Discourse Community Paper

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Discourse Community Analysis

For the last decade, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) have been rising in popularity, with the total revenue of these games coming out to be about half a billion dollars. Since the year 2004, there is one game that has greatly contributed to this increase of interest in the genre: World of Warcraft. Since its inception, World of Warcraft has achieved over eleven million subscribers, as well as being referenced in mainstream media such as news reports, being spoofed in an episode of South Park, and satirical news network, The Onion.

World of Warcraft is set in a virtual “sandbox world” known as Azeroth. In Azeroth, players choose between two opposing factions: the Alliance, and the Horde. In terms of black and white, the Alliance would be considered the “good side” since they consider “nobility and honor” as some of their standards, while the Horde tends to be more aggressive in their appearance, and their approach to in-game conflict. Throughout the game, players work together to finish various quests around Azeroth, as well as gaining new abilities, and equipment for their avatars.

One of the most significant things about World of Warcraft’s success is its massive community that has continued to grow over the last seven years. The concept of an alternate reality has truly been reached with WoW’s fan base: the in-game world has its own economy, and players fuel it by buying and selling game items. The language that has stemmed from this subculture doesn’t really have an official name, but some might call it “gamespeak” or perhaps more appropriately, “WoWSpeak.” Two of the most popular phrases that many people use when they speak to each other in the game world include, “n00b,” and “pwn.” The phrase “n00b” is used to describe an inexperienced or unskilled person especially in computer games, (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=n00b) while “pwn” is the act of dominating an opponent in a game...
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