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Social platform or fantasy world? - A mixed methods approach to the study of social interaction in World of Warcraft

Shilnova, Elena LU (2014) SOAM21 20141
School of Social Work
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate massively-multiplayer online role-playing games from the social interactionist perspective. The aim was to chart the social interaction within the game environment as well build upon previous known findings concerning player's in-game preferences as well as the sociability of the game environment.
The questions addressed by this study were:
- How does the social interaction within World of Warcraft utter itself?
- What function does World of Warcraft have for its players?
A mixed methods approach was used in the form of an online self-completion survey in combination with separate in-game participant observations. The resulting material consisted of surveys, chatlogs and screenshots.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate massively-multiplayer online role-playing games from the social interactionist perspective. The aim was to chart the social interaction within the game environment as well build upon previous known findings concerning player's in-game preferences as well as the sociability of the game environment.
The questions addressed by this study were:
- How does the social interaction within World of Warcraft utter itself?
- What function does World of Warcraft have for its players?
A mixed methods approach was used in the form of an online self-completion survey in combination with separate in-game participant observations. The resulting material consisted of surveys, chatlogs and screenshots.
Results indicated that the game environment contained several spheres of interaction, where real life as well as guilds showed the qualities of a protected backstage region while the public and action-oriented spheres showed frontstage public qualities. The playerbase of the game showed the inherent qualities of a team, displaying a coherent routine that reinforced the boundaries between the back- and fronstage regions. Players were also often seen gravitating to form two opposing teams in the dramaturgical sense as well as share a mutual culture based on popular culture.
Furthermore, survey results showed that the nature of the social ties that players have with them in the game have a correlation with both their in-game activities as well as their preferences. Different demographic groups were also found to vary in their activities and social ties.
The findings of this study grant an insight into the way in which the social interaction within massively-multiplayer online role-playing games is formed by the actors within the interaction as well as the game environment itself. These findings have possible application use in both understanding game usage as well as the social possibilities of massively-multiplayer online role-playing games. (Less)
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author
Shilnova, Elena LU
supervisor
organization
course
SOAM21 20141
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Social interaction, MMORPGs, Presentation of self, Erving Goffman, World of Warcraft, digital communities, computer mediated communication
language
English
id
4498434
date added to LUP
2014-06-23 10:47:28
date last changed
2014-06-23 10:47:28
@misc{4498434,
  abstract     = {The purpose of this study was to investigate massively-multiplayer online role-playing games from the social interactionist perspective. The aim was to chart the social interaction within the game environment as well build upon previous known findings concerning player's in-game preferences as well as the sociability of the game environment.
 The questions addressed by this study were: 
- How does the social interaction within World of Warcraft utter itself?
- What function does World of Warcraft have for its players?
 A mixed methods approach was used in the form of an online self-completion survey in combination with separate in-game participant observations. The resulting material consisted of surveys, chatlogs and screenshots. 
 Results indicated that the game environment contained several spheres of interaction, where real life as well as guilds showed the qualities of a protected backstage region while the public and action-oriented spheres showed frontstage public qualities. The playerbase of the game showed the inherent qualities of a team, displaying a coherent routine that reinforced the boundaries between the back- and fronstage regions. Players were also often seen gravitating to form two opposing teams in the dramaturgical sense as well as share a mutual culture based on popular culture. 
 Furthermore, survey results showed that the nature of the social ties that players have with them in the game have a correlation with both their in-game activities as well as their preferences. Different demographic groups were also found to vary in their activities and social ties. 
 The findings of this study grant an insight into the way in which the social interaction within massively-multiplayer online role-playing games is formed by the actors within the interaction as well as the game environment itself. These findings have possible application use in both understanding game usage as well as the social possibilities of massively-multiplayer online role-playing games.},
  author       = {Shilnova, Elena},
  keyword      = {Social interaction,MMORPGs,Presentation of self,Erving Goffman,World of Warcraft,digital communities,computer mediated communication},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Social platform or fantasy world? - A mixed methods approach to the study of social interaction in World of Warcraft},
  year         = {2014},
}