Hi, my friends! My name is Qiaoshen WU, or you can call me Yolanda. I am a post-graduate student at King’s College London, studying a one-year programme MSc International Marketing.
I have been studying fan communities of World of Warcraft for the last eight weeks, because I would like to write a dissertation on the topic of this game. The reason why I choose WoW as my dissertation topic is that I really like this game and I am a big fan of it! I have been playing this game for a while, and I have a hunter character that has achieved level 85, though some of the power leveling is under the assistance of my friend Tao. During playing this game, I found that the gaming environment in WoW is really another world, a virtual reality where players get quite interactive with others and with the gaming context. It gives me an opportunity to get involved in a big fan community where people have the same interest, and share information on this game. Around this game, fan arts, big events like Blizzcon, and other cultural phenomenon flourishes. Players get more active and creative in online communities, such as MMO. This might be the reason why I am so interested in the empowerment issue about WoW.
While studying and playing WoW, I found that I like to play the game because I feel empowered during playing it. It always offers me positive feedback when I complete the quests, but in the reality it is not always the case. Besides, when playing in dungeons, people must coordinate with each other, help each other and trust each other to win the raids. Before the random raid finder, people are more likely to make valuable friendship through playing the game. Some of them would become friends in the rest of their lives. The epic quests make me like a hero who can save the world and battle with the devils. I appreciate all these merits, but I wonder whether these are real emancipation. Can we say we are empowered just because we are very successful in a virtual videogame? Maybe not! But can we find a clean area in the videogame which is free from the market ideology’s contamination? Can we interact with the game WoW in a way that is not expected by its game developer, Blizzard, and is not for the sake of Blizzard but for the sake of ourselves? Maybe there is!
Although I am studying marketing, my research is dedicated to find out a way that can emancipate contemporary consumers from the market logic, from the manipulation of big corporations, from the consuming life. Is there a way to escape the market? May it be interacting with a virtual game community in a creative and unexpected way? Or other more radical ways? If you have a better idea or any creative views, why not give me a post and have a discussion with me? I hope when I begin to go deeper and study through this whole game, I can answer the above questions. And absolutely, I will share every of my research finding with you! If you have any question about my research, I will feel very happy to explain it to you.