Gamasutra has a 5-pages article titled: The Academics Speak: Is There Life After World Of Warcraft?
The article contains comments from five academic personalities who comment on World of Warcraft’s success and the community.
Florence Chee – PhD Candidate in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University.
Henry Jenkins – the Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program.
Jeff McNeill – PhD Candidate in Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Aaron Delwiche – Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he teaches courses on cyberculture, game design and criticism, film studies, and propaganda.
Edward Castronova – head of the Synthetic Worlds Initiative; and Ludium Conference organizer.
Gamasutra: How much of our attention does Warcraft really deserve in relation to some of its contemporaries? Do you think WoW, whether knowingly or unknowingly, capitalized on any major long-term or short-term reasons for play?
Florence Chee: Interestingly phrased. “Deserve” is such a loaded term What I can say is that a virtual online game environment like WoW cannot thrive without players. Because the revenue model is subscription based, it is really the players choosing to throw their support behind the continual development of that online world. How they make that choice is a different matter.
Inertia, tipping point, buzz, whatever you want to call it, WoW had an edge because they strategically crafted that buzz while leveraging a pre-existing narrative from the successful WarCraft RTS trilogy. So, they attracted players like me who were familiar with the RTS and excited about a MMORPG version, along with a distinct n00b clientele who could play the game like golf. I believe those are some reasons behind the success of WoW.