Came dressed as one of her World of WarCraft characters (really)
Became interested in WoW in 2005 and was asked to join a guild of virtual worlds researchers (made up of people who all know each other in real life and have a significant research interest in gaming and virtual worlds – a close knit professional community)
- Professional networking here was real – Liz was invited to become an author on this community’s blog (Terra Nova) soon after
- Where do you draw the lines professionally and personally when it’s not just your friends, but also people who are reading your grant proposals or students who are taking your classes
Games, Learning and Society Conference (Madison, WI)
- People sharing both physical and virtual spaces
Colleagues in real life are playmates in virtual life
Is WoW the “new golf”?
- Many accomplished professionals are spending upwards of 20 hours a week on this game
Why does WoW work?
- nearly a million concurrent primetime US users — they’re obviously doing something right
Amy Jo Kim on Game Mechanics
- “putting the fun in functional”
- 5 game mechanics:
- we want to have things AND be able to see/show people these things
- how do we know we’re doing the right thing?
- this is a huge part of what makes an experience work – feedback needs to be quick and transparent so that we feel motivated to stick around
Lawley isn’t interested as much in how we can make games like the real world (like Second Life), but in how we can make the real world more like games – how can we be as engaged and delighted by real world tasks as gamers are about games?**
WoW demo: creating a new character
SecondLife demo: creating a new character
- Lawley’s not a big fan b/c there’s nothing she can do here that she can’t do anywhere else — it’s a solution in search of a problem
- Reminds me of what Paul Jones said a few weeks ago: you’ll get nothing out of Second Life if you’re not a builder
Game Mechanics and Goals: The first Five Minutes
- Back story, context, information from characters
- most things in life are never done (laundry, dishes, etc), but in the game, you can check things off; they’re finite
Nick Yee’s MMO Player Stages (managers also need to think about this — how can we take people through burnout and into recovery, where they can feel willing to accept the grind b/c there’s enough that’s interesting and challenging)
- newcomer euphoria
- playing with someone
- ramping up/ progression
- solo to group
- high-end content
- grind burnout
- nothing left to do
Pokemon – why can’t learning be as much fun as Pokemon for children?
- Why power through the grind?
- b/c there are rewards
- along the way, you also build expertise
Real world games
- summer reading
- super sleuth
Implicit Online Games
- ebay feedback
- page rank
- Google Smackdown
Games that Blur Boundaries
- PMOG (passively multiplayer online game)
- Chore Wars (get points for doing chores)
- Seriosity’s Attent
How can we deal with the issue of burnout? There’s almost nothing that can’t be turned into a game, but it requires thought. How can we make people keep coming back to the catalog, tutorials, the library, etc? Can we design game-like activities that keep our users interested and engaged?
A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster
**I like the way she puts this; it’s one of the main reasons that I’m so fascinated by gaming and immersive technologies as tools for learning. As Chad Boeninger said yesterday, games are undeniably hard. But they’re still fun and people will totally abandon their lives for a few minutes (or hours, or days…) to learn how to master them. Is there a way we can make research more like this? Now, I’m not totally naive. I’m aware that the motivators for starting a research project for most of our users are much different than the motivators for starting a game (boils down to: my professor wants me to vs. i want to). But I’m not ready to just give up and say, “oh well, research will never be as fun as gaming, so why try?” Still, it’s difficult to know exactly how to go about bridging — or attempting to bridge — this gap.