Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade {MSJC / Coursera} week 4 – Written Assignment

Describe a natural object or scene in nature. Use at least one each of the clauses and phrases you studied in the unit. Also, be sure that you include one each of the four sentence types in your description.  Using your knowledge from Unit 3, use action verbs and active voice, keep your verbs in the same tense, and maintain correct subject-verb agreement. Your description should consist of 9 or more sentences (up to 12).

Sentence types. Retrieved 30 May 2013 from myweb.wssu.edu

Exhausted from trekking the narrow, swirling path along the creek while climbing steep rocks in-between, you are finally there. Raise your eyes and observe the fortitude of nature, for a picture’s worth a thousand words. At first, a cool breeze intrudes your sense of smell, which ought to be the odour of mossy boulders. The back of your hand touches the icy, emerald-green waters of the pond, testing the temperature. Having configured your limitations, you urge yourself to take a dive right then and there.  Plunging bravely within, its frigid pureness startles your lungs, even though you seem to like it after the initial shock. To reach the minuscule waterfall, your swim stroke rate picks up; you ‘ve always wanted to bathe under nature’s showerhead, just like in the movies. Torrents of water are hurled down your head, the sensation of which lies beyond words.  You swim back to the lake bank, bearing a radiant smile.  During the time you remain seated, you attempt to capture the small details of the iconic landscape. Examine what lies within the small clearing with care: the low-lying lichen that adorns the hollow rocks, the amber orange leaves that float by the lake side,  all remnants of autumns past. Ascending cliffs intewind with lime green tree branches and they cause you to wonder how on Earth they grew roots up there.

[The scene being described is located on the island of Samothraki, Greece – you can see it here -> http://samothrakisphotoblog.com/index.php?showimage=2140 ]

Favourite #game genres

This post is my response on #rgMOOC co -op {week one}

The gaming experience is often a matter of personal taste; some like to shoot up aliens, others want to become city tycoons. Hence, the various gaming genres allow for each gamer to deploy his/her skills and interests accordingly.

I suppose I could characterize myself as a fan of role playing games, or RPGsWikipedia (2013) defines this highly immersive game type as casting

“… the player in the role of one or more “adventurers” who specialize in specific skill sets (such as melee combat or casting spells) while progressing through a predetermined storyline”.

Basically, you take hold of an avatar, customize its features (both external and internal) and through it you interact with the surrounding environment or / and with other players.

The emerging gaming community within RPGs is quite strong in numbers; thus the term MMO RPGs, i.e. massive open online role-playing games, where one collaborates and experiences the same game context with thousands – even millions – of other players all over the world. . Even though Wikipedia cites Dungeons and Dragons as the main source of inspiration for RPGs, I would considerate Everquest as being the major breakthrough in the MMO RPG gaming genre.

The elements of lore and game narrative in general are more or less influenced either by medieval fantasy context (enter dragons, elves, dwarves and swords) or bleak future alien invasion. Wikipedia also quotes casual derails from the fore mentioned motifs, mostly coming from Asian game developers.

Having been an avid World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls: Skyrim player, I could say I am drawn to high fantasy, medieval context. Epic elements, mythical creatures, serenity of landscapes and formidable musical scores make the experience complete and absolute; you can scarcely remain within the game for any less than two hours, even if you are merely a casual player.

Should you decide to embark on an MMO RPG journey, there is seldom one finite goal. There is always something to do, an achievement you haven’t completed yet, a recipe you missed, an area you didn’t explore. To be honest time flies when you are having fun, chatting in the trade channel with complete strangers or analyzing the latest raid wipes with your guild mates. These are only a few of the reasons why I enjoy spending time playing  MMO RPGs.

Bainbridge makes a rather interesting remark regarding why we choose to role play in MMO RPGs like World of Warcraft:

Some writers about avatars assume that users consider them to be very direct representatives of themselves in a virtual world, but my observation suggests the widest possible range of connections between the biological person and the electronic person, only occasionally fulfilling the definition of second self”.  [Bainbridge: p. 187]

So it’s not really about playing “me” in fancy gear and carrying a sword / stave. It’s basically about entering a complete other dimension.

