On Writing: Know Both Sides, Whether You Agree or Not

Pros-Cons - Scales

For our first full-length paper in Composition II, we were tasked to write about a controversial issue of which we could argue both sides effectively.  It was to be 2-3 pages in length.

I fully agree that to argue effectively, it is necessary to know both sides of the issue you are presenting.  Acknowledging the other side in your argument is a good tactic to show your knowledge and your respect for differing opinions.

Even though gaming, and in particular raiding, is a subject I feel strongly about, this was a difficult paper.  Sure, I have flirted with both extreme ends of the spectrum – from happy, high-functioning raider Effy to depressed, anti-social, addiction-controlled Effy – but I feel strongly about gaming/raiding as being a positive past time… in moderation!  I must have stated my point well, though, because I was one of the few people in our class to get an “A” on the first try.  Yay for no re-writes!

Because this paper was still relatively short, it is not highly developed, but it does have sources, which are referenced and cited at the end. 🙂

My third paper, which I am currently working on a rough draft for, is a bit longer and is to be a review of a book, movie, or video game.  Any idea what the topic of mine will be?

~ Effy

Raiders in Real Life: Inept or Adroit?

I am an online gamer.  For the entirety of my teenage and adult life I have played both competitively and cooperatively in network-based and online video games.  At different times, I have dangled at each of the far ends of the spectrum of gaming’s pros and cons.  The majority of my online gaming these days is raiding in World of Warcraft.  Raiding is most simply defined as the coming together of twenty-five individuals to accomplish a single goal – usually to kill a particular boss (ie. bad guy).  We do this several nights per week for several hours at a time.  Success is achieved through both the commitment and skill of the individual and the raid as a whole.  It is a repetitive process that involves a number of different bosses, who are each killed weekly to increase our skill in the encounters and collect more loot to further improve our performance.  It is truly the culmination of all the skills we learn in gaming.  It is my experience that online gaming, specifically raiding, challenges us with its plentiful pitfalls but also promotes good life skills.

The negatives have brought heavy criticism to games and the people who play them for as long as video games have been around.  Gaming can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, it can be time consuming and addictive, and it is considered violent.  Video games in general get a bad reputation because they require long periods of time where the gamer is seated at a console or computer, and raiding certainly is no different.  Increasingly since the 1980s, “there has been panic about the effect [of gaming] on our increasingly sedentary population.”  (Hickman)  For me, three nights per week, for three hours at a time, with a short break in the middle, I am seated at my computer while I raid.  This does not count the time I spend working on my character in game, researching boss encounters online, writing about my knowledge and experiences on my blog, and discussing classes and abilities with my fellow gamers.  So there is truth to this, but no more than the time we spend working or studying or at school.  These require sitting for long periods as well.  Next, because of the commitments involved and the appeal of the game itself, which is constantly changing and evolving, online games can also be very involved and even addictive.  To bring together and organize twenty-five people is no small task, and so raiding is scheduled for set times each week.  As a raider, I make a commitment to my team, and sometimes I have to reschedule or forego other plans to keep my commitments.  This is not always pleasing to my friends and family.  The amount of time I spend raiding, tweaking, researching, writing, and discussing the game leads to it becoming a habit, almost a second job at times.  Habits, in excess, can lead to addiction.  Addiction can lead to depression and anxiety, less social interaction and social phobias, and a decline in performance at work or school.  (Tumbokon)  Gaming also receives admonishment for the amount of violence in most of it.  World of Warcraft is not without violence.  It revolves around killing creatures, bosses, and even other players to advance.  “Studies suggest that when violence is rewarded in video games, players exhibit increased aggressive behavior,” though, most of these aggressive behaviors are unproven in scientific studies, because the results are usually tainted.  (“Violent Video Games”)  So raiding is not without its negatives.

However, raiding has many benefits, in learned skills useful for both life and work.  Raiding promotes critical thinking, self-motivation, and social interaction.  John Seely Brown, a researcher who specializes in organizational studies, talks extensively in articles, his book A New Culture of Learning, and presentations about the positive work skills raiders in World of Warcraft learn and cultivate, even going so far as to state that he would “hire an expert player of World of Warcraft over an MBA from Harvard.”  (Gots)  He commends their critical thinking skills, gained through the study and execution of strategies for raiding encounters.  A study done at the University of Wisconsin-Madison researched over 2,000 forum posts by World of Warcraft players and found they showed players “solving problems through discussion, knowledge sharing, and debate” and that the posts were “full of reasoning, [and] in some cases backed up by mathematical predictions.”  (Hitti)  Brown also speaks highly of the self-motivation of raiders.  Raiders do not earn commission or bonuses for doing well, as someone might in the workplace.  They push themselves by tracking and measuring their own progress on a regular basis with the tools available both in and out of the game to convert raw numbers into useful resources for review.  Brown believes that raiders gain useful work skills, and that using similar techniques for motivation in the workplace is the way to push forward into the future.  “Self-directed workers are driven by curiosity and passion rather than by fear of failure.”  (Gots)  Another skill useful in life and work is social interaction.  Raiders work in a team to accomplish a goal.  They work with others performing similar jobs as them, people doing other jobs, and raid leaders who steer and oversee the process.  Online games, even outside of raiding, are a vast network of mingling and clashing personalities.  Interacting with people from other parts of the country and the world is commonplace in online gaming, and can open us to new cultures and points of view.  A survey by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center states that “students become better collaborators after using digital games in the classroom.”  (Tumbokon)  So raiding and gaming definitely have their benefits.

There is much debate about whether gaming is a healthy pastime or not.  As an online gamer and a raider, I have to balance my gaming like anything else in my life.  It has its pros and cons, but in moderation, it is a life choice I make easily and without regret.

Works Cited

Hickman, Leo. “Are Videogames Bad for Your Health?The Guardian. 10 December 2009. Website. 9 September 2013.

Tumbokon, Chacha. “The Positive and Negative Effects of Video Games.” Raise Smart Kid. Website. 9 September 2013.

Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?” ProCon.org. Website. 9 September, 2013.

Gots, Jason. “How World of Warcraft Could Save Your Business and the Economy.” Big Think. 7 August 2012. Website. 9 September 2013.

Hitti, Miranda. “Video Games May Help Critical Thinking.” WebMD. 18 August 2008. Website. 9 September 2013.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This paper includes content referring to worlds and characters in World of Warcraft.
Creative Commons License
Awaiting the Muse by Jamie Roman AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.

2 thoughts on “On Writing: Know Both Sides, Whether You Agree or Not

  1. I like this!😀 You explained raiding really well, I think, and made good points about its effects. It’s fun to read about it from an eductional-type perspective. Grats on the A!

    (Aside: I’m pleasantly surprised those forum posts researchers weren’t scarred by the forum trolls and found the smart posters instead :P)

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