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Posts with tag reading

Real-life librarians hit the Ironforge stacks

Library professionals converge in Ironforge library to talk gaming
For so many World of Warcraft players, the game is all about connections. It was connections (a glowing recommendation from gaming industry insider, WoW player, and previous interviewee Liz Danforth) that led us to contact Australian librarian Ellen Forsyth for an interview (not coincidentally connecting even more dots, WoW-playing educators and innovators Peggy Sheehy and Lucas Gillispie, in the process). And it's connections that Forsyth draws for a living in her work as a professional librarian who both studies and advocates for gaming in the public libraries -- that's right, gaming for the people!

"Libraries, games, reading, content creation, stories and a few other things as well" -- that's how Forsyth's Twitter profile characterizes her interests, a fairly delectable concoction for the typical WoW Insider reader. We played the WoW card to tempt Forsyth into chatting with us about the regular academic symposia she moderates in Azeroth (the Ironforge library, to be exact), the growing influence of games as a public library resource, and the sweeping imaginative and technological vistas opening up as more and more readers discover the parallel worlds of gaming -- and of course, World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Telling a story without quest text


Tyllendel's friend had an interesting reaction to the game when he first played it: he felt that all of the quest text was unbearable, and that he wanted to play the game rather than reading what NPCs told him. We've talked a little bit about this before -- obviously, when Blizzard kicked off WoW nearly five years ago, quest text was just the way quests were done, and while Blizzard has expanded the concept a bit since, it's still mostly the way MMOs work: you go to a character, talk to them, and they tell you where to go and what to do.

But I can see Tyl's friend's point: games are much less about telling these days and more about showing. You might understand how, if you've never played an MMO before, reading the quest text can take you right out of the game, rather than running off with an NPC or having the game show you rather than just tell you what to do. And Blizzard is getting there: later in the thread Slorkuz points out the recent Afrasiabi interview, and talks about how Alex mentions new ways of doing quests. For example, the quest team is trying to do a quest with no text, or direct players' attention without actually telling them, "look here." Text is the easiest and most basic way to help players accomplish goals, but as the game moves on, even the developers realize it's not the most elegant or immersive way to do it.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Quests, Lore, NPCs

WoW, Casually: Playing with your reading-age child


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Since I last wrote about playing with preschoolers, I have been having an extremely rewarding time playing Itchee with The Spawn. The benefits to both of us are even greater than I originally wrote about. I find that my Itchee time is making me appreciate all of my WoW time even more. Nurturing my child while enjoying my limited playtime is a win-win situation.

It's particularly nice to have this indoor activity to do together with the nasty heatwave we are having in the real world. And that leads me to something I want to address before we get into the guide for playing with reading-age children:

These guides are for parents who have made the educated decision to include WoW as one of the indoor activities to participate in with their children.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

Using WoW for learning in schools

We've heard about WoW in schools before, but usually it's at schools of higher learning, where they're studying social networks or how society evolves. But a group in North Carolina is planning to put WoW in schools in a different way: by using situations in World of Warcraft to develop literacy, mathematics, and other competencies. WoWinSchools has math lessons and other tests based around WoW terms and knowledge: one example question asks "Which types of heals produce a greater number of recovered hit points during an encounter?" Another wants to know "Which buff (a spell that enhances a character's abilities) is more effective for your character, Blessing of Kings or Blessing of Might?" The idea is to use situations that the kids are familiar with in World of Warcraft (raiding, for example), and apply higher level thinking to those situations.

There are even creative writing suggestions dedicated to the game, from writing an RP story about a character in Azeroth, to writing a song parody (that one should be taught by Professor Turpster) or designing a quest chain. And lest you think they're just joking around, there's a whole slew of research behind the idea, too, and it definitely makes sense: kids who play World of Warcraft are much more likely to be interested in problems about DPS and Healing rather than Susie and Bobby's apples that we added and subtracted back when we were kids in school.

It seems like the only place this is implemented is in one afterschool program -- while there are lots of good ideas here, it's not necessarily being used in many classrooms yet (and my guess is that not every student in schools would vibe with a World of Warcraft-based curriculum, either). But it is a plan in development, and anything that better helps teachers understand what their students are interested in is probably worthwhile.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Talents, Buffs

Video of Christie Golden's Long Island reading

I wasn't anywhere near Huntington, NY on Saturday, but our friend Medievaldragon from BlizzPlanet was, and he did stop by the Christie Golden reading at the Book Revue bookstore. He even brought videos back with him, and so if you're a Golden fan (she is a New York Times-bestselling author, after all) and want to see her reading from Arthas, there you go.

