of the most important cultural artifacts ever created. Please note that this blog conveys my private opinion which is not necessarily shared by any organisations I am associated with. For more formal and detailed introduction please visit my website arkhipov.info which serves more as a 'business card'.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Real-To-Virtual Time Ratio

Modern MMORPG providers rely on audience which is able to invest real money in online games, especially if it is a kind of free-to-play (not necessarily 'pay-to-win') project. 

Conversely, people who play online games and are able to pay for virtual goods without substantial harm to their wallet (such as myself) are looking for those MMORPGs which can provide maximum gaming value for each penny invested.

I believe that the core point where these two, often opposite, interests can meet is the relation between virtual time and real time

Masters of time-management suggest to think that time is a kind of [convertible] currency and this approach is hardly unacceptable. Applying this notion to modern online games one may reach a classic choice of investing either real money or real time in a game, but this is not the case of this post.

The case is that, when it comes to a virtual world, a player thinks that virtual time is not equivalent to real time by default. Computer-simulated environment allows to manipulate not only with space, but also with time. 

Furthermore, real-to-virtual time ratio should not suppose even comparable values. Remember ten minute gryphon (or wyvern) trips in World of Warcraft from the northern point of a continent to the southern one?

By 100th time it is neither fun nor beautiful!
A virtual second can mean a real day, and this is not a point to be neglected by game designers. Whatever a reason to enter a virtual world may be, it often implies a flavour of escapism, and the most real stressful factor worhty to be escaped is time.

Would you like to spend a month of free time in a virtual world to be involved in a simulation of a journey from a major city to a dragon cave, or you would prefer just to fight a dragon?