I feel like I have the best of both worlds at Durham: a university and city with a centuries’ old tradition and love for scholarship and learning and an innovative academic department that is always ready to explore new questions and ideas. I can’t think of a better place to pursue this research into raiding guilds and online gaming and what it is telling us about modern culture.
I began playing and working on computer games over 13 years ago. I have played World of Warcraft since early 2006. This was my first graphics’-based game and I really enjoyed it. It was also a meeting place of divergent types of gamers. While there are unique and distinct features in all MMOs and all need studying, I have opted to locate my research within WoW and its raiding guilds for two reasons: as big as WoW is, it is still quite understudied, and as I am already well established within the raiding culture of WoW, I knew I could better connect with gamers in this environment.
I am doing this research because I feel that while the broader, more casual aspects of games are studied and there is a lot of work done on the social and interpersonal outcomes of games on broader society, raiders and raiding culture is less studied. Raiders form their own kind of ‘subculture’ and within it resides a clear set of expectations, standards, and norms. It is this culture that I hope to map and describe through my research. Through this work I hope to shed a light on what is real in raiding culture and the ways that raiders interact.