Social connecting via mmorpgs - m2 ass2-bao di tran.s3235414
Social Connecting via
Why players prefer the company
of other MMORPG players than
people they meet in real life.
[ information mostly based on EVERQUEST players ]
Media Cultures 2 2010 -- Assignment 2 Bao Di Tran s3235414
Social interactions in massive multiplayer
online role-playing games are virtual
behaviours and communications/relations
through an internet hosted computer game.
Interactions are essential with the mechanics
of these games. Through these interactions,
players meet other players across the world
and may form relationships, vary from a
cohesive team, friendship or to romance.
Non-gamers stereotype some video gamers to be as
solitary hermits, but data on MMORPG players
show that 80% of them play with someone they
know in real life (a romantic partner, family
member or friends) on a regular basis. Most of
them are usually introduced to these games from
someone they know in real life. Thus, MMORPGs
are in fact highly social environments where new
relationships are forged and existing relationships
Anyone can play MMORPGs even some that may be
socially awkward or outcasts but they can become
who ever they want to be in these virtual worlds,
and find other players with similar interests and
personalities. In one survey, 39.4% of males and
53.3% of females felt that their MMORPG
companions were comparable to or even better
than their real life friends.
It may seem strange that strong relationships can
develop in these virtual worlds where everyone is
pretending to be someone else, but the construction
of these environments actually smoothes the progress
of these relationships. People are more willing to talk
about personal issues when they can maintain their
anonymity, and about 30% of MMORPG players have
told personal issues or secrets to online friends that
they never told anyone else. These environments
encourage people to form trusting bonds with each
other by repeatedly placing players in spontaneous
and stressful crises that require players to work
together in order to survive. And most importantly,
players are pre-selected to be compatible with each
other because MMORPGs are a very specific form of
Being more than just online friends
Once we understand how these environments
encourage relationships to form, we also begin
to see that people make friends and fall in love
in a different way than they do in real life. In
real life, we learn about a person casually
before intimate details are shared. In
MMORPGs, intimate details are often shared
before knowing where a person lives in real
life. In real life, we make friends with someone
and eventually a crisis occurs and we figure out
whether we can trust them. In MMORPGs,
crises occur so often that players can choose to
only befriend those who have demonstrated
their loyalty and courage. In more ways than
one, we make friends and fall in love almost
reverse in MMORPGs.
In real life, we judge a person first by their physical
appearance and then we get to know their character
and values. In an MMORPG, it’s reverse. You get a
sense of their values and character from the situations
in the game. You hang out with them because you
share a lot of common values or you like their
personality. And then finally, you might get to see a
photo of them or you may meet them in real life where
you judge their physical appearance. According to
Nicholas Yee, 15.7% of males and 5.1% of females
physically dated someone they met in an MMORPG.
Is it just a fantasy?
Part of the concern over online relationships is that they are superficial because
the foundation of the game is to pretend to be someone else. How could you
possibly know someone well in such an environment? The thing to remember is
that people “pretend” all the time in real life. People wear “masks” in real life
and “putting on a front” is something happens in the real world as well. In fact,
a significant portion of MMORPG players feel that they can be more of who
they really are in the virtual world. Other players feel that online relationships
can be important because people are actually less superficial online. The
removal of physical cues such as age, appearance, race and social class forces
players to interact with each other with far fewer prejudices and stereotypes
than they would in real life.
While many people are frightened by the prospect of encountering
individuals with bad intentions in an online environment, those same
individuals often times underestimate the number of those same people they
are encountering in real life. After all, the “bad” people you meet in virtual
worlds live in the real world. Cautiousness is something that people need to
keep in mind in both the virtual and the real world. And considering the
restricted range of things that other people can do to each other online when
compared with the real world, it seems surprising how worried some people
get over online relationships.
