Word of the Day: Agency

“Free agency, given us through the plan of our Father, is the great alternative to Satan’s plan of force. With this sublime gift, we can grow, improve, progress, and seek perfection.”
James E. Faust

Word of the Day: Agency

This word is popping up everywhere! It is being used a little differently that I am used to, I think of an insurance agent or an insurance agency. So, I looked it up and its meaning and the use we see in WoW articles comes from sociology:

In social science, agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices. By contrast, structure is those factors of influence (such as social class, religion, gender, ethnicity, ability, customs, etc.) that determine or limit an agent and their decisions.

So, now I understand better when a sports player becomes a free agent. Now unrestrained by a contract, he is free to choose where to go and to play.

Kaylriene uses agency in his recent blog article with his customary very long title, The Azerite Fix Is In…Sorta – The Mythic Plus Currency and WoW’s Tenuous Relationship With Currency Systems.

What got me jumping was an article on reddit Choice vs Agency and why making azerite traits “better” isn’t enough. The author pretty much nails it because we have little agency in our game. It is a brilliant piece and perhaps you will take a read.

Not being able to target something that you want nor the ability to go get it is what makes this game frustrating. Beyond the examples in the article, I can see the excessive randomness in drops from the Warfront and the Island Expeditions as lack of agency but instead playing with some kind of distorted hope; which is not great.

I learned to use a new word! Or an old word differently! See? Playing WoW is good for you.


6 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Agency

  1. “Customery very-long blog title,” hmph, well, I will have you know…

    *reviews list of posts*

    You know what, you’ve got a point.

    Also, I like the idea of distinguishing choice from agency, in that it sorts out a passive option to choose a path from being able to forge your own, which helps to communicate much of the woe of the WoW community as of late!

    Liked by 3 people

    • That particular presentation of the concept of human agency in the quote you’ve used is so distinctively Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints theology that I would have been much more surprised to see a name I completely didn’t recognize as the attribution than to see the name of a previous (now deceased) member of the First Presidency of the Church.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The article is well written, but it doesn’t really match my gameplay.

    Running raids for transmogs? It’s always an RNG.
    Reputations and world quests? There’s actually more agency than you can carry, this is why the system was left unchanged since Legion.
    Island expeditions? Lack of story is their main problem.
    Warfronts? They have clear, simple goals with guaranteed rewards, and you may opt to do them or not.

    Azerite armor fits, but it’s not a real concern for me. I’m glad when I can choose a new trait, and I just pick the one I like more 🙂 My major azerite armor concern is its interface.

    I’m sticking with my theory of ‘progress’ being the major problem. Tactically everything is good with agency, but we’re missing bigger strategic goals to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the link, that article was worth a read for sure. Words quickly start to have a life of their own!

    I thought about Island Expeditions. The fact that the possible drop is, in some way, “postponed” until the end, instead of dropping right on the spot from the right mob plays a role too, I think. Imagine doing raids, where you wouldn’t see if you got lucky or not before the very end – instead of on each boss? I’m no shrink, but I am sure that it goes against what the human brain find “rewarding”.

    Liked by 1 person

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