Oh no! We’ve been transported into a world inside the computer where we need to defeat big bads with the help of our monster pals! That’s right, we’re in China talking about the world’s most popular massively multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG), World of Warcraft! Why is it so popular after more than a decade?

Next week, we’re gonna get wicket on you as we travel to India to talk about fans of the oft misunderstood sport, cricket!

Episode outline

Fandom Facts

World of Warcraft is a popular MMORPG created by Blizzard Entertainment and set in the already existing Warcraft universe. It was released in 2004, and the player takes on the role of a member of either the Horde, or the Alliance as one of the many multitudes of races and classes. In China, it is known as “World of Magic Beasts”.

Most Active:
Interest in World of Warcraft has been on the decline, with the most interest taking place between November 2004 and September 2011 with a peak between January 2007 and January 2009.

Size of Fandom:
As of 2014, according to an article in Engadget, there were over 100 million World of Warcraft accounts.

However, a more accurate number might the number of active subscriptions: a peak of 12 million in October of 2010, and 5.5 million in October 2015.

The subreddit, r/wow has over 400 000 subscribers.

Around the world:
World of Warcraft is popular in many different parts of the world. Below are some rough estimates of number of players from different parts of the world:

  1. China, Asian Realms: 3.2 million players
  2. United States and Canada, North American Realms: 3.0 million players
  3. United Kingdom, European Realms: 1.0 million players
  4. South Korea, Asian Realms: 800,000 players
  5. Germany, European Realms: 600,000 players
  6. Taiwan, Asian Realms: 350,000 players
  7. France, European Realms: 200,000 players
  8. Russia, European Realms: 150,000 players
  9. Australia, North American Realms: 120,000 players
  10. Latin America, North American Realms: 100,000 players
  11. Spain, European Realms: 80,000 players
  12. Other, NA/EU/Asian Realms: 800,000 players
    WoWWiki - WoW population by country

Fan Activity:
There are over 200 000 results for World of Warcraft on DeviantArt, and Archive of Our Own has over 2000 fanfics related to World of Warcraft.

Last Episode’s Famous Last Words

Primarily popular in China because there are so many internet cafes.

…Popular in China for the same reason that they like Windows XP so much.

World of Warcraft is so popular in China because Silk Road Aion is a Korean game, and there’s a racism thing going on there.

The Verdict

Z is out.

G is out.

T is out.

This week’s spotlight

Running of the Gnomes
We were unable to find an official source for the event, but from this article from 2017:

Since 2010, World of Warcraft players have been creating hordes of pink-haired level one gnomes and running them across Azeroth to support the fight against breast cancer. This year Blizzard is giving the event a boost with special decorations, a cheering crowd and its own special quest.

The tradition of running low-level gnomes across a danger-filled continent dates back to EverQuest in the early 2000s, back before World of Warcraft came along and took over the MMO-space. It’s a high danger, low stakes sort of thrill that helps pass the time between camping for things or waiting for raid timers to reset.

Using the “Running of the Gnomes” as a means to raise money for and awareness of breast cancer in World of Warcraft started back in 2009, when members of the Scarlet Crusade server Alliance guild SeeD decided to change their tabards to pink during October, aka breast cancer awareness month. In 2010 they started the first official “Running of the Gnomes” charity event, choosing WoW’s most diminutive race mainly because one of the starting hair color options is a lovely shade of pink. Nearly 150 players showed up for the run and after-party. In 2013 they had about a thousand, raising $1,305 for the Cleveland Clinic’s Tuohy breast cancer vaccine research and testing.

Kotaku - World of Warcraft’s ‘Running of the Gnomes’ Fan Event Gets Official Blizzard Makeover

Famous Last Words

Next week, we’ll be travelling to India to talk about fans of cricket. What are our hosts famous last words on cricket before they begin the research?

What is the connection between the game cricket and the insect cricket?
Has anyone become a fan of cricket via the fifth Doctor?

Is there a rap song or concept album about the sport of cricket?

Why are people fans of such a slow game?

Where can you find us online?

We are everywhere! Most notably though, we like to hang out in a few places on social media:

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  • if you want to reach us, and for some reason none of those work for you, try nick@thenickscast.com
  • You can check out our website; that will mostly bring you back to this stuff.
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  • … You’re still looking for ways to reach out? You can also use the hashtag #fanthro on Twitter!

What is “Fanthropological”?

How did you read this far without asking this question?!

Fanthropological is an anthropological (ish) podcast where we bring the fan’s-eye view to you! Each week, we take a look at a different fandom, dig up interesting background, trivia, and history, and try to get to why it is that people are a fan. We also try to highlight good causes related to that fandom, and find interesting things that fans have created to share those to the world. Each episode is about an hour. Ish.

Who is “The Nickscast”?

We are the Nickscast! Three products of late-80s / early-90s pop culture who love exploring fandom and everything geek … who also happen to have been best buddies since high school, and all happen to be named Nick. Yes, we are super creative. Dare we say, the most creative.


We are Nick Green, Nick Terwoord, and Nick Zacharewicz: We started the Nickscast as a labour of love, and as a place to entertain and to discuss our love of fans and fandom, and all that is shiny and interesting in that realm. It’s what lead us to start our first podcast, our satellite podcasts, Fanthropological, and so much more.

We want to help others learn more about different fandoms, and to create empathy with other fans: We dream of a world where other fans aren’t “those Weird-o’s”, but just folks with different tastes. A world where fandom is full of discourse and analysis, and there are plenty of tools and resources to help. Fans building communities to do good in the world. Because everyone’s a fan.



Music / Sound

  • All music and sound for this week’s episode were provided by Nick Green!


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