Midterm Project

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Posted on 24 May 2013 18:40

Original Midterm

Here is the link to my midterm project.

Revision Proposal

1. Audience

I want to direct my piece to the skeptics. However, I’m conflicted on which type of skeptics to choose. There could be those who see games as merely games and those who agree games can be more than just a game but do not see professional sides to it. I also thought that skeptics should be around my age and already have knowledge on games, because otherwise an argumentative essay regarding a game wouldn’t even interest them.

2. Key Questions

What about DotA distinguishes it from other games?
How is DotA a discourse community?
Why would DotA not thrive as it is if it weren’t functioning as a discourse community?

3. Writerly Challenges and Concrete Goals

  • Incorporate much more of the interviews and give more parts to the interviewees in my argument.

I feel that the interviews, compared to their length and quality, haven’t been involved as much in my argument. It also seems true that the interviews indeed have much more value than I initially accredited them to have. These interviews will help me bolster my argument because these are from players who have experienced the importance of discourse in DotA and thus branding it as a discourse community.

  • Base my argument partially on the skeptics in order to undermine the skeptics and in turn, strengthen my own argument.

Instead of merely laying out my argument in my point of view, and if I were to initially lay out the skeptics’ possible viewpoints, it could help build my arguments around the skeptics. In other words, these viewpoints can help me undermine them and attack their weaknesses so that my argument could seem stronger. By utilizing the enemies’ views, I’m ultimately protecting my weaknesses from receiving further criticisms from said enemies. Therefore, it will strengthen my argument and viewers will find this as an achievement since I was brave enough to challenge the skeptics head-on.

  • Maintain a consistent style of conversational/argumentative in order to keep the reader/skeptic interested in a topic which they were initially hesitant to face.

I’ve already done the technical version so I wish to transform it into a friendlier and more comprehensible piece. Moreover, I wish to expand upon the style and spread it out throughout my essay to step closer the audience. By doing so, I can snatch the readers’ interest and convince them through a conversational, yet scholarly style of writing. In addition, it is most likely that students of my age or around my age will be reading this, and as a student myself, I would prefer to read an essay that is appealing in style as well.

4. I really liked Andrew's suggestion of an argumentative essay. However, I want to add more to just an argumentative essay. I was thinking of an argumentative essay that could be seen on a blog, a forum, or a newspaper article. The blog and forum can have similar styles and have more leniencies in terms of technicality, which I actually prefer. The newspaper article could still be a friendly genre but it initially restricts usages of colloquial language so I feel that it won’t necessarily fit my topic, but could still be doable.

Revised Midterm Draft

You’ve faced some discourse communities in your life; they exist everywhere. But, have you thought that a gaming community can or will develop into one as well? If you haven’t, I want you to stick around (of course even if you agree with me, it’s still fine to stick around and take my side against the uninformed skeptics!) and pay careful attention to my findings here. DotA indeed is a discourse community and I’m more than delighted to take you through my research. I don’t want to discourage you; I want to convert you to share my beliefs and discard that unsupported skepticism.

I’m going to be completely honest here. When I first introduced to my peers an article from a DotA forum, I was actually hesitant. Afraid of the skeptical responses and confusion from the peers, I regretted choosing a gaming community. Skeptics were already questioning my ideology and I had the potential to shoot down their skeptical views against DotA. If I were to win against the skeptics, it meant that I will ultimately strengthen my viewpoint.

Many assume that games can’t be categorized into a professional field, and I agree; not ALL games can be considered professional. By thinking in the skeptics’ shoes, it aided me to figure out why they view DotA in a different way from I do. The general skeptical view derived from the fact that DotA is a game. Surprisingly, DotA is a game that breaks the misconceived notion that discourse communities have to be professional. Yes, DotA is less professional than it is unprofessional, however, it is interesting to note that its gaming aspects and mechanics are what defines it a discourse community. Well, skeptics, what more do you have to say now?

I’ve gathered plethora of data to prove that DotA is a discourse community. One of them is interviews of two DotA players whom I’m very familiar with. I was able to acquire an opinion from Andy who also took on the skeptic’s view to disprove it (Andy, Q2). He pinpoints at the society’s initial perspective on video games and how it created a bad reputation for games in general. Unaware of DotA and other specific games, it was obvious for skeptics to respond in such a way towards an unknown phenomenon. They were not knowledgeable of the game as well enough to agree with me, and I acknowledged that this was not their fault; this ultimately helped define my job as the arguer. Unfortunately, these skeptical views were applicable to the general field of games, and there are indeed games that do not fit the definition of a discourse community. DotA, however, begged to differ, because DotA fits the Swale’s six characteristics.