To conclude I appreciate a decent MMO RPG for carefully constructing an escapism mentality, making my choice of a pastime considerably more engaging. After all, Reality is broken as Jane Mc Gonigal boldly insinuates. But that is a whole other co-op…

Works cited:

Bainbridge, William Sims. The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World. London: MIT Press. 2010. Print

Video Game Genres. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. Retrieved 28 May 2013 from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_genres

 

#Consoles and the future of video #games: Op-Ed final project 4:English Composition I – Achieving Expertise {Duke / Coursera}

For the purposes of the final assignment for English Composition I: Achieving Expertise MOOc on Coursera, offered by Duke University we were given the chance to write our own op-ed, regarding a trending headline in the news. My chosen field of expertise was gaming and video games in particular so I am actually dishing on Microsoft’s latest product. I have always felt that PC gaming is superior so here’s my op ed on the matter. As always feedback would be most welcome – The paper is due on Monday!!!!!

Back to the loving arms of a gaming PC

Expert gaming revolves around two things: passion and appropriate equipment. You spend a lot of time battling the forces of Evil but if the pixels are all wrong, this passionate gaming experience ceases to exist. Revealing her newest product, XBOX one, Microsoft recently conveyed the future trend in gaming devices, leaving hints that pure gaming was no longer a part of their plans.

XBOX ONE footage retrieved 30 May 2013 from http://www.enternity.gr

The over hyped, over advertised next generation gaming console took a turn for NFL streams and live television. The device itself looks like a damn VCR from the 80s. Of course, there is nothing wrong with Microsoft’s corporate decision; smart television market shares have sky rocketed so it’s only reasonable they want their fair share of the pie.  The basic problem however is that Xbox was originally meant for gaming, not reality shows and Netflix. It used to be a simple plug-in, plug –and – play process with occasional friendly co-ops.

Even worse, if you happen to live outside the United States, the whole hourly presentation was absolutely pointless. Xbox 360 owners and potential Xbox one buyers were waiting for a torrent of the latest graphic breakthroughs and posh exclusive titles. Instead, they got Call of duty’s German Shepherds (Seriously, CoD will feature dogs now; they went full Sims or something. Never go full Sims.) There was in fact a second game title preview, a car racing title (Forza Motorsport 5), which I will not bother to comment any further.

Indie games and used games lived in a state of symbiosis with the platforms up until recent blurry claims about additional fees concerning them. Again this is seen as a perfectly logical market share move on behalf of the console manufacturers, but not to the best interest of the gamer community (or Gamestop for that matter). I saved the best for last: always –on DRM. Consumer policies and rights went down the drain with this one, I am afraid. To be exact this lovely piece of machinery will supposedly need a 24-hour check in (Big Brother much?) and through state –of-the art biometrics Kinect will be able to sense how many people are in the room watching Oprah.  To refute the ongoing surge of complaints, Microsoft stated that you don’t really have to be online all the time. Nevertheless, of you are not online, game and TV content will not be “strong” enough, as the system won’t exploit the full power of social media and “other” add-ons. Baffling words and a severe case of double standard semantics are paving the way for the much awaited E3 2013 Expo in Los Angeles, where gamers will learn the gory details first hand.

Sony on the other hand is lurking in the shadows having recently exhibited a teaser trailer for the upcoming Playstation 4. Rumors of seizure incidents afterwards have yet to be confirmed. Their next gen gaming console now reaps the benefits of Microsoft’s customer body target turn – and the average gamer’s ongoing rage – but they too need to prove themselves. Nintendo’s Wii U was the first new gen console to take the heat of the increasingly demanding gamers. It did with the Super Mario franchise and the return of Sonic and Donkey Kong. Alas, the average gamer is now an adult. (Zelda still rules though, that much I have to admit).

