Play In Contested Spaces: Exploitation vs. Empowerment in World of Warcraft's Online Forums

Play In Contested Spaces: Exploitation vs. Empowerment in World of Warcraft's Online Forums

Length: 750 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Recently, research withing digital media learning and literacy literatures has shifted toward analyzing the productive practices in online communities "around" popular videogames (e.g., Steinkuehler and Author, 2008; Author and Gee, 2008; Author, in press; Squire and Giovanetto, 2008; Gee and Hayes, in press). However, the rhetoric of these studies has often focused on the positive, productive, and empowering perspectives of some fans/players in the "affinity spaces" (Gee, 2004) around games. In this paper, I argue for the importance of understanding learning and literacy within online communities around games by addressing the tension between the goals of media producers and fans' goals using tools within these communities. This tension is key, I argue, to understanding the potential of these spaces as valuable learning/literacy domains, as well as the making of meaning within online fan communities.

World of Warcraft has been the largest massively-multiplayer online game for over five years running, featuring more than 11.5 million concurrent subscriptions (, 2009). Focusing on discussions within the World of Warcraft official online forums (, I present analyses addressing how players have engaged with the game's lead designer (Dr. Greg Street, a former marine science academic who has been very active within the game's fan communities), and vice versa. Presenting the results of content analyses (Mayring, 2000) and Discourse analyses (Gee, 2006) on online forum text, I highlight a revealing debate between these parties regarding the use of a specific data-gathering tool ("SimulationCraft," an open-source tool used by players to gather data on game mechanics). In this exchang...

... middle of paper ...

...Discourse analysis: Theory and method, 2nd. ed. New York: Routledge.

Gee, J. P. & Hayes, E. R. (in press). Women and gaming: The Sims and 21st century learning. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Huizinga, J. (1955). Homo ludens: A study of the play-element in culture. Boston: Beacon Press.

Jenkins, H. & Squire, K. (2002): The Art of Contested Spaces. In King, L. (ed.), Game On: The History and Culture of Videogames. (p.64-76) London UK: Laurence King Publishing.

Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative content analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1 (2). Retrieved from (2009). Charting the future of the MMOG
industry. Located online at

Squire, K. and Giovanetto, L. (2008). The higher education of gaming, E-Learning, 5(1), 2-28.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Leadership And Empowerment Of Women Across The Globe Essay

- Women across the globe have been taking the world by storm through leadership and empowerment. Leadership and empowerment go hand in hand- without empowerment, one cannot lead, and without leadership, one cannot empower. Throughout this class we have explored ways in which women can become better leaders and can empower others to follow suit. Due to reading “Presence” by Amy Cuddy and “Vital Voices” by Alyse Nelson, I have developed my own definitions of leadership and empowerment, and have used those definitions to help me determine and enhance my personal strengths....   [tags: Management, Leadership, Sociology, Empowerment]

Better Essays
960 words (2.7 pages)

Women Being Exploited Versus Woman Empowerment Essay

- Advertisements have been around forever. They persuade people to either buy or use certain items. Advertisements strength relies on the images and words used. This ad for man’s cologne has the bottle placed between a woman’s breasts. This can cause a lot of controversy over the idea of woman being exploited versus woman empowerment. There has been a debate over the two, trying to decide which advertisement demonstrates which idea. However, in this ad, Tom Ford exploits women in his goal to sell his item....   [tags: Nudity, Woman, Gender, Empowerment]

Better Essays
875 words (2.5 pages)

Understanding Empowerment Within The Context Of Empowerment Essay

- Empowerment is a word that is often used but rarely operationalized. Non-governmental development organizations (NGDO) aim to “empower” the communities they serve, yet at times lack consensus about how to make individuals and communities feel more empowered. The purpose of this essay is to define empowerment within the realm of NGDOs. Cultural variability in definitions of empowerment abounds; this essay considers how cultural variability complicates the operationalization of empowerment. In addition, this essay will consider how to make empowerment of communities within the context of NGDOs more measureable....   [tags: Empowerment, Sociology, Social cohesion, Feeling]

Better Essays
872 words (2.5 pages)

