World of Warcraft is the world’s most popular massively multiplayer online game (MMOG), with (as of January 2008) more than ten million active subscribers across Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia who play the game an astonishing average of twenty hours a week. 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. The contributors have immersed themselves in the World of Warcraft universe, spending hundreds of hours as players, 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.
About the Editors
Hilde G. Corneliussen is Associate Professor of Humanistic Informatics at the University of Bergen, Norway.
Jill Walker Rettberg is Associate Professor of Humanistic Informatics at the University of Bergen, Norway.
"With its millions of users around the globe, World of Warcraft points to a future cyberspace far more fantastic and revolutionary than we had ever imagined: entire human societies immersed for thousands of hours in pursuit of fictional dragons. The essays in this book reveal the differencesand similarities found in the human societies of World of Warcraft,explosive combinations that will shock our century as game worlds come todominate daily life."
—Edward Castronova, Indiana University
"The authors represent a new breed of academic scholar, researchers who don't just study games, but play them as well. The essays reflect their intimate knowledge of the game, the many hours logged into the digital world of Azeroth, and the deep love/hate relationship with World of Warcraft that every player knows so well. Because they are in fact players, the authors' joy and excitement for the game shines through every essay in the collection."
—Eric Zimmerman, Co-Founder of Gamelab, and co-author of Rules of Play, and The Game Design Reader
"It's a delight to read so many astute game studies scholars approach one game, in one volume. Digital Play, Culture, and Identity provides an invaluable comparative resource for the field."
—Mary Flanagan, Department of Film and Media Studies, Hunter College, and co-editor of re: skin
"Multidisciplinary in their perspectives, thoughtful in their analyses, and above all deeply and collaboratively engaged with the online world whereof they speak, the contributors to this World of Warcraft Reader have fashioned not only a valuable introduction to one of the core texts of the new digital literacy but a working model of the most rewarding forms this emergent literacy may take."
—Julian Dibbell, author of Play Money: Or How I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot