English Composition I: Achieving Expertise
Prof. Denise Comer
“Arthas, The Lich King” (1962) by Maryxyan (www.deviantart.com artist)
Approx.1280 x 811 in.
Digital image (created with Photoshop)
Viewed at http://maryxyan.deviantart.com/art/Arthas-The-Lich-King-96293514 (Retrieved: 22 April 2013)
Depiction of expertise in gaming experience: The World of Warcraft universe
Representational images retrieved from the world of video games are meant to grab the viewer’s attention. They consume you to another parallel dimension, where legend and heroism become intrinsic goals of the player that lead to a decisive victory against a “world boss”.
“Your heart…its incessant drumming disgusts me. I will silence it as I did my own.”
The dominant subject is that of a man sitting upon what seems to be a frigid throne. Enter Arthas, our protagonist, the prince of Lordaeron, the promised son. He looks skeptical yet one cannot help but notice a small grin; is he contemplating a recent victory or a future one as you glimpse those scarry azure eyes? Despite its static appearance the gaze of Arthas is haunting; the use of cobalt blue heightens the sense of an icy landscape that expands beyond the image: we are now situated at the frozen continent of Northrend.  An illuminated sword stands out in front of him, filled with runes and ominous skull details. As all epic swords usually do, this one has even got a name: Frostmourne.  Shades of gray intervene with silvery notes as one is immersed in a daunting feeling almost like the dark values within the image; how many lives has that sword taken? For an outsider the horror continues as he notices plenty other skull ornaments in the main character’s armor. A dragon encapsulated in ice soon gains our attention in the bottom right, only to serve as another threat. In the background a barely perceptible black tower amidst the fog beckons (spatial illusion); alas, we are in Icecrown  – the land of the cursed undead.
The World of Warcraft  universe is considered by many the epitome of Massively Multiplayer Online Role playing Games. Wikipedia quotes:
“As in all RPGs, players assume the role of a character (often in a fantasy world) and take control over many of that character’s actions. MMORPGs are distinguished from single-player or small multi-player online RPGs by the number of players, and by the game’s persistent world (usually hosted by the game’s publisher), which continues to exist and evolve while the player is offline and away from the game.” 
Blizzard Inc. boasts about its product’s ten million player subscription base. Multiply that number by hours spent individually to build a character and make it to the prized end game content and you will understand that this game is quite serious and extremely profitable.
It takes a lot of time to reach the top ladder of the aforementioned base. Players tend to be rather social, occasionally logging in and dealing with parts of the game that are plain fun. To quote Colvin: “For most people, work is hard enough without pushing even harder. Those extra steps are so difficult and painful they almost never get done”.  There are those however that fall in the “hardcore” category. These people literally devour hours on end in order to achieve the highest performance. Many go so far as to stay awake at night, just to get that last piece of equipment that is missing from their “epic” gear or repeat “ the brutal discipline of their practice routines” . In the end, all efforts lead to a last big successful rundown aka the “boss fight”. Arthas used to be such an opponent of immense power during the “Wrath of the Lich King”  expansion. In order to defeat him, players had to learn his tactical maneuvers by heart and deploy countermeasures accordingly. It was a matter of wits, focus, gear level and mechanics. Colvin claims: “You will achieve greatness only through an enormous amount of hard work over many years. And not just any hard work, but work of a particular type that’s demanding and painful.”  For Wow players it takes weeks or months, not years yet the other portion of the statement stands true: grandeur in gaming takes copious practice. In a way the image is indicative of reaching expertise in the Warcraft universe. The player is granted with an achievement and with a matching title: “the Kingslayer”.  The digitalized image of the Lich King might be gruesome to the average Joe; to a gamer it serves as a reminder of paced excellence and ultimate triumph.
- “Arthas Menethil.” WowWiki. Wikia.Inc. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013 from http://www.wowwiki.com/Arthas_Menethil
- “Lordaeron.” WowWiki. Wikia.Inc. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013 from http://www.wowwiki.com/Lordaeron
- “Northrend.” WowWiki. Wikia.Inc. 8 October 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2013 from http://www.wowwiki.com/Northrend
- “Frostmourne” WowWiki. Wikia.Inc. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2013 from http://www.wowwiki.com/Frostmourne
- “Icecrown.” WowWiki. Wikia.Inc. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 22 April 2013 from http://www.wowwiki.com/Icecrown
- “World of Warcraft”. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_of_Warcraft
- “Massively multiplayer online role-playing game.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 15 April 20 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massively_multiplayer_online_role-playing_game
- Colvin, Geoffrey. “What It Takes to be Great.” Fortune 19 October 2006. Retrieved online 22 April 2013 from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/index.htm
- “The Kingslayer”. WowWiki. Wikia Inc. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2013 from http://www.wowwiki.com/The_Kingslayer