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Deep in the 'World of Warcraft'

A sociologist digs deep into the super-popular online game “World of Warcraft” and looks into our human future.

In the age of the Internet, new worlds have flowered online — and giant communities engaged in virtual environments and role-playing games.

The biggest of the massive multi-player online role-playing games is “World of Warcraft.” More than eleven million enthusiasts pay a monthly fee to immerse themselves in a vast digital world of elves and orcs and trolls and warfare.

One of them is sociologist William Sims Bainbridge. Now he’s come out to say he may have found the future of human civilization in an online game.

This hour, On Point: the sociologist and “World of Warcraft.”

Guests:

William Sims Bainbridge, sociologist and director of Human-Centered Computing at the National Science Foundation (NSF). His new book is “The Warcraft Civilization: Social Science in a Virtual World.” He has logged more than 2,300 hours playing 22 characters in “World of Warcraft” — all in the name of research.

Elizabeth Harper, editor-in-chief of WoW.com, which provides news, analysis, and opinion on the “World of Warcraft,” and a producer for Massively.com.  Her top-level character in “World of Warcraft” is a blood elf paladin.

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