[Air-L] new book: Leet Noobs: The Life and Death of an Expert Player Group in WoW

Mark Chen markchen at u.washington.edu
Mon Dec 12 14:21:04 PST 2011

Hey all,

Apologies for x-posting. Just plugging my first book, out now on Amazon!

*Leet Noobs* documents, for over 10 months, a group of players in the
online game *World of Warcraft* engaged in a 40-person joint activity known
as raiding. Initially, the group was informal, a family that wanted to hang
out and have fun. Before joining, each player had been recognized as expert
in the game; within the group they had to adapt their expertise for the new
joint task and align themselves to new group goals. Through their shared
activity, members successfully established communication and material
practices that changed as they had to renegotiate roles and
responsibilities with new situations and as the larger gaming community
evolved. Players learned to reconfigure their play spaces, enrolling
third-party game mods and other resources into their activity. Once-expert
players became novices or noobs to relearn expert or leet gameplay. They
became leet noobs who needed to reconfigure their expertise for new norms
of material practice. Ultimately, these norms also changed what it meant to
play *World of Warcraft*; some group members no longer wanted to just hang
out and have fun, and eventually the group died in an online fiery meltdown.

A summary of findings can be found in this post I did at Terra Nova a year

but the book has basically been rewritten for a more general audience,
focusing a bit more on the story arc of the raid group, and now features a
bunch of personal anecdotes about being a gamer in academia. :)

Plus, I did the cover art! :)

Mark Chen, PhD | @mcdanger | markdangerchen.net
Post-Doctoral Scholar | LIFE Center | UW Institute for Science and Math Ed
Advancing Gaming in Innovative Learning Ecologies (AGILE)
This was sent from a PC with a full-size keyboard; misspellings and brevity
are entirely my fault.

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