So, fellow gamers, what’s left for us upon this wretched planet of corporate conglomerate decisions and Kardashian saga overdose?  Well, if you like first / third person shooters and MMO RPGs you most likely skimmed through this text with a sardonic smile. You see there has been a gamer crowd out there who is not the least bit interested in consoles: the PC gamers. Building a gaming PC requires more financial resources than owning a console, yet the processing power and overall value for money will compensate your initial investment. As far as visual quality goes, the  Crytek’s Crysis titles offered a benchmarking challenge for gaming PCs but nothing that couldn’t be rectified with a mere upgrade in the system’s graphic card.

Expert gaming needs by definition state of the art equipment. I do not doubt for a second that XBOX One will be able to accommodate their loyal gamer fanboys. I just don’t find the reason to opt for a console when my gaming PC practically does the same job – even better I might add.

First-Year Composition 2.0 {Georgia Tech / Coursera} – week 1

For the purposes of this writing MOOC, we need to come up with a personal benchmark, concerning our communication skills and rhetoric.

I consider myself capable of:

On the other hand I really need to fix the following:

  • self procrastination, leaving assignments and studying for the last minute
  • writing automatically – brainstorming happens only occasionally and mostly mentally. I need to start taking drafting procedure more seriously.
  • typos. The horror.
  • Complex-compound sentence structure. I sometimes go overboard.
  • adding more dynamic visual elements. I should consider recording or manipulating videos and more vivid visual stimuli.

rgMOOC Week one – #Gaming #MMORPG vocabulary / terminology

What are your favourite abbreviations / terms from the gaming jargon? Any stories on how you ‘ve learned their meaning? Are you using any of them in your spoken /written English?

 So, back when I used to be a real noob, and MMO RPGs had only recently appeared, I decide to roll a druid (my very first char) in Vanilla World of Warcraft (vanilla stands for the game’s first instalment). Basically I recall joining a group of players during a dungeon run – no dungeon finder tool back then – and we proceeded to slaughter some naga (serpent-like villain figures).

I don’t remember much (the year was 2006), only that at some point they were all screaming the word “TANK” (caps lock is used for screaming). I was looking back and forth in agony. I knew I had joined a medieval fantasy game. I knew I had spells and armour to fight off meanies. But a tank? G.I. Joe was there somewhere? Military forces from Stormwind? I didn’t have the slightest idea.

Of course, the group was disbanded. I went on with my questing  – solo – and it was only at level 50 when I joined a decent guild explaining me the terms “dps“, “tank“, “healer“.  My shame was unbearable, still I learned a valuable lesson: always help a confused poor noob.

Jargon explained:

noob – > a newbie player, someone just entering a game, clueless.

roll a char -> creating an avatar

dungeon run -> also known as dungeon crawling. Entering an instance shaped like a dungeon/cave, containing lots of mobs with augmented difficulty level and scarcely a resting point.

tank -> player capable of receiving “aggro” (threat), usually being the one who “pulls” mobs (enemy creatures within the game)

healer -> self-explanatory. Responsible for healing group  / raid members – also able to decurse / dispel.

dps -> player who is usually able to inflict large amounts of damage either melee (via weaponry, from a close distance) or magic (via spells from a ranged distance).

Check out the following R-Rated infamous video, showing what it’s like during a raid chat 🙂

Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade – Week 4: Journals 1 & 2 / writing assignment{Coursera / MSJC}

For the purposes of this writing assignment, I chose a scene from the first instalment of the “Hobbit”, called “An unexpected journey” (2012),

by Peter Jackson, based on the J. R. R. Tolkien novel.

Bilbo reading the Deed of Contract – retrieved from http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/01/hobbit-contract-legal-analysis/

 

Module 1 Writing Activity

In your writing journal, begin to practice building sentences with adjective and adverbial clauses. As in Unit 3, you may find it helpful to be observing a scene while you compose sentences. Using the lists associated with each of these types of clauses, write at least three (3) sentences including adjective clauses and three (3) sentences including adverbial clauses. Underline the adjective and adverbial clauses. Consider their function in both as a modifier and an aspect of your writing style

Adjective clauses:

  1. Bilbo Baggins is seen standing inside his little house, which is situated in the fictional Middle – Earth region known as the “Shire”.
  2. Bilbo, whose nephew is named Frodo, is a Hobbit.
  3. Hobbits are human-like creatures that are distinctive for their disproportionately huge feet compared to their rather short bodies.

