Chen WoW revised RI2

Category: Education

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Communication, Coordination, and Camaraderie in World of Warcraft: 

Communication, Coordination, and Camaraderie in World of Warcraft Mark Chen October 27, 2006


Overview concept: game mechanics vs. player behavior setting: World of Warcraft analysis: coordination in high-end raids; camaraderie and trust implications: mechanics too narrow; coordination based on experience, not end goal

Game Mechanics & Communities: 

Game Mechanics & Communities Assumptions: helping people see how individual affects community and vice versa important responsibility of educators If games can be used as training grounds, how do we get people to value community? Previous research looked at game design and mechanics—change mechanic, change player behavior. (Smith; Zagal, Rick, & Hsi)

Ethnography of MMORPGs: 

Ethnography of MMORPGs personal experience didn’t match up with models players’ actual choices are complex and socially situated look at social practice (Taylor, Steinkuehler)


World of Warcraft 7 million subscribers each server has 1000s fantasy world character classes kill monsters, complete quests to gain experience and loot


Game Interface


Attributes and Items better loot and experience = more powerful character

Raid Group: 

Raid Group 40 players - Molten Core each played different role labor was divided/roles emerged through social practice (Strauss, Stevens) through game defined roles (character class and ability) through merit (case-specific ability or prior knowledge) through existing structures (previous relationships)


Communication text chat channels standard (raid) specialized (madrogues) voice chat


Coordination chat interwoven on and off task simultaneously coordinated contextually meaningful 18:11:20.421 : [4. soulburn] Lori: Remember, ss target will change at Domo, but until then, your rezzer is to be ssed at all times. jovial

Molten Core: 

Molten Core

An encounter with Molten Giants—why coordination necessary?: 

An encounter with Molten Giants—why coordination necessary? two Main Tanks healers damage dealers kept track of aggro

Learning in Molten Core: 

Learning in Molten Core individual learning group learning through failure: “Now I hope no one's getting frustrated. This is how raids go. It's normal: You fight and fight and fight until your gear is broken, repair and do it again... It can take a while to master these encounters but we're doing good work!” bodies from previous failures


Camaraderie (lack thereof) One night, raid suffered meltdown. doubt, bickering in specialized chat channels Shaun: .... Sven, you are fired. Sven: Hey, most people avoid you, Shaunie! It's the breath. I'm giving an alternative! Shaun: an option that is closer to the caves. you... you are trying to kill us all.... Sven: Well? It hasn't happened, now has it?? Stop being so paranoid! camaraderie, level of communication in shared channels low (8 min of silence) no communication = no trust (Iacono & Weisband)


bottom-up reflection on meltdown “I love our raid... We are like brothers and sisters really. Stuff like this is going to happen. However I think we have all been playing long enough to know that we have a pretty great group of people going here and truly we care about and try to do what is best for one another.” reaffirmed goals trust built through valuing shared experience Recovery


Implications Must look at player social practice Learning happens socially, through lived experience and practice Coordination needed to succeed in group work Trust among team members crucial What builds trust? specialized roles willingness to fail communication relationships/shared experience goal ability to reflect on goal

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