Catalogue


The warcraft civilization : social science in a virtual world /
William Sims Bainbridge.
imprint
Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, c2010.
description
248 p.
ISBN
9780262013703 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, c2010.
isbn
9780262013703 (hardcover : alk. paper)
catalogue key
7071549
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2010-09-01:
World of Warcraft (WoW) is serious business. The game offers online real-time role-play to its 11 million-plus subscribers. In medievalizing or postcataclysmic spaces crafted by Blizzard Entertainment, players' avatars develop social groups and/or indulge in mayhem. WoW generates millions of dollars a year just in "gold farming"--the sale of in-world power and loot gathered by Chinese workers to Western gamers for real-world currency. For two years, Bainbridge (sociologist, National Science Foundation) explored this digital universe in the guise of 22 avatars, each with distinct ethnicity, profession, and status. Although he organizes this account loosely by such categories as heritage, religion, and economy, the book reads like a diary. Blizzard Entertainment--investigated in, for example, Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter's Games of Empire (CH, Jul'10, 47-6066)--is not even in the index. The book includes endnotes, but no bibliography; the murky illustrations are useless. Those interested in serious scholarly engagement with virtual societies should turn to Thomas Malaby's Making Virtual Worlds (CH, Dec'09, 47-1836) and Tom Boellstorff's Coming of Age in Second Life (CH, Jun'09, 46-5685). The present title is more for readers seeking a narrative experience of WoW, less for those concerned with its critical assessment. Summing Up: Optional. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. A. J. Wharton Duke University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"World of Warcraft will eventually be recognized as a signature artistic, technological, and sociological achievement of our time. Bainbridge provides the best analysis to date of the way WoW and similar new media forms, with their millions and millions of users, are reshaping central aspects of our culture: groups, religion, economy, education, and more."--Edward Castronova, Professor of Telecommunications, Indiana University
" World of Warcraft will eventually be recognized as a signature artistic, technological, and sociological achievement of our time. Bainbridge provides the best analysis to date of the way WoW and similar new media forms, with their millions and millions of users, are reshaping central aspects of our culture: groups, religion, economy, education, and more." - Edward Castronova , Professor of Telecommunications, Indiana University, author of Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games
"World of Warcraftwill eventually be recognized as a signature artistic, technological, and sociological achievement of our time. Bainbridge provides the best analysis to date of the way WoWand similar new media forms, with their millions and millions of users, are reshaping central aspects of our culture: groups, religion, economy, education, and more." -Edward Castronova, Professor of Telecommunications, Indiana University, author of Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
World of Warcraft is more than a game. There is no ultimate goal, no winning hand, no princess to be rescued. WoW is an immersive virtual world in which characters must cope in a dangerous environment, assume identities, struggle to understand and communicate, learn to use technology, and compete for dwindling resources. Beyond the fantasy and science fiction details, as many have noted, it's not entirely unlike today's world. In The Warcraft Civilization , sociologist William Sims Bainbridge goes further, arguing that WoW can be seen not only as an allegory of today but also as a virtual prototype of tomorrow, of a real human future in which tribe-like groups will engage in combat over declining natural resources, build temporary alliances on the basis of mutual self-interest, and seek a set of values that transcend the need for war. What makes WoW an especially good place to look for insights about Western civilization, Bainbridge says, is that it bridges past and future. It is founded on Western cultural tradition, yet aimed toward the virtual worlds we could create in times to come.
Main Description
World of Warcraftis more than a game. There is no ultimate goal, no winning hand, no princess to be rescued. WoWcontains more than 5,000 possible quests, games within the game, and encompasses hundreds of separate parallel realms (computer servers, each of which can handle 4,000 players simultaneously). WoWis an immersive virtual world in which characters must cope in a dangerous environment, assume identities, struggle to understand and communicate, learn to use technology, and compete for dwindling resources. Beyond the fantasy and science fiction details, as many have noticed, it's not entirely unlike today's world. In The Warcraft Civilization,sociologist William Sims Bainbridge goes further than this, arguing that WoWcan be seen not only as an allegory of today but also as a virtual prototype of tomorrow, of a real human future in which tribe-like groups will engage in combat over declining natural resources, build temporary alliances on the basis of mutual self-interest, and seek a set of values that transcend the need for war. Bainbridge explored the complex Warcraft universe firsthand, spending more than 2,300 hours there, deploying twenty-two characters of all ten races, all ten classes, and numerous professions. Each chapter begins with one character's narrative, then goes on to explore a major social issue-such as religion, learning, cooperation, economy, or identity-through the lens of that character's experience. What makes WoWan especially good place to look for insights about Western civilization, Bainbridge says, is that it bridges past and future. It is founded on Western cultural tradition, yet aimed toward the virtual worlds we could create in times to come.