Employee Empowerment: Literature Review Essay

- In the literature there are two main views of empowerment (Lakew, 2011). The first is proposed by Robbins (2005), who defines the concept of empowerment as a ‘participative management, delegation and the granting of power to lower level employees to make and enforce decisions’. This definition is consistent with a structural or relational view. Another definition that considers the relational view of employee empowerment is provided by Brymar (1991) as ‘a process of decentralizing decision-making in an organisation, whereby managers give more discretion and autonomy to the front line employees’....   [tags: Employee Empowerment]

Better Essays
1265 words (3.6 pages)

The Ysera Realm of World of Warcraft Essay

- The virtual worlds were good for doing what was impossible to do in the physical world rather than simply produce replicates of physical reality (Yee, 2009). This is why most people including myself, although a constant gamer, enjoy the experiences of the virtual world. The virtual world is an escape route from the actual realities of the world. This paper is going to describe my experience in The Ysera Realm of World of Warcraft MMORPG. Avatars are a key component of the virtual world and we rely on them a means of living digitally while fully inhabiting in the world (Taylor, 2002)....   [tags: Personal Narrative]

Free Essays
1933 words (5.5 pages)

A Contrast of Humanity in Suffering and Exploitation: The Grapes of Wrath

- Of all the injustices that are bestowed upon mankind, none are greater than the ones inflicted by our own species of apathy towards poverty and the hardships of our brothers. Steinbeck gives a view of human frailties and strengths from many different perspectives in “The Grapes of Wrath.” This book demonstrates how people can overcome destitution, team up to find solutions, and provide protection and security in times of trouble. Steinbeck introduces people who are hard working and honest, that reach out selflessly with compassion towards others....   [tags: Suffering, Exploitation, Grapes of Wrath, Steinbec]

Better Essays
2517 words (7.2 pages)

Essay about A Annotated Bibliography On The World Of Warcraft

- TeslaCrypt started as a ransomware Trojan. It resembles CryptoLocker in function and form but doesn 't share any code with it, which proves that TeslaCrypt is developed independently. It used to target game-play data for some computer games, but newer versions of the TeslaCrypt affect other types of files as well. At the beginning it searched for file extensions that were related to a number of games, including Call of Duty, Minecraft, World of Tanks and World of Warcraft. The targeted files by TeslaCrypt were mainly the player profiles, save data, game mods and custom maps....   [tags: Cryptography, Encryption, Key, Cipher]

Better Essays
859 words (2.5 pages)

The Raid Of World Of Warcraft Expansions Essay

- If you have played a MMORPG extensively, then chances are you have been part of a raid. Raiding can be a difficult process on its own but there are some people working even harder to ensure everything runs as smooth as possible. As a raid leader in two World of Warcraft expansions I have had many more responsibilities than the regular player. Some of the things the leaders have to take care of are planning, preparing, forming, raiding, dividing loot, and wrapping up the raid. The first thing a raid leader has to do is plan the coming raid....   [tags: Leadership, Boss]

Better Essays
1462 words (4.2 pages)

World of Warcraft Game Review Essay

- I have chosen to review the” World of Warcraft” also known as WOW. This game is more than a simple role playing game with dice. It is so much more than a Nintendo or a Sega game. The game consists of choosing a faction, Race, Class, and what to make your character look like. There are Quests, Dungeons, Raids, Professions, Guilds, Battle grounds, and arenas. It is so involved it takes months if not years to reach a point where I have done all I can do. However it keeps expanding through expansion packs, provided by the creators....   [tags: Gaming]

Better Essays
1186 words (3.4 pages)

World of Warcraft (WOW) Essay

- World of Warcraft (WOW) Introduction According to the World of Warcraft Community Site, World of Warcraft is “a massively multiplayer online game…enabling thousands of players to come together online and battle against the world and each other. Players from across the globe can leave the real world behind and undertake grand quests and heroic exploits in a land of fantastic adventure” (“World of Warcraft Guide“). Although the origins of MMORPGs can be traced to the 1970’s, the release of Ultima Online and Everquest, commonly called UO and EQ respectively, in the late 1990’s brought MMORPGs to a broader PC gaming audience....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Better Essays
2404 words (6.9 pages)