The Human Race

Kent Snodgrass

Race: Human

Class: Priest

 

Within most fantasy video games, the human race is often the default and/or at the center of the main story-line. Massive titles in the fantasy/hero video gaming space often create their own amalgamation of different “real-world” subsets of the human race to create their own unique “human-race.” In “Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V”, Bethesda, the main game’s developer, decided to create the “Nords,” which were the “stand-in” human race that occupied this specific area (Skyrim) in their specific fantasy world. The Nords are closely based off of Scandinavia’s famous, or (in)famous, Vikings and their history and culture. They are depicted as large, angry, battle-ready marauders who value things like honor, sacrifice, and brotherhood above all. Obliviously the Nords of Skyrim occupy a far different world and these changes are accounted for by the developers. Keep in mind, this is just one developer interpretation of the “Human race;” in reality other developers like Blizzard and EA have staunchly different interpretations in their games. Take World of Warcraft for instance; in World of Warcraft, the Human race, unlike in Skyrim, tends to be far more diverse amongst their appearances. Humans can be skinny or fat, dark or light skinned, tall or short. Their philosophies however, are very similar to the humans of Skyrim in that they are “filled with unchecked passion and ambition.”[1] The humans of World of Warcraft fill a plethora of roles within the world that they inhabit, from powerful political titans (nobility) to battle-hardened foot soldiers for their respective causes. Unlike Skyrim’s Nords, who believe in a sort of quasi-norse mythology, the humans of WoW believe in what is called “The Holy Light.” The human race that inhabits the World of Warcraft universe is much like the human race of the real world. The history and lore is rich and detailed, the MPC’s are mostly different in both physical appearance and origin, and their moral spectrum is diverse.

Ideologies in races in WoW

The Tauren were a primarily a nomadic tribe based of their conflict with the centaur, now however they have united under one banner and in their ancestral lands. They prefer to exhaust all other options before resorting to combat but have plenty of powerful warriors should the need arise. While they are peaceful in nature, the rites of the Great Hunt are at the center of the spiritual life of the Tauren. This speaks to a pillar of Tauren culture, which is that there should exist balance in all things done. With this they do not consider darkness evil but, as it is part of the natural world and in balance with light, it is as it should exist. The central figure of their religion is the Earth Mother, a being who created the Tauren and protects them. They view the world as a place to be cohabited with, as evidenced through their funeral traditions which involves cremation (with the ash being offered up to the winds and rivers) so that the Tauren may return to the Earth Mother. With this connection with the Earth Mother, shamanism and druidism are held in high regauard among the Tauren, as the honor the past and seek the Earth Mothers will respectively. The Tauren are a spiritual people, who are peaceful by nature, finding balance in all things and strive to maintain that balance.

Origins and Ideology of the Pandaren Race

In the video game World of Warcraft, the Pandaren race featured as playable characters is heavily tied to Asian culture, specifically that of feudal Asia. The characters firstly are humanoid pandas, with the name of the race being a clear hint to that point. Originating in Asia and becoming a key symbol of the continent, the use of pandas sets a clear precedent that prepares the audience for further references to Asian culture. In the game, a Pandaren character has to choose between joining one of two factions, the Horde and the Alliance. To make this decision, an option panel appears on the screen, describing both choices while providing a join option. Besides these descriptions are banners representing the factions, with the Pandaren written language found on the banner WoW Pandaren Faction Choice UI). The script is clearly reminiscent of Asian script, with characters sporting numerous distinct strokes and other features consistency found in the real world inspiration (“Kanji”). The architecture is also derived from Asian culture- specifically Japanese. The major city of the Pandaren race sports massive castles with curved roofs that instinctively return the player to picturesque scenes of feudal Japanese architecture with wide sloping roofs topping the castles.

