Personally I would hope we are tourists and the game world helps us to care or self reflect about the real world were in, right here, right now. Much like many books and movies might suck all our attention, but then we leave and take some of their wisdom (if they have any) into the real world.
But I think much like a moth’s ancient, legitimate instincts are screwed up by a flame, humans are story creatures – we get our attention sucked into stories. Because like the moth navigates by the stars, so we navigate by stories. And as humans we try to get all intense about mmorpgs due to an ancient and otherwise legitimate/otherwise functional desire to get into stories.
But they don’t end here, with mmorpgs. You don’t exit them and take any wisdom out into the real world. In the old ways, the story teller would get tired and you’d have to go back to real life, stronger. Here, the server is precisely like the terminator – it wont get tired, it wont stop.
This might be a racy comparison – but watching porn so as to then have much hotter sex in real life, that makes sense. But just getting more and more intense about a game world – it’s like just watching porn, and more porn and more and never actually doing anything in the real world.
MMORPGS which make us hotter about dealing with real life? Fantastic! Trying to make mmorpgs which make us get hotter about dealing more with mmorpgs, then more with mmorpgs, then more with mmorpgs?