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With reference to -“world of warcraft”, analyze the popularity of massively multiplayer online role-playing games and the effects of this gaming phenomenon in the Asian region, and how Asian culture and identity has permeated into this gaming phenomenon.
As video games become more complex, so too has the degree in which players have been able to use the internet to find competitors, teammates and communities for play. Of course, online gaming is not a new phenomenon; however it is an ever-present topic of discussion. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (mmorpg) in particular connect thousands of players in real time interaction and communication. The asian region is among those enamored by the gaming phenomenon and as a result, virtual game platforms such as world of warcraft have allowed for the emergence of complex social structures, reputation systems and even economies.
Massively multiplayer games provide a three-dimensional environment for thousands of players to connect, interact and explore.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games, commonly referred to as MMORPGs, provide a unique platform for developing social interactions on the Internet. MMORPGs allow for simultaneous text-based and graphical communication with others and provide well defined structures that encourage a variety of social interactions. While some forms of Internet use encourage two-way communication, MMORPGs often require high levels of social interaction and facilitate the adoption of new personas and styles of interaction. (reference)
World of warcraft
Since its release in 2004, the World of Warcraft has remained one of the most popular international videogames. As of December 2008, California-based gaming company Blizzard Entertainment Inc. announced that membership for its award-winning MMORPG World of Warcraft had reached 11.5 million worldwide and is continuing to climb (Blizzard Entertainment, 2008). In Europe it hosts more than 2 million subscribers, more than 2.5 million in North America and approximately 5.5 million in Asia (Reference). With such astonishing figures, it undoubtedly brings about questions of what makes World of Warcraft so attractive and in many cases, so addictive.
People flock to these programs seeking refuge from the imperfect world around them. Multiplayer online role-playing games offer a social attribute that many games lack; the worlds provide unique opportunities to create an entire virtual life, control your destiny, command teams, gain power, status, and prestige all without risk. Gamers can be anything they want to be without worry about the potential permanent repercussions of their actions.
Causes of its popularity
Effects of WoW in Asian region, addiction
Being that World of Warcraft is one of the most popular massive multiplayer online role-playing games, it has drawn an especially notorious reputation for addiction. But, is this reputation really deserved? Teenagers are often typified as the mainstay of the gaming population. Yet, even in this environment it appears that MMORPGs are considered taboo. Are these negative reactions legitimately based on widespread issues that affect players or is this genre of game play grossly exaggerated through excessive media coverage and a lack of understanding?
To completely understand the conclusions drawn from gameplay, it is important to realize the context surrounding the typical gaming experience. This environment revolves around the stereotypical -“gamer.” Although about 15% of the MMRPG audience is comprised of females, it is a role largely filled by males.
What happens is that gamers are often forced into acting like addicts. Through excessive social pressure, gaming is often hidden from public view, family, and friends for fear of reprisal. Often people feel embarrassed when talking about gameplay with non-gamers or in a public environment. Playing becomes a guilty pleasure, only to be indulged to the extent that it might be acceptable by others and to hide played time that might be deemed otherwise. All of these emotions and external pressures combine to create the very connotation of addiction, even for players who are not obsessed with the game at all.
Why, if so many people exhibit interested behavior in the game are they so afraid of it? I think the answer lies in the very answers to their interviews: addiction. They feel drawn into the game. This immersion is particularly noteworthy in World of Warcraft because, as Krzywinska has argued, the game’s worldness is so comprehensive. Her research has focused heavily on the complexity of virtually realistic worlds. People who do not play see the respite that gamers find in the virtual world and realize that, yes, it is fun. Then there is a withdrawal, some moment of reality hits them or they temporarily lose interest and become determined to refocus themselves on their previous activities. To complete their rejection they add in their negative opinions, which force the gamer to feel guilty for -“chilling” in the game world. This does not happen with TV or social video gaming – Mario Kart for example – because people are interacting with each other as opposed to virtual players.
In June 2005, it was reported that a child had died due to neglect by her World of Warcraft-addicted parents in Korea (Gibson). Her parents had left her alone while going to an Internet café to play. They were charged with her death and similar stories of extreme gaming appeared around the world. These cases of addiction, along with growing memberships, have prompted equally extreme reactions from organizations and even governments. In August of 2005, the government of the People’s Republic of China proposed new rules to curb what they perceived to be social and financial costs brought on by the popularity of online games in general. The measure enforces a time limit on China’s estimated total of 20 million gamers (BBC News). Citizens are allowed to play for five consecutive hours before their characters’ abilities become severely limited; only after a five hour break will the limitations be removed. Due to extreme cases such as murder, neglect, and sudden death, media coverage has capitalized on the world’s newest addictive trend. It is true, computer games, massive multiplayer online role-playing games in particular, can cause certain levels of addiction. So can television, violent videogames, sex, drugs, sports, and work, but these are no longer new, hot topics in the market.
Case study of WoW in Singapore/Malaysia/China, how has it permeated into Asian region, Players and Culture, Identity,
Paradise Crashed: Rethinking of MMORGs and Other Virtual Worlds. An Introduction Robert Alan Brookey Critical Studies in Media Communication, Volume 26, Issue 2 June 2009 , pages 101 – 103
There is a strong tendency among many scholars of cyberspace to offer it up as a new utopia. Online communities have often been celebrated as spaces that allow for an unbound human experience, spaces in which individuals are able to form identities and express themselves without the constraints found in the -“real world.” With the emergence and growing popularity of massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), this celebration seems to have grown in intensity. We are here to crash the party.
This special issue is a collection of articles that challenge the assumptions about the positive potential of cyberspace. In the first article, David Gunkel and Ann Hetzel Gunkel discuss the concept of the body in virtual space, and critically examine how this space is often offered as a -“new frontier.” They argue that the use of this metaphor to conceptualize cyberspace carries risks. More specifically, they warn if we do not remember the history associated with that term, we may repeat the mistakes that occurred when White Europeans settled the American frontier. After all, cyberspace is often regarded with the same optimism of opportunity that was once held for the New World. Yet, as we all know, this land of opportunity was not opened to everyone equalitibly. For example, while racial minorities provided labor to open up the American frontier, they did not always enjoy the full economic benefits of their labor.
Lisa Nakamura proves this mistake has already been realized in the online game World of Warcraft (WoW). Nakamura investigates the practice of -“gold farming” in online games, a practice in which in-game resources are cultivated by certain players, and then sold to others for a profit using real world currencies. Unfortunately, some of the players cultivating these resources work for a nominal wage, and do not share in the profits of their labor. Some of these gold farmers are Chinese, consequently old racial prejudices have reemerged around the practice of gold farming. Indeed, players thought to be gold farmers are singled out for racial ridicule, and as nakamura shows this ridicule draws on Asian stereotypes.
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