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Session 2

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 6 months ago

Session 2: Relationships between WoW and the "Real World."

 

Chair:

Dmitri Williams, University of Southern California

 

Panelists:

Timothy Burke

Julian Dibbell

Constance Steinkuehler

Nick Yee

 

Session Logistics - NB: All times are Earthen Ring US Server Times (= Eastern US time zone)

 

This session would include contributions on such topics as: the relationship of the WoW economic system to the economy of the surrounding world; interesting comparisons between WoW and other games or virtual worlds; allegorical features of WoW in such areas as colonialism and state corruption; the importation of real-world social movements into WoW like environmentalism; this virtual world as an arena for players who want to explore alternative personalities and roles; the impact of WoW on players, whether educational or possibly harmful.

 

Pre-Session Activities (12:00 noon server time):

  • You may wish to read four brief books: "Draconic for Dummies" (Undercity 76,38) and three history books (Undercity 55,50).
  • If you stand beside the bell near the entrance to the ruins of the human city, and use your sounds interface control to turn ambient sounds to the maximum, you can hear the bell celebrating a human victory from years before (Ruins of Lordaeron 65, 25).  Ozymandias anyone

 

12:30 Session, May 10, 2008: Main cavern of the Undercity sewers (Undercity 32,32).

 

The pictures below illustrate possible connections between WoW and the outside world:

Anti-capitalist, pro-environmental values in the picture of a priest fighting a deforestation machine.

Auction of the legendary Hanzo Sword for 111 gold 11 silver 11 copper, representing real wealth.

 

 

 

 This session would include contributions on such topics as: the relationship of the WoW economic system to the economy of the surrounding world; interesting comparisons between WoW and other games or virtual worlds; allegorical features of WoW in such areas as colonialism and state corruption; the importation of real-world social movements into WoW like environmentalism; this virtual world as an arena for players who want to explore alternative personalities and roles; the impact of WoW on players, whether educational or possibly harmful.

 

Ten questions to begin with:

 

1. Are friendships formed within VWs real?

 

2. Do the values encoded into a space (think GTA or WoW) matter? Is anyone playing WoW going to become environmentally more aware (earthy themes among the Tauren and in quests) or racially insensitive (listening to any troll and having a Jar Jar Binks charicature moment)?

 

3. What is the potential for doing scientific research in WoW or other virtual worlds, relevant to the real world?

 

4. Why would anyone gender swap?

 

5. I've heard that games can be good for learning, but can anyone really learn anything important in WoW? Is there transfer?

 

6. Can an MMO really help make someone a leader?

 

7. To what extent do people act as themselves or not when going into VWs and why?

 

 

8. Are people more or less prone to deception and lying in virtual worlds than they are in the real world? What makes someone trustworthy in WoW, and does that track against trust in real-world relationships?

 

9. Blame Mr. Bungle for all of this, but: Are there good real-world models or practices for governance, management  and social organization that aren't present in World of Warcraft, but that developers and players would benefit from if they were imported into the gameworld? Are there other virtual worlds that approach governance and social organization in a fundamentally different but useful way?

 

10. True or False: Julian Dibbell is an atrocious ninja looter.

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