Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Civilization of Warcaft

We gamers have a tendency to take ourselves too seriously. Case in point; a new book entitled The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World.

No, this is not a joke. Sociologist William Sims Bainbridge has published a new book on the civilization of the World of Warcaft (WoW)! According to Bainbridge, WoW is an immersive virtual world in which characters are in a dangerous environment, struggle to understand and communicate with each other, and competing for dwindling resources. Outside that, World of Warcraft has no ultimate goal, no winning hand, and no princess to be rescued. AKA, it’s not entirely unlike today’s world.

To ‘research’ the book, Bainbridge spend more than 2,300 hours playing the game, created twenty-two different characters of all ten races, all ten classes, and numerous professions. Each chapter of the book will begins with one character’s narrative, then goes on to explore a major social issue–such as religion, learning, cooperation, economy, or identity–through the lens of that character’s experience.

No, this is not a joke. Nor is this a joke book. Bainbridge is actually a published writer who is known for his work exploring the sociology of religion. A previous book on the sociology of religion, and he is now publishing a book on Warcaft?

Now whatever happen to just sitting down just to play a good game?

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