1. A discourse community has a broad set of common public goals.
2. A discourse community has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members.
3. A discourse community uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback.
4. A discourse community utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims.
5. In addition to owning genres, a discourse community has acquired some specific lexis or terminology.
6. A discourse community has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discourse expertise.

DotA has a broad set of common public goals, no doubt. What do gamers do? Compete and compete until they reach top ranking in the game. When beginners or skeptics first face DotA, they can automatically determine that DotA can be a single-player game too, eschewing from the discourse aspects. That’s the main reason why DotA is played mainly as a multiplayer game because that’s what allows the discourse to mainly take place both inside the game and outside game. Most importantly, DotA gamers aren’t individually competing. As a skeptic, it is easy to view these gamers as selfish competitors, thirsty for solo attention and rank increase, and I have to agree that some DotA players are like that. DotA is a community of nearly 3 million; of course you can’t expect every player to be contributing to the DotA community by doing more than just playing the game. Moreover, as a current DotA player, I can’t stress enough: DotA is a TEAM game, like basketball or football, there are “stars” in each team but they are never sufficient to carry their team to victory. As a matter of fact, developers are active participants of the community. As Royce mentioned, they could be receiving a request to balance a game from a player and when the balance occurs, it exemplifies a mutualistic symbiotic relationship that ultimately satisfies both sides. It is obvious, then, that DotA players generally wish for the betterment of the game and the other side, developers, feel the same, if not, more.

The second, third, and forth goals can be tied together in this community. Forums, in-game voice chat capabilities, in-game chats, and etc. are examples of the discourse features of DotA. Forums have actually been established by players themselves, and it is essentially the exemplary participatory mechanism a discourse community utilizes to provide information and feedback! DotA developers certainly did not enforce the making of these online gatherings, but players who felt the need to discourse in order to fully enjoy DotA. Now, you can ask: “What of those who don’t actively participate?” Those who don’t actively participate are players who just gather information to better their gameplay and there’s nothing wrong with that. “How can there be nothing wrong with that?!” you may ask, and that’s because in DotA, readers and observers are just as important as those who reply to posts. Just because you don’t reply doesn’t mean you don’t have an opinion. Unfortunately, since it is an online community, it is difficult to determine every single player’s opinion towards a post. In my opinion, when people usually agree with a post, the observers don’t reply; it is usually disagreement that arises from the replies and that helps develop DotA as a discourse community even more. Andy pointed out the unnecessary, but inevitable remarks that some players make (Andy, Q4) because DotA is part of the online gaming world. In-game chats exist to primarily aid the players with the discourse amongst their teammates. In-game chat capabilities are one of the aspects of DotA that defines it as a discourse community, and DotA can’t thrive without the usage of these communicative tools. Without any discourse, DotA players will be stumped and have difficulty carrying on with their games, thus resulting a decline in the gameplay and ultimately the shutdown of the game. It may seem a bit drastic for a game, but because it is a game, something made to ease the stress of individuals, it needs to appeal to the community. How? By facilitating communication and making it a core part of the game.

Goal five talks about lexis specific to the community and I’d be foolish to leave out that aspect of DotA. DotA, as I mentioned, is a game not only of finesse but communication. What aids the complex communication that would normally take place is the lexis used both in and out of the game. Fortunately, the lexis is pretty darn easy to acquire, which presents the friendly side of DotA. Once you’ve seen it and utilized it, it’ll already be a part of you.

Chat1.jpg

There are various terms used here and they are: jungle, bot, solo, top, range, and meele. Furion is just the name of a character and I won’t go into that. However, bot, solo, top, and jungle are in the category of lane lexis. At the very beginning of the game, each player assigns themselves to one of the three lanes: top, middle, bottom. Certain heroes have more advantage in certain lanes and those who are aware, usually insiders, immediately call their lanes so that others won’t attend to them. As you can see, the importance of discourse is articulated by the utilization of the lexis. In addition, jungle is the lexis used for the areas where characters can obtain gold and experience besides the main lanes. Meele and range are self-explanatory, each hero attacks with either meele range, or ranged range and advantages of each develop on further from there. Without lexis, the discourse itself in DotA would become trivial since it would not be unique, and ultimately, difficult in such a fast-paced game.
Lastly, the final goal addresses the insiders of the community. Andy discusses (Andy Q4) about segregation and marginalization in DotA, and unfortunately, the ones who initiated such acts were the insiders. The descent that exists between the older, more experienced players and the newer players, as Andy mentioned, is unpleasant but also inevitable. DotA is an online game where players aren’t really concerned with who the other players are, unless they are friends. So the language that goes back and forth amongst players includes immense vulgarity. That’s what I find somewhat disappointing about DotA. The top tier players aren’t so welcoming and are relatively quarrelsome because they are so skilled and feel that they have the rights to do so. Their place in the community had been established simply by their skills and we can’t complain because it is a game that measures skills and not the contribution. If DotA were to be a game involving not just online discourse but face to face discourse, I feel that players would be a lot more humble and reluctant to flame others.

