As a reading, I chose “Social dimensions of expertise in World of Warcraft players” by Mark Chen. In this article, the author tells about how the players of Warcraft use their social skills to join more professional gamers and raise their status. This reading is relevant to the class because it studies a type of communication in a video game (media). This article is also interesting for me because it allows studying communications in an unusual field.
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The article is separated into six sections. In the first one, the author mentions the other authors who studied social problems of video games and cited their research. He also explains what expertise development is, tells about the methods that he used to conduct his research and the methods he found useless, and makes a conclusion about expertise development. In the second section the author explains in details what Warcraft is and what features this game has. The third section is about gamers. The author speaks about the nationality and regions of the players, his experience as a player and his experience of playing in a group. The fourth section tells how to level up though social interactions, the fifth section explains how interactions in a team help in raiding, and the sixth one makes social analysis of the material and a conclusion.
The author discusses the social nature of video games. He also discovered that female participation in group communication was very low but females were 20-25% of the group. The main point of the article is that expertise development of a gamer depends on his or her successful use of social skills which helps to get access to the groups of skilled players and to level up in the game. The author supports his conclusion with ethnographic evidence which he collected when he participated in the game as a player.
In the article Chen uses some definitions that are not clear to a person who does not play video games. Party is a group of 5 players and raid group is a group of 40 players who collect to kill a monster or to do a quest. Raid is an attack of enemy. A quest is a task you need to do to go to the next level of the game. Level up is when your character becomes stronger because you successfully did the task or killed enemy. Dungeon is an underground place where enemy can be. Boss is a very strong enemy which is not played by a person but by computer, and it is hard to kill alone, so people need to create groups to kill a boss. Add-ons or extensions are devices that are sold additionally to the game. You can buy them if you want to get new opportunities and upgrade your character.
I very liked the fact that the author created a character and played Warcraft to study social problems of the game. I was also surprised that he mentioned the role of women in raids. The article is well structured and is understandable even for those who does not play video games. I approve of this article because author has a lot of knowledge on the subject, he studied many works devoted to this problem and he collected evidence from his own experience to support his reasoning.
Chen, Mark. “Social Dimensions Of Expertise In World Of Warcraft Players.” Games As Transformative Works 2.2 (2009): n.pag. Transformative Works and Cultures. Web.