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Death by chocolate-covered broccoli: A case where gamification killed gaming practice
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Death by chocolate-covered broccoli: A case where gamification killed gaming practice

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Cautionary tale about rewards and achievements and rankings, using the story of a WoW raid group and their implosion. :) …

Cautionary tale about rewards and achievements and rankings, using the story of a WoW raid group and their implosion. :)
Presentation for Canadian Communication Association 2013


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  • 1. DEATH BYCHOCOLATE-COVEREDBROCCOLI:A CASE WHEREGAMIFICATIONKILLED GAMINGPRACTICECANADIANCOMMUNICATIONASSOCIATION 2013MARK CHEN@MCDANGERG:MARKDANGERCHENCOMMUNICATING THEDIVERSE DEBATES ANDDIVISIONS WITHINGAME STUDIESKELLY BERGSTROMFLORENCE CHEETHORSTEN BUSCHCHRIS PAUL
  • 2. GAMIFICATION?• Provide incentives to non-game activity• Why do people love games?• Fun and challenging: Exploration of interesting constraints• Social and culturally rich• Rewarding
  • 3. GAMIFICATION?• Provide incentives to non-game activity• Why do people love games?• Fun and challenging: Exploration of interesting constraints• Social and culturally rich• RewardingLet’s just do this part!The other stuff’s too hard.
  • 4. GAMIFICATION?• Provide incentives to non-game activity• Why do people love games?• Fun and challenging: Exploration of interesting constraints• Social and culturally rich• Rewarding
  • 5. GAMIFICATION?• Provide incentives to non-game activity• Why do people love games?• Fun and challenging: Exploration of interesting constraints• Social and culturally rich• RewardingFor more: Deterding’s keynote andNicholson’s Meaningful Gamificationtalk (both GLS 2012)Why problematic?
  • 6. EMERGENT PRACTICE INWORLD OF WARCRAFTRaiding with “The 7/10 Split”• 10-month ethnography• 60-person group• Fall 2005-Summer 2006• Role-play server• Early days of WoW
  • 7. EMERGENT PRACTICE INWORLD OF WARCRAFTRaiding with “The 7/10 Split”• 10-month ethnography• 60-person group• Fall 2005-Summer 2006• Role-play server• Early days of WoW
  • 8. EMERGENT PRACTICE INWORLD OF WARCRAFTA play space = a “mangle” (Pickering; Steinkuehler)• constant renegotiation of agendas and rolesdynamic and emergent activityExpertise development is socialization into expertgroups, learning to do what experts do (Collins & Evans)Emergent practice -> emergent values, motivations• For The 7/10 Split: Friendship, hanging out, and having fun!
  • 9. Initial meltdown prevented byrealignment / reiteration of group valuesHANGING OUT ANDHAVING FUN
  • 10. I love our raid. I know we are all going to getburned out at times and frustrated and upsetand disagree with one another. It is part ofbeing human. We are like brothers and sistersreally. Stuff like this is going to happen.Initial meltdown prevented byrealignment / reiteration of group valuesHANGING OUT ANDHAVING FUN
  • 11. New tools from WoW communitydistributed cognition (Hutchins)EXPERTISE DEVELOPMENT:KENCO’S THREAT METER
  • 12. EXPERTISE DEVELOPMENT:RATING PERFORMANCENew, smarter ways to play:• Improvingefficiency• keeping trackof progress
  • 13. EXPERTISE DEVELOPMENT:SOCIOMATERIAL PRACTICENew, smarter ways to play:• Improvingefficiency• keeping trackof progress
  • 14. VICTORY!
  • 15. VICTORY!
  • 16. NORMALIZATION OF PRACTICELearning underlying system turned into:• focusing more on efficiency• emphasizing progress and surveillanceOfficial ways to rate / reward progress:• guild rankings based solely on raid content• Later: gearscore, achievements
  • 17. New emphasis in contention with initial valuesMassive Meltdown*DISSOLUTION*but actually only partly responsible. Other factors:changing schedules, frustration over recent failures, etc.
  • 18. New emphasis in contention with initial valuesMassive Meltdown*DISSOLUTIONI thought of you as a friend, and now you treat me likethis? Insult me to my face? I don’t understand it.*but actually only partly responsible. Other factors:changing schedules, frustration over recent failures, etc.
  • 19. GAMIFICATION KILLEDGAMINGGamification normalizes legitimate play.Rewarding certain forms of play marginalizesother forms of play.WoW focused moreand more on efficientboss fights and lootacquisition, killingThe 7/10 Split raid.
  • 20. RECLAIMINGGAMIFICATIONSebastian DeterdingGameful designhttp://codingconduct.cc/Scott NicholsonMeaningful gamificationhttp://www.scottnicholson.com/
  • 21. DEATH BYCHOCOLATE-COVEREDBROCCOLI:A CASE WHEREGAMIFICATIONKILLED GAMINGPRACTICECANADIANCOMMUNICATIONASSOCIATION 2013MARK CHEN@MCDANGERG:MARKDANGERCHENCOMMUNICATING THEDIVERSE DEBATES ANDDIVISIONS WITHINGAME STUDIESKELLY BERGSTROMFLORENCE CHEETHORSTEN BUSCHCHRIS PAUL
  • 22. Tripartite roles: tank, healer, DPS
  • 23. Tripartite roles: tank, healer, DPS
  • 24. Tripartite roles: tank, healer, DPSYo, over here!!
  • 25. Tripartite roles: tank, healer, DPSrogue (DPS)warrior(tank)priest (healer)mage (DPS)Yeah, hit me!
  • 26. Tripartite roles: tank, healer, DPSrogue (DPS)warrior(tank)priest (healer)mage (DPS)pew pew!Yeah, hit me!+300+120
  • 27. Tripartite roles: tank, healer, DPSrogue (DPS)warrior(tank)priest (healer)mage (DPS)pew pew!Yeah, hit me!+300+120Has the most threat andmonster “aggro”
  • 28. Threat and aggroTime 1Player Ability Activated Threat Generated(hypothetical)ExistingThreatTotal Threat(hypothetical)Wendy (tank) Sunder 260 780 1040Rand (DPS) Sinister Strike 140 560 700Shaun (healer) L. Healing Wave 400 400 800Mandy (DPS) Frostbolt 500 0 500Time 2Player Ability Activated Threat Generated(hypothetical)ExistingThreatTotal Threat(hypothetical)Wendy (tank) Sunder 260 1040 1300Rand (DPS) Sinister Strike 140 700 840Shaun (healer) L. Healing Wave 400 800 1200Mandy (DPS) Frostbolt 500 500 1000Back to KTM