All in all, my research proved to be effective in my argument that DotA is inevitably a discourse community. Interviews with actual DotA players provided insight on DotA’s discourse aspect and its potential to grow even bigger. Personally, I think that each individual players do not contribute, but as a group that communicates incessantly and provide feedbacks on each other’s opinions, DotA will continue to grow bigger and bigger. Not to mention the beta phase DotA is in and yet it has 2 million players already. These players, insiders or not, are constantly contributing to the game as a group. Their feedbacks and usages of lexis spreads like virus to other players and therefore there exists a chain reaction of discourse that propagates throughout the community. Despite my prior breadth of knowledge on DotA, it was truly insightful and rewarding to explore the discourse aspects of DotA. Even I have never thought of DotA in such perspective until I’ve started researching. In fact, I don’t blame skeptics for their initial viewpoint because they have no information of this game. I hope that this created an opportunity for those who viewed games as unprofessionally organized hobbies to change where they stand and come to agree that DotA, and other games, can be or possess a discourse community.

Self-Evaluation

At first, I was quite stumped. I had no idea how to transform such a huge research paper into a revised piece. Whenever I had the time, I'd ponder upon how to transform, but it was too difficult. My research, not to flatter myself, had all the components it required and didn't necessarily need revising. Though, I figured it needed a transformation in genre, something more friendly to work with and comprehend. Thankfully, Andrew suggested an argumentative essay, addressing a specific audience. From then on, I was able to build upon my proposal and Andrew's idea. I first read over my research again and kept three things in mind. First was that I needed to address the skeptics as my audience. Second was that in addition to addressing the skeptics, I needed to utilize their arguments in order to augment my own. Third was to use a tone different from my report in order to approach the audience. From then on, everything rolled out smoothly until the peer review session. My peers told me that my tone changes and that the introduction goes different ways from my main component. Combined with my peers' advices, Andrew's additional revision remarks came in handy as I was able to finish my argumentative essay in a persuasive friendly style with the necessary components of my research included.

The most successful portion of my revised piece has to be the fact that I've incorporated the interview in the argumentative essay. My research paper had sufficient data, but as suggested by Andrew, it seemed to leave out the interview which was actually a fruitfully gathered data of mine. In my argument, I incorporated the interviews well enough so that outside viewpoints can be useful to prove my argument effective. Moreover, I'm extremely satisfied with the tone and style I was able to successfully execute in my piece. In the technical piece, I gave a little taste of that style but didn't fully use it as it was a technical piece. However, in the essay, I was easily and successfully able to utilize it to my advantage and I personally think that it came out great. I also felt that when I use the friendly, yet persuasive style, writing comes a lot easier for me. I do not have to constantly sit and think about how to formulate a sentence in a technical or proper manner. Therefore, I wish to utilize this sort of style and tone in my future tasks if they allow.

Unfortunately, there were some unsuccessful choices that I've made. I've initially tried to incorporate various types of skeptical views, but the only ones I had were the ones I received early in the midterm project. All my friends agree with the fact that DotA is a discourse community because they play it and are aware of its aspect as well. It seemed that only those who didn't know what DotA was saw it as a mere game. Even though I didn't execute the attempt, I feel that the initial attempt barred me from endeavoring other approaches that could have arose. I was trying to leap too far and I ended up reverting back to my normal idea. What I should have done was gather information on other skeptics views through a forum or another interview, but time didn't allow. Moreover, if I were to try and gather opinions over the forums, most would ignore a post unrelated to the game and would probably flame me for bringing up a "bland" topic or idea. Not taking the initiative was probably another unsuccessful writing choice that had to go with gathering skeptical views. Another unsuccessful choices were that I wasn't able to incorporate more of the screenshot data that seemed appealing to the audience. I just couldn't find the section to plug in more screenshots and expand upon it. I felt that it would inevitably make the essay repetitive as the screenshots presented similar lexis that could be explained in just one paragraph. If I had the time, I could have definitely gathered more skeptical views, perhaps even professional so that I could better argue against.

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