*yell* “Ding!”

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.”

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Jaded old gamer, and father of gamers, who's been around long enough. Still, he's always up for giving the Next Big Thing a whirl.

10 thoughts on “*yell* “Ding!””

  1. Woot, toast! Gratz!

    This post also inspired by me spending part of today thinking “Two dailies and I get my Netherdrake”. I considered coming into work 30 min late just to do them for about 10 seconds. Then my workaholic mentality kicked in and I forgot about it until lunch.

  2. Anarchy Online did the back flip.

    Lord of the Rings Online has a color swirly effect and a wooshy sound.

  3. I’m the opposite of more people… one of the more common things I would have people say to me in EQ was, “When did you level??” I never really kept track.

  4. You’re absolutely right! I’m going to consciously stop congratulating people on leveling because, by doing so, I’m enabling their need to grind their way up to the next unaccomplishment. Accomplishments worth congratulating should be notable; they should have a story more engrossing than “I played the game for a while and leveled up… again.” Let’s encourage people to challenge themselves rather than addict themselves to the machine. “My teammates dropped after the first mission in the task force, and I finished it on my own. The fight with the AV took twenty-five minutes.” Congrats!

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