Despite the aesthetic references, the ideology of the Pandaren race is less derived from common Asian ideologies and stereotypes. Rather than be interested in familial values or hard work, the Pandaren race is instead originated in wanderlust. The race came from a group of wandering Pandearen explorers who settled on The Wandering Isles; a giant turtle with an island on it’s back. This origin brings about the hint of a naturalistic ideological point of view. This is proven further when the introductory story to the character centers around calming the agitated native creatures and finding the missing elemental spirits. The main ideology lies in philosophy, however. The Pandaren’s choose one of the two factions based off of the two philosophical values that the Pandaren hold with each. With the Alliance, the Pandaren follows the Tushui philosophy, regarding meditation, rigorous training, and morality as necessities in life. With the Horde, the Pandaren follows the Huojin philosophy, which warns against inaction.

WORKS CITED

“Kanji.” Japan-Guide.com, 3 Oct. 2018, www.japan-guide.com/e/e2046.html.

WoW Pandaren Faction Choice UI. Blizzard Entertainment Inc., 21 Oct. 2011, https://wow.gamepedia.com/File:Horde-alliance_pandaren.jpg#/media/File:Horde-alliance_pandaren.jpg

 

Walled from chaos, finding peace. – Worgen and Gilnean Ideology/Culture

Ethan Graupmann

8th April, 2019

Richard Colby

As a Worgen character, it is important to note that you start of as a Gilnean, in Gilneas City, before being transformed. Gilneas, one of the 7 human kingdoms, closes itself off from the rest of the world via a large wall around its borders, in order to keep itself secluded from the chaos and dark outer world. This imposes a serious reliance on the kingdom and its people, to be independent and self-reliant, as Gilneas wants nothing to do with the other kingdoms or outside conflicts. This also puts a heavy burden and a deep relationship with the land, as we see in the Lv6-10 range during the Worgen’s story quests, as the coast around Duskhaven slowly collapses. Throughout the beginning 10 levels of the Worgen’s story quests, we see citizens acting independent and strong (“Lorna Crowley”, going against the grain of maidens in distress, initially saves the character in the cellar for one of the story quests, shooting a Worgen once to kill it, although she is not able to reverse the bite wound you get) and overly attached to their land (“Lord Godfrey” and other leaders claiming to not want to lose their land “A second time”, especially to the Forsaken), both due to the country’s sense of seclusion and desire for self-determination.

In quests around Lv10, we get a view into the Worgen/Night Elf culture for dealing with the curse inflicted upon your character: A special ritual that connects to Gods related to Fury, Tranquility, and ultimately Balance, in order to allow Worgen a grip of sanity over their beastial curse. This ritual and attempt at balance can bring out both a human and natural way of life, mixing the culture of humans and druidic Night Elves together, as we see several Gilnean Leaders (Lord Crowley and King Genn) capable of transformation to and from Worgen form (Suggesting they undertook the ritual you did in order to gain the [Two Forms] ability), yet still clinging to their kingdom and land in some degree (Seeing as Genn formulates a plan to take their land back from the Forsaken moments after your ritual). The ritual and dramatization of it also suggests that being a Worgen puts you above most average humans or Gilneans, which is further demonstrated by how you are forced into Worgen form when using beneficial abilities such as [Dark Flight] or [Running Wild]. Most players may be more inclined to use their Worgen forms (Considering they didn’t pick human for a reason), but the ability to shift between the two, one being more beneficial than the other, ties into how being a Worgen may be perceived as better in some people’s eyes (When Genn confronts Crowley after your ritual, he states he comes “As your Equal” before transforming, suggesting that being human is not being “Equal” with another Worgen), as a metamorphosis, concluded with the ritual that the Night Elves help conduct. This also shows a shedding of the previous Gilnean standards of Seclusion and Independence, as Gilneans turn to Night Elves to cure the curse of the beast inflicted upon them.

