Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Playing World of Warcraft with social impact

I´ve been working with World of Warcraft (WoW) gamers for almost 2 years now using the existing infrastructure of a game to offer edutaining "Game in Game" experiences within them. The "How (else) can we play a game ?" thing - which is cheap by the way.

For example: We did a "Peacebuilding" series in Warcraft. The quest(ion) was: if we want to bring peace into one of the hot conflict zones within WoW - how would we do it ? Players were invited to roleplay this epic quest, research strategies (UN Peacemaker Portal, etc.) and share about it. Our Players receive points, rewards and achievements on our Guild Website for writing creative stories, producing machinimas etc.

During one of our peace missions we had a PvP (Player vs. Player) situation in which the opposite fraction - not knowing about our peace intentions - slaughtered our Group in one conflict zone. The Game mechanics of WoW does not allow chat from the opposite fraction to be understood and transforms all words into glossolalia. So we could not communicate - just with simple emotes and moves.

We did a "Gandhi approach" and just faced our aggressors without aggression - standing calm, returned from the grave yard and showed up again. The opposite fraction became insecure about what we are up to and some of them stopped their action because there was no honor/fun in killing players that do not fight back. Some of them joined our fire that we were circling around and a simple emote conversation started with some opposite players holding their fellows back from a new fight.

Another one: our weekly Virthuater Group (Virtual Theater) . We play Legislative Theater with our virtual puppets (chars) - a technique of the Theater of the Opressed by Augusto Boal, who developed it as a city counselor of Rio de Janeiro. It taught us a lot about the difficulties and aspects of political decision making.

It helps to see World of Warcraft a virtual theater stage on which we as Gamers become cybernetic puppet players. The ancient medium Theater can have a very healing and edutaining impact. In our guild we learned a big deal about the value of compassion in our day to day activities.

I feel that there is much potential in the "How (else) can we play a game?" besides the "What (else) can we play?" Finding and inspiring different game plays - some with social impact is a great quest to be on...

Views: 37

Comment by Stephen Spaeth on March 21, 2010 at 11:01am
I like seeing how you've leveraged existing infrastructure and your social networks to go beyond the intent of the original game design of WoW. I suspect that you got some of your opponents thinking in new ways, too. Does UrgentEvoke support your intentions more explicitly?
Comment by André Boeing on March 21, 2010 at 12:06pm
It does Stephen. Urgent Evoke is a social platform combined with game mechanics and objects. A compelling story (Being an agent in a global organization) - quests and missions to be solved - Achievements and Skill Points to earn - something WoWler do and hunt for every day. With one difference: It´s directly related to some of the urgent challenges of our time.

In my Evocation mission I currently work on this design challenge:
Develop an open social media community platform with game objects and design a process for regional social innovation initiatives that enables them to tell an interactive game story

kind of a UrgentEvoke platform for local initiatives. Almost there to share the lab work of the last days. Thanks for checking in Stephen


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