In what would turn out to be a watershed event in the history of viral videos and online multiplayer gaming, footage of the Leeroy Jenkins incident was uploaded to the internet ten years ago today (previously).
Blizzard cancels Titan. After 7 years of work on the MMO, the successor to World of Warcraft has been cancelled.
We didn't find the fun," Morhaime continued. "We didn't find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that's the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no."[more inside]
Travels in the empty cities of World of Warcraft.
Videogames Are Drugs: Dorkly presents a few comics which compare videogames to their analogous drugs.
Meet the Green Candidate. Is Maine ready to elect America's first Orc Assassin Rogue senator?
Steganographic information (account ID, a timestamp and the IP address of the current realm) is secretly embedded in World of Warcraft screen shots. Via Schneier.
Gamer Mom is a short piece of interactive fiction about a mom who plays games, and her family that doesn't. [more inside]
Within Minecraft’s blocky world, he has spent about 100 hours so far on a re-creation of Azeroth, the enormous setting of Blizzard’s massively multiplayer game, World of Warcraft (WoW). His name is Ramses. Here's an interview he did with Games Beat. You can see his forum posts here. And there are pictures. [more inside]
It's All Games Now: The Convergence of Games and Social Media (video, 61 minutes), is a talk given by Raph Koster, one of the lead designers of the MMO Ultima Online, at the 2011 Game Developers Conference Online in Austin Texas. In it he looks at how digital games have changed as a social experience from MUDs to World of Warcraft, where they are going in the future, and the bleed between games and the real world. Koster has posted a summary here on his site. [more inside]
BlizzCon, the monumental annual event that Blizzard Entertainment puts on every year, just wrapped up this weekend. It concluded with a massive party and concert, during which George Fisher was at one point invited on stage. Mr. Fisher is also known by his stage name "Corpsegrinder" and is the singer for heavy metal band Cannibal Corpse. In order to introduce him to the audience, this snippet of an interview with him was played (YT link). In case it's not totally clear what's getting beeped out, here's the unedited version (YT link, NSFW language). [more inside]
Prison administrators in China have found a new use for forced prison labour: gold-farming operations, in which prisoners play multiplayer games for hours on end, handing over the gold they acquire to the guards, who sell it online for real money.
WoW... For the rest of us... WTF?! A flash side scroller featuring Freud, Marx and more, done beautifully in the style of World of Warcraft. [more inside]
One of the surprise stories of the NBA season has been the effective play of New York Knicks rookie Landry Fields. After four years at Stanford, his draft selection was at the time mocked, booed, and met with skepticism, but now he has Spike Lee sporting his jersey at nearly every Knicks game.
Non-sports fans may be more interested to know that he appears to be a World of Warcraft fan. [more inside]
Non-sports fans may be more interested to know that he appears to be a World of Warcraft fan. [more inside]
digitalculturebooks is an imprint of University of Michigan Press which releases scholarly books under a creative commons license. They've got 19 books published already and more on the way. Among those on offer are poet and English professor Kevin Stein's Poetry's Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age, anthropologist Bonnie A. Nardi's My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft, English professor Buzz Alexander's Is William Martinez Not Our Brother?: Twenty Years of the Prison Creative Arts Project and English professor Elizabeth Carolyn Miller's Framed: The New Woman Criminal in British Culture at the Fin de Siècle. If you don't want to read a whole book they also have essay collections, such as Civic Engagement in the Wake of Katrina and Best Technology Writing 2008, which includes pieces by, among others, Cass Sunstein, Robin Meija and Walter Kirn. [previously, Rock Paper Shotgun scribe Jim Rossignol's This Gaming Life: Travels in Three Cities]
Beyond the Real Life is a World of Warcraft fan movie, blending live action and special effects with in-game footage. The follow-up to a 2006 short called The Edge of Real Life, Beyond the Real Life tells the story of Tank the warrior and Bubbleballs the paladin on a quest to save Tank's love interest after she is kidnapped by a Horde mage. The acting and writing aren't in danger of winning any awards, but the mix of machinima and live action is very well done, and there are some pretty good gags in there, both WoW-related and otherwise. (via RPS)
After starring in First Kid with the immortal Sinbad, Brock Pierce was left wondering what to do with the rest of his life. He decided to set out and make his fortune accumulating and selling items in EverQuest and World of Warcraft.
This week the BBC broadcast a Panorama special (UK only link, YouTube links here and here) on what it presented as the alarming rise of game addiction. Thoughtful responses from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and EDGE, both of whom point out a number of problems with it.
Meet the bastard lovechild of Zork, Choose Your Own Adventure, Silent Hill, and World of Warcraft: You awaken in Razor Hill. [more inside]
As Blizzard prepares for the next World of Warcraft expansion, they are updating their server system, BattleNet, to use a real-name identification system called RealID, allowing your friends -- and their friends -- to see your real name. Some like it, some hate it. The system is optional; but today, Blizzard announced that all posts on their official forums will be under the poster's real name. [more inside]
WoW Detox -- "WoWdetox is a volunteer-run web site aimed at people with a gaming addiction to World of Warcraft. Here gamers and ex-gamers can share their testimonies freely and anonymously."