Adverbial clauses

  1. Bilbo is given a Deed of Contract to sign, once he has finished reading all the terms.
  2. The dwarves basically want Bilbo to accompany them through a perilous journey, so that they may recapture their homeland, Erebor.
  3. Although the wise wizard Gandalf has taken an interest to help the dwarves along with Bilbo, the Hobbit feels reluctant to join their cause.

 

 

Module 2 Writing Activity

In your journal, continue your sentence practice with noun and verb phrases. Write at least one of each of the noun phrases discussed in the unit (prepositional phrase, absolute phrase, and appositive phrase) and at least two of each of the verb phrases (infinitive phrase and participial phrase). You will, therefore, write at least seven sentences for this journal activity. As in the first assignment, underline the phrase in each sentence and consider its function in both as a modifier and an aspect of your writing style.

 

Noun phrases:

  1. Erebor means “Lonely Mountain” in Sindarin, which is one of the languages spoken by the Elves of Middle-Earth. (prepositional phrases)
  2. Driven away from their homeland by the foul dragon Smaug, the Durin’s folk clan of Dwarves find themselves once again in exile; they were previously forced out of their initial habitat, namely the Misty Mountains area, by Orcs. (absolute phrase)
  3. Thorin II Oakenshield,  son of Thrór, King Under the Mountainis determined to reclaim the dwarven treasure and his family’s heirlooms from the dragon. (appositive phrases)

Verb phrases:

  1. To venture into Erebor, our company of heroes must also face dangerous trolls and orcs before encountering the beast. (infinitive phrase)
  2. To fathom Bilbo’s hesitation, we need to be reminded that Hobbits are hardly used to embarking on adventures. (infinitive phrase)
  3. Accompanied by 12 other dwarves of his clan –  Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, and Ori – Thorin Oakenshield is sceptical whether Bilbo can actually prove himself as a valuable asset for their cause. (participial clause)
  4. Having intruded his house’s kitchen uninvited,  the dwarves’ huge appetite and rioting nature startles Bilbo even further. (participial clause)

English Composition I: Achieving Expertise {Duke / Coursera} – Case study (final Project 3)

Rozalia Zeibeki

English Composition I: Achieving Expertise

Prof. Denise Comer

Area of Expertise: Video games and gamification

Case study:  World of Warcraft EU-Guild “Method” @Twisting Nether

 

A glimpse at the world of expert gamers:

World of Warcraft’s “Method” @Twisting Nether

 

The gaming industry has had a prolific past decade. The revenues from gaming titles, memorabilia and marketed products have surpassed expectations. Blizzard / Activision Inc. is one of those gaming conglomerates and the producer of the world’s most popular MMO RPG[1], called “World of Warcraft” [2], the ongoing saga between Alliance and Horde forces. Despite the fact that recent spring quarter statistics have shown a decrease in subscribers, the game still boasts a staggering 9 million subscription base. Multiply that by approximately 14 euros per month plus other sources of income (e.g. in-game purchase options) and you have yourself a multi-million dollar business.

 wow_subs graph

Figure 1 World of Warcraft Subscription numbers over the course of its expansions.

Source: Activision / Blizzard – Illustration: Ross Patton/ Wired [3]

Players tend to put their money to good use; an average hardcore Wow player sacrifices eight or more hours in a row to achieve grandeur. A social player, who is somewhat less engaging, will also roam the digital world of Azeroth for a good two hours on average, each time he logs in the game.  Method guild members belong to the extreme hardcore player body and are sponsored by major companies, thus being rendered “professional” gamers.

