Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A WoW Survey

I filled out this survey on the World of Warcraft General Forum today. I'm posting it up because I think it asks some important questions. At the end of this month I have to submit a culminating paper for Languages of the Media about a cultural phenomenon. I'd like to talk about MMOs, and specifically my own experience with World of Warcraft. On the message board I invited the guy doing the survey to contact me by email to discuss the topic a bit. I hope he does. Anyway, here's the survey... (Brace yourself, it's long.)

Real life age, sex/gender, profession (optional)
18, M, currently unemployed (undergrad student)

Name, sex, class and professions of your main character
Bothar, male tauren druid. skinning and herbalism

Do you have any alts? If so what are they?
Too many.
Renfrew - 44 dwarf rogue
Exodus - 35 NE druid
Flaumag - 17 orc shaman
Ripclod - 37 orc warrior
and dozens more, mostly under level 20

How many hours a week do you play MMO's? What types of things keep you from playing as long as you want?
It varries, sometimes for 9 or 12 hours and sometimes not at all. School, family, and friends take priority, always.

Why do you play World of Warcraft? What is your favorite thing about World of Warcraft? What you dislike about World of Warcraft?
Because it's addictive. My favorite thing is the interaction among people. I dislike what it can do to people when they take it too seriously.

How did you hear about World of Warcraft?
Through a friend.

How long have you played MMO's? Have you played any MMO's other than WoW? What is your favorite MMO? Why?
WoW's my first MMO, but I would like to try new ones when they come out.

Do you play strictly on the Alliance or the Horde? Do you feel any affinity for one group over the other? Why?
Nope. I have very fond memories of playing on both sides in my early days.

What types of server do you prefer? Why?
PVP and RP-PVP. Because I love competition with others, and from time to time I like letting my inner geek flourish.

How important is the virtual community to you?
Quite. I love the community. I think it plays a big role in what keeps drawing me back to this game.

Do you consider yourself a member of the gamer "fandom?" If so, what do you believe gamer culture consists of?
This is your important question, right? I'm certainly not as hardcore as some people, but I do try to keep up with what's going on. Your second question is a little vague, but I think the culture consists of some interesting reflections of non-virtual hegemonic values.

Have you purchased any WoW merchandise? What have you purchased? Have you read the WoW books and/or manga? What do you think of them?
Yeah, I bought a shirt once. It was too small.

Have you seen any MMO fan works (i.e. fan art, fan videos, fan comics etc.)? If so, which are your favorites? Why?
Of course. Hard to choose/recall a favorite, but the Illegal Danish series is great because it's hilarious, and I also like PVP videos. Good ones.

Have you created any MMO fan work? If so, what?
No, but I'd totally make a PVP vid if I had more than 512 megs of RAM and could run Fraps.

How important is lore to you? Why?
Fairly important....I like the story, and it's fun to get immersed in it sometimes, especially when you're creating a character in your mind.

Has playing MMO's lead to any disagreements with people in your real life?
Oh yes. Nothing too serious though.

Do you think there are any gender or racial issues evident in WoW? If so, what are they?
Like I said, anything like this that exists in game is a relfection of what real life can be like. Some people truly hate the other faction for instance, or strongly believe that there are very few real-life females playing the game, and so on.

Additional Questions:

How do you feel about the stigma certain games (such as WoW) have recieved because of player addiction?
I think it's a legitimate problem that merits investigation, but I don't think anyone should be jumping to conclusions and boycotting a game or MMOs in general before more research is done.

What's your opinion on alternate economies (i.e. gold farming, ebay accounts etc.)?
I think anything like that that affects the essential components of gameplay should always be subject to the rules of the developer, in this case Blizzard.

In some forums I've frequented, younger players are looked down upon. Do you believe this is the case with WoW?
Sometimes, but not as a rule. It depends on the individual. Isolated incidents don't represent dominant beliefs of this community.

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