Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture

Archive for the ‘raiding culture’

Linguistic diversity or exclusivity in raiding guilds?

September 16, 2011 By: Ladan Category: language, raiding culture

I wrote a piece on my Method blog today about this interesting trend (or is it a trend?) toward success in raiding among linguistically exclusive (as in groups on an English language server setting up guilds that use another language as their primary language) raiding guilds. Is there such a trend? I am not entirely convinced. Yes we have a lot of server/language variety and in the case of certain national groups (the Finnish raiders most notably), there may be a case to make for success being partly a result of a combination of linguistic exclusivity and performance. But that may just be the predilection of specific groups and not really a growing trend or change. After all, we still have the majority of high-performing raiding guilds being English-language primary guilds. Anyway I had some fun digging through the numbers, so I hope you will enjoy the read:…-the-cultural-diversity-%28or-lack-thereof%29-of-raiding-guilds

Meanwhile to the left of me here are our polls on the drinks and food we may or may not consume during the raid. I was not prepared for the 53% response with water! We’re clearly more prone to cold drinks over hot and non-alcoholic to alcoholic. As far as eating goes, I was taken a bit by surprise at the fact that a fairly high percentage (25%) eat nothing during a raid, though the “light snack” option as the highest result (29%) is not entirely unsurprising. A bowl of cereal has gotten me through many a raid night! But I guess eating can be a distraction, and I have found myself far too focused on what’s going on on the screen to even eat the things I may have handy to nibble on. Do go to my forum thread on the Paragon site to post any food/drink anecdotes. So far people are being very shy about it!

Brazil doesn’t just have amazing beaches and football…

April 28, 2011 By: Ladan Category: Cataclysm, raiding, raiding culture, raiding guild, teamwork

Bem-vindo ao Brasil!

They are beautiful, they have great beaches, amazing food… lots of party atmosphere.. And who can forget the futebol? But are they raiders, too?

In general, when we think of the top raiding guilds we might invoke the Europeans or the North Americans; we’ll probably give a nod out to the Chinese and the Koreans and welcome a few up and coming Russians into the fold. There are even some dynamic Australian and New Zealanders leaving their mark. But what about Latin American raiders? Does Brazil immediately come to mind when we’re asked to identify our top raiders?

Next time you’re in the neighbourhood, go to wowprogress or guild ox and you’ll see Blood Legacy when you check out the first stage of the 10-man raiding progress rankings for Cataclysm. Who is Blood Legacy? Not to be confused with the leading North American 25-man raiding team Blood Legion (don’t we love blood in WoW?), Blood Legacy is a Brazilian guild. And they opted to exclusively raid 10-man content for Cataclysm. While they did not make a formal plan to join in the race to be ranked with the world’s best guilds—“We were not aiming for a top ranking when we started,” I was told by Blood Legacy’s rogue Torchia—I think the outcome is something the guild is now starting to enjoy. “It’s been great to get congratulation messages from people on other servers,” says Onstrike, one of the guild’s mages. Even members from other top level guilds have been complimenting the guild. The guild told me that while they did not fully realise going into the progression race that they had the ability to clear the content so quickly and effectively, they are now a lot more confident about their abilities going forward. But they are also feeling fragile. Getting new people in to replace the departing members is at the forefront of their minds.

Like all of the guilds who get involved in the progression race (even by accident!), there is a kind of post-race exhaustion that sets in and it can cause raider turnover. Like the great athletes of certain sports who retire after the big events like the Olympics, there always seems to a number of great raiders who retire after a progression race, leaving their guildmates with a bit of a vacuum to fill. In fact, in an interview with a now-retired raider from a top ten 25-man raiding guild, he described his desire to retire from raiding resulting from feeling like he’d completed his personal goals. “I had certain goals as a gamer and raider in WoW. I wanted to go all the way and do top-tier raiding, which I got to do. I’d completed my goals and it just felt like I was done.” For others perhaps the intense hours and focused effort exact a cost. You might suddenly lose contact with certain day to day activities that you enjoy like exercise, friends and family, maybe other interests have to take a backseat… and maybe it just isn’t worth it anymore. This fragility in raider numbers is not universal across all raiding guilds, but some are currently feeling the pinch and have been actively recruiting to ensure their numbers remain healthy and geared up for the next stage in Cataclysm raiding.

