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Posts with tag college

15 Minutes of Fame: TEDx speaker on overcoming anorexia with WoW

Continuing our look at young people successfully folding World of Warcraft into their successfully unfolding lives, this week we interview another student for whom WoW has made a big impression. "I saw your Breakfast Topic post How has WoW made your life better?, and well, a few weeks back I had the opportunity to give a TEDx talk about how playing World of Warcraft helped my fight anorexia and a crappy education system," wrote Erik Martin, aka Klaes of Emerald Dream (US).

Talk about All The Things ... Also a game designer who has even worked on projects for the federal government, Erik has rallied from anorexia to go on to advocate for student agency and motivation in education. With a confidence bolstered in Azeroth, he's assembling his own experiences and aspirations into a big-picture view large enough not only to fill his own sails but to help others push off from safe harbor.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Growing Up in WoW: One-third of a lifetime shared with Azeroth

A few months ago, I received an email from the kind of player who sets off all sorts of bells and whistles for a feature writer like me -- a WoW fan who's integrated the game into a balanced, engaged, lively lifestyle. If you've ever found yourself shaking your fist and snarling at teenaged players as a group -- Get off my lawn! -- then you've probably never met a young player who's got his stuff together quite so well as Zukkai of Area 52 (US).

I'm 18, I'm a raid leader for one of the 10man teams in our guild, and I've been playing since I was 12. In December, I can claim that I've played WoW for a third of my life. Along the way I've been in school full time, and will be attending university in the fall. When I first started playing, my parents regulated my play time. Once I started controlling my play time, I had to learn about my own time management and how to balance WoW with RL priorities. I've also learned how to deal with the social stigmas of playing WoW through high school, including how to explain to your friends that you might not be able to go somewhere because you have to raid.

I've managed to grow up right along side the game, and I think playing it for so long has taught me a couple of valuable lessons along the way. I've had stretches where I'd be playing 4-5 hours a day and I've had stretches where I've toyed with quitting, but I've kept going for 6 years. I've never had massive amounts of time to play, but I've managed to put together my Insane title and collect a large sum of pets and mounts, as well as raid at the heroic level.

Fixated on gaming? Hiding away from life? Not in the least. Our conversation with Zukkai reveals a player for whom World of Warcraft is just another pastime -- albeit one that's filled a full one-third of his lifetime. Moving in and out of WoW with the rest of life's rhythms is as natural as breathing, as Zukkai demonstrates in this look at life for one of the many players today who are growing up in Azeroth.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

The student's guide to balancing real life, good grades, and video games

The student's guide to balancing real life, good grades, and video games
If academic success for fans of video games were as simple as "Do your homework and limit your time online," we'd all be LFG amongst a population of Rhodes Scholars. But maintaining your sanity (and your grades) when your most beloved hobby is designed to be an endless maze of virtual delights involves more than vague notions of buckling down during key pressure points. Achieving balance requires effective tactics to help you keep your life in balance -- and that's what we'll be covering here.

Playing an MMO like World of Warcraft as a student drops you into a minefield of inflexible teachers and schedules, disapproving parents, unaccommodating raid schedules, and blithely tempting guildmates. Trip on any one of these drama bombs, and you're in for what we sometimes ironically refer to as "good times." Whether you're an independent college student or still working out your schedule with Mom and Dad, we'll show you how to set and stay on course while heading off the most common school/life/play issues before they strike.

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Filed under: Drama Mamas

What can WoW and other MMOs teach us about literature and storytelling?

What can WoW and other MMOs teach us about literature and storytelling
While the world of academia has not infrequently pried back the edges of World of Warcraft to peer through its lens into fields including psychology, sociology and anthropology, and economics, we don't often hear reports from the intersection of WoW and literature. With a lore and canon of their own making, WoW and the Warcraft world don't fit alongside such developments as Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative, a course from Vanderbilt University available via free online educational provider Coursera that leans heavily on the riches of narrative theory, intermediality, and game theory in Lord of the Rings Online.

But there's no denying the omnipresence of WoW's influence -- and yes, that includes within the ivory-tooled tower of literature, as well. "I'm a literature professor," states Dr. Jay Clayton, one of the Coursera class's instructors. "I'm fascinated by what games can teach us about the operations of storytelling." Dr. Clayton says he's hoping to attract WoW players and their own WoW-tinged perspectives to his class this summer in order to help build a more complete picture of what WoW is itself as media, not only as a lens through which we can view other disciplines.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Drama Mamas: The benefits of balancing WoW and college

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

Life is a continual learning experience. For example, I learned something from Lisa's advice this week. Hopefully this week's letter writer will too.
Hello Drama Mamas,

This doesn't qualify as drama, but I think it still fits into your category.