Some people are hesitant to use the words “romantic relationship” or “good
friendship” to describe these online relationships, as these relationships begin
and develop in an entirely different way than face-to-face relationships. But
just because they happen differently, sometimes in reverse, doesn’t mean
they aren’t just as real and valuable as face-to-face relationships. If what we
mean by friendship or love is really getting to know someone well, then
perhaps environments like an MMORPG do have something very important
Invisible shield ON!
One reason why this occurs is that when you’re typing to a computer,
you don’t worry about how you look, what you’re wearing, or whether
you’re smiling at the right time. A lot of this self-consciousness is
irrelevant when typing on a computer, and all this energy is instead
channeled to the message itself, which typically becomes more detailed.
In the case of an MMORPG, the ability to be in the safety and comfort
of your own home while typing relieves some of the tension of saying
something intimate. Many of these gestures and cues are absent online,
and this allows us to finish our original thought more often – the
unchanged, uncensored version of what we wanted to say. In other
words, this foundation of a good relationship is far easier to reach in an
MMORPG than in real life because of the text communication and the
Of course, this is not to say that everyone who plays an
MMOPRG will share their personal lives with their fellow
players, but in general, people are more likely to reveal
personal information online than in real life for the reasons
mentioned. However, without hearing the tone and seeing
the body gestures of the other players, it can be hard to
unscramble what they may be trying to say to you or if they
are lying. All we hope in our minds is that we trust them
enough to read the truth and is not just messing with us
emotionally or mentally.
Another reason why many people are uncomfortable with meeting
people online is because, at first glance, it feels like finding a needle
in haystacks. The chances of finding someone you could get along
with just feel very remote. They then project this attitude and
conclude that the likelihood of other people finding compatible
romantic partners is also very low. When you think about, an
MMORPG is a highly specific kind of entertainment. People who
like first-person shooters are probably not the kind of people who
like MMORPGs. Also, people who play MMORPGs and enjoy the
slow level advancement, character development, and simulated
battles while immersed within a fantastical medieval world probably
share other attitudes and interests. The MMORPG effectively
attracts people with similar interests and attitudes while at the same
time filtering out the people who do not share these interests. What
you end up with in an MMORPG is a pre-filtered group of people.
This is why compatibility is more likely to occur.
True Love Outside the Computer?
It is possible for MMORPG players to hook up in real life and then get married
(etc). It’s not highly recommended to all the socially anxious youngsters who think
dating in a game will be easier for them than finding someone in real life. The
process of finding that special someone in an online game, intentional or not, and
pursuing life long relationship is not a pleasant process. It does involve physical
loneliness or could drive you emotionally crazy which often cause people to think it
may not be worth keeping it. Sometimes all in the end, people are just happy to
find someone that is healthy, loves you and more importantly, not a criminal.
Relationships online aren’t any prettier than real life relationships. They can be
happy as a roller coaster, or as creepy as anything the real world can throw at you.
Your only real benefit is you immediately share a common interest and, at least to
start, you have anonymity on your side protecting you. The drama is just as drawn
out and complex, only it often involves a lot more people whether you, or they,
actually want to be involved. There is just as much lying and manipulation, plenty
of good intentions gone badly and promises broken. Certainly, it works for some
people, but don't count yourself in that group unless it really does work out. If it
does, count yourself among the lucky few!
Finding friends or love via a MMORPG (or through the internet) is just another
option for people if finding companionship can be difficult in real life.
It helps build self esteem and certain traits of a person which could be used in
real world and gain better communication skills without the overwhelming feeling
of rejection or discrimination.
Finding companionship via MMORPGs is one good way to sort out the players that
are compatible with you and form a meaningful bond quicker than meeting the
random people in real life.
There are certain risks when gaining a trust of someone you cannot see face to
face, but if you’re a good person at heart then you are bound to find others just
like you – not everyone is bad or a jerk. We all need to practice cautiousness and
be wary of what others say to us without the aid of tones and body gestures in
MMORPGs is just a social game where everyone can come together to play and
have fun being fantasy creatures and meeting other players to enhance the
entertainment through our long wasted years on these games!