On Becoming a Zion People

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On Becoming a Zion People

A Talk in the Ward Conference of in the
Sterling Park Ward, Ashburn, VA Stake

By D. Calvin Andrus, Bishop

27 September 2009, Version 0.1


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Some of you are familiar with the on-line game known as World of Warcraft. It is a dungeons and dragons style game. Warcraft is a multi-player game--as opposed to single player games like solitaire. Many people are playing at the same time in the same space. It a also a hybrid cooperative and competitive game. Sometimes a player gets points by cooperating with other players and sometimes by competing with other players.

When I started learning how to play the game, my son Trevor, was 10 years old. He helped me learn. At the beginning of the game, a person can advance pretty much on his or her own. During this phase, Trevor would stand over my shoulder and both explain what was going on as well as give me hints about how to play. His advice helped me to quickly get better at the game. As the game progresses, however, a character is at a severe disadvantage playing by itself. The most important quests can only be accomplished in teams. During this phase, Trevor would get on-line with me; and he and I would do certain quests together. Because his character was many levels higher than mine, it was easy for him to help me with my quests. There were many times when his character would do most of the work and yet my character would still get credit for the quests, because we were part of the same team. In fact, on a number of occasions, Trevor's character would take me on quests that were designed for characters well above my level. My low-level character advanced very much faster than expected because Trevor's high-level character could accomplished these quests with me tagging along.

Another aspect of the game is that players create characters with different abilities. Some characters have abilities that focus on hand-to-hand combat where powerful weapons and armor are important. Other characters have abilities that focus on magical spells that are launched from a distance. Still other characters that have abilities that focus on protecting and healing their team mates.

In later stages of the game, some quests require 5-character, or 10-character, or 25-character, or 40-character teams. These multi-character teams require a combination of abilities, from hand-to-hand combat, magical spells, and healing. These high-level quests cannot be completed with teams of all the same abilities. Successful completion of these quests requires both skill and coordination on the part of all the characters. The highest level quests in the game require teams of the most expert players in both skill and cooperation.

In sum, World of Warcraft, by design, requires that

  1. more advanced characters help the more junior characters;
  2. characters of diverse abilities team together to overcome obstacles; and
  3. only teams of the most expert characters in skill and cooperation can complete the highest achievements.

Thus, it is in the interests of the higher level characters to nurture the lower level characters of different abilities, in order to have a group with which to team to pursue the highest achievements. This is what Trevor did with me. Eventually, my character caught up to his and we went on quests together that were beneficial to both of our characters.

A Zion People


42. End with Testimony