Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture

Archive for the ‘new media’

Citizen science and livestreaming articles

September 07, 2014 By: Ladan Category: citizen science games, livestream, media, new media

I just started writing a few short pieces for the academic ‘zine’, The Conversation. It’s a nice online magazine and a good way to see what academics (primarily in Australia and Europe right now) are thinking about and working on.  I was surprised to see so little around gaming there (or maybe I shouldn’t have been), so was glad they accepted my pitches on:



I’ve got some other longer articles (for mainstream academic journals) underway right now and will post those as they move forward.



BBC article and radio show about WoW Raiding

February 02, 2011 By: Ladan Category: new media, raiding, raiding content, raiding culture, World of Warcraft

Note: I put this post up at Paragon’s site as well, but am cross-posting for those who might not have seen this yet.

Yesterday the BBC posted an article about raiding, particularly in relation to hard core or elite raiding and I was interviewed for this article for my “thoughts” about raiding and what my research is telling me. They also spoke to Paragon to get the added perspective from an elite raiding guild. Here is the article, if you haven’t seen it yet:

(If you back up to the main technology page, they’ve got a pretty impressive image to advertise the article:, though I doubt that image will be up for too many days.)

The interview was also included in a radio show called Outriders, which is aired on BBC 5. I have no idea if folks outside of the UK can listen to it, but here’s that information if anyone is curious.

The segment on WoW raiding starts around 19 minutes into the show. Aside from the presenter mispronouncing my name, I think it’s a nice discussion about how raiding works. Kudos to the BBC for wanting to look beyond the alarmism that the media tends to prefer to focus on when it comes to games: addiction, obesity, antisocial behaviour.

I can’t say how much stock you can put into this, but my mother (who has very little understanding of video or computer games, let alone raiding in WoW) claims that she now understands raiding a lot better now having listened to my interview. Go Mum!

Can games ease pain?

January 31, 2011 By: Ladan Category: computer, health impacts of gaming, new media

BBC Two will air an episode of Horizon tonight about the topic of “Pain.” Included is a discussion about a game designed to help patients cope with the excruciating pain that can come with the prolonged recovery from severe burn injuries. The immersive virtual game called “SnowWorld” allows the patient to “escape from their pain”, according to the accompanying BBC article.

I think this is yet another powerful proof that we have still barely scratched the surface of the positive impact that games can have. In the case of a game like WoW, I have spoken to quite a few families who have used games like WoW as a beneficial learning/focusing/development tool to help their child who struggles with something like dyslexia, Asperger’s Syndrome, autism, or ADD. I am not sure how many of them have been involved in something like raiding, but I have been told, at least anecdotally by a few hard core raiders, that the social interaction of raiding has had a positive impact on their long term social development.

Call for papers, 2011 RGS Conference

January 31, 2011 By: Ladan Category: computer, conference papers, new media, play space

Just so you guys don’t think I sit around space-barring in WoW all the time, I thought I ought to cross-post the call for papers for the session I’m convening titled

“Getting lost on the way to Farmville” Virtual, mobile and online spaces of interaction: Exploring the emerging geography and culture of new media technologies

for the 2011 RGS (Royal Geographical Society) conference taking place in London, 31 August-2 September. The deadline to submit an abstract is February 11. The RGS is one of the major geography conferences and I’m thrilled to be able to convene an entire session dedicated to the “new media” agenda. I think it’s not always seen as a natural connection, geography and new media, but since I view geography in its more fundamental meaning as “writing the earth” (not just a specialty that reads and makes maps; very few of us actually do that!), I think it’s nonsensical not to see the impact that new media like MMOs, social networks, mobile technology, and so on are having on our geography and our perception of geography. If you’re an academic or student and interested in attending or presenting at this conference, please check it out! It’s a fantastic conference and in one of the nicest locations in London.

Back in the early 1990s, the new media of the time–the Internet–was viewed as this fascinating new phenomenon that seemed to function above and beyond “normal life”. That’s just not the case anymore. Many of us rely on new media to do everything we might otherwise consider mundane. Let me list a few things I did with my laptop yesterday that we might consider unremarkable and commonplace:

  • Check a news site, roam around reading for a  bit
  • Listen to the radio on my BBC iPlayer while making brunch; watch BBC iPlayer in the evening before bed
  • Double check my recipe (housed on my laptop) for banana bread (you’d think I’ve have it memorised by now, but I don’t)
  • Check my three email addresses
  • Log into WoW to space bar a bit (actually it was to herb, God I feel like a slave to the game sometimes) and check sign-ups for the raid
  • Check the hours that the bank is open on Monday, after checking bank balances
  • Check my blog and a few other WoW related sites

This is utterly unremarkable. I imagine many of us do things like this–the computer being these portals to information and functionality. And this is stuff most of us do without even thinking about it.

So does it even matter anymore? Or, shall I say, can we comfortably make it through a day now without the Internet and our related new media? Of course we can, but we prefer not to. And it’s not because we’re “addicted” to it. We’re just used to the way that it helps us get through the day.