The goals of the game are substantially diverse but it all accumulates to “raiding” and facing a “world boss” of ultimate level difficulty. In order to do that, you basically need to cooperate with other people in the game, usually within a guild [4]. Bainbridge portrays the process of players entering one:

“… First, they may form a guild from scratch, and often a successful guild is formed by a group of people who are already friends, sometimes even members of the same real-world family. Second, guilds that are trying to grow may advertise on the guild-recruiting channel of the chat system; depending on how selective they are, even a halfhearted expression of interest may result in a formal invitation to join. Third, a member of a guild may share quests or other experiences with a nonmember, come to see that person as competent and trustworthy, and extend an invitation on the basis of extensive familiarity based entirely on in-game interactions.” [5]

Method@ Twisting Nether                                                                                

Method is a European based guild playing on a server called Twisting Nether ( EN- PVP)[2] . Former Alliance, now belonging to the Horde faction, they are basically a 25-man raid guild; that is they focus on combatting raid bosses with a solid group comprising of 25 people as opposed to opting for the alternative 10-man raid model. Coordinating 25 people in a long boss fight where game mechanics demand high levels of dexterity and leadership is difficult in itself; being the first in the WoW universe to achieve downing a boss qualifies for gaming “expertise”.

There has been much debate whether a 25-man kill is actually harder than a 10-man raiding regime. Method’s main antagonists are a Finnish guild called DREAM-Paragon; they have currently switched from 25-man to the 10-man model and are respectively topping the progression charts in the world. Method’s reply, during a 5.1 patch[3] interview:

 “What’s your take on 10-man vs 25-man World Firsts?
Artzie: Personally I don’t think you can compare 10man to 25man. Out of all these bosses I’ve ever met in WoW, the only one that was harder in 10man was Sartharion 3D. It’s just wrong to compare 10man with 25man. […] [6]

 

Methods for “Method”

Finding 25 players to follow an excruciating raiding schedule up until the wee hours of the morning is hardly a walk in the park. This is why their roster is not the same from the guild’s initial formation. To fill out the missing group slots, they recruit the best Wow players out there. In order to be “drafted” in such a raiding guild, you have to boast substantial experience, evidence of knowing to play your class[4] well up to par and finally fill out the correspondent application form on their webpage. [8]

After having the appropriate guild members selected before each patch comes out, the guild enters the PTR Phase. PTR stands for Public Test Realm, so it’s the game publisher’s way of testing new content and making sure everything is running smoothly. End-game guilds like Method access the experimental realms, utilize the latest changes and basically run against the clock in their attempt to be the first to down Blizzard’s animated evil caricatures in the entire 9-million community.

Raiding comprises of defeating many bosses in a row, thus they take it one boss at a time.  In case something goes wrong during the encounter, the guild leader usually decides to “wipe” it. That means they all let their avatars die on purpose and restart the combat. The reason is that if game mechanics are not meticulously followed from the start, then no matter how well prepared the raid team is the final outcome will eventually be negative. Achieving a raid kill might come after numerous “wipes” – double digit ones at times– something which has a tremendous nerve-wracking effect on most casual players. Moreover, the whole process of learning through trial and error is awfully time-consuming. Raiding usually commences late in the evening and could carry on until dawn. Top notch guilds engage in raiding for days on end, so it’s basically play, sleep, eat, then play again; tons of energy drinks are also involved in the process. In his article, Geoffrey Colvin insists that this is actually the road to take if you want to become the best in any sector. He suggests:

“The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to what the researchers call “deliberate practice.” It’s activity that’s explicitly intended to improve performance, that reaches for objectives just beyond one’s level of competence, provides feedback on results and involves high levels of repetition.” [9]

Coyle similarly recounts of a “deep practice” as a paced path to shaping excellence and talent and constant self-improvement through errors and repetitiveness. [10] The term qualifies for Method’s method to be honest – they recently concluded the Throne of Thunder raid instance by killing the boss, “Ra Den” [8], after two attempts alone. During patch 5.1 raid instance, it took them 108 (!) efforts to down the “Will of the Emperor”. [6] I guess practice makes perfect, indeed.