See I'm having trouble right now balancing WoW and College.

When I first started playing WoW I was a junior in college, who was no stranger to academic problems, but was making slow if steady progress to graduation. Enter WoW. I got expelled a year later, over poor grades.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

15 Minutes of Fame: Honors student hits the mark in WoW and life

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

This might be just a little bit embarrassing, but by way of introduction this week, I'd like to reprint the note this week's featured player emailed us last December in response to a call-out for WoW-playing honors students. Its summary of achievements really can't be beat.

Hello Lisa, I'm 17, and ... I've played World of Warcraft since late Burning Crusade while maintaining a 91.2 GPA. I've even taken several Advanced Placement courses, which offer me college credit including world history, human geography, literature and composition, and physics.

In addition to completing multiple 10-man hard modes of Icecrown Citadel, I've taken on a lot of other responsibilities as a student. I've been a National Honors Society member for three years along with a member and co-captain of an award winning robotics program sponsored by FIRST. On top of that, I don a swimsuit after school for the varsity level swim team. I've played trombone throughout my years of WoW (nine years of the trombone total), playing in the school's jazz band, symphonic band, symphonic orchestra, and marching band, in which I also hold the position of associate drum major. Just this year, I became one of the founding members of the Math Honors Society, in which I spend my mornings before school tutoring other students who just don't quite understand the work. As another bit of school community service, I head over to the middle school as a co-coach, mentor, and former member of the FIRST Lego League robotics club/team.

Now, as if my schedule outside of World of Warcraft wasn't busy enough, I'm a second-degree black belt who has studied martial arts for nearly 13 years while also teaching classes, aiding at seminars, and working with disabled/mentally impaired individuals. You'd think I'd have no time for anything at this point, but somehow I squeeze in another job cooking in a New York City restaurant. It's more of an on-call basis, but I cook, wait tables, and assist in instructing cooking classes as well. For my summers, I will admit I do end up taking small breaks from WoW, but it's allowed me to see the British Isles, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Egypt, and a decent amount of other countries/places. It's also given me time to become a certified SCUBA diver who's Rescue certified and qualified as an Emergency First Responder as well as picking up some International Yacht Training sailing certifications.

Oh, did I mention I have four 80's and a 72?

Today, Kuhfleisch (Kirin Tor) is an 18-year-old freshman at Texas A&M University at Galveston. He's still keeping up the grades, still keeping up the extracurriculars -- and still keeping up World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: WoW 101 -- yes, WoW for college credit

15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.'s Adam Holisky has been itching to take a WoW course for quite a while now -- so Adam, this 15 Minutes of Fame is for you. While some people still don't get that playing WoW doesn't lead to becoming a college dropout, there are plenty of others who recognize the game to be a rich resource not only as entertainment but even as a venue for anthropological research.

And now, this: "Warcraft: Culture, Gender and Identity," a credit-awarding class being offered at Inver Hills Community College in Minnesota. At the helm of this innovative course is Landon Pirius, Ph.D., also known as Nodnal the Gnome Warrior of Blackwater Raiders-US. No stranger to the convergence of WoW and academia, Dr. Pirius wrote his doctoral dissertation on "Massively Multiplayer Online Virtual Environments: A Potential Locale for Intercultural Training." We didn't go quite that deep in this interview; we simply visited with him about his wildly successful college course and how it's helping shape modern educational methodologies.

And before you ask -- yes, Dr. Pirius returned the answers to our interview questions in impeccable outline form.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

World of Warcraft college course has to be next

Out on the internet today the story that UC Berkeley is offering a course in StarCraft is spreading like wildfire. Joystiq covered the news today, and you can also find an extensive Digg on the subject. The course description partially reads: "What may look like complex topics are just ways we want you to think more deeply about the game to derive a greater satisfaction from playing."

So... who wants to take bets on how long until there is a World of Warcraft course?

If they're offering a StarCraft course aimed at "thinking more deeply about the game to derive a greater satisfaction from playing," imagine what a World of Warcraft course could do for that. Taking down raid bosses with 24 other people is quite satisfying, especially if it's the first kill. The communication and leadership skills necessary to successfully run raids are akin to running a small business, and the mathematics and statistics behind the true upper echelons of play require a solid understanding of calculus.

That would be a course I'd be interested in. Not that I wouldn't sign up for a StarCraft course in a heartbeat, mind you.

Filed under: News items

OC Register visits Blizzard Art Show

The Orange County Register has made the decision to switch their gaming blog from general coverage of games to strictly Blizzard news all the time (being in close proximity to Blizzard's HQ in Anaheim will help), and for their first feature, they've got a big writeup (and lots of pictures) from that Laguna College Art Show we mentioned the other day.