I admit I pursued Blood Legacy when I learned about them. How couldn’t I? A guild from Brazil? Surprising themselves by getting up into the top ten worldwide of raiding? It was a wonderful story for me to capture. But getting them to talk to me was no simple feat. First we had progress raiding to contend with, time differences, health issues, language concerns, Carnaval, and, a flood almost got in the way!

But it was worth the wait. I was not disappointed! :) Not only did Blood Legacy let me speak to the guild over vent but they were very generous with their time and opinions. I also know that some of the guys were very unsure about their English even they sounded excellent to me! Thanks for giving it a go, guys. :) Obrigado!

One area of particular concern that Blood Legacy raised during the interview was the problem with 10-man raiding. “It was broken,” it what I kept hearing. This was particularly true, they said, with certain HC 10-man fights, such as with Nefarian–”Nefarian had a bug that the constructs wouldn’t hit the tank”. And despite having to take a break during the Carnaval period in Brazil, the guild was still able to clear the content and finish in the top ten, something one member of Blood Legacy said he felt “ecstatic” about. But I could tell, from speaking with them, that the process had been quite unenjoyable in parts too. I had to admire the group for their willingness to stick with it until the bitter end. It sounded a bit like a group of good friends getting stuck on a trip from hell–you just stick together and get through it come hell or high water. The ten-man raiding content was overlooked and unaddressed, they said, and they just hoped that Blizzard got the message and spends as much time tackling the 10-man content for  Firelands as they have the 25-man content. On a side note, this is an interesting issue. I even did a poll a few months back where I asked if people perceived a hierarchy of value placed on 25-man as compared to 10-man raiding. 77 percent of respondents felt that 25-man raiding *was* in fact seen as a more “valid” way to raid than 10-man raiding. Perhaps this is even felt by the game designers? Did they expect only the more casual raiders to do 10-man raiding and so did not expect them to catch up to the heroic end bosses so quickly? All I can say is that based on observing the experience of the exclusively 10-man raiding groups as compared to the 25-man raiding groups, there does appear to be a difference in how things transpired and, perhaps, how things were perceived by raiders themselves.

A few things stuck out for me about Blood Legacy, summarized by what the guys shared with me during our discussion:

  • They love laughter and jokes. Even during the interview, we were laughing a lot. When I asked the team why they liked to raid, they pointed out the friendships and the good time they have together. Even one member of the team, Frood, appears to be the brunt of the “who’s the blame” jokes (I think pretty much every guild has a person it likes to jokingly blame for everything that goes wrong)–something he said he wasn’t offended by as it was all in good fun. (And I did manage to trick some of the guys into apologising to him during the interview–it was very therapeutic, I think. Desculpe! :)
  • They make the most of the resources they have and don’t fear hard work. One thing the raid group pointed out was that for them they often had to be creative with their raid group make-up and approach to raiding strategies, something that often is of concern to the smaller raiding groups. By being creative and adaptive, I think Blood Legacy was able to keep moving along with their progress. And while I definitely felt like this was a relaxed, fun-loving group of guys, I was also very aware of their willingness to put in the hard work to get the job done.
  • They are socially tight knit. I learned some amusing things about Brazilian gamers last night. Apparently, according to Torchia’s joke, “They are like locusts and eat everything in their wake.” Of course, only another Brazilian could safely make a joke like that, but my understanding is that up until recently their server, Warsong, was a regular geographical mix of players who typically play on the US servers. Gradually over time more and more Brazilian gamers have moved to their server and, according to the team, it’s more of an 80/20 Brazilian mix now. And evidently their unwillingness to converse in English has pushed other English-speaking gamers away. For the Blood Legacy raiders this may be helpful only because conversing in English does not come smoothly to all of them and I think, like with other linguistically cohesive guilds, it has helped them build an extremely cohesive, supportive guild. That’s not to say all of the raiders were in Brazil–one of the guys is actually raiding from Canada. My guess is having this link back to Brazil is meaningful for him. And also Blood Legacy is actually a very large social guild that has enjoyed social gatherings in the past and even mentioned how much they had enjoyed them.

While this is not unique to Blood Legacy at the elite raiding level, it’s important to point out that there are no women raiding with them. My observation from what the team said is that gaming is just not an environment that many women in Brazil partake in. As Blood Legacy said, computer game playing is still seen as “geeky” (and not in the good way) in Brazil. Also, the cost of computers and peripherals, according to guild member Aerus, is still quite high. And like other guilds in different countries, lag continues to be an issue. I think, as a result, gaming is probably still seen as a fringe activity in Brazil. But will that change?

