World of Warcraft was released in late 2004 and has been going strong for the last 5.5 years!WoW is a PC game and is not available on consoles.It is produced by Blizzard Entertainment, creators of the Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft franchises.
World of Warcraft is commonly abbreviated as WoW.
WoW is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, or MMO for short.It is a subscription-based online adventure game in which players create characters of different races and classes on a particular server that corresponds to their play style (Normal, PvP, Role-Playing).Without a doubt, WoW is probably Blizzard’s most popular game ever.
WoW has approximately 11.5 million subscribers, more or less, making it the most successful game of its kind.This is phenomenal considering the fact that the game is 5 years old, and is popularity that rarely happens with PC games this old.
Why is the game so popular?One reason is that players can approach the game differently and play it any way they please.PvP. Questing. Role-playing. Professions. Economy. Team-building.
Another important quality of WoW is that it is a social network made up of people playing the game, many of whom band together to more easily complete game content.Based upon the individual’s play style, a character is not required to team and can level up solo through the entire 80 levels.We will look at some of the many benefits of banding together with others when we begin to talk about guilds later with Michael.
World of Warcraft, from the outset, was designed to be an ever-changing online gaming world. As such, patches to the game are instituted occasionally, which update world content, graphics, items, NPCs, etc. This transforms a static gaming world into a malleable, ever-changing one.The most major content updates come in the form of expansion packs.
The first WoW expansion was called The Burning Crusade and enabled players to adventure in the world of Outland.
The second World of Warcraft expansion was called Wrath of the Lich King and introduced the continent of Northrend to Azeroth.
The thirdWoW expansion will be called Cataclysm and will be released later this year. Blizzard promises that this expansion will bring great changes to world of Azeroth.
World of Warcraft has become very successful. People from all age groups, economic strata, professions and ways of life play the game. Studies have been conducted to investigate the player makeup of WoW. They generally indicate that those who play the game are generally and innately educated and enjoy the social aspect of the game.
People play WoW for a variety of reasons. Most play it because it’s fun.
Some say that WoW does require skill to play WELL.The truth is that all game content is easily assimilated and previous PC gaming experience is not required in order to play.
The general indication is that WoW can help individuals build real-life skills.Leadership skills are required in order to, for example, found and maintain a guild of players. Moderating and directing a party of players, each with a specific role, in order to complete harder instance content, requires organization, management skills, diplomacy and motivational skills. Getting experience leading parties can help build these skills.
This inevitably leads us to the study of virtual worlds, as WoW is one of the most successful virtual gaming worlds existing today.Here are two examples of virtual world research utilizing WoW.
This is an example of using WoW as a home base for scientific research and discussion.In 2008, a research conference was held within WoW and the results can be seen on this wiki. The organizers of the conference were Williams Sims Bainbridge and John Bohannon. During the conference, participants held sessions in specific locations in WoW (Undercity and Booty Bay, among them). Afterwards they went on expeditions to other areas in Azeroth. This, of course is similar to how we are holding our conference here at this hotel and will afterwards go on a dine-around later after the day’s conference has concluded.Topics covered included:Research and World of WarcraftRelationships between WoW and the “real world”The future of virtual worldsI urge you to go the conference wiki address noted here because there is far too much information about the conference contained there to show here. You will find screenshots and videos, working papers, a list of conference participants, a bibliography, transcripts of the sessions and expeditions and more.
Convergence of the Real and Virtual Website announcing the conference.
For an example of a study of World of Warcraft players and their environments, we have no further to look than the research done by Palo Alto Research Center scientist Nick Yee. At his site you will find a link to The Daedalus Project, in which Nick investigated the motivations of WoW players and how their activities in this virtual world compared to their real life activities. Although the project is currently in “hibernation mode,” a wealth of information about the results of the study can be found at the site including links to Nick’s articles on the project. Much of his research was focused upon World of Warcraft players.
So. In WoW players travel fascinating continents, like this one, Scholazar Basin in Northrend.
It’s not uncommon to find players relaxing with a little fishing with their favorite pet by their side.
Friends working together can accomplish game content easier. They can know each other in real life, or meet in game!
Sometimes it takes a LARGE group of players to get something done!
Players quest to “level up.”
The gaming vistas in World of Warcraft can be beautiful as well as dangerous. Here we see a Night Elf Hunter running into the sunset with his pet cat.
Bob Beck of the Central Arkansas Library System talked about WoW as a library service.
The Library Knitting Group.If library patrons could knit together, they could play video games together.
First Bob’s gamers had to find a server they could all play on.
Bob focused on an exchange of ideas and shared experiences among the patrons. He tried to provide something that players can’t get at home.
Bob provided program themes for his sessions.
Also, a free-play environment lets people discuss topics of their own choice.
Meet & Greets – Large, orchestrated social events designed to bring in large numbers of patrons.How-to Discussions – Topical discussion programs used to help patrons understand various aspects of the game.
Bob offered goody bags for everyone, bigger door prizes and a larger selection of munchies.
Macro writing, userinterface customization, add-ons and video capture workshops are an example of other how to sessions offered.
Bob’s blog about his service. This is how I discovered what he was doing.
Michael Porter created the Libraries and Librarians Guild, a social entity within WoW that brings together librarians who share the game as a common interest.
The guild’s crest.
Michael’s line-up of guild characters.
The guild members traveled to libraries throughout the World of Warcraft.
We held meetings to plan the Computers in Libraries panel within the game, sometimes in libraries like this one, in Stormwind.
The guild cooperates to defeat harder game content in instances.
Guild members outside of Ironforge.
The guild website, old…
The guild has a Facebook page.
…and a Flickr account.
You can see statistics about the guild on the Armory.
Part of the fun of being in the guild is taking part in wacky and fun events.
You might even get matching mounts!
The guild has grown quite a bit since it was initially brought together.
Guild members eventually began meeting up in real life.