Online Diasporas: Theoretical Considerations on the Study of Diasporic Behavior in MMORPGs

Salazar Javier
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

The concept of ‘online diaspora’ refers to the complex, dispersive and migratory behavior that some online communities may exhibit when moving from one virtual environment to another. This paper examines leading theoretical approaches to the notion of ‘diaspora’, and contrasts them with a set of cases of both ‘real life’ and ‘online diasporas’ taken from the author’s ethnographic experiences in MMORPGs as well as from published literature on the subject. The objective is to reach an understanding of the particularities of this type of diaspora in terms of their conceptualization. This, in turn, paves the way towards the formulation of a theoretical framework for the study of diasporic behavior in MMORPGs.


Game Design and Business Model: an Analysis of Diablo 3

Prax Patrick
2014 DiGRA '13 - Proceedings of the 2013 DiGRA International Conference: DeFragging Game Studies

This paper develops a theoretical framework for analyzing if a certain feature of the design of a game has been introduced to increase the financial profit created over a specific revenue stream. The framework is created from existing theory and consists of the points 1. Revenue Generation, 2. Game Design and Business Model Integration, and 3. Problematic Game Design. If all these points are given for a certain design feature than it has been implemented into the game to increase revenue. This framework is the used to analyze the design of the successful PC game Diablo 3. Diablo 3 features an auction house that allows players to trade their virtual items for real money while the owner of the game, Blizzard Entertainment, collects a fee for every transaction. The analysis shows that the economy of Diablo 3 is designed to increase the revenue of the real-money market place.


The Stereotype of Online Gamers: New Characterization or Recycled Prototype?

Kowert Rachel Oldmeadow Julian
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

The stereotypical online gamer is a socially inept, reclusive, male, with an obsession for gaming. This characterization is shared with a number of other groups too, suggesting it reflects a set of behaviors and concerns common to a range of groups. This study examines the content of the stereotype of online gamers in relation to other similar groups in an attempt to identify the core behaviors or characteristics upon which the stereotype is based. By comparing the similarities and differences in the stereotypes of a range of related groups it is possible to identify the shared and unique features of online gamers that are being reflected in stereotypes about them. Results show similarities in stereotypic content between online gamers and other social groups, including other kinds of gamers. Additionally, the characteristic of social ineptitude, which is a key trait in the stereotype of this group, did not emerge as a distinctive feature for online gamers alone, questioning the unique role that mediated socialization plays in these spaces. Implications for future research within the online gaming population are discussed.


On the Ontology of MMORPG Beings: A theoretical model for research

Salazar Javier
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

In the Game Studies field, the study of MMORPG’s have been approached by four mayor research traditions: social aspects tradition, individual player issues, narratological themes and ludological themes. Although these are not mutually exclusive, focusing in one or two aspects of MMORPG’s usually means omitting elements of other themes. One fundamental theme that has been usually ommited is that of the essential characteristics, or ontology, of the online beings that inhabit MMORPGs. This paper focuses on this aspect, by providing a practical example of how, by applying a theoretical model that has at its vertex the Ontology of MMORPG Being, all the other themes and levels of analysis can be taken into account in one single theoretical framework.


Designing Goals for Online Role-Players

Montola Markus
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

The increasing popularity of persistent worlds and the predicted rise of pervasive gaming, both having a strong inherent potential for role-playing, stress a classical challenge of persistent world industry: in addition to the regular gamer audience, the role-player audience is growing. Catering to role-players requires re-thinking in the design of game structures and narrative structures. The most fundamental conceptual differences between role-player and regular gamer playing styles regard goals, game worlds and the idea of meaningful play.


A Touch of Medieval: Narrative, Magic and Computer Technology in Massively Multiplayer Computer Role-Playing Games

Stern Eddo
2002 Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings

The paper provides an in depth examination of the narrative structure of Massively Multiplayer Online Computer Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). The analysis is focused on the narrative complexities created by the relationships between computer technology, the medieval fantasy that is central to the genre, and the emergent nature of the online player society. The paper is divided into four major sections: the first examines the question of neomedievalism (as pronounced in the 1970's by Umberto Eco) and its relationship to technology and magic. The second section recounts the historical development of the MMORPG genre. The third section examines the narrative form unique to fantasy genre computer games that arises when the cogent narratives of the fantasy genre are mixed with the equally fantastic narratives of high tech computer culture. The fourth section examines a specifi c set of game "artifacts" that make the specific narrative diegesis of MMORPGs.


Player Character Design Facilitating Emotional Depth in MMORPGs

Eladhari Mirjam Lindley Craig
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

How can we create computer games facilitating emotional depth in the playing experience? When entering into a persistent virtual game world the player leaves the body behind. It is up to the game designer to create a virtual body with skills, needs and drives necessary for survival and pleasure in the game world. Would it be sensible also to create a virtual mind for the player to possess and evolve? Can models like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and ‘being-values’, or the personality trait model popularly called ‘the big five’ be used for character design in a way that suits massive multi-player game form? Based upon a view of the player character as the concentrated mirror of the functionality of an RPG game and adding features inspired from psychology, cognitive science and behavior science, this paper presents the high-level system design of a virtual mind for the player to possess in a MMORPG. The mind model is being implemented in a research demonstration game in which game play emphasizes emotional engagement and dramatic interaction. This research is conducted in the Zero-Game Studio within the frame of the open research MMORPG Ouroboros.


Exploring clan culture: social enclaves and cooperation in online games

Lin Holin Sun Chuen-Tsai Tinn Hong-Hong
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

Virtual online gaming clan organizations are used to analyze social grouping and cooperation within competitive gaming communities. Participants from two popular massive multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPGs) in Taiwan were interviewed to collect data on the social dynamics of gamer networks in virtual worlds. Our essential argument is that joining online clans involves costs and risks, yet the “law-of-the-jungle” nature of the gaming world and the interdependent role structure of most game designs encourage the formation of gaming groups. Players commonly establish clans consisting of individuals from their off-line networks in order to reduce the risk of cooperating with strangers. A typical portrait of careless and vulnerable teenage gamers is found unsound.