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The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World
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The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World

3.11  ·  Rating Details ·  44 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
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 m ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published March 31st 2010 by MIT Press (MA) (first published January 29th 2010)
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John Carter McKnight
Feb 26, 2010 John Carter McKnight rated it liked it
Shelves: academic
Highly entertaining, but solipsistic. Bainbridge doesn't, to my mind, adequately connect his analysis of WoW-as-text to the experience of other players.

For the most part, the book is a depiction of his engagement with the text/world from a fairly deep roleplay perspective. Given that few players do, his work seems more in the realm of humanities than social science.

I found myself asking, does any of this - the richness of WoW as text/world, really matter to players, who seem ever more focused o
...more
Doc Kinne
Oct 04, 2015 Doc Kinne rated it did not like it
I'm not shocked; there were several low ratings for this book.

I was hoping for a book illuminating aspects of sociology reflected in the Warcraft game, background, and culture. What this book actually is is a description of the heavy role playing of the author, who happens to be a sociologist of some note, apparently, within the World of Warcraft game.

When at one point the author spoke of one of his characters becoming "aware that I was in communication by mysterious telepathic means with other
...more
Erica M
Jul 17, 2010 Erica M rated it did not like it
I had such high hopes for this book. I heard about it through the hive of the social media universe and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. When I received it from Amazon I dove right in thinking I would devour it's content in just a few sittings; I have been craving a book like this and would devour it's words like a hungry person...or so I thought.

I soon found myself reading in snips and junks because I was drowning in the foolishness of it all. It didn't take long to realize this book was wr
...more
brian tanabe
May 22, 2010 brian tanabe rated it really liked it
This is a brilliant book. And a brilliantly ridiculous book. Yet despite buying this $28 “sociological” examination of a computer game, I never felt duped or cheated or thought ill of MIT Press.

The following 4 quotes sum up the work for me –I quietly leave them for you not in an effort to give away the entire story, but as a gentle argument why the author is brilliant (but the story is not):

“I studied the World of Warcraft through ethnographic participant observation for two years…”

“I tabulated
...more
Timothy
Bainbridge is a very well-established sociologist who logged hundreds (maybe thousands?) of hours playing WoW, so you'd think that this book would be good. It's not entirely clear to me what went wrong here, but most of the book is not interesting and barely counts as sociology. He spends page after page detailing the minutiae of quests that he undertook, and most of the social interactions that he chronicles take place BETWEEN HIS OWN CHARACTERS! This tells us nothing of value, and it strongly ...more
Rachel
May 27, 2016 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Excellent scholar analysis from the MIT press.
Crossett  Library
Jan 26, 2011 Crossett Library rated it liked it
An interesting sociological look at World of Warcraft through the various prisms that entail a culture: religion, economy, law, etc. Bainbridge uses WoW to reflect back on world society, but I felt that part was a little short. While he does an excellent job examining the internal society of WoW, I didn't feel he drew parallels properly to today's society. Additionally, while his study was thoroughly interesting, it's sometimes hard to understand without a deeper knowledge of the WoW worlds and ...more
Jared Della Rocca
Dec 12, 2010 Jared Della Rocca rated it liked it
An interesting sociological look at World of Warcraft through the various prisms that entail a culture: religion, economy, law, etc. Bainbridge uses WoW to reflect back on world society, but I felt that part was a little short. While he does an excellent job examining the internal society of WoW, I didn't feel he drew parallels properly to today's society. Additionally, while his study was thoroughly interesting, it's sometimes hard to understand without a deeper knowledge of the WoW worlds and ...more
Dave Holtz
Jul 19, 2016 Dave Holtz rated it it was ok
The introductions and epilogues to each chapter, written from the perspective of one of Bainbridge's WoW characters, are torturous to get through. Some interesting economic and sociological ideas are presented here, but most of it is just rehashing known theory through the lens of WoW.
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