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I Don't Play the Old Golf, Either

My friend and all-around great guy Joi Ito is profiled for the 1UP article, "Is World of Warcraft the New Golf?":

Overheard, at brunch: two tech entrepreneur types discussing World of Warcraft. What server are you on? What guild? Oh yeah, me too, I heard it's a good way to schmooze.

Is that true? Has logging in to the world's most popular massively multiplayer online game replaced a few rounds on the links as the way to make the right business connections in a tech-driven culture?

The particular Guild discussed by the brunchers above was started by Joi Ito, who became a WoW fan after embarking on the game to do some research on social networks. Joi, the money-and-idea guy behind internet companies PSINet, Digital Garage, Infoseek Japan, and social software like Moveable Type, Technorati, and Socialtext, has quite a few hangers-on who hit him up for advice, money, or access to his Rolodex.

Joi evangelized WoW to me in chat the other day, telling me I should transfer my old character to his server. When I was playing last year, I made it to Level 32, which, for those of you who don't play World of Warcraft, is most definitely not 16/30 of the distance from Level 1 to Level 60 (the game's highest) -- it's much less than that, given how much more difficult it is to attain higher levels.

But at Level 32, I gave it up. Why? I had long-since burned out on the game's basic play mechanic. I was only playing because I had made a few friends there with whom I mostly -- or only -- interacted on WoW, and it was fun to hang out with them. When they moved on, my last motivation for sticking around was gone, and so I stopped playing.

Of course, now Joi is playing, and so I could hang out with him and other friends on his server. But I'm not going to. It's nothing about Joi, to be sure -- he's a great person with whom I truly enjoy spending time. It's just that I'm not going to start playing the new golf.

I don't play the old golf, either.

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