Main Description
World of Warcraft is more than a game. There is no ultimate goal, no winning hand, no princess to be rescued. WoW contains more than 5,000 possible quests, games within the game, and encompasses hundreds of separate parallel realms (computer servers, each of which can handle 4,000 players simultaneously). WoW is an immersive virtual world in which characters must cope in a dangerous environment, assume identities, struggle to understand and communicate, learn to use technology, and compete for dwindling resources. Beyond the fantasy and science fiction details, as many have noticed, it's not entirely unlike today's world. In The Warcraft Civilization, sociologist William Sims Bainbridge goes further than this, arguing that WoW can be seen not only as an allegory of today but also as a virtual prototype of tomorrow, of a real human future in which tribe-like groups will engage in combat over declining natural resources, build temporary alliances on the basis of mutual self-interest, and seek a set of values that transcend the need for war. Bainbridge explored the complex Warcraft universe firsthand, spending more than 2,300 hours there, deploying twenty-two characters of all ten races, all ten classes, and numerous professions. Each chapter begins with one character's narrative, then goes on to explore a major social issue--such as religion, learning, cooperation, economy, or identity--through the lens of that character's experience. What makes WoW an especially good place to look for insights about Western civilization, Bainbridge says, is that it bridges past and future. It is founded on Western cultural tradition, yet aimed toward the virtual worlds we could create in times to come.
Main Description
World of Warcraftis more than a game. There is no ultimate goal, no winning hand, no princess to be rescued. WoWcontains more than 5,000 possible quests, games within the game, and encompasses hundreds of separate parallel realms (computer servers, each of which can handle 4,000 players simultaneously). WoWis an immersive virtual world in which characters must cope in a dangerous environment, assume identities, struggle to understand and communicate, learn to use technology, and compete for dwindling resources. Beyond the fantasy and science fiction details, as many have noted, it's not entirely unlike today's world. In The Warcraft Civilization,sociologist William Sims Bainbridge goes further, arguing that WoWcan be seen not only as an allegory of today but also as a virtual prototype of tomorrow, of a real human future in which tribe-like groups will engage in combat over declining natural resources, build temporary alliances on the basis of mutual self-interest, and seek a set of values that transcend the need for war. Bainbridge explored the complex Warcraft universe firsthand, spending more than 2,300 hours there, deploying twenty-two characters of all ten races, all ten classes, and numerous professions. Each chapter begins with one character's narrative, then goes on to explore a major social issue-such as religion, learning, cooperation, economy, or identity-through the lens of that character's experience. What makes WoWan especially good place to look for insights about Western civilization, Bainbridge says, is that it bridges past and future. It is founded on Western cultural tradition, yet aimed toward the virtual worlds we could create in times to come.
Bowker Data Service Summary
'World of Warcraft' is more than a game. There is no ultimate goal, no winning hand, no princess to be rescued. 'World of Warcraft' contains more than 5000 possible quests, games within the game, and encompasses hundreds of separate parallel realms. This volume examines the concept of social science within this virtual world.
Main Description
World of Warcraft is more than a game. There is no ultimate goal, no winning hand, no princess to be rescued. WoW contains more than 5,000 possible quests, games within the game, and encompasses hundreds of separate parallel realms (computer servers, each of which can handle 4,000 players simultaneously). WoW is an immersive virtual world in which characters must cope in a dangerous environment, assume identities, struggle to understand and communicate, learn to use technology, and compete for dwindling resources. Beyond the fantasy and science fiction details, as many have noted, it's not entirely unlike today's world. In The Warcraft Civilization, sociologist William Sims Bainbridge goes further, arguing that WoW can be seen not only as an allegory of today but also as a virtual prototype of tomorrow, of a real human future in which tribe-like groups will engage in combat over declining natural resources, build temporary alliances on the basis of mutual self-interest, and seek a set of values that transcend the need for war. Bainbridge explored the complex Warcraft universe firsthand, spending more than 2,300 hours there, deploying twenty-two characters of all ten races, all ten classes, and numerous professions. Each chapter begins with one character's narrative, then goes on to explore a major social issue-such as religion, learning, cooperation, economy, or identity-through the lens of that character's experience. What makes WoW an especially good place to look for insights about Western civilization, Bainbridge says, is that it bridges past and future. It is founded on Western cultural tradition, yet aimed toward the virtual worlds we could create in times to come.
Table of Contents
Entrancep. 1
Heritagep. 25
Religionp. 53
Learningp. 81
Cooperationp. 111
Economyp. 139
Identityp. 169
Transcendencep. 199
Notesp. 229
Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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