My Life as…..

My life as a Night Elf Priest is…. Well interesting. I was under the impression that Nardi would go into great detail of her experiences and game play while spending sleepless nights studying WoW. I am pleasantly surprised that she gives a much more detail account of the various theories applied to her study of WoW.  The theory most recently applied, that being the aesthetic experience is most interesting at this posing in the book. A quote from the book:

“I think what drives the majority of the people is sort of goal orientation. You have goals. And so, there’s this very easy goal of leveling, right? It’s this numerically – defined kind of thing. You have this target. You get these rewards of experience. There’s also goals of, say, improving your character’s abilities y=through equipment. Things like that. So, you-really, you’re trying to improve yourself.”

I believe this categorizes the type of person(s) that experiences WoW, those that are trying to improve themselves in some way, in any way. Possibly the shy quiet type that has trouble making friends, the under appreciated type that can boldly level up and become instantly appreciated among the WoW community.


4 thoughts on “My Life as…..”

  1. I wonder if it has to do with actual improvement, or if it’s a more non-judgmental outlet for people to be exactly who they are. Leveling up and new gear and armor are fun, but I think in terms of the community aspect, people can be exactly who they feel themselves to be and replicate that in a character who is on the outside how they feel on the inside. The internet has always been a safe haven for introverts or those who are in some other way hindered. Through a screen and on paper they can be charming, eloquent, etc but does that mean that they are not so in real life? In American culture, we’re very individualistic and reliant on what society deems as attractive. But in WoW, all of the characters are attractive, and they can back themselves up with their prowess in battles, so that major aspect in real life is a non-issue, making it easier to be yourself. Maybe, maybe not, but it’s interesting to think about.

    1. paigewhitehead, really interesting insight! I think you nailed it on the head, Society as we know it, and whether we like it or not, determines what is and isn’t acceptable as far as our appearance amount other attributes. We tend to let other opinions and comments dictate how we dress, what we like, who we converse with, etc., etc. If only we all were a little more openminded about the different people and groups that are out there. We may not have much in common but we can all learn a thing or two from each other.

  2. How a player identifies with their avatar in WoW is problematic. Do people view their character’s accomplishments and abilities as their own acheivements, or is the sense of accomplishment mediated by the avatar? That is, do people project themselves onto the avatar, or are do they view the avatar as seperate from themselves? The above quote seems to favor the former.

    This comes back to a core issue in video game that McGonigal touched on: are video games merely a form of escape, or does playing video games have real psychological benefits for a person. McGonigal of course argued for the latter, and much of the readings up to this point have centerred on explaining how this position is true and providing evidence for it. But I think there is a maybe-not-all-that-unfounded stigma against having to look for this confidence in video game play. There is something strange using video games to feel accomplished.

    The link below is a study on video games and aggression. The stuff on aggression and violence I don’t find so interesting but the distinction between ‘similarity identification’ and ‘wishful identification’ is useful. Similarity identification is when a person, particularly an adolescent, identifies with a character because they recognize qualities similar to themselves in the character. Wishful identification is when an person identifies with a character because the character exemplifies features that the person wishes to emulate. I think that when it comes to video games, questions about how people relate to fictions, can be boiled down to whether or not we identify with characters because we think they are similar to us, or because those individuals are we would like to be.

  3. I think it all comes down to the particular person. Some people took WoW pretty far, and their achievements in the game were superior to anything that was going on in their real life. I’ll admit, I played the hell out of WoW, I got it back in 2004 before I really even knew what it was. I had no idea what I was in for, I became pretty much instantly addicted. 2004-2005 I was hardcore addicted, I didn’t even want to hang out with friends in real life anymore, not my proudest moments but I don’t regret it. I still played WoW up until like 2008, but generally as very casual, more into PvP (Player vs Player combat) more than anything else. But I do remember way early on, like back in the 2005-2006 era of WoW, avatars in game really could be “impressive”. The game was so immersive you often could totally just lose yourself, and whenever you would see a character in full Tier 1 or Tier 2 (Armor sets you can only get from big 40 man raids) you were in awe, I actually envied them in a sense as embarrassing as that sounds. I remember when I got my first piece of Tier 2, or when I hit rank 12 when they still had PvP ranks, it was a cool feeling. Reality hits fast though, I still miss vanilla WoW to this day, I think the game went downhill after the third expansion. It still exists today but it’s a complete bastardization of what it use to be.

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