Apparently the reading was a pretty full house, too, and you can see from the video that there were all kinds of people there. Golden also says early in the video that Arthas is Blizzard's first big bestseller, and she repeats what we've heard before: that Blizzard loves having her write for them and she loves coming up with stories from their settings. The only big bit of news for fans from the reading is that while Blizzard is producing three different Warcraft books (of which Arthas is the first), they won't be a trilogy at all, just stand-alone stories. Big thanks to Medievaldragon once again for stopping by the event and grabbing video for those of us who couldn't go.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Lore

Christie Golden signing Saturday in Long Island

Warcraft book author Christie Golden (who, you'll probably remember, wrote Arthas, the book our guys loved so much) will be signing copies of that book at a bookstore called the Book Revue in Huntington, NY this Saturday at 7pm. In a quick interview with Newsday there, she also talks about both her background in fantasy and sci-fi (she remembers the days when sci-fi and fantasy were seen as silly diversions rather than premises for multi-million dollar movies and videogames, as do most of us older nerds, probably) and her experience with WoW. She says that having the chance to jump in and virtually visit the actual setting of her books is a real plus when doing research -- if she has a question about the layout of Stormwind, she can go over to that city and check it out herself.

If you're in or near Long Island and are a Christie Golden fan or are looking for something Warcraft-y and fun to do on Saturday, there you go. She's got more information on her blog about the signing (looks like she'll be reading as well). If you do go, let us know how it went.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Interviews

How to find your way to all those loved squirrels

"You love Rat." "You love Chicken." "You love Rabbit." I have to admit, before the achievements came to the game, I was a critter-killer -- I usually ended the lives of any critters I came across, because this is war and the world is no place for them. But since achievements appeared, I've gone around loving every little animal I could -- I haven't gone at To All the Squirrels I've Loved Before with a plan, just emoted towards everything I found.

But Random Ravings isn't quite as random -- they've got a terrific list of where to find every single critter you need. Only two are actually in Northrend (I thought there was more), and the rest seem to be in muliple places around the world, so it doesn't seem too bad at all. The hardest might be the wild parrot -- that one seems to be only in Un'Goro, but brave the dinos down there, find the bird, and you're all set.

Nice list. Anyone ready to head up to Borean Tundra and just grab the last two? BBR says they're also working on a list of all the books for the reading achievement -- can't wait to see (and eventually run around and do) that one either.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Fan stuff, Guides, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Your WoW summer e-reading list


So you've caught up on WoW Insider. You've read today's Dilbert. You've beaten all thirty-two thousand permutations of Free Cell. But you still have a few more hours at work and you're bored. Well, I've got just the thing for you! A beautiful list of WoW blogs of every shape, size, faction, race, class, and color.

Twisted Nether has posted a WoW Blogs Wiki which you can peruse or even add to yourself. You can look for general WoW blogs or class and spec-specific blogs. So you're jonesing to find out more about playing a Prot Warrior? You've got seven to choose from on the list. You can also look for topic-specific blogs. There are four RP-oriented blogs on the list and three about guild management. There are even more than a dozen podcasts to subscribe to, including ours, of course.

While you're there, add your own favorite blogs into the correct category so they can get more exposure. Looking for new RSS feeds is a great pastime on Tuesdays during the WoW maintenance cycle, too. When you come back, give us a full book report and a diorama for extra credit.

Filed under: Tips, Podcasting, Fan stuff, Guides

How to enjoy grinding and read books at the same time

For a long time now I've been a big fan, not only of WoW, but of audible.com, where they have a great library of audiobooks for sale and download to your portable audio device of choice. Without realizing how or when, I have developed a habit of blending these two loves together for a marvelous effect: grinding plus audiobooks equals a great time.

The basic problem with grinding in an MMO, after all, is that it doesn't require your full attention, especially if your goal is straightforward and you've done it before in one way or another. It's relatively easy to just put yourself on autopilot and do the job while your mind does something else. Listening to an audiobook is the perfect companion to this, because it fills up your mind, and leaves your hands and eyeballs itching to do something of their own.

Also, I'm a person that has trouble reading with my eyes. I can do it for short periods without any trouble, but with long books, I tend to fall asleep or get distracted very easily. Through Audible, I might have read more books with my ears than I have read with my eyes by now, and although I know some people must have the paper copy of a book in their hands, there's probably a large number of WoW players out there who find themselves not reading as much as they would like, and would love to know that there's another way to get their literary fix.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Quests, Leveling, Factions, Making money

Librarians who play World of Warcraft

Apparently the great WoW Ladies LJ community is full of librarians (who knew?), and they've pointed to this interesting article about a panel that includes a short presentation about World of Warcraft, and how libraries can benefit from providing resources about the game. Their numbers are a little off, in terms of players and how much they pay per month, but their reasoning is right on-- there are lots of reading resources online about the game (*ahem*, that's us!), and sites like WoWWiki and even GameFAQs (fine, laugh if you want) can be perfect for getting people who don't usually do much writing to try putting their thoughts into words on a page.

I'm usually iffy on using games for education, because usually the people trying to do it don't have the first clue about what games really are. But something like this-- asking a beginning writer to use their game knowledge to make a guide or analyze gameplay-- seems much more well-founded and beneficial. And if all these librarians are part of the nine million people who play WoW, then this definitely seems like a great idea-- use common ground to help teach reading and learning skills.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean WoW Insider should be bookmarked on every library computer (although, now that it's been mentioned...). But it's cool to see librarians using their knowledge of Azeroth to help teach real-world skills.

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

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