Markup in the Writing Classroom

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Student id: bu.an

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  <essay>
    <docHead>
      <title>How Genres Work in the Gaming Community: What People Have to Say About
                Hearthstone</title>
      <author>Name
            <!--deidentified element--></author>
      <date>October 11th, 2016</date>
    </docHead>
    <body>
      <intro>
        <p><context>Video games have been an ever growing industry ever since the 1970's
                        with the release of Atari's <q>Atari 2600</q> in 1977. Ever since then,
                        video games have been a rapidly advancing technology and supplying thousands
                        all around the world with an immeasurable source of entertainment. Today,
                        video gamers are now able to make a living off playing the games they love
                        and compete in massive competitions for millions of dollars in rewards as a
                        full-fledge sports career. These competitions, lovingly called
                            <q>eSports</q> by many, have been the source of serious debate amongst
                        gamers for the past couple years for many different games. The debate often
                        being: What audience should a game cater towards, and whether or not the
                        game is supposed to be played for fun alone or to be played as a competitive
                        eSport. One such game that suffers from this problem is an online
                        collectable card game known as <q>Hearthstone: Heroes of
                        Warcraft</q></context>.</p>
        <p><context> Hearthstone is a game developed by Blizzard Entertainment, or simply
                        Blizzard for short, made to be an easy to learn and simple card game for
                        people to play available on a multitude of gaming platforms. Hearthstone,
                        like most games developed in the modern age, is a product community revision
                        where the player base gives feedback to the developers on what is good and
                        bad with the game. After some time to process everything the community has
                        to say, the developers will go back and make changes to the game to create a
                        better experience for a majority of the player base. </context><scene>Where Hearthstone’s dilemma occurs is how the heavily divided community
                        tries to fight for power over this process. Currently, Blizzard has been
                        favoring the silent majority of players who prefer the game to be
                        light-hearted, flashy, and most importantly a casual experience that anyone
                        can play and be proficient at. However, this design philosophy to appeal to
                        a casual gaming audience has spurred the more competitive players across the
                        internet to speak out against Blizzard's approach to the game, in favor for
                        a more serious competition to reward more skilled players. This frustration
                        has grown from a smaller subset of player who have played the game since the
                        very beginning and do not appreciate how little their skill matters while
                        playing. </scene> Those who have voiced their concerns have done so using a
                    very common genre in the gaming community known as a <genre>gaming
                        article</genre>. A great example of this is the article <q>Three Years In
                        And 'Hearthstone' Still Doesn't Nerf Cards Fast Enough</q> by Paul Tassi.
                    Obviously, these two styles of game design clash and Blizzard can do very little
                    to appease both. <argument type="main"> But, when one analyzes the genre of
                            <q>gaming articles</q>, one can begin to see just how much their uptake
                        affects both a video game's community and the game they discuss as well, as
                        shown by how much articles like Tassi’s impacted the game of
                        Heathstone.</argument></p>
      </intro>
      <bodyPara>Looking at Tassi's article, one immediately notices the author's perspective.
