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my life as a night elf priest

The Expansiveness of WoW

Prior to this class, I had heard very very little about World of Warcraft, or WoW.  So, this book is giving me insight into something totally new to me, kind of like Bonnie Nardi’s own experience.  What has most surprised and intrigued me is the gigantic expansiveness of Wow, or this world.  It truly seems like an entirely separate world, if you will, or culture.  It has a constitution but unlike most societies, it is not a constitution of a particular ‘type’ of person (i.e. white people divided into classes based on wealth, such as in Victorian England) but of millions of very different people, arranged into social groups and classes.  The social arrangement of Wow is very different from most countries in that people of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities, and locations comprise the group but are then voluntarily divided by rather traditional social groups, such as race, ‘job’, gender, and even age.  Not only is it a voluntary choice to enter the social division but a conscious choice on who to be.  When one is born, they are not responsible for their race, appearance, place of birth, parents, etc., but in WoW these are individual choices.  What could it mean that such an abnormal mass group willingly gathers to be distinguished by traditional social norms?  What could it mean that this abnormal group seems to harbor similar notions of social hierarchy?  Furthermore, what does this suggest is similar about cultures across nation boundaries?

I hope that moving further through this book will provide interesting insight not only into the world of World of Warcraft, but will shed light on the cultures existing outside of it.  What does WoW mean to the globe as a whole?  What does it mean to the IRL cultures of its players?  I think using WoW as a modern ‘artifact’ of anthropological study could really shed some interesting insight not into what is different between countries, but what is the same between the notions of social hierarchy in various cultures.



One thought on “The Expansiveness of WoW

  1. An interesting point about your idea of crossing national boundaries is that this world is almost mimicking America and what it was founded on. The melting pot idea is exemplified by these players’ abilities to be who they are and whatever they want to be. It also pushed the limits teens and adults often feel in reality. If someone cannot be something they want in real life, they CAN be it in WoW. In terms of international relations WoW drives past the need for an origin and is the common ground for relations from player to player, regardless of nationality. The anonymous-ness of WoW is one of the main reasons it strives as a cultural artifact.

    Posted by jbort94 | June 4, 2013, 8:07 pm

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