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Posts with tag book-review

Leet Noobs: An ethnographic view of WoW raiding from researcher Mark Chen

Leet Noobs An ethnographic view of WoW raiding from gamerturnedacademic Mark Chen
It's always a bit bewildering to see World of Warcraft mentioned outside of our tight-knit gaming community. Even reading Lisa's interview with Bonnie Nardi, author of My Life as a Night Elf Priest, gave me a sense of awe and a realization of just how big the game truly was, not only to those of us who play it but to those who don't even know what an orc is.

As such, when Mark Chen, a self-professed gaming researcher with a Ph.D. in educational technology and learning sciences, contacted me about his new dissertation-turned-book Leet Noobs: The Life and Death of an Expert Player Group in World of Warcraft, I couldn't turn down an opportunity to dive into it.

As the title of the book suggests, Chen chronicles his experience raiding Molten Core with his inter-guild group back in vanilla WoW, examining relationships between the group's members and the different guilds themselves and noting the different ways the raid group operated as a thinking, breathing entity that overcame difficulties, both game-related and socially-induced. Chen relates one of the larger concepts discussed in the book, actor-network theory, to a functioning raid group, detailing how each participant, or actor, assumes a role within the larger group, forming a network of responsibility and interdependence. He even goes so far as incorporating non-human actors such as KTM, the first successful threat meter in WoW, into this network.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Insider reviews Christie Golden's Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects

Just under 10 years ago, on Oct. 1, 2001, a novel was released as a new addition to the Warcraft universe that would change the history and lore of the games forever. Lord of the Clans outlined the history and childhood of a young orc named Thrall. Son of Durotan and Draka, the former slave would break free from his imprisonment at the hands of Aedelas Blackmoore, step forward to unite the shattered and lethargic clans of the orcs, and lead the Horde in a manner that none that had played the original Warcraft games could possibly comprehend at that point in time.

Almost a year later, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos was released, and that orc's journey from the beleaguered, Scourge-ridden lands of the Eastern Kingdoms to the dusty and barren shores of Kalimdor was told in a tale that captured the hearts of players. No longer simply a character in a novel, Thrall's travels and ultimate triumph, united with the night elves and humans at the peaks of Mount Hyjal and working as one to defeat Archimonde, would forever seal his place as true Warchief of the Horde.

It is only appropriate then that the latest novel written for the Warcraft franchise, detailing the further journeys of Thrall, be undertaken by the woman who started it all -- Christie Golden. Not just an author with a host of Warcraft novels under her belt, Golden is the voice of the former Warchief, the author who gave him a life of his own. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects continues the journey that Thrall began nearly 10 years ago -- and what a journey it is.

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Filed under: Lore, Cataclysm

Stormrage novel hits the best-seller lists

Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak has made USA Today's Top 150 Best Selling Books list, coming in at #126 of the best selling books based on sales through February 28, 2010. Apparently the ebook community is embracing the new story as well: Stormrage hit #8 on the best seller list for ebooks from BooksOnBoard.

The latest offering in the World of Warcraft line of novels, Stormrage continues the story of events that the green dragonflight have been dealing with since World of Warcraft's launch: Nightmares have invaded the Emerald Dream, Malfurion Stormrage is nowhere to be seen, the Dragons of Nightmare are busting out of portals, and it looks like the whole of the Emerald Dream is in danger of permanent corruption. With Stormrage, we finally get to see what's been brewing for five years now -- no wonder it's popular!

You can pick up a copy of Stormrage at the Blizzard Store for yourself. Check out our full review of the novel, and our refresher course on the history of Malfurion Stormrage.

Filed under: News items

Warcraft Legends are a fun ride for all


Although Free Comic Book Day is supposed to be on the first Saturday of May each year, our local book store chain Fully Booked held it last May 23 with a 20% discount off graphic novels and select manga. I thought it was a good opportunity to pick up Tokyopop's Warcraft Legends series, a manga-style take on the Warcraft universe. I'd had my eye on these books for a while, so last weekend was a good opportunity to get them.

Each book contains three self-contained stories and one ongoing tale featuring the Tauren Trag Highmountain from the Sunwell Trilogy manga written by Richard Knaak and drawn by Kim Jae-Hwan. Trag's story in Warcraft Legends picks up where the Sunwell Trilogy left off, and although the story is rather interesting, the best thing about the manga are the short stories which breathe a little more life into the Warcraft world. These stories are what make the books truly shine. My take on the first three books in the series after the jump.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Comics

Golden's Arthas delivers the lore goodness

A note from Alex Ziebart: When Simon and Schuster sent Daniel and I a pair of free, early review copies of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, we immediately went about planning how we were going to handle a 2-man review. We've been good friends for years, and one of our favorite past times is debating things like this back and forth. We rarely agree on books, and we can argue our sides until we're blue in the face. We were going to write an Alex vs Daniel knock down, drag out argument about Arthas and it was going to rule. Unfortunately, things didn't go our way.

When we finished reading the book, we got together to talk about it. It was... unsettling. We completely agreed with each other on almost every point that was raised. The high points and the low points, we were completely on the same spectrum. That's just not right. We decided that, rather than write two reviews parroting each other, we would just go with the one. Daniel's review says everything I want to say better than I could have said it, so once you read what he says, just pretend you can hear me say "Ditto" at the end. Take it away, Danny!

As WoW Insider's self-proclaimed junior lieutenant Lore Nerd, when Simon & Schuster so generously offered to send us a couple of free advanced copies of Arthas, the new World of Warcraft book by Christie Golden, I was all over that. As soon as the book showed up on my doorstep, I turned on the answering machine, grabbed a soda, popped some popcorn, curled up in my favorite chair, and pretty much read the whole thing straight through. The only breaks I took were to discuss various scenes and their ramifications for lore with Alex. And by discuss, I mean "fanboy out."

But I am being completely serious when I say, of all the Warcraft manga, comic books, and novels I have read, Arthas has the most solid, balanced writing and best realized characters. It's not a perfect book, but it's a very worthwhile read for anyone who has even the slightest interest in the why and how of that big armored dude up on the Frozen Throne.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

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