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The game universe has been explored through in-game obser- vations, interviews with players, and online surveys. We have studied the game design as provided by Blizzard Entertainment, the game developer, as well as the player-created user interfaces, mods, and add-ons, which are small pieces of code that alter the presentation of the game to the player. The articles collected in this book are all based on this first-hand experience of being a resident of Azeroth as well as on data gathered and interpreted by the authors themselves.

Introduction 3 We have not only played the orc professor LFG, but have also performed research in Azeroth. This group of contributors was brought together by a shared scholarly fascination with World of Warcraft, and we have various re- search backgrounds from a wide variety of humanities- and media-related dis- ciplines.

Espen Aarseth is one of the founders of the field of game studies, and those familiar with the field will recognize the names of several other games scholars contributing here. Other contributors have solid groundings in the study of digital culture, both as researchers and educators, while others have backgrounds in disciplines that have only recently become relevant to the study of games.

In many ways, our diverse backgrounds are typical of games researchers today. The academic study of computer games is still a very young field. Al- though the first computer games were developed in the s and became readily available in arcade halls in the s, the academic study of computer games has developed into a field of its own largely in the last seven or eight years, as evidenced by new journals, conferences, research networks, dedicated university courses and degrees, and a steady increase in research literature and textbooks.

This book is a contribution to the new research literature of game studies, presenting thirteen in-depth analyses of World of Warcraft from different perspectives and employing analytical tools and theoretical traditions from various academic disciplines. This collection includes analyses of World of Warcraft using theories and methodologies from, among others, textual analysis, gender studies, history, narratology, postcolonialism, and ethnogra- phy. Each contribution tells a different story about World of Warcraft, and each offers a different perspective. This is one of the first books to provide multiple perspectives on a single game.

Such casebooks, or readers, of critical approaches to canonical works have been common in media studies and liter- ary studies for decades, and as games studies matures, we are also beginning to see anthologies devoted to single games. World of Warcraft is an enormous game, both in terms of hours spent playing it and in terms of the number of players and the ways in which it can be played. Multiple approaches to the game may be required to grasp its multiplicity.

A digital culture is, like every culture, constructed according to norms, rules, and traditions. We also believe that the articles in this book will interest gamers and residents of Azeroth or other syn- thetic worlds.

Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader - Google книги

And we hope that anxious parents or worried journalists also will find, if not redemption, then at least a source of knowledge that can help them understand the MMOG phenomenon which is an increasingly im- portant form of digital culture. The game is played online on servers run by Blizzard Entertainment.

Hundreds of servers run independent copies of the game, each server allowing several hundred players to be online at the same time. Servers are designated for different geographical regions and run differ- ent languages. Players buy a copy of the game on CD and pay an additional monthly fee for access.

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The first MUDs appeared in the early s, and enjoyed a certain pop- ularity throughout the s and s. MMOGs have likewise received much attention from mainstream media.

World of Warcraft Reader

While most non- gamers may not know exactly what a MMOG is, World of Warcraft has received interest from the press to such an extent that almost everybody today has heard of it. Thus, many different kinds of player types see Bartle can find activities that interest them in World of Warcraft.

An important feature of these genres is the con- struction of a coherent background story for the players. Additionally, the gameworld history is outlined in detail both in the manual included in the game box and on the official Web site. Azeroth, the planet on which World of Warcraft takes place, has a long his- tory of wars and conflicts between different races in earlier times. The conflict lines were eventually consolidated in the formation of two opposing factions: the Alliance and the Horde.

The playable races in the game such as humans, orcs, trolls, or night elves are all assigned to one of these two factions. Al- though the background story claims that there is a truce between the Alliance and the Horde, the game itself encourages players to actively fight players from the opposing faction, as Esther MacCallum-Stewart discusses in chapter 2. In January the expansion pack The Burning Crusade was launched by Blizzard, and introduced new playable races, new quests and dungeons, and even a new planet—the Outland, where the Alliance and the Horde join forces to fight the ultimate enemy, the Burning Legion.

Artist at Work Creating World of Warcraft Art

Players from the two factions cannot communicate with each other except from a limited set of predefined emotes , and each faction has designated areas where opponents cannot enter without being attacked by the local guards. Normal servers guarantee that players will not be attacked by opponents unless consenting to fight, while players on Player vs. Player PvP servers will be flagged as legal targets for the opposing faction when moving into contested or hostile territory.