Overall, I absolutely loved my time speaking with Blood Legacy and their observations are adding an important perspective to my overall research into raiding and raiders. It’s nice to see a relaxed, fun guild that that can also focus and produce good results, as they have. And above all, I have to admit I was personally tickled by this unexpected series of successes that they have achieved. Here’s hoping they can keep blazing a trail in 10-man raiding for the foreseeable future.

P.S. My apologies for the poor Portuguese, Bruno and all, let me know if I was correct? It was fun to try and guess at words! :) Go go Google translate!

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!

Interviewing Paragon

August 02, 2010 By: Ladan Category: Icecrown Citadel, raiding, raiding culture, raiding guild, subculture

Before I get to my notes on chatting with Paragon, I wanted to respond to a comment from Chea asking me why I’m speaking to elite raiding guilds.

As I’ve written before, one of the main goals of my PhD research is to complete a detailed mapping of the raiding culture. I started my research last year doing all sorts of things, including working closely with a social raiding guild (for 9 months), doing interviews with a variety of raiders (mostly social, casual, or hard core on my own server), collecting data on PUGs and gamewide chatter about raiding, reading forums and articles, and downloading and taking screenshots and videos of raiding activity and interfaces. This has provided me with a lot of helpful information (my PhD supervisors say I have too much data—I say I can never get enough, but it is a lot!) about our culture.

One area I had not started working on yet was speaking with what we’d consider our “elite” raiders–the hardest of the hard core–the world’s top raiding guilds. Whether we like it or not, these are the guys who get there first and we (as a culture) watch them closely—and they watch each other. As you saw below, I spoke with Adept 2 weeks ago. And a few days after that I spoke with Paragon. Other interviews are also taking place. I am speaking with these guilds for one primary reason: to give us a more complete picture of what our raiding subculture is. Most subcultures have their layers of involvement, talent, and notoriety. And as we are a progress- and outcomes-oriented culture, it’s no surprise that we pay attention to those among us who get to the first accomplishments first. We check wowprogress regularly, we compare videos, we visit their sites. So my research did not feel complete without including the perspective and experience of players who successfully navigate the raiding content first.

I had a great time talking with members from Paragon. And their “fame” as the first guild worldwide (and widely considered–for now according to wowprogress–to be the World #1 and EU #1) to get the LK-25 heroic kill is not the reason that I found them so engaging. Of course on a personal level, as a raider I’m interested in talking to other raiders who exceed my skill (I’m just never going to be that good of a raider!), but as a researcher their perspective was compelling and their attitude refreshing and insightful. A few salient highlights (and these are just snippets so far… basic impressions) from our 4 hour interview (yes, 4 hours!) were:

  • They are a linguistically cohesive group. It’s common knowledge that they require competency in the Finnish language to be in the guild. (Incidentally that does not mean they require people to be Finnish culturally, just proficient in the language.) Now this is not because none of them speak English. (I did my entire interview with 4 of them in English, although I did learn a few words, including “kiitos” [guys, I hope that really does mean 'thank you' :P ]) They have just placed importance on the kind of language they use. The members I spoke with suggested that it was an “important resource” as it helped build guild cohesion by ensuring the raiders who might be reluctant to use English could speak freely. They also mentioned how it helped them socially, making it easier for the guild to do “stuff together out-of-game”.
  • They are socially connected. I just have to mention something that I found extraordinary about this group. I know quite a few raiding guilds that meet socially outside of the game or at least have pockets of strong social connection (pre-existing relationships, like friends or family members, for example) within the guild. But this guild seems to take their social interaction to a new level. During my interview, they made mention of a recent event where 17 out of their 33 members got together for a relaxing weekend. Now, I know that this is probably partly possible due to them all being located in the same country, but even so, I think it points to a strong connection and desire to spend time together beyond the confines of the game.
  • They are focused when they need to be. I suppose one assumption many might make about the elite raiding guilds is that they spend endless hours and days in the game. As Paragon members were explaining to me, it’s often true that they will spend more time in game during “new content” times or when there is significant progress to be made, but otherwise, the schedule is pretty light. So the time commitment appears based around the game’s content. Obviously being able to spend 3 days in a row working on new content requires raiders with pretty flexible schedules and my impression from Paragon was that they are mostly students or have flexible work arrangements.