While it's been noted Obama is the first presidential candidate to run political ads in video games and one of his transition team leaders plays World of Warcraft, there's no real evidence as yet that the coming administration encompasses the gaming experience and mindset. Since future ones undoubtedly will, as video and computer games go mainstream, it's worthwhile to ponder what things would be like if gamers ran the world. (via) [more inside]
World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion involves a quest titled The Art of Persuasion. Richard Bartle, co-author of MUD (and pioneer of MMO gaming), speaks out against this: "Basically, you have to take some kind of cow poke and zap a prisoner until he talks. I'm not at all happy with this. I was expecting for there to be some way to tell the guy who gave you the quest that no, actually I don't want to torture a prisoner, but there didn't seem to be any way to do that..." (via) [more inside]
Meet Prepared, a World of Warcraft gamer who plays 36 separate characters simultaneously, with the use of an 11-computer rig - a one-man raid party who spends $5711 in subscription costs per year. In his own words: "I’m looking at it like it’s a hobby and there are more expensive hobbies out there than World of Warcraft."
There have been many efforts at measuring Azeroth, and MeFi's own Hogshead has the latest, which not only determines the land area but also touches on the geophysical properties of the planet's most populated fantasy world.
Nick Yee's Daedalus Project (touched on previously) is dedicated to the study of human behaviour in MMOs. His recent dissertation names "The Proteus Effect": a correlation between MMO characters' appearances, and their players' behaviors. "In the final study (pdf), I showed that the Proteus Effect persists outside of the virtual environment. Placing someone in a taller avatar changes how they consequently negotiate in a face-to-face setting." His archives cover a lot of ground, and current MMO players can help by taking the survey. For a little lighter reading, refer to his critique of Internet Addiction Disorder, a "condition" that started as a joke, but almost made it into the DSM-V.
The 2005 outbreak of Corrupted Blood in World of Warcraft may provide epidemiologists with a new platform for studying the spread of disease.
By using these games as an untapped experimental framework, we may be able to gain deeper insight into the incredible complexity of infectious disease epidemiology in social groups.It comes as no surprise that the "stupid factor" plays a role in susceptibility to viral marketing, but it may also be a factor in the spread of real life germs.
Watch The Guild! Why? Cuz it's the funniest damned thing since Leeeroy Jenkins! (more inside)
I am Murloc. Cool World of Warcraft music video. (Note: Impressed me, but I've never played WoW. Might not impress WoW players, I dunno. Won't change your mind if you already hate WoW. Horrible vocals.)
The History Of Dance -- World of Warcraft style.
Freezing Blade, Quiet Moon and Bronze Mustache. A tale from modern China of betrayal, vigilantism and general woe in WoW and Real-LifeTM.
LGBT gamers not welcome in World of Warcraft - Despite praise from queer gamers' groups, a feature in the July 2005 issue of Out magazine (sadly not archived online, reader responses 1, 2) lauding the game's gay community, and the presence of hundreds-strong LGBT-positive player groups, developer Blizzard has decided the presence of out gay subscribers would "allow for discussion that we feel has no place in our game". Of course, this isn't the first time Blizzard has angered its paying fans...
The Internet Is For Porn is a song from the Broadway comedy Avenue Q (an adult version of Sesame Street) that I found myself humming for quite a while after watching this homemade machinima video using World of Warcraft characters. (warning first link goes to a Google Video with audio).
No time for Warcraft? There's a whole new industry growing in China for outsourcing your "character". So called Gaming Factories (nytimes reg req.) have men playing for $250 a month 12 hours a day 7 days a week.
Games for the Web: Ethnography of Massively Multiplayer On-line Games Students of Trinity University's Communications department wrote their term papers on various issues that come up in the MMORPG, World of Warcraft. I'd like to take that class!
We believe that a power greater than Sid Meier can restore us to sanity. Yeah, World of Warcraft may currently be ruining your life, but I'd bet good money that over the long haul Civilization and other games by Sid Meier have ruined more lives than that upstart. Don't give in! NO MORE TURNS!
"Virtual Virus Sheds Light on Real-Life Behavior." A researcher at Tufts University's Center for the Modelling of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Nina Fefferman, is studying the behavior of World Of Warcraft players during the recent plague that broke out in Ironforge (discussed on Metafilter here.) But Dr. Fefferman is not the first academic to study MMORPGs seriously. Edward Castronova, an economist, arguably pioneered the field with his 2001 paper Virtual Worlds, in which he argues that the economy in Everquest produced a GNP per capita somewhere between that of Russia and Bulgaria. (He has followed up that paper with many more on similar subjects.)