Proseminar – Jeffrey Bardzell

Jeffrey Bardzell

Love, loss and Leeeeeroy

Aesthetic interaction in World of Warcraft

In another traditional, long-format presentation, Jeffrey Bardzell of the IU School of Informatics discussed three research projects on intimacy, death, and creativity. Being part of the Cultural Research in Technology group (CRIT), Jeffrey studied the way people played, utilized, and made their own media using World or Warcraft. Each study was a massive endeavor funded by an NSF grant.

Overall, I found the study on death/raiding to be the most interesting. Jeffrey performed a 4 month study of two raiding clans looking at combat logs, chat logs, and interview data. He found raiding, in general, was a difficult practice, as big bosses often wipe players out. Despite this, raiding parties have a high tolerance for failure. In other words, players die repeatedly when trying to defeat a big boss but it doesn’t slow them down. Interestingly, although there are large clan differences in the way they approach raiding, the design of WoW induces a leveling of performance that forces successful battles to occur within a specific time frame and balances the rhythm of battle (5 minutes of fighting with 15 minutes of downtime).