Monthly Archives: November 2012

Baby moonkin/restokin art

Hi everyone,

Ginny (the artist who drew my blog’s banner art) recently drew a new baby moonkin/Restokin picture. Take a look! I really like the detail on the feathers. What do you guys think? 🙂

Posted in Achievements, Written By Lissanna

After 8 years of WOW: What I am thankful for

When I first picked up the World of Warcraft box almost 8 years ago and installed it on my computer, I told my friends that I would probably play for about three months. I suppose I was quite wrong about that. In reflecting back on 8 years of being part of the World of Warcraft community, I wanted to talk about what I am thankful for and what this game means to me.

I never intended for anything I gained by being part of the WOW community to have an impact on my actual work or research.  However, after I graduated this summer with my PhD and started with a new lab (and had collaborators with much more unique perspectives), my experience as a WOW blogger is actually paying off in more ways than I could even imagine. Right now, I have earned just over $2,000 (22% of my goal) through a crowdfunding campaign (that I started almost a week ago) to fund a project where I’m  bridging my video game knowledge and autism knowledge to help design a new autism video game intervention. The generosity of the WOW community is actually changing my life and my research in ways I never could have anticipated or planned. We still have a long way to go, but I am truly and sincerely grateful for all the support.

I spent many years trying to hide who I was in real life to the WoW community, and hiding my WOW playing from my work/school. However, following my last blog post, the outpouring of support that started the day I blurred the line between gamer and psychologist has been incredibly outstanding. Even after 8 years of seeing how great this community was, you all still surprise me with how awesome you can be. I have had a huge outpouring of support from gamers, including those who either have autism themselves, or have a child with autism. I love hearing your stories, and all of your support means more to me than you may ever know.

In this case, I’m trying to explain that – being part of this WOW community has changed my life in ways I never anticipated when I picked up this funny game called “World of Warcraft” off the shelf. I think that playing this game has made me a better person, a stronger person, and a smarter person. I’m proud to be part of this game and this community.

What I am Thankful for is all of you.

Posted in Achievements, Research on video games, Written By Lissanna

The positive side of video games

Hi everyone! I’m taking a break from my normal style of posting to do one really important thing.

I wanted to introduce myself.

For all of my graduate school and into starting my new career, I have hidden behind the pseudonym Lissanna. For several years, I overall have talked very little on this blog about what I do on a day-to-day basis outside of the World of Warcraft. However, today, this is all about to change.

My name is Dr. Elisabeth Whyte (though my friends call me Lisa). I am a post-doctoral research assistant and lecturer at Penn State, in the Laboratory of Developmental Neuroscience (see more info about our autism research here). My research focuses on how children and adolescents with autism understand language and how they process information from faces (eg. recognizing people or understanding emotional expressions). In addition, I am interested in understanding how to design interventions to help improve these skills in children and adolescents with Autism.

Video Games as Intervention Tools

There is now a growing field of research on “serious games,” where video game elements are incorporated into the design of health and education programs. These game elements include a sophisticated interface that is still user-friendly, increasing levels of difficulty, as well as a storyline and plot tied to the educational objectives. These games have been used for helping kids with cancer be better about taking their medications, they have been used to teach kids about healthy eating, and have been used in a variety of other applications. However, the field of Autism research has not done quite a good enough job in their use of appropriate video game elements in creating their interventions. Despite the bad reputation that video games have, it is actually possible to use elements from video games to make Autism interventions more fun and effective! As someone who has an expertise in both video games and autism interventions, I have a really unique position to make a difference in changing how interventions for children and adolescents with autism are designed.

But I need your help to do it!

Today, my research lab at Penn State has started a crowdfunding project, as part of the Scifund Challenge along with many other researchers from a wide variety of science backgrounds. Crowdfunding is something many video gamers should be familiar with, as it has been pretty heavily adopted by the video game industry. With how difficult it is to secure grant funding for science research, I decided that a unique approach to creating interventions should be accompanied by a unique approach to funding, as well.

My science crowdfunding project uses the Rockethub platform, where we ask for donations from you, in exchange for some exciting rewards related to my autism research and video games! At the end of our crowdfunding initiative, the money goes to my University and is earmarked for our lab to use to fund our autism intervention research. Please take some time to visit our Rockethub page to learn more about the specifics of my autism research project. Please also spread the word and tell your friends and family! Thank you for your support!

Project Update

We’re now on Day 2 of the project. We’ve had an amazing amount of positive feedback about the project. We have had a total of $625, which is a really amazing start! We still have a long way to go! Thank you to all the amazing gamers who have donated to the project so far, and are proving that gamers can do amazing things! If you haven’t had a chance to look at the site and help contribute, there is still time!

Posted in Achievements, Research on video games, Written By Lissanna

LFR: Raiding with friends

I have a confession. I actually enjoy the Looking for Raid content. While I don’t have a lot of time to play, I prefer running LFR over 5-mans to get my valor points.  However, I usually will only run LFR when I’m running with other guild members and friends. When we can get 5 to 10 people to queue up for the LFR together, it’s a lot more fun than just going by myself.

There has been talk of trying to solve a “LFR problem” of running LFR feeling mandatory (getting VP gear and set bonuses faster). However, This is really the same problem of the daily reputation quests, needing to maintain your farm, and the problem of needing to VP cap in general. In mists of pandaria, there is a lot of content. A lot of that content ends up being less desirable things that you feel socially compelled to do for the sake of keeping up with raiding.

When I first hit 90, I really had an issue with all these things that I had to do. However, in remembering all the time I spent in Stormwind feeling “bored” outside of raids, I can see Blizzard’s point in making all the extra things we feel like we need to do. Of all the things I feel compelled to do this expansion to be prepared for raids, LFR is actually the one thing that I really enjoy doing. I like the ability to run LFR to get experience with new encounters, or to just go in and top meters in my raiding gear. I didn’t mind the LFR in Dragonsoul that much, and the Mists LFR encounters are still new enough that I’m enjoying doing them when I have time. The LFR raids don’t require a whole lot of planning or attention, and they offer valuable rewards past the point where the blue drops from heroic 5-mans aren’t compelling anymore. So, I would be really bummed if they tied the LFR lockout to the normal and heroic raid lockout because LFR is really a different type of content. If we’re asking for fewer things to do outside of raids, I would vote for making the consumable gathering easier (lower mats required for flasks & feasts) or increasing the valor point rewards from content even more to accelerate the speed of capping points. I’d also prefer to go back to “weekly” quests instead of “daily” quests in some places. I can’t run a random heroic every day. Instead, I tend to have to do most of my VP farming on the weekend when I’m not tied up in long work hours (though I usually end up in the office 6 days a week when we get close to deadlines or have kids coming into the lab). I don’t honestly really mind having to do LFR once a week for my VP and chance at potential upgrades.

What do you guys think? Do you enjoy having more things to do outside of raids, or do you find all of the extra content to be a drain on your time? Do you think that the LFR is a problem, or an enjoyable thing to help fill your time?

Posted in Mists of Pandaria, Patch 5.0, Written By Lissanna


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