 method Ra den

Figure 2 Ra Den 25m World’s 1st by Method [8]

 

 

Works cited:

  1. Massively multiplayer online role-playing game.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 25 May 2013. Web. Retrieved 26 May 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massively_multiplayer_online_role-playing_game
  2. World of Warcraft”. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 20 May 2013. Web. Retrieved 26 May 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_of_Warcraft
  3. Kohler, C. “World of Warcraft Has Lost Its Cool”. Wired. 27 September 2012. Web. Retrieved 26 May, 2013 from http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2012/09/mists-of-pandaria/
  4. Guild”. WowWiki. Wikia.Inc. 26 August 2012. Web. Retrieved 27 May 2013 from http://www.wowwiki.com/Guild
  5. Bainbridge, W. S. “The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World”. London: MIT Press. 2010. Print
  6. Grace, O. “Top guild Method discusses their World First”. Wow Insider. AOL Inc. 1 November 2012. Web. Retrieved 27 May 2013 from http://wow.joystiq.com/2012/11/01/top-guild-method-discuss-their-world-first/#continued
  7. Class”. WowWiki. Wikia Inc. 21 May 2013. Web. Retrieved 27 May 2013 from http://www.wowwiki.com/Class
  8. Method”. Method Network. Web. Retrieved 27 May 2013 from http://www.methodwow.com/board/content.php
  9. Colvin, G. “What It Takes to be Great.” Fortune. 19 October 2006. Web. Retrieved 27 May 2013 from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/index.htm
  10. Coyle, D. “The Talent Code. Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How”. New York: Bantam. 2010. Print.

[1] Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) is a genre of role-playing video games or web browser based games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world.”  [1]

[2] “Twisting Nether” is a World of Warcraft European (EU) public realm. Main language featured in general chat and trade channel is English (EN). This is a PvP server, meaning that anytime you encounter a player from the hostile faction in open space, he/she is able to attack you or vice versa regardless each one’s level of ability or combat readiness mood.

[3] “Patches” are small updates in the game, usually releasing extra content and bug fixes. Blizzard has currently released patch 5.3. for WoW as of 21st May 2013.

[4]class is the primary adventuring style of a player character which determines the type of weapons and armor it can use, as well as what abilitiespowersskills, and spells it will gain throughout its adventures.” [7] There are currently 11 classes in Wow: Death Knights, Druids, Hunters, Mages, Monks, Paladins, Priests, Rogues, Shamans, Warlocks and Warriors.

English Composition I: Achieving Expertise {Coursera / Duke} – Annotated Bibliography contribution

English Composition I: Achieving Expertise

Prof. Denise Comer

Annotated Bibliography contribution

Area of Expertise: Video games (World of Warcraft)

  •  Donovan, Tristan. Replay: The History of Video Games. Lewes, East Sussex: Yellow Ant Publications. 2010. Print

A staggering 500 page tome (350 of which is the actual material), which elaborately portrays the advent and progression of video game industry from Atari consoles to computer animated latest products (2010). It features international case studies of the gaming communities and habits around the world (Asia among others) as well as a detailed description of how various game genres came to life.

The narrative is deemed quite personal and often takes the form of interview memoirs. While the historical documentation is extremely detailed – dating back to 1945 – the game trends of the 21st century are somewhat “rushed” along the book’s final chapters among with emerging popular game franchises.

Overall it’s an interesting addition to a gamer’s library, especially if one is interested in the gaming industry’s past and how it all began.

A word from the author:

I chose video game in preference to other terms for several reasons: it remains in everyday use, unlike TV game or electronic game; it is broad enough to encompass the entire medium unlike ‘computer game’, which would exclude games, such as Atari’s Pong, that did not use microprocessors; and terms such as ‘interactive entertainment’, while more accurate, have failed to catch on despite repeated attempts over the years.”

