Browsing Category Theories

Superstitions and MMO’s

The Daedalus Project was an online survey of MMORPG players which is currently in hibernation, but the archives are still available. In relation to the survey Heather Sinclair, a member of the Dungeon and Dragons Online development team, made an interesting comment:

“From beta all the way through months into launch players were CONVINCED that if you used the diplomacy skill on a chest it would improve the loot you got..

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Why do we care about fictional characters?

Have you ever really cared for a character in a video game? There are those that pass us by unnoticed and then there are those we couldn’t detach from even if we tried. The gaming industry has now more than ever shown itself capable of creating bonds and meaningful relationships between us, the players, and the fictional characters we encounter. How do game developers pull this off? How do they make us care?

Researchers of the university of Middlsex mean to say that we are predetermined to care about these fictional characters.

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Why do we troll? – The toxic side of disinhibition

Back in June I did a guest post on Ravalation‘s blog discussing why we troll which I explained by reciting the result of the research done on “The Online Disinhibition Effect”. Later on I wrote an article based on the same research discussing “Why we develop feelings for people we meet in games“. To really understand why we behave the way we do in online environments I believe the disinhibition we experience to be key. Therefore I’ve decided to re-post “Why do we troll” on my own blog to give a fuller picture of what this online disinhibition is and how it works. Enjoy!

Having always taken a great interest in human behaviour and interaction I was intrigued by the world of gaming since I first came in contact with it. My fascination with online gaming and the communities that dwell there was striking from the start and it’s what I tend to write about. My thoughts tonight are revolving around a story a in game acquaintance of mine from SWTOR, let’s call him “Tristin”, told me recently. Long story short Tristin thought he had made a new friendship in game. He seemed very happy about this new friendship. Soon enough some very personal information Tristin had told this other player in confidence ended up in a forum somewhere for all the world to read. The person he had befriended wasn’t the person he had thought at all, it was someone having created a fake in game account for the sole purpose of trolling Tristin.

This made me think about the notion trolling. What is trolling? Why do we do it?

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Plato’s virtual cave

As gamers we are used to switching between alternate realities by immersing ourselves into the games we play. In my article “Does gaming impact my dreams?” I discussed this subject further while musing over the reasons why gamers more often experience lucid dreaming than their peers. I ended the article by saying:

When we then enter the world of dreaming, do we [as gamers] then recognize the signs of fiction and fantasy more easily than others? It is indeed an intriguing idea and the philosophical implications of this is fascinating to me. But more on that another time.

Well, my friends, it’s “another time”. It’s about to get deep!

When I hit the play button and enter a new game I am very much aware

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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: Analysis – SPOILERS

IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED THE GAME THEN
INSTEAD OF READING THIS ANALYSIS JUST GO TO THE REVIEW I MADE:
THE VANISHING OF ETHAN CARTER REVIEW

 

Trust me, unless you’ve actually played through it completely then the below theories won’t just be spoilers, it will be boring since you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about!

The-Vanishing-of-Ethan-Carter-scenery

 

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Voices, voices, voices…

I don’t know about you guys but I am an avid reader of body language, an ability I’ve wasted much time attempting to perfect. I say wasted, because in the world of gaming it certainly feels sort of useless. That said I find it very useful IRL. It is such a crucial part of how I figure a person out that I feel quite crippled trying to understand people online. In this environment the tools we have to figure a person out are very limited. This makes me wonder if we as gamers tend to read even more into a persons voice than others in order to compensate for the lack of other things. So tonight when I couldn’t sleep I decided to look for some research on how a voice impact how we see a person.

Fun facts about voices:
According to research into leadership it is clear that people are more willing to follow or trust someone in charge (male or female) if they have a deeper, darker, more masculine voice.

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Identity Crisis!

As gamers we are used to adopting new identities. We then discard them the same way a snake sheds it’s skins. We change between personalities as often as a girl changes her clothes. Want a make-over? Start playing a new game or create a new character. You can be the hero of Gotham City, you can be Ronaldo, you can be Lara Croft. Or maybe you just want to be a more ideal version of yourself. The possibilities are endless. This begs the question – As gamers, are we all suffering from some strange form of multiple-personality disorder?

For myself, I’ve never felt all my (sometimes wildly opposing) personality traits fit very well into just one person. As a result of this, as well as being a very playful person in general, I have gone by many different names – both in games and in real life.

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Can video games improve your resume?

In the past, I wrote about a tech startup called Knack on my blog which used video games as a means to test job readiness and streamline the hiring process. Like comic books long ago, video games are at an odd place. The industry makes billions, spans the globe, and continues to grow. More and more colleges are adding video game-related majors. Video games have even boomed as watchable entertainment, either through Twitch and YouTube or by having them broadcast on cable television as sporting events. Despite this, the perceived value of playing a video game remains in question, even when the skills a gamer might learn from doing so could easily transfer into real world success.

During my tenure in World of Warcraft, I raided on a schedule with my guild. As I was promoted up the ranks into a leadership role, raiding in WoW took on many attributes similar to a management position at a company, despite being something I did for fun and entertainment. I often handled training, I helped maintain and exemplify our community culture and behavior policies, and I sometimes had to discipline people. Raiding also required project management skills, both in the raids themselves or leading up to them.

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Why we develop feelings for people we meet in games

After reading the comments to Pyxis piece “Red’s Lesson”  my head was buzzing with thoughts. Hearing these stories of people falling for someone they meet online in a game is very interesting and it’s a story I’ve heard many times before. The number of people this seems to happen to surprised me greatly when I first started playing an MMO.

Seeing the comments in Pyxis post reminded me of what I read about “The Online Disinhibition Effect” when I was guest writing for Rav about why we ‘troll’.  This study by John Suler presents six features of online society which can elicit us to act differently than in the real world.

“Everyday users on the Internet—as well as clinicians and researchers1–7—have noted how people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn’t ordinarily say and do in the face-to-face world. They loosen up, feel less restrained, and express themselves more openly. So pervasive is the phenomenon that a term has surfaced for it: the online disinhibition effect.”
The Online Disinhibition Effect, John Suler 2004

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What is a gamer?

A gamer. Who is that? If you would take it literally, it means someone who plays a game. So that would make practically everybody a gamer, and it would be a pretty empty word to describe yourself. Like t.v. watcher. Or driver. Gamer is not an empty word though: you see people calling themselves a gamer everywhere.

The connotation I have with the word gamer is someone who plays games professionally, or at least passionately, or is a games connoisseur. Hence, I would never describe myself as a gamer, just like I would never describe myself as a pianist. I’d say, I play the piano, or I play games. To me it would sound wrong to state that I am a gamer.

But the word gamer is out there. Not just for the professional gamers. There is something else going on here. It is the designation of a subculture. It is an identity label. Like hipster, foodie, emo, goth, etc.

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