There is sufficient evidence that the Worgen are based heavily on the mythological Werewolf that, according to Wikipedia, is a man that has the ability to transform into a wolf-beast, most importantly during a full moon. There are several connections and differences between the two, however; Worgen can be either wolf-beasts or humans at any time of day, show some semblance of sanity and humanity, and are more blue-furred than an actual wolf. While this separates the two creatures, the Worgen storyline has you transform during the night, and through a bite of another Worgen, which is how the Curse is passed in both myth and in the game. What sets Worgen apart most is that, not only is their body half-man, half-beast, but their mind is as well; Around level 10, you are able to be both the vicious beast that you have been cursed into being, and the thinking man you began as at level 1.

World of Warcraft Addiction

There is evidence that would suggest that the popular MMO, World of Warcraft, can cause addiction. In a 2010 study that surveyed World of Warcraft players on the addictive nature of the game, addiction is defined as “games’ interfering with other activities, especially socializing or work” (Oggins, Sammis, p. 210). Oggins and Sammis (2010) make the claim that addiction correlated positively with playing to escape problems in real life (p. 4). The results of the study found that “over 40% [of the 438 respondents] reported being addicted to video games” (Oggins, Sammis, p. 223). A related study based on the MMO EverQuest found that players who were addicted to gaming exhibited similar behavior to individuals addicted to alcohol or gambling (Chappell, Eatough, Davies, Griffiths, 2006, p. 205). According to Carol Pinchefsky in her article on Geek and Sundry, MMO games such as World of Warcraft along with FPS games are the most addicting and that people “play MMOs four times more often than other games” (“Uh-Oh: Science Says MMO And FPS Games Attract More Addictive Players”). The evidence makes a strong case that World of Warcraft is a game that has the potential to be addictive to some individuals.

 

Oggins, J., & Sammis, J. (2012). Notions of video game addiction and their relation to self-reported addiction among players of World of Warcraft. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction10(2), 210-230.

Chappell, D., Eatough, V., Davies, M. N., & Griffiths, M. (2006). EverQuest—It’s just a computer game right? An interpretative phenomenological analysis of online gaming addiction. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction4(3), 205-216.

Pinchefsky, C. Uh-Oh: Science Says MMO And FPS Games Attract More Addictive Players. Geek and Sundry, 2016, https://geekandsundry.com/uh-oh-science-says-mmo-and-fps-games-attract-more-addictive-players/.

WoW & Addiction Synthesis

Are WoW and other MMOs addictive? Kellen Beck, a reporter on Mashable, got addicted to WoW when he was 14, secluding himself from the outside world and devoting as much of his time to WoW as possible. Kellen stated that he “would play upwards of 14 hours a day and at night [his] eyes would be so dry it would hurt to blink” (Beck, 2018). However, according to a study by Billieux et al, high involvement in WoW does not necessarily equate to negative consequences in daily life. In fact “results showed specific associations between motives and in-game behavior” (Billieux et al, 2013), suggesting that a player’s motives are a greater indicator as to whether or not playing WoW negatively impacts their day to day life. It’s also worth noting that an earlier study by Achad et al noted that while the population of gamers increases, “adverse effects (isolation, hospitalizations, excessive use, etc.) are observed in a minority of gamers” (Achad et al, 2010). However, the same study “found high MMORPG addiction rates, and self-reported adverse symptoms in important aspect aspects of life, including mood and sleep” (Achad et al, 2010). So, is WoW addictive? The evidence thus posited would suggest that WoW and other MMOs are not inherently addictive, rather the motives behind playing these games better predicts whether a player will become addicted or not.

 

 

Works Cited:

Beck, Kellen. “My Destructive, Addictive Relationship with ‘World of Warcraft’.” Mashable, Mashable, 14 Aug. 2018, mashable.com/article/world-of-warcraft-addiction/#32O38o5bWaq8.

Billieux, J., Van der Linden, M., Achab, S., Khazaal, Y., Paraskevopoulos, L., Zullino, D., & Thorens, G. (2013). Why do you play World of Warcraft? An in-depth exploration of self-reported motivations to play online and in-game behaviours in the virtual world of Azeroth. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(1), 103-109.