A third type of server is also avail- able, the Role-Playing RP server which can be either normal or PvP , where players are encouraged to engage in their characters through role-playing. Player characters can learn professions that give them the ability to make objects or perform services, which can then be sold to other players, vendors, or at the in-game auction house.

Gaining experience points by killing mobs mobile objects, see glos- sary and solving quests are the most important activities for leveling up, thus making your character more and more powerful. However, players can engage in many different activities, from peaceful role-playing sessions to battlegrounds and in-game PvP competitions between the Alliance and the Horde.

Even though the world can be explored alone, many quests and areas of the gameworld require that groups of players cooperate.


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Thus the social as- pect of this world is vital, and the guild system is the most important tool for holding social groups together. The glossary at the end of this book will also help new- comers who are confused by the jargon and language of the game.


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  8. Players and Cultures World of Warcraft has received a lot of attention from the press, making it an important topic in the everyday life of a far broader group than its 8. Although the game is often met with skepticism, it has also been described as giving important training that is useful in business life, as Scott Rettberg discusses in chapter 1. MMOGs represent an important element of a networked society and of digital culture, and as the contributors to this book argue, the gameworld created in World of Warcraft challenges many of our traditional notions of game, play, and society.

    Even though World of Warcraft hit the player market with unprecedented force and broke records for number of copies sold shortly after its release, it has yet to hit the academic world with the same force. Although the scholarly journal Games and Culture dedicated a special issue to essays about the game April , other work on World of Warcraft has until now been scattered and difficult to find. Thus our book represents one of the first deep dives into World of Warcraft, seen from a number of different academic perspectives and disciplines by authors from several European countries, as well as from the U.

    We hope this anthology will be a first step toward larger cross-cultural analyses of this gameworld, which at present exists in a number of very diverse cultural contexts. This interest in studying games as games has led researchers to build on and examine earlier definitions to hone their understanding of games Huizinga , Caillois , Juul , Salen and Zimmerman Several aspects of common definitions are particularly interesting when con- sidering what kind of a game World of Warcraft is.

    Importantly, players are aware of the boundary of the magic circle, and know when they enter it Buckingham Huizinga also claims that play provides no real-life ma- terial interest or profit for the player In a game like World of Warcraft, the magic circle is less clear than in a game of hopscotch or a single player computer game. This book examines the complexity of World of Warcraft from a variety of perspectives, exploring the cultural and social implications of the proliferation of ever more complex digital gameworlds.

    Jill Walker Rettberg

    The contributors have immersed themselves in the World of Warcraft universe, spending hundreds of hours as players leading guilds and raids, exploring moneymaking possibilities in the in-game auction house, playing different factions, races, and classes , conducting interviews, and studying the game design--as created by Blizzard Entertainment, the game's developer, and as modified by player-created user interfaces.

    The analyses they offer are based on both the firsthand experience of being a resident of Azeroth and the data they have gathered and interpreted. The contributors examine the ways that gameworlds reflect the real world--exploring such topics as World of Warcraft as a "capitalist fairytale" and the game's construction of gender; the cohesiveness of the gameworld in terms of geography, mythology, narrative, and the treatment of death as a temporary state; aspects of play, including "deviant strategies" perhaps not in line with the intentions of the designers; and character--both players' identification with their characters and the game's culture of naming characters.

    The varied perspectives of the contributors--who come from such fields as game studies, textual analysis, gender studies, and postcolonial studies--reflect the breadth and vitality of current interest in MMOGs. Hilde G. Show sample text content. The participants at the Steamwheedle Faire chose to contain this through their joint role play as equals in the same.

    That dwarven coward is no doubt hiding in the first tower on the Field of Strife. Theresa M. David M. Scott Rettberg University of Bergen Verified email at uib. Professor of Digital Culture, University of Bergen. Verified email at uib. Machine vision social media self-representation electronic literature narrative. Articles Cited by Co-authors. In: A.

    Researching ICTs in Context. Proceedings of the thirteenth ACM conference on hypertext and hypermedia, , European Journal of Communication 24 4 , , Proceedings of the sixteenth ACM conference on Hypertext and hypermedia, , Digital culture, play, and identity: A World of Warcraft reader, , Second person: Role-playing and story in games and playable media, ,