I am struggling finding a way to engage with this World of Warcraft community space. What approach should I take to get something out of this project? I need to sit down and develop a focus because it’s not going to get me anywhere just lurking and commenting. How I’m going to engage with the game itself is another matter. There is a time commitment required to play any MMO. I thought I could start a guild to examine that dynamic, but that would divert most of my attention away from exploring the game, the community, and how they create an effective environment for learning.
To Guild, or Not to Guild
As it stands now, I think that I will post a question, or questions on the forums to elicit some information—about what I am not sure yet. Finding and joining a guild will be more accommodating than trying to run one. A video by The Lazy Peon titled, Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Join a Guild in World of Warcraft, is a good starting point for anyone looking for a guild in the game. The most important aspect of this in regards to learning in the game is the supportive nature of some guilds—because let’s be honest, there can be some elitist jerks in the game. He compares two group dynamics: guild groups and random groups. Random groups consist of random players put together through the group finder menu.
Joining a raiding guild…will make you a better player as you are expected to play to a certain standard. If you fall beneath that standard other people in the guild will help you improve by giving you advice and telling you what you are doing wrong. This is something that you won’t get with the group finder for your raids as most time screwing up in a random group, or some people telling you that you suck and then kicking you from the raid [group]. This doesn’t help you improve at all. Just makes you feel like shit and puts people off from raiding as they become scared to make mistakes which is bad.
Other benefits of joining a guild are of course the socialization aspect, they provide advice about the game and community, and guild events and perks. Guild events are put on by the guild mainly for fun and the perk system provides guild members with quality of life improvements in the game. You know, as much as I played the game, I am becoming aware of how little I really know.
A Changing Perspective
The challenge will be looking at the game from a more objective distance. I’ve played the game for years and have kind of a nostalgic view. It will be different experience and hopefully be a good exercise in observation and participation. My intention is to draw from my existing understanding of the game to inform my research into games, learning, and culture going forward.
I started a new toon (another name for a player character) to explore the experience from a low-level and less complicated context. Participating and exploring dynamics in a guild at level cap, or end-game would require more of a time commitment. My new character is a warrior—it is only class that I haven’t played. I always thought that the warrior would be boring to play without ever playing one. Preconceived notions–oh well. Time to log on my new toon that I named Hemroid to figure out how to look at the game from this new perspective. For the Alliance!