Turns out it's an all-Blizzard art show, and there's art in there not just from Blizzard's past titles, but also from upcoming titles like Diablo III, Starcraft II, and our own Wrath of the Lich King. It all looks awesome, and the show lasts through the end of the month, so while that unfortunately means that these pieces won't be at BlizzCon (though there likely will be plenty of game art displays there anyway), it also means that if you can find the time to visit Laguna during the convention, you'll be able to check it out.

The Register also has a couple of quick profiles of some student artists at the show, including a few samples of their work and why they enjoy Blizzard's art so much. It's very cool that Blizzard is giving back to their local community like this -- hopefully we'll get a chance to see even some student work at BlizzCon.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, BlizzCon, Fan art

College Gaming League 3v3 Arena Tournament

Blizzard announced that World of Warcraft 3v3 Arenas are part of the new College Gaming League, the first official amateur league partner of the Championship Gaming Series. The Dell-spearheaded venture works with Intel and Microsoft to offer educational discounts and PC bundles for students, faculty and staff at numerous partner schools all over the United States. Students and faculty at Dell University partner schools can register and receive benefits like special offers on games and systems, access to public game servers, and compete in tournaments.

Among the tournaments -- which include Xbox 360 and PC games -- is the World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena competition. Registration began last August 21 and closes on September 11, while the official matches span from September 15 to October 5. Loot up for grabs are three Alienware m15x notebooks as Grand Prizes, three Microsoft Zune players as First Prizes, and three $50 Dell gift cards for the runners-up. It's an underwhelming selection past the Grand Prizes, to be sure, but registration is free and members can participate in other tournaments with a host of other prizes to be won. Initiatives like these certainly give students something to while away their time... after they've submitted those term papers, of course.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Arena

Gamers on the Street: Break time (summer break, that is)

Gamers on the Street logs onto U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.

Summertime means big changes for many guilds. The kids are home, so players who are parents can get pulled into more family activities. As for the kids, many are looking for new things to get into while they have a little more free time. Gamers on the Street decided to duck onto the Cairne realm to see what high school- and college-aged players were planning for their short months of freedom. Alliance players seemed friendly enough but didn't have much to say about their summer plans. We did visit with several Cairne Hordies, however, who shared what's ahead for their summer and fall WoW time.

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Filed under: Features, Interviews, Gamers on the Street

College bookstore puts WoW in the window

The Tensor was walking past the bookstore at "Unnamed University" (oh come on, you can tell us-- The University of Washington, maybe?) and saw the sight you see above. That's right, a college bookstore has WoW proudly displayed in their front window.

Are they actively trying to distract their students from work? Don't get me wrong-- there are plenty of good reasons to play WoW, even if you're supposed to be studying for a career. But I'm glad WoW didn't get released until I was out of college with a degree-- I had enough trouble when I discovered Civ, sophomore year, as it was.

[ via ]

Filed under: Odds and ends, Humor

Girls = Way Cooler than WoW

This letter from a frustrated female college student to her school's online newspaper paints a sad, lonely tale of a young woman competing with the latest in video-game technology for the attention of her man. Or maybe she's got a point, what do I know?

"These boys spend a majority of their day in their rooms. Not that this is a bad thing. There are plenty of productive things you can do in a dorm room. One specific thing they do is play the role playing game World of Warcraft. The boys are able to create a character and spend time in a world being able to fight, learn certain techniques (i.e. Magical, healing, fighting), go on missions, etc. I, myself, have played this game. And I proudly admit I have made it to level seven. This dims in comparison when compared to their characters who have reached level 100 and so on."

Hmm, sounds to me like someone is just jealous. Level 7...ha!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

How Schools Want You to Spend Your Summer

In response to our summer vacation topic the other day, the Collegiate Times has posted a list of summer vacation 'do's & don'ts' (how quaint), and coming in at number five on that list:

5.) DON'T lock yourself in your room all day playing video games. It's only acceptable to spend eight consecutive hours in a virtual fairy-land if you are doing so with another human. Instead of closing your door and giving everyone the sneaking suspicion that you have formed an irrefutable bond with your right hand, knock on the next room down and make friends with dudeface so you can combine your warrior fighting noob powers. Don't worry, Zelda's Twilight Princess will be out in November, and you will have plenty of time to hide away in the darkest corner of your room to ride Chocobos and raise your HP to "Level 9 - Congratulations! You've graduated to the shameless rank of social outcast!" - insert retainer slurping noises here.

So, does that mean that as long as you're playing games with other people, then it's ok? Is it just the Zelda games they want you to stay away from? And if so, why do they want you to wait until the school year to start playing? Something's fishy here...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, News items

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