Achab, S., Nicolier, M., Mauny, F., Monnin, J., Trojak, B., Vandel, P., … & Haffen, E. (2011). Massively multiplayer online role-playing games: comparing characteristics of addict vs non-addict online recruited gamers in a French adult population. BMC psychiatry, 11(1), 144.

Loot and Addiction

World of Warcraft, like many popular games, use the in-game incentive of loot to keep the player engaged. (Game Informer Staff, 2015) Loot isn’t only an incentive of in-game progression, but the ability to use loot as a reward system helps teach the player new skills as well as behaviors that should be repeated throughout their experience. (Rapp, 2017) Both of these effects combined help drive the player to continue playing, what some would consider addiction. (Rapp, 2017) According to a study published by the Serious Games Society, the frequency of “random” rewards, or loot, can drive player engagement within a game. (Nagle, Wolf, Riener, and Novak, 2014) The frequency of loot within World of Warcraft is a good indicator of its addictive tendencies, but what is the frequency of high value loot at different points in the progression system? Further research is necessary to find the correlation of loot and addiction throughout the life cycle of a player’s experience.

 

Nagle, A., Wolf, P., Riener, R., & Novak, D. (2014). The Use of Player-centered Positive Reinforcement to Schedule In-game Rewards Increases Enjoyment and Performance in a Serious Game. Int. J. Serious Games, 1.

Rapp, A. (2017). From Games to Gamification: A Classification of Rewards in World of Warcraft for the Design of Gamified Systems. Simulation & Gaming, 48(3), 381–401. https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878117697147

Staff, G. I. (n.d.). The Science Behind Why We Love Loot. Retrieved from https://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2015/10/23/the-science-behind-why-we-love-loot.aspx

Is World of Warcraft Addicting?

Aracely Portillo

Is World of Warcraft Addicting?

Theories have led to believe that the game World of Warcraft is becoming addicting to many players. World of Warcraft has become extremely popular and the number just keeps going up. According to Tamara Lush in her article “At war with World of Warcraft: an addict tells his story” she tells the story of Ryan van Cleave, former video game addict. She says that his game addiction is similar to a gambling addiction. (Lush) Cleave once stated that he played the game for 18 hours straight and that was when he realized his problem. (Lush) In addition, excessive video game use is being viewed as symptomatic of other disorders such as, depression, anxiety disorders and others along those lines. (Oggins, Sammis 213) In addition, market researcher NPD group said that’s the average number of hours per week has gone up from 7.3 hours in 2009 to 8 hours in 2010. (Takahashi) Although there are two different views in whether or not World of Warcraft is addicting, it leads to show that playing the game can come to a point of addiction in which a person lets the game consume their life and takes up hours of their time, but it doesn’t lead to the highest level of addiction.

Works Cited

Oggins, Jean, and Jeffrey Sammis. “Notions of Video Game Addiction and Their Relation to Self-Reported Addiction Among Players of World of Warcraft.” International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, vol. 10, no. 2, Apr. 2012, pp. 210–230. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s11469-010-9309-y.

Takahashi, Dean. “Time Spent Playing Video Games Keeps Going Up.” VentureBeat, VentureBeat, 12 Dec. 2018, venturebeat.com/2010/03/02/time-spent-playing-video-games-keeps-going-up/.

Tamara Lush, Associated Press. “At War with World of Warcraft: an Addict Tells His Story.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 29 Aug. 2011, www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/aug/29/world-of-warcraft-video-game-addict.

Is WoW Addicting

In discussions regarding the online phenomenon known as World of Warcraft (WoW), one controversial question has surfaced; does the game cause it’s players to become addicted? On the one hand, some think that–with proper self-control—the game is not addicting at all. On the other hand, some, like myself, contend that the game is extremely addicting due to a number of factors associated with MMORPG’s.

