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World of Warcraftis currently the most popular online world game on the planet, with more than 12 million subscribers---officially making it an online community of gamers that has more inhabitants than the state of Ohio and is almost twice as populous as Scotland. It's a massively multiplayer online game, or MMO in gamer jargon, where each person controls a single character inside a virtual world, interacting with other people's characters and computer-controlled monsters, quest-givers, and merchants.InMy Life as a Night Elf Priest, Bonnie Nardi, a well-known ethnographer who has published extensively on how theories of what we do intersect with how we adopt and use technology, compiles more than three years of participatory research inWarcraftplay and culture in the United States and China into this field study of player behavior and activity. She introduces us to her research strategy and the history, structure, and culture ofWarcraft; argues for applying activity theory and theories of aesthetic experience to the study of gaming and play; and educates us on issues of gender, culture, and addiction as part of the play experience. Nardi paints a compelling portrait of what drives gamers online both in this country and in China, a country that houses most of the world's companies that farm in-gameWarcraftitems to sell for real-life cash.Bonnie Nardi has given us a fresh look not only atWorld of Warcraftbut at the field of game studies as a whole. One of the first in-depth studies of a game that has become an icon of digital culture,My Life as a Night Elf Priestwill capture the interest of both the gamer and the ethnographer.Bonnie Nardi is an anthropologist by training and a professor in the Department of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focus is the social implications of digital technologies. She is author ofA Small Matter of Programming: Perspectives on End User Computingand coauthor ofInformation Ecologies: Using Technology with Heart and Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design.
Bonnie A. Nardi is an anthropologist by training and a professor in the Department of informatics in the Donald Bren School of information and computer Sciences at the University of California, lrvine. Her research focus is the social implications of digital technologies. She is the author of A Small Matter of Programming: Perspectives on End User Computing and the coauthor of information Ecologies: using Technology with Heart and Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and interaction Design.