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11-05-2008 @ 9:44AM
There is substatial and growing body of academic research going on in WoW already. Anyone who isn't aware of Nick Yee's Daedalus Project (http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/) studying MMORGs, should be. He always needs players to respond to his continuing, very thought-provoking surveys. Science magazine published an article by William Bainbridge in July 2007 on the research potential of virtual worlds, WoW in particular (http://sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/317/5837/472). That led to formation of the Science guild, comprised of researchers, on Earthen Ring.I just returned from American Library Association's Techsource Symposium on Games, Learning, and Libraries, where several presenters focused on WoW studies they were conducting, or used WoW as part of their work. Myself, I'm in the midst of a master's level study on the "21st Century Learning Skills" acquired in WoW that translate to real life: communication, creativity, collaborating (raiding, anyone?), leadership, and much more. I've been a gamer my whole life as artist/writer/game developer (companies like EA and Interplay as well as countless tabletop game companies), and in WoW since shortly after launch. My interest isn't the white-coated professor saying "hmmm, what a bunch of weirdos" ... I'm gathering hard evidence to show the doubters and detractors the value of the game hobby and the particular game that you and I both love.
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