                    <participants>Because of the huge variety of video games available, it is very
                    typical for the author to be a very passionate player of said game, or of video
                    games in general, and to write alone.</participants> As such, it is very easy to
                see reoccurring patterns in many different gaming articles. <aesthetics>Most will be
                    formatted in a similar way: Simple black text with a white background on a
                    website available for anyone to read. Most use short paragraphs to quickly
                    articulate their points, and between these paragraphs are images of the cards or
                    the game-play being talked about, whether it be directly mentioned or just an
                    example of whatever topic is at hand.</aesthetics> Also, most will use the
                game's jargon, <participants>inviting fellow players of the game, meanwhile
                    excluding those who have never played or who are as serious about playing. As
                    such, they draw relatively the same audience comprised of fellow competitive
                    players who play and follow the game, while leaving more casual players to look
                    up guides or gaming articles specifically geared for them in order to catch up
                    to their knowledge of the game.</participants> This use of jargon can be
                considered as a sign of credibility for fellow players of the game at hand as it
                indicates an intimate knowledge of the game’s mechanics and background. It shows the
                author has actually played the game and understood how to succeed at it. As with a
                lot of gaming articles, the article is an opinion piece; combining the personal
                beliefs of the author and his or her experiences with the game. Specifically, this
                article's subject is how the developers of Hearthstone, Blizzard Entertainment, are
                not doing an adequate enough job with balancing their game. He expresses his
                frustration about Hearthstone's problems and Blizzard's pattern of changing the
                game. As Tassi says in his article, <q>I like Hearthstone, but I do not like playing
                    games, seeing a class, and knowing there’s about an 80% chance I’m going to
                    lose. I like Hearthstone, but I do not like playing or playing against a single
                    card that can often decide an entire game on a coin flip</q><citation source="#Tassi">("Three Years In And 'Hearthstone' Still Doesn't Nerf Cards Fast
                    Enough"</citation>). Tassi here is clearly quite tired of how Blizzard operates
                its game and is trying to appeal to the audience that Hearthstone is in desperate
                need of a change of management if it wishes to keep its player base. At the time
                Tassi was writing the article, the subject of Hearthstone’s balance was a hotly
                debated topic. The game’s competitive scene was at an all-time low, and almost every
                serious Hearthstone player had an opinion on how they wanted the game to change.
                Tassi obviously was one such player, as such he wrote this article with the desired
                uptake to try and push Blizzard to actually change the game in some way. However,
                this is incredibly hard to do online as a singular article, so he also chose a
                secondary uptake in order to help achieve his primary one. He also desired to get
                people to spread his ideas of what Blizzard should do, and his article, so that his
                ideas can be discussed and repeated until the game developers hear his ideas. </bodyPara>
      <bodyPara>This uptake on Hearthstone's community is the key to Tassi's article, and
                other gaming articles. <situation>Due to the heavily subjective nature of the genre,
                    its uptake can radically shift between two very different outcomes. One is that
                    the readers will disagree and argue against what the author is saying. This does
                    not lead to much, except discourse within the community, which varies on the
                    popularity of the second outcome. The second, and most important potential
                    uptake, is when the audience agrees with what the author is saying and goes out
                    of their way to inform others, including the original developers of the
                    game.</situation><argument type="supporting">By sharing the article around with friends and other
                    players, soon enough the article becomes a guideline for how the game should
                    continue to develop. This is especially effective during times where the players
                    are not deriving much enjoyment from the game or the game has a few glaring
                    issues hampering it.</argument><evidence>Hearthstone was at this very point, where there were many clearly
                    definable issues the fanbase had with the game, at the time Tassi was writing
                    his article. As Tassi explains, </evidence><q>[e]ventually, changes were made to
                    specific cards to make those dominating builds less viable, or destroy them
                    completely, but it took forever then, and it’s taking forever now, where the
                    problems seem even more obvious </q><citation source="#Tassi">("Three Years In And 'Hearthstone' Still Doesn't Nerf
                    Cards Fast Enough")</citation>. <evidence>In his piece he offers some changes
                    that Blizzard could make in order to improve the issues, and soon enough the
                    entire competitive Hearthstone community was nearly rioting for these changes to
                    be made. Tassi certainly was not the first one to write about this issue,