According to testimonies from experienced WoW players, it is no secret that the game can mimic the effects like that of a powerful drug. One player claimed that, “[he doesn’t] enjoy it, but [he] still play[s] it” and he doesn’t even know why (Sottek 1). Hundreds of WoW players have opened up about their experiences with the game in the last few years, however, it might not be enough to prove the notion that WoW is addictive. Luckily, in an article written by Brian D. (Ng, M.S.) and Peter Wiemer-Hastings (Ph D.) of DePaul University, the authors discuss their take on a collection of evidence to assert the notion that MMORPG’s can be extremely addictive and can result in a number of negative externalities for those who are addicted. Unfortunately, the authors never reference “WoW” directly by name, however they do point to evidence pertaining to games that are nearly identical in their natures’, such as “Diablo II” and “Everquest” (98).

Like the authors, I believe that a massive component that makes MMORPG’s like WoW so addictive is the social and competitive aspects that make players have to physically be present in the game to enjoy their rewards. Similarly, authors Christopher S. Peters, (M.A and L.) Alvin Malesky, Jr., (Ph.D.), decided to try to prove the connection between MMORPGs and negative externalities using a survey of WoW players and looking at trends in the data. What they found was that there was a correlation between the two, in other words, the more time the player spent on the game (sometimes 8 hours a day), the more negative externalities happened in their lives. (481)

Though Blizzard and other MMORPG developers don’t explicitly say that their players need to play an obscenely unhealthy amount of time in order to stay relevant in the game, it is obvious that WoW and games like it have extremely addictive properties that force its player base to continuously play in order not fall behin

Work Cited:

Sottek, T.C. “If ‘World of Warcraft’ Is a Drug, Blizzard Is a Cruel Drug Dealer.” The Verge, The Verge, 26 Sept. 2014, www.theverge.com/2014/9/26/6849317/if-world-of-warcraft-is-a-drug-blizzard-is-a-cruel-drug-dealer.

Peters, Christopher S., and L. Alvin Malesky Jr. “Problematic usage among highly-engaged players of massively multiplayer online role-playing games.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 11, no. 4 (2008): 481-484.

Ng, Brian D., and Peter Wiemer-Hastings. “Addiction to massively multiplayer online role-playing games.” Annual Review of CyberTherapy and Telemedicine 2 (2004): 97-101.

Is WOW Addicting?

From three articles that’s shown, it is easy to conclude that the game of WOW is addicting.  One of the articles analyzed the unique difference between normal video games and World of Warcraft which is one of the key elements of having addiction. “While traditional videogames end at some point or become repetitive and boring, MMORPGs are endless, because the main feature of MMORPGs is its system of goals and achievements.”(Brian D. NG, Peter Wiemer-Hastings, 2005) The game is mainly about collecting items and making achievements. Because of this special setting of the game, it gives players a feeling of doing “Just One More Quest” which will make them actually spend the whole day into it. In the article, “Why World of Warcraft Is The Most Addictive Game Of All Time”, Luke analyzed Blizzard’s game strategy of how they let the players stay longer in the game. As Blizzard will wait until you “think about maybe coming off the game and then present you with three or four exclamation marks above NPC’s heads to entice you to just get those quests done and THEN you’ll come off.” To let this circle keep going and not able to control themselves to stop it means they have addiction to the game. Another article also aimed at the game features that will cause addiction among players. The extensive chat features in WOW will “give such games a social aspect missing from offline activities”. With WOW becoming a big online community, the players will meet more other players online and try to find the missing social aspect with chatting to the online players.

 

Luke. “Why World of Warcraft Is The Most Addictive Game Of All Time.” Wiproo, 2016, https://wiproo.com/world-warcraft-addictive-game-time.

Ng, B. D., & Wiemer-Hastings, P. (2005). Addiction to the internet and online gaming. Cyberpsychology & behavior, 8(2), 110-113.

Becker, David.(2002) “When Games Stop Being Fun.” CNET News, 1-4.

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