Overall this guild doesn’t seem particularly fazed by “becoming famous”—if anything I just noticed that classic Nordic politeness and understated surprise (with some jokes woven in there, of course) about all the attention. To paraphrase Xaar, while they were extremely satisfied to have achieved these important world firsts (as it told them they could “do it”), the only big difference in their raiding and attitude since getting these world firsts was noticing there were more interview requests and that they seemed to get noticed more. More than anything it seemed like a group of people (granted, I only spoke to 4, so I realise that’s not a complete picture) who, much like Adept, enjoyed the game, each other, and the thrill of the hunt. I even mentioned during the interview that the word “precision” kept coming to my mind as they discussed their very intellectual approach to raiding and strategic planning.

One last thing… about gender: my experience with the more social/casual/regular hardcore (I need a better word for this!) guilds are that we tend to have an 80/20 male-female ratio. So far my observation with the elite guilds is about 90-95% are male. Paragon is a mostly male guild (they noted 2 women currently in the guild) but they had an interesting philosophy about women in the guild. It was clear that any girl who could raid at their level would be welcome and in fact, during the interview one of the raiders said this about Xenophics (one of the two women in the guild who participated in the interview):

Ande: about xeno being a girl playing with boys, i dont think anybody notices/cares during “serious gaming” that she is one

Xaar: exactly

Ande: during playing were just equal players sharing the same goal

So even though it may be rarer that a woman is raiding at these levels, women with equal skill seem to be more than welcome to join in. There is a suggested “problem” with those female gamers, however, who seem interested in connecting with elite raiders for status or items which has managed to propagate a perception of “girl gamers” as difficult to deal with. This leads to a whole new area of questions that could be interesting to explore some day. For me, the first image that came to mind was a rock band groupie. I guess it’s just something you get used to seeing in a subculture–the people on the fringes who want some affiliation with a subculture but who lack the skill to actually successfully perform in it and so use other forms of social capital to insert themselves into it.

I have a lot more to report about the interview, but I wanted list these few highlights. I look forward to doing some more work with Paragon, too! Thanks, guys, for being so gracious and open to my research questions. :)

Defining aspects of the raiding culture: starting with language

July 18, 2010 By: Ladan Category: raider lingo, raiding culture, subculture, World of Warcraft

Let’s look at language, as it’s used and exists in the raiding culture.

Language. Many subculture researchers (studying things like biker culture or the goth movement) often point out that subcultures have their own language–their own ‘lingo’. I’d say that we have one. We’ve partly created it for ease and efficiency (our love of acronyms [WoW, MMO, FTW, BRB, AFK....] for one!)  and we’ve partly created it from other influences (people using English as a second language, for example, or FPS videogamers bringing their lingo with them into an MMO).

The lingo of raiders permeates the game environment. This is primarily due to the nature of our in-game communication and game mechanics. I don’t think I’ve had a day in my life as a WoW player where, even before I became a raider in late 2006, raiding-influenced lingo wasn’t cropping up around me. This most often cropped up on the general chat and (before the in-game group search mechanics exist) the LFM channel. There, our first piece of lingo, LFM: “Looking for more.” For the unfamiliar, as WoW (like most MMOs) is often group-activity based, it’s often the case that MMO gamers will group up to perform certain tasks or activities. It’s often that pre-set social groups like guilds will do group activities together, but other times, people are trying to PUG–pick up group. Yes, I’ve turned an acronym, which is a noun, into a verb. This happens a lot in games like WoW. We live in acronyms. Here are some good examples:

[This excerpt is picked up directly from the passive collecting program that I use, called Elephant. I have X'ed out the players' names.]

5/9 10:23:17.138  [2. Trade] Zxxxx: war dps lfg ICC10 / heroes 2773

5/9 10:23:28.372  [2. Trade] Exxxx: WTS Primordial Saronite 2k

5/9 10:23:56.985  [2. Trade] Fxxxx: any Jcers

5/9 10:24:00.525  [2. Trade] Dxxxx: LFM 2 healers and ranged dps icc fresh run

These are trade comments and took place over a 43 second period. To the initiated this means nothing because it is intuitively understood. To the uninitiated it means nothing because it’s a jumble of abbreviations and acronyms and game words (like “primordial saronite”), combining to leave the reader wondering if they’ve left a game and opened up the pages of an obscure technical manual. And we don’t just have lingo in this culture. We have lingo within lingo. But let’s deconstruct them a bit.