                    however, but his article really demonstrates the mood and frustration of the
                    community at the time. Other examples of the player base's feelings over the way
                    Blizzard was treating competitive Hearthstone can be found on any number of
                    Hearthstone discussion sites. One very popular site that has perhaps the most
                    interaction with the developers is the official Hearthstone “subreddit” which
                    can be found at the popular online forum site, www.reddit.com. During the time
                    period, one could find a new discussion about the state of Hearthstone every
                    hour, where people of all different backgrounds could come and give their
                    thoughts on the matter.</evidence> Reddit user, hslimsch, describes his feelings
                on the matter quite succinctly, <q>The state of the game is just very disappointing
                    at the moment… The game is really not in a good place, I only keep playing
                    naively hoping that it will improve. But there is really no sign of that
                    currently</q><citation source="#reddit">(Reddit.com)</citation>. Even pro players chimed in
                through discussion videos, such as Hearthstone’s 2014 World Champion, James
                Kostesich, commonly known online simply as <q>Firebat</q>. Kostesich, an extremely
                high-level player, said <q>If you look at the win rates of the best players in the
                    game and let’s say they qualified every single prelims, it is unlikely for them
                    to win any of them and qualify for [the World Championship]</q><citation source="#Kostesich">("Bat Wisdom 24: RNG Rant and New Formats
                    Needed")</citation>. Finally, gaming articles also tie into several different
                genres, such as <genre>video game reviews, blog posts, forum discussions, and so on,
                    even including a response from the developers</genre>, as its topics and format
                are so simple to use and understand. This pervasiveness is a big reason why it is so
                effective when it comes to reaching out to the audience. This is because when
                something like Tassi's artcle, while being passed around from reader to reader,
                these readers will begin to think about his ideas and want to discuss them. As such,
                the readers will then tend to create blog or forum posts, similar to those found on
                the reddit examples from before. These discussions will spread Tassi’s article to
                even more readers causing more and more discussion creating a ripple effect of
                online discussion. Now, when the ripple effect Tassi’s article, or anyone else’s
                article for that matter, gets large enough, other professional game writers will
                even begin to chime in on his ideas, also pushing Blizzard, or whatever game
                company, to make a change in their game.</bodyPara>
      <concl>
        <p>As mentioned in the beginning, video games, in recent years, set themselves apart
                    from any other form of media through the use of their extremely unique
                    development process. <argument type="supporting">At a certain point, the
                        developers may actually step in and make the changes the community
                        recommends. Improving the quality of the product so more and more people can
                        get enjoyment from it.</argument><evidence>After the massive fan outcry and onslaught of gaming articles,
                        including Tassi's own work, Blizzard finally decided to change a couple
                        cards within the game that were frequently protested against, many of which
                        were the same cards Tassi was displeased with. This re-balancing of the game
                        was the uptake of gaming articles</evidence>, which often influenced several
                    other genres related to Hearthstone such as <genre>community discussion, forum
                        posts, reviews, and videos on the subject.</genre> What these articles do in
                    the grand scheme of Hearthstone and many other game's development is that they
                    subtly shape what the game is to become. And after some time, more problems will
                    be found with the game, and the whole process will start over. This process of
                    community revision has been how many popular games have survived for so long. It
                    all comes back to a video game's primary purpose, to entertain the player. If a
                    large enough subset of players is not entertained, then something needs to be
                    done or else the game is not successful. Luckily, Hearthstone has a massive fan
                    base of creative and passionate players who push Blizzard to make Hearthstone
                    constantly better and better.</p>
      </concl>
    </body>
    <docFoot>
      <title>Works Cited</title>
      <listBibl>
        <bibl xml:id="Kostesich">Bat Wisdom 24: RNG Rant and New Formats Needed. Perf. James
                    Kostesich. YouTube.com. Google, 2 Sept. 2016. Web. 13 Nov. 2016. </bibl>
        <bibl xml:id="reddit">Reddit.com. Reddit, 23 Sept. 2015. Web. 13 Nov. 2016.
                    https://www.reddit.com/r/hearthstone/comments/54524z/who_else_is_playing_less_these_days/d7z00u3/.</bibl>
        <bibl xml:id="Tassi">Tassi, Paul. "Three Years In And 'Hearthstone' Still Doesn't
                    Nerf Cards Fast Enough." Forbes.com, Forbes, 26 Sept. 2016,
                    http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/09/21/its-been-three-years-and-hearthstone-still-doesnt-nerf-cards-fast-enough/#6b5d306f2634.</bibl>
      </listBibl>
    </docFoot>
  </essay>
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