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My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft
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My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  15 reviews
"Ever since the creators of the animated television show South Park turned their lovingly sardonic gaze on the massively multiplayer online game World of Warcraft for an entire episode, WoW's status as an icon of digital culture has been secure. My Life as a Night Elf Priest digs deep beneath the surface of that icon to explore the rich particulars of the World of Warcraft ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by U OF M DIGT CULT BOOKS (first published 2010)
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Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was fantastic. So many people play World of Warcraft, and those of you that do may find this boring, but that is what anthropology is like; it looks at the everyday, obvbious, and mundane. As someone who has never played WOW, and a student of anthropology, I found this account to be fresh and captivating. Reading Nardi's ethnography teaches you all the things about WOW that you wouldn't learn unless you had spent a large amount of time emersed in the game itself.

If you feel
Feb 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
I wasn't expecting much of this book, but even my low expectation weren't met. The book isn't very well written--the author tries to straddle that line between accessible and academic with little success. Although much of the book is written in general vernacular, ostensibly to attract a large audience, the second third of the book ("Active Aesthetic Experience") bogs down in a lot of overly complex language that fails to explain or contextualize some of the theoretical points the author tries t ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-library
I had to read this for class. There were some interesting points. I really enjoyed the chapter on gender and on an aesthetic experience, but I never would have read this for fun. I now know far more than I ever needed to about WOW
Jonathan Cassie
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another excellent example of seeing World of Warcraft with an ethnographer's lenses. I found Nardi's discussion of gender the most successful and absorbing take on the question of gender in online digital cultures. Her comparison of the cultures of North American players versus Chinese players was also illuminating. I would be very interested in someone like Nardi doing an updated study of WOW in 2012, since the works I've been looking at have been largely concerned with WOW in the Burning Crusa ...more
John Carter McKnight
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: academic
This is academic writing at its finest: clear, compelling, accessible, entertaining without sacrificing any theoretical strength. While I disagree significantly with Nardi's application and interpretation of her selected theories, it doesn't undermine the power of this book.

I'll definitely use it in classes and recommend it to anyone curious about the social phenomenon of WoW.
Susan Mazur Stommen
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthropology
I read most of the beginning and the end before losing it to a hungry seat pocket on a flight somewhere. It is very engaging and a detailed look at the world of WOW. I am an anthropologist, but nonetheless my eyes glazed when things went into theory. Activity theory, as presented here, seemed fairly abstract and planar. It may have been more rewarding with longer exposure.
Andrea D. McCarthage
Oct 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
The Bottom Line - Should you read this book?
NO, UNLESS - you are specifically looking for texts on World of Warcraft (as a phenomena) for a project of your own.

An interesting premise that falls flat as the author struggles to stick to either a scientific approach or causerie writing.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was interesting to read about the game I love playing from an academic point of view. Some parts were a little too "academic" for me, but would be interesting for readers who work/study in this area.
Mar 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm currently on a non-fiction kick. This is a book by an academic, and it shows.... A sociologist/anthropologist decides they want to play WoW, and then spends a significant amount of their time thinking about it, and how it fits into the theory of leisure activity. Not quite sure what to make of it, honestly - it's a bit an the Arts side of Arts&Sciences for me, but not quite interesting enough to overcome that. There were some interesting insights into WoW, which I could appreciate as a non-p ...more
Aug 01, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid work that falls into the standard WoW trap: it's too big to study without a laser-like critical focus. Nardi definitely shows flashes of the necessary focus, and it keeps the book moving along at a steady pace; but the need (legitimate or not) for a work like this to justify itself to both an academic audience and the experienced WoW-playing audience keeps it hovering between both.
Sep 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a good book for anyone interested in Anthropology. It reads almost like a research paper and can be rather dull around certain subjects, but it did make me think a lot more about cultural followings
Chris O'Brien
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
Started this last summer. Then just finished recently. It re-emphasized for me how profoundly these types of games are. I still haven't taken the plunge, however, and signed up to try World of Warcraft. I'm worried it will indeed suck me in.
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nice try, too academic in the beginning but chapters about gender and Chinese players are really entertaining. I must confess I was expecting something like memoirs or diaries but this book in this form are ok too since it turns around WoW in its early years which I precisely played in: 2004—2008.
♥ Unaeve ♥
This will be an interesting read,considering i played a night elf and a priest for years in this game:)(and playing still sometimes)
Feb 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Good for an anthropological study.
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