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Research on MMORPGs and the GW2 Community

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Hey GW2 fam (long time no chat)!

I'm currently writing a media research proposal about how MMORPGs and their create social networks and foster online relationships, which transcend virtual barriers. I was wondering, and hoping, if you lovely people could help me out with this a little bit!

Don't worry, I'm not going to steal anyone's names or info etc. It's just contextual so I can have some background information going into this research.

My main question is, why do you think its relevant/important to study the relationships people make in online gaming communities?

Thanks for any contributions, you guys are swell.
What she lacks in poetry, she makes up for in venom.
Posted Oct 9, 18 · OP
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They are essentially the same as relationships in offline communities: very much valid.
Posted Oct 10, 18
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I actually had a long talk with several different people about this the other day!

1. Defining Relationship - According To Google...

re·la·tion·ship
rəˈlāSH(ə)nˌSHip

noun
the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

2. Relationship- in terms of Online Community

In 'offline communities', we are bound to who we are, as we are: there are inherent intersectional boundaries that are set for you as you go along in life (gender / sociopolitical / economic / racial / orientation / where you live / etc) - boundaries which often play a role in defining who you can have even interact from the start.

And then came along Internet and the wonderful creation of 'online communities', where you can connect with virtually anybody from anywhere, at whatever time. The traits that bind you in real life are hidden behind usernames, giving you perfect anonymity- a double edged knife, for while it allows one to be judged as how they express and BEHAVE themselves from there on out, it also leaves room for forgery and lies (see: catfishing).

3. Going Further- RP Community

RP communities take things one step further. Not only do you have anonymity here, usually, but you also have an avatar- a unique BEING of fantastical origins that have a personality, a backstory, looks and skillsets and relationships that are entirely different of your own. As rpers, we take on the skin of the avatar and interact with plethora of others' creations- forging relationships (connections) that are as dynamic as ones that could be seen in offline relationships. In fact, if anything, it's even more *diverse* than anything we might get to experience in real life: after all, how many of us ever gets to be a part of a cult, or be a front line soldier- or simply have monetary provisions to hang around a tavern all day?

Sometimes, this gets so enticing and fun that we begin to put ourselves in our OC's shoes. Sometimes, we USE them to try and feel what we want to feel real life-- the drama, the action, the validations. When they have something heartbreaking happen to them, we begin to feel down. When they find the love of their lives, we begin to feel warm and fuzzy inside. TL;DR: Relationships of a character and interactions that spawn from those interactions affect people offline. That's why bad OC breakups sometimes lead to a dramafest. That's why people that had OCs dating, sometimes end up together IRL.

It makes us cry and laugh. And those feelings we feel, are real.

Also note that we're choosing to invest in these allegedly fantastical relationships instead of doing something else in real life. Like how you might spend 3 hours with a friend at a coffee shop, chatting, instead of reading a book or something. But anyways--


4. Why do you think its relevant/important to study the relationships people make in online gaming communities?

In short: because it's real, as 'real' as offline relationships. We-- perhaps not our generation, but public as whole-- has a tendency to view ONLINE relationships as unreal, fake, unsupported; a wholly outdated thought, really. Interpersonal connection is interpersonal connection, regardless of what medium was used for it to be tended on.

Doesn't mean it's all good per se, but in a century where even elementary school kids are blindly making friends online through games, in a century where 17% of married couples have met online- I think it's important that scholars of our times shed light on genuineness of online relationships instead of waving it off as 'fake'.




Best of luck on your media proposal!
I think it's a wonderful topic that's very much relevant to the world going on from here. :)
.dulcius ex asperis.
[TC] NA | Indicinis.4930 | Indicinis#0300
Posted Oct 12, 18 · Last edited Oct 12, 18
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I think that from a sociological perspective, it's still a moderately untapped field. We've seen more studies in the modern day about social media, and that does expand on internet friendships somewhat, but I think that MMOs create several things that social media sites don't.

For one, it creates a new environment with new incentives to be considered "successful" and thus different kinds of groups with different social hierarchies. This can be as simple as "I need four people to get through this content" and can go as complicated as looking into guild politics. You could also look at leadership models for things like commanding raids and how these groups compare and contrast to those formed for, say, a group project in a class.

If you look at different games, examining guild interfaces and what group content seems to encourage in their communities could have some interesting results.
lewnatic.3279 (NA servers, Central Time)
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Posted Oct 14, 18
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Thank you so much for all the suggestions and comments on this topic! I sincerely appreciate it! many notes taken
What she lacks in poetry, she makes up for in venom.
Posted Oct 19, 18 · OP · Last edited Oct 19, 18
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