DPS: damage per second. This is so familiar to the WoW raider culture that we use it to describe damage dealers in the game. A mage is not a “wizard-like caster of spells” anymore but is now a “ranged dps”. And DPS is not just a noun. It’s a verb. “I’m DPSing.” “You need more DPS.”

WTS: want to sell. This one has a mirror acronym: WTB (want to buy). I often find it humorous that we rarely see any actual selling and buying call outs on the trade channel. People just use it for universal announcements because it’s our only universal channel. Logical, really.

JCers: jewelcrafters. A profession in the game.

I think what we see here in the examples above is a tendency, in the raider culture lingo/language, toward the efficient. We don’t want to waste time typing out “want to sell” every time we want to sell something. Our orientation is toward making the most of our time to move us more efficiently toward the more important reasons for being in the game: raiding. Language and therefore communication are often a means to an end.

Not to say that that’s the only reason we use this kind of abbreviated language; it’s also influenced by mobile texting (GTG, U, etc) and–on the EU servers at least–restricted language abilities.

While the language and its use has many functions in the raiding culture, I would say that there is enough distinctiveness that we can see it comprising an important role. A few commonly used terms and expressions are also distinctive and unique to the raiding culture (even unique to WoW, I’d dare say):

  • Grind. Ahh the grind. We have a concept of this is in English already (the daily grind, etc), but in WoW lingo terms it gets a broader meaning. We use it to refer to something we have to do repeatedly in order to get something. Maybe for reputation points, for gear, for money. Generally we do this unwillingly but we do it with purpose. The Grind is an important aspect in the life of a raider–particularly at key junctures in game development (like when we have a patch or new release).
  • Achievements. This is an interesting one. We–the raider culture–did not make this word, but it permeates us. The very word seems to suggest our identity and sense of meaning in the game. And even though quite a few achievements have nothing to do with raiding itself, many raiders (particularly those looking to form PUG raids) will demand certain raid-related “achievements” in order to let strangers join them in groups. We can be identified by this word and its placement in the culture. Often having a low achievement score–or the lack of particular achievements–can dictate how someone views us. This word is also an example of how the raiding culture changes. Before the introduction of achievements around the release of WotLK (yes, another acronym! :) ) we had no overt way of judging someone. How we formed groups and the language we used for it was somewhat different. So, again, we have adopted a more efficient way (thanks to the game designers at least!) of assessing each other and defining value in each other–achievements.

And then we have gamer-speak that’s been integrated into raider-speak: n00b, l33t, boss, etc.

So, this is an extremely brief and very limited discussion (much more to come on this one as I go back through my year’s worth of collected notes) that suggests that language and its unique features definitely play a role in the raiding culture.

What other words/phrases/acronyms stand out for you in the raiding culture?

Taking time to look at…

July 13, 2010 By: Ladan Category: raiding culture, raiding research, subculture

I’ve been so busy lately that my poor site has been neglected. A sad thing considering all the work that Alex and I put into setting it up in the first place….

I believe we’re encountering a problem with the forums right now too, which I’m endeavouring to sort out. But things will pick up again shortly! I’m going to begin posting a series of reflections–drawn largely from my preliminary research findings–on aspects of our raiding subculture over the next few weeks. Basically, this is my feeble attempt to delineate what the distinguishing features are that make us our own sort of gaming culture–what I like to call the raiding subculture. I’ve been looking at a few key areas:

1. Aims and objectives. This–you might say–is what our subculture is all about. I realise that’s a pretty obvious one, but it’s still important to delineate it. What is our subculture trying to do? What is the objective of being a raider? Believe it or not, this question may have a few different answers. What focus do we place on achieving our culture’s objectives?

2. Values and norms. Again, an important one because it often dictates how we behave and relate in our social grouping. What do we value the most in our subculture? What do we believe is the most important value or norm of our subculture? What will we tolerate; what do we expect; what will we reject?

3. Language. Many subculture researchers (studying things like biker culture or the goth movement) often point out that subcultures have their own language–their own ‘lingo’. I’d say that we have one. We’ve partly created it for ease and efficiency (our love of acronyms [WoW, MMO, FTW, BRB, AFK....] for one!)  and we’ve partly created it from other influences (people using English as a second language, for example, or FPS videogamers bringing their lingo with them into an MMO).