 

  • Gutiérrez, Mario, Thalmann, Daniel, Vexo, Frédéric. Stepping into Virtual Reality. Lausanne: Springer-Verlag London Limited. 2008. Print

Mostly described as a technical guidebook for students, this entry rather resembles an introduction to virtual environment design. Ample examples in conjunction with color illustrations exhibit the fundamentals of creating an immersive virtual world. Chapters include architecture of augmented virtual reality systems, avatar creation, touch, smell and taste simulation as well as a reference to visuals (e.g. LCD / Plasma displays) and audio.

To sum up, this qualifies for a decent 101 on virtual reality basics and technical infrastructure.

A word from the authors:

“This work was conceived as a guided tour that will give a practical explanation

of each step in the process of creating a Virtual Reality application. It can

be used both as a textbook for a Virtual Reality course and as a reference for

courses covering computer graphics, computer animation, or human-computer

interaction topics.

 

  • Hunter, Dan, Werbach, Kevin. For the Win: How GAME THINKING Can Revolutionize Your Business. Philadelphia: Wharton Digital Press. 2012. Print

I came across “For the Win” during a MOOC course called “Gamification” on the Coursera platform. Kevin Werbach is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania; together with Dan Hunter they showcase an academic background in law as well as research of virtual worlds. “Gamification” was the very first course of its kind to be offered in academia (The Wharton School) and this book summarizes the main ideas behind the term. Interestingly, thinking as a game designer was not only meant for people within the gaming industry. Game elements, when applied to non-game context can make your business – or any other sector – a better place (for employees and clients alike). The book features gamified websites and examples of gamified services as well as a thorough approach of what kind of game elements one should seek to implement in order to make this endeavor work.

I should mention that both writers were players of World of Warcraft (Horde side) and draw comparisons from many popular games of our time.

From the writers’ note on the title:

““For the win,” or FTW for short, is a gamer term believed to be derived from old-school TV game shows like Hollywood Squares, in which a player could win the game with a correct answer. It’s used as an endorsement of a tool or practice that will lead to success in any context. As in: “Daily exercise FTW!” We find it an appropriate moniker. Gamification is a technique that businesses can use to be more successful. We hope you will use this book to help your business win in whatever ways you choose.”

 

  • Bainbridge, William Sims. The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World. London: MIT Press. 2010. Print.

Bainbridge takes on the most popular MMO RPG (massive open online role playing game) in its peak, namely the Lich King Expansion years. His account is suitable for Argent Dawn EU server players: the role playing lot. Now when one finds oneself in Azeroth chances are you will explore, quest, raid, kill many many – seriously many – mobs; not many choose to role play, because it takes a lot of creativity, effort, practice and imagination – you ‘ve run out of those while killing the many, many oh so many mobs, if you recall.

Bainbridge’s review of the game derives – as the title so hints – from a social perspective, but what he means by that is highly contestable. Sociology is one thing, attempting an explanation of the WoW social universe is a complete other.  The book is divided into small chapters, each focusing on separate elements of the game such as religion or cooperation. The introductory roleplaying story lines are intuitive and strongly supported by lore details. After each one, an explicatory section ensues, where things are theoretically approached. The author often gives the impression of an outsider rather than an actual WoW gamer, since his lack of understanding how the game community actually works in non – lorewise manner is baffling.

It should be noted that in-game problems such as character meetup in different servers and dungeon / raid grouping have been dealt with by Blizzard ever since the Cataclysm expansion. Thus, it’s an interesting reading option for the game’s old- timers; at times a beautiful journal even.

From the author’s take on “ganking” [Chapter 5: p. 134]:

“Wanton killing of another player’s character is ganking. Maxrohn experienced ganking firsthand when he was around level 40 at a crossroads in the Swamp of Sorrows. A level-37 Horde scout was standing there, barring the way, so rather than go around, Maxrohn attacked him. This had the effect of turning Maxrohn’s battle flag on, rendering him vulnerable to attack by Horde players. Unfortunately, the crossroads was between the Horde flight path at Stonard and the entry to the high level Blasted Lands zone. Just as Maxrohn was bending down to loot the scout’s corpse, a high-level Horde player killed him instantly. His last memory of the episode is the Horde player’s laughter.”

Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade – Week 3: Journals 1 & 2 / writing assignment{Coursera / MSJC}

Well, for the purposes of these assignments, I chose a scene from World of Warcraft (mmo rpg). It seems that every writing MOOC gives me the opportunity to talk about this game and …oh well…..I like it!!! I needed to use an array of  subjects and verbs this time, so here goes…

[this screenshot was taken from my PC during the Cataclysm expansion last year and it pays tribute to silliness and old times in the game  – it’s a mammoth parade!!!!]

Module 1 Writing Activity

Observe a scene, preferably in a crowded, busy, or public place. List the activities that you see occurring and the actors (those doing the activity). Write 5-6 sentences that use your observation list and underline the subjects of your sentences. Write a few sentences experimenting with using different types of pronouns from the tables in Unit 3.  You will want to keep all of these sentences at hand as you do the writing activities for this unit. 

Image

Sentences [subjects are highlighted]:

  1. This is a narrow, cobblestone street in Dalaran.
  2. Everybody is riding either a Wooly Mammoth or a Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth.
  3. The riders have formed a  line as they parade within the city.
  4. Keeping the line tight seems tricky, but everyone is eager to join.
  5.  Avatar names as well as guild names are displayed above each player’s head in blue or green.
  6.  Can you notice that pint of ale on the sign? To rest while in the game simply walk into an inn for food, drink and a warm bed.

Module 2 Writing Activity

In your journal, continue your observation list of the scene you observed for Unit 3, Journal Assignment 1 by noting several vivid action verbs. Revise some of your sentences using action verbs and/or write 2-3 new sentences with action verbs. Try not to use any of the forms of “to be” (is, are, was, etc.).  Underline the action verbs in your sentences. Again, you will want to keep all of these sentences at hand as you do the peer-reviewed writing at the end of the unit.

 

1st sentence revised:  The viewer immerses himself  in the digital,  narrow, cobblestone streets of Dalaran.

4th sentence revised: Maintaining the line tight insinuates a certain amount of effort, but everyone yearns to join the fun.

Written Assignment: Drawing from your observation notes and sentences from Journal Writing Assignments 1 and 2, write a description of the scene you have observed. Use action verbs and active voice in your sentences. Also, keep your verbs in the same tense and maintain correct subject-verb agreement. Your description should consist of 8 or more sentences.

Imagine you reside in Azeroth, dear viewer. Immerse yourself in the digital, narrow, cobblestone streets of  Dalaran, among a cheerful crowd. “What is going on?” you ponder when there they surface in the distance, all of a sudden: the Mammoth riders! It appears, each and everyone of them is riding either a Wooly Mammoth or a Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth and the riders have formed a  line as they parade within the city. Maintaining the line tight insinuates a certain amount of effort. You yearn to join these Northrend heroes but these mounts are hard to come by, so you confine yourself to applauding in awe.   Avatar names as well as guild names are displayed above each player’s head in blue or green while their march progresses. Head a couple of steps further and you will notice a pint of ale on a sign. Simply walk into this  inn for food, drink and a warm bed, should you care to rest for a minute; the mammoth riders have faded away in the horizon by now. It’s time for you to commence your questing for the day.

Crafting an Effective Writer: Tools of the Trade – Week 2: Writing Assessment {Coursera / MSJC}

Choose two of the sentences listed below to expand by adding logical additional parts of speech (nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositional phrases). Your sentence should be at least twelve to fifteen words.

  • The children play.
  • The woman walks.
  • The sharks swim.
  • The flowers bloom.
  • The wind blows.
  • The computer hums.

Expansion attempts: 

The group of great, white sharks swim ominously closer to the diver in circles, while he is trying to capture a decent photo of them, alas in vain.

For days I rove about the soulless plains but, all I seem to be able to listen to, is the cold, northern wind that blows incessantly, humming through the frigid landscape of what was once a city of humans, long before the “Others” arrived in their spaceships, bringing an end to the age of Men on planet Earth. 

ps. That was the most fun and challenging assignment I had so far in a course!