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Posts with tag academics

The gold standard: A WoW economics course proposal

If you're like me, you're ... well, you're probably incredibly handsome and charming. But you're also probably interested in WoW's economy, given that it's the biggest and most involved metagame in WoW and a fascinating microcosm of a free-market economy.

I personally think that the how and why of WoW's economy is worth a deep look, and it appears there are a lot of people who agree with me--even some academics. It might even be worth just as much as any other book-learnin'.

At least, that's the basis of David Friedman's World of Warcraft economics course proposal. Friedman is an academic economist from San Jose, CA who's assembled this article as a think-tank for what a WoW economics course would entail if you had to fill it with a semester's worth of content. There's a lot of neat stuff in here, talking about relative prices of ore based on character level and rarity of ore and supply/demand, but he also asks for your input as to possible course material, which I'm sure you could gladly provide in the comments section of his page.

Good idea with sound academic basis, or another in the long list of high falootin' academia's attempts to justify playing WoW on the government's dime? WE REPORT. YOU DECIDE.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Economy, Making money

Is WoW a game?

This Newsweek article -- yet another mainstream look at this strange concept called World of Warcraft -- unexpectedly asks a very interesting question. Is WoW a game? Sadly, the article devotes most of its time to explaining the concept of WoW to an outside audience, rather than getting stuck into a discussion of virtual worlds, their categorisation, and their future.

It's often been said that WoW can be more like a job than a hobby; the regular hours, the repetitive tasks, the camaraderie, the rewards. The question asked by the Newsweek piece, however, has a different angle from the old "work vs play" debate. Instead, it asks -- is this the future? Are WoW's immersiveness, its ability to sneak into lives, its vast popularity all indicators of what virtual worlds in the future will hold? I think so.

'Serious' virtual worlds could easily take lessons from WoW on how to be fun, but while WoW may be exemplary with regards to current MMO design, it's still very much rooted in the 'entertainment' sphere -- future developments away from gaming and towards everyday pervasive virtual worlds have to cater for the seven million WoW-heads, and will be more easily received as a result.

The most important question of all, though, is: when we live and work in the Matrix, will there still be night elves called Légolass?

[Thanks, Dave]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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