Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture
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Archive for September, 2012

Mists of Pandaria

September 23, 2012 By: Ladan Category: Mists of Pandaria

So it’s happening again. An expansion. Since I first launched this blog, there’s been another expansion–Cataclysm–and since I started my research, there’s been one more–Wrath of the Lich King. We like our expansions–it keeps us coming back; even those players who seem to cynically ‘quit’ WoW to play other games seem to come back to check out the expansions. Maybe it’s because despite things getting stale or frustrating once we’ve played a while, the allure of something new just keeps us returning back. These expansions, to some extent, re-create WoW anew.

So we’ve been on alien lands, frozen, fiery hot… and now we’re about to be bamboo loving, chi-channeling, fur-wearing pandas. Well at least I am. I love pandas. What can I say? I’m not sure how I’ll feel dressed as a panda, but I’m certainly going to give it a go. I’ll also be levelling up my main characters, which is going to be a peculiar experience to say the least. I’ve spent almost 4 years researching this game and its players, which has meant the ‘playing’ part has often had to take a backseat or a shared-role at least with my researcher side. Now as a player foremost (and researcher secondmost) I am eager to see how it will feel the play a game without having to necessarily document it. I honestly can’t wait. :)

But let’s talk about raiding and MoP. It’s hard to dispute the Asian feel of the new area. And it’s hard to ignore the fact that with Chinese players getting access to the new expansion only a week after other parts of the world, this may be the game and raiding expansion that belongs to Asia. What I mean by this is that with the growing interest in WoW from Asia, the earlier access to the expansion for Asian guilds and the increased success of Asian guilds during the Tier 13, we may be seeing a shift in raiding dominance. At least when it comes to the 25-man raiding. As far as the 10-man scene, Korean guilds typically dominate these rankings, but with guilds like Paragon deciding to downsize to 10-man, it could prove to be an extremely exciting race there, with a wider number of guilds and geographical regions represented.

As a researcher interested in how we engage with competition while gaming, I’m particularly interested to see how, if at all, these new ‘Challenge’ dungeons and the ‘pet battles’ might infuse the formalised competitive spirit into other parts of the game. Will they expand the competition among guilds and players or just be self-contained parts of competing against the game?

But either which way I’ve got over a day to get myself sorted and ready to check out the expansion late tomorrow night… I’m really looking forward to it and considering all of the changes to the game in the 18 months or so since I was regularly playing it feels a bit like a whole new game to me. Hopefully I’ll get to see some of you around the game. Tally-ho!

Dipping the toe back in…

September 22, 2012 By: Ladan Category: raiding, raiding research

Hello!

I just looked at the last date on my blog and cringed. I can’t believe it’s been over 2 months since I last posted! So let me update you (in case you were wondering if I’d been abducted by aliens or something):

1. I submitted my PhD thesis about 6 weeks ago.

2. I collapsed.

3. I spent wayyyy too much time watching the Olympics, including actually getting to attend an event! I love the Olympics and particularly loved it being in London this year. Wow.

3. I went on a bit of a holiday. I’d just like to point out that not having been on a holiday in a few years had led me to forget what holidays were like.. now I realise that going on a holiday is a good idea and I’m eagerly anticipating the next time I get to go. I hope it won’t take so long a wait before the next one.

4. I started trying to tidy up my life post-PhD submission. I’m months behind on many things. The world did not wait for me to catch up, it seems. Oh and I did get to go to some Paralympics events too in London. That gets a wow x 10–I love love loved it!

5. I am now getting very nervous about the viva that will take place at the end of October. A viva is the oral defense of your PhD with a panel of examiners. Going to a course to prepare me for the viva made me even more nervous. But others who have been through this keep reminding me to look at it as an opportunity to discuss your work in detail with two respected academics, an opportunity that doesn’t often come in academia. I realise that’s a big part of it, but I can’t help but focus on the ‘oh my goodness, two people who are far smarter, more capable, and accomplished than me will be spending a lot of time reading my thesis and are bound to wish they had those hours of their life back…’ Yes, that inner demon speaks to all of us! I’m sure I’ll have more to say once that process is done.

Some people have asked me when they can see my thesis. I wanted to just note that while my plan is to make this available as soon as is feasible, sharing the thesis on a largescale requires a more robust process to secure permission and that the thesis will have passed this examination process. So at this point it may be some months before it’s out there.

What I will probably do in the meantime is post things like my introduction, table of contents and my acknowledgements. The acknowledgements include a lot of the raiders and guilds who contributed to the research, so it’s particularly important that this be shared at the very least. I can, for those students out there, also share my bibliography as it’s a helpful reading list of some of the good games research that’s going on out there.