Blood Plagues and Endless Raids

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English

In 2005, the video game World of Warcraft struck the cultural landscape with tidal force. One hundred million people have played WoW in the twelve years since.

But those people did more than play. They worked, they fought, they triumphed, they held entire game servers hostage, they even married each other in real life. They developed new identities, swapping their workaday selves for warriors, mages, assassins, and healers. They built communities and rose to lead them. WoW was the world’s first mass virtualization: before Facebook or Twitter, millions of people established online identities and had to reckon with the consequences in their real lives.

Blood Plagues and Endless Raids explores this wild, incredibly complex culture partly through the author’s engaging personal story, from absolute neophyte to leader of North America’s top Spanish-speaking guild, but also through the stories of other players and the game’s developers. It is the definitive account of one of the world’s biggest pop culture phenomena.

World of Warcraft is more than ones and zeroes, more than lines of code, and so its history must be more than pushing buttons or slaying dragons. It’s the tale of a huge and passionate community of people: the connections they made, the experiences they shared, and the love they held for one another.

English

Tony Palumbi is the coauthor of the critically acclaimed book The Extreme Life of the Sea. His writing has been published by the Atlantic, the Washington PostNational Geographic, the Los Angeles Times, and Mission Blue, among other outlets.

English

“From the Mulgore plain to Draenor, Tony Palumbi and his avatar, a tauren shaman named Ghando, journey for years through the heroscape of World of Warcraft. Into these depths we plunge, too: Horde and Alliance, raiding and grinding, PvP battles and chat channels, guilds and ganking, leveling up, clearing dungeons, and making friends and enemies along the way. Writing a potent blend of cultural criticism and memoir, Palumbi—our Virgil-like guide through a Dantesque digital underworld—describes these travails with verve, wit, and wisdom. WoW the game may not be ‘real,’ but what happens there is. Blood Plagues and Endless Raids shows us why we should care.” —Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks
“[a] fascinating peek inside one of the Internet’s most popular online communities.” —Booklist
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