The Rise and Fall of CTS: Kenneth Burke Identifying with the World of Warcraft


Guilds in online games often have a tumultuous life. In this essay we examine the rise and fall of the Cardboard Tube Samurai, a World of Warcraft guild, and explain three key phases in the guild’s existence using the ideas of Kenneth Burke. We argue that rhetorical theory can offer substantive insights into the events of online games, in this case focusing on the roles of identification, division, and consubstantiality in explaining how a guild can build for two years to their greatest triumph and fall apart two weeks later.

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