It’s ok, I know you automatically tried to type “gratz”. If you play online games, you just do. ‘Ding’ is THE universal MMORPG word, present in every game. I remember where I first heard it and learned to hate it: South Karana, Norrath, Everquest. It is the symbol of your achievement, displaying a success in your work, and, more than likely, showing that you’re about to start a whole new set of goals. After reading Zubon’s post, and responding to it, I found myself thinking about how ‘Ding’ has evolved.
It used to be a sound. It was one of two sounds my work computer made, in fact. When I got new mail, I had the EQ quest sound play, and when I would close a window, I had the ‘ding’ sound play. Back in the old days of EQ, only you knew when you leveled up, thus it became common to shout it out to the locals, your friends, or if you were all alone, the entire zone. You wanted some pats on your back. That changed a few years later. CoH arrived, and with it a public visual of leveling up. There was another game, or possibly CoH I don’t recall, that had you do a back flip when you leveled, but the color splash around you in CoH was distinctive. EQ, as per normal operations, stole this. They were old pros, and this is how the industry works. They changed it to a big flash of light, and an automated letter telling you nice places to go. Moving to Warcraft, it’s a fireworks show, and you can get them for leveling, factioning, and a few other methods. And still people will yell out “DING!”, be it in the zone or guild.
There’s even mods that will do this for you in WoW, should you be so inclined. Side note: Having been grouped with someone with these mods, that gives your exact total play time, plus the current time, down to the second, in 4 lines of spam, makes me want to run over and unplug their computer. Be nice and don’t install this.
Back on topic, we want to be noticed. People like recognition – any first year psych student can give you a lecture as to why. ‘Ding’ is a sign that you have done something. It’s the food pellet. In EQ, you could actually ‘Gnid’ (lose your level, since you lose exp on death) and ‘Ding’ again, should you be so inclined, or unfortunate. I wonder what the next generation of games will do to show your leveling. I’m honestly curious what LoTR and Vanguard do, so if you know please comment.
‘Ding’ is a heck of a motivator. Depending on the game, that might be all that happens when you level up. You might get talent points, or be able to load new enhancements, or more skill points, or a new spell. You might a whole new set of quests, or be charged by your guild master/city council/ruler to prove your new skill. It may be important, it may change your play, or add to it, but it’s not what you were going for, was it? No, as you went after that last fuzzle you were thinking just one thing.
“I’m gonna ding after this one.”