Ninja Zombies: Why #gamers like to #game

Crafting an effective Writer: Tools of the trade {MSJC / Coursera} Week 5 Journal Writing 1 and Final writing Assessment

Module 1 Writing Activity

Pick one of the four topics listed in the Week 5 writing assignment and choose the topic that most appeals to you for your final, peer-reviewed paragraph. Once you’ve made your choice, start with the first step of the writing process, inventing, and try a few of the methods to develop your ideas.  If you find that the topic does not seem to be working, try developing another topic. Once you’ve developed some good ideas for your paragraph, move to the second step, organizing, and construct an outline that you can use for drafting your paragraph.

Topic #2 
Identify and describe a favorite activity or interest and provide at least four reasons why this activity or interest holds your attention and/or is enjoyable to you

cluster (mind mapping) brainstoming week 5

For the purposes of this assignment I chose the  “cluster” brainstorming technique, mentioned in the course and as always I employed an appropriate digital tool for the job, called Mindmeister. Here’s the final paragraph for Week 5′ s final assignment.

Assignment

For the Unit 5 final writing assignment, you will compose a direct paragraph, one that has

  • a title;
  • a clear topic sentence;
  • a fully developed body, which includes necessary and sufficient details and examples;
  • necessary and appropriate transitions;
  • a logical conclusion; and
  • a minimum of fifteen (15) sentences.

Before you submit your paper for peer review, plan to proofread for

  • subject-verb agreement errors,
  • pronoun-antecedent agreement errors,
  • shifts in verb tense,
  • faulty parallel structure, and
  • comma, capitalization, number, word choice, and spelling errors.

You should imagine your peers in this course as your readers/audience. Because of the diverse population of students enrolled in this course, you need to be keenly aware of the need to provide details and examples that are clear and precise. Keeping in mind a living audience, rather than one you imagine, will help you convey more reliably the value of your perspective in the topic upon which you choose to write.

Ninja Zombies: Why gamers like to game

Among recent pop culture trends, gaming is considered one of people’s most favorite pastimes, myself included;  however, video games seem to signify more than a mere pastime. Choosing to spend one’s free time in front a computer or a console constitutes a highly immersive experience, though quite addictive at times, too. First of all, video games are plain fun; while an obvious argument in support of this hobby, it is also a convincing one. For instance, when a player unlocks an achievement, occasional laughter is accompanied by a feeling of self-satisfaction, marking the gaming experience as a personal accomplishment of a difficult task. Furthermore, gamers develop social skills. With the advent of social media and cloud based services they may share game content or feedback on their progress globally, as well as collaborate with people in-game around the world at the same time. On a smaller scale, people playing on a console, like Playstation or XBox, can enjoy themselves with family members at home by simply attaching a separate controller, thus creating a family shared experience. Moreover, game studies have shown that problem solving skills are being boosted throughout interactive media. Gamers, engrossed in the shooter genre, are often more capable of receiving critical decisions quickly. Similarly, strategy video game enthusiasts possess tactics and planning insights. Were you aware that frequent Angry birds players bear a large amount of mathematical and geometrical abilities? Finally, video games personally interest me since they promote vast research interests. As of late, the marketing sector seeks to incorporate game elements in customer services (gamification);  online education providers are also experimenting with gamified content to promote motivation during the learning process. For example, unlocking a badge – a sort of virtual “sticker” on-line as a reward for a task well done – was actually inspired by video games. To sum up, while the majority still frowns upon video games as “a waste of time”, as a member of the digital native generation Y, I tend to regard  them as tools for creativity, inspiration, fun and potentially employment opportunities. Food for thought: are you prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse scenario? Gamers are…

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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 🙂

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.”

Contributing MOOC reviews

Well it seems MOOCs are well underway – I can see the newest trend coming: separating the wheat from the chaff. Emerging MOOC platforms are numerous, so are the lessons provided. But are they all worth the trouble? Can they be made better? It remains to be seen.

I have contributed two personal reviews for http://moocnewsandreviews.com during the past two weeks and it has helped me reflect immensely what worked for me and what didn’t. To be honest, we are only at the beginning, so feedback is crucial for a MOOC platform to succeed. Speaking of platforms, you might want to check out Sylvia Moessinger’s international guide to MOOCs around the world,with more parts soon to follow.

You can also check my review on Coursera’s Songwriting and Property & Liability MOOCs – all comments welcome!

Funny how in almost a year since I first entered a MOOC class I managed to catch a glimpse of Law, Music, Classics, Social sciences and Academic writing. My next MOOC involves video  game paratextual elements and – yeah did I mention that? – video games. I think I ‘ve discovered heaven…