4. Clothing and kit. Here I’m not talking about the player behind the computer. I’m talking about our in-game accumulation and attachment to what we’re wearing. How well we’re ‘geared’ is a crucial aspect of being part of this culture. In fact, I’d say it’s got an almost unique place in this culture–unlike a person who dresses a certain way to identify him or herself with a culture (heavy metal fan wearing t-shirts from his favourite bands, for example), we use clothing and kit as a way to improve performance. The closest thing I can find is an elite competitive swimmer wearing streamlined swimming suits and caps to improve their performance.

5. Attitudes. This is probably a closely linked one with #2 above, but I think the general attitude and perception of a raider is important to consider in this subculture. What do we think about what we do? Why do we do it? What do we think of other raiders?

6. Group structure and organisation. Since raiding is so heavily dependent on group structure and dynamics, I think this deserves its own category. How do we like to organise ourselves? What influences those decisions? What group structure and organisation is the most successful? What values do we place in leadership? And what about group values?

I’ll take time to focus on each of these and hopefully, you will join in the discussion as well! :)

I hope you’re having a beautiful summer.


Is there a raiding culture?

November 11, 2009 By: Ladan Category: raid leader, raiding culture, raiding guild, World of Warcraft

Naturally I have to respond yes to this as it’s sort of the backbone of my entire research approach. But I would challenge anyone who disputes this claim. After all, raiders have an identity, a set of ideals and expectations, and social norms and standards. We tend to inhabit particular spaces in the game and share a collective goal: downing bosses in raiding instances and moving along–as fast as possible–to the next big, bad challenge.

And this prompts me to pause and reflect on this very unscientific poll that I put up here. What do we see as the most important values in this raiding culture…. and so far it seems that our community and the raiding encounters themselves are ranking highest. Curiously enough, while the discussion of gear and DKP seem to rank pretty high when I informally observe guild and game chat, we didn’t rate it as our top priority in this survey. Perhaps this seeming contradiction arises from the fact that as raiders, when our needs for community (the guild) and encounters (the game and guild) are met, we can then focus on secondary concerns such as gear and our internal/external rankings with other raiders. I don’t really know if that’s true, but I realise that there is a disconnect between what we seem particularly interested in discussing in the game versus what we value as important on a broader scale.

Do you agree with me? Why does it seem, so far, that community and encounters are ranking higher than gear and competitiveness?



October 25, 2009 By: Ladan Category: raiding culture, raiding guild, World of Warcraft

Welcome to my new site! My goal here is to provide information on what I am researching and, hopefully, engage others out there in discussing, sharing, and responding to questions and ideas about what raiding culture is and what its impact is on gaming and the broader culture.

I expect to have two audiences for this site: one, other researchers or academics who may be interested in the nature of my research or may also be pursuing similar lines of research; and two, raiding gamers who are curious about what I’m researching and/or might like to contribute to it. No offence intended to those researchers who are probably smarter and more capable than I, but I am hopeful that raiding gamers will contribute to this site. Your perspective and opinions on what I am dubbing our raiding subculture is of particular interest to me. You can impact research into your culture by participating in the research. You can dispel myths! You can open people’s minds about it.

About me: I am currently pursuing postgraduate doctoral research in the Geography Department at Durham University which is located in northeast England ( My fieldwork involves working closely with a raiding guild on a European server of the MMO World of Warcraft. What is raiding? Well, this is where gamers participate in the end game content of an MMO, working in large groups to achieve difficult tasks (usually involving killing a fiercesome foe) and reaping marvellous rewards if they see success. For the bulk of gamers, particularly those who play MMOs, raiding is a familiar concept and is enjoyed by a particular subgroup of gamers.

Over time, I’ll be uploading videos, screenshots, tidbits, and other information to this site as well as adding some general points and ideas to my blog. I’ll also have the odd survey and, hopefully, probing question here and there. Please feel free to add comments, join the forum, and upload your own information. I’d like to engage the gaming world in my work as much as possible as I feel gamers are the best sources of information on gaming and raiding culture. In time I will be conducting some in person interviews and hope to present some basic findings from those as well. If you happen to live in the UK (or other nearby European countries and the US), you may be able to participate in these interviews and group discussions.

As an example of how I’d like to get raiders to participate in my research, I’d like to thank Alex Watson, AKA Nyathiel, with whom I raid. She is not just an avid and skilled gamer but an accomplished Web developer, designer and artist! She’s helped me navigate setting up this Web site and blog and has been a great source of encouragement and knowledge along the way. Support a fellow gamer and new designer by going to her Web site,

More to come! Stay tuned!