Dr. Travis L. Ross
Travis Ross is the Director of Technology Solutions at the University of Louisville J.B. Speed School of Engineering. He has been with the university for six years and his previous positions include the Director of Analytics for the Speed School and Director of Advising Technology for the university. His current professional interests include academic and research techologies, student success, leadership, and motivational technology with a focus on game design in everyday life. He recieved a PhD from Indiana University where his work examined of human motivation, collective behavior, game design, governance and computer-mediated societies. His work is published in numerous books and journals. He is also an experienced farmer, hortoculturalist and co-owner of New Blooms Nursery in New Albany, Indiana with his wife and family.
This paper examines social behavior in the online video game World of Warcraft. Specifically focusing on one element of social design: the behavior of players in the first release of Looking-for-Raid (LFR) loot system of World of Warcraft. It uses lens of economic game theory, combined with Williams (2010) mapping principle and a modern theoretical account of human decision-making, to explore how theory about individual interactions in well-defined contexts (games) can explain collective behavior. It provides some support for this theoretical approach with an examination of data collected as part of an ethnographic study, through focus groups, and a survey distributed to 333 World of Warcraft players. It concludes with a discussion of the results and some guidelines for predicting collective outcomes in certain types of online games using the introduced framework.