Second half of the methodology - but an
Also happy to discuss the wider project
for those interested
Explores how we can learn from the
offshore gambling industry as we seek
to regulate other online environments.
Paranoid community. Fraud/scams
Community split. Newbies/established.
High-security / Low-Security. Public
space / wormholes.
As you may have guessed, no Avatar
(until recently). Instead, ‘pod goo’.
Why Virtual Worlds
Ren Reynolds says “we study VW's
because the legal norms being
established there will come to dominate
But what are Virtual Worlds?
I chopped this video a little to fit time
constraints. Full version at http://
Greg’s book is “Virtual Justice”, available
in free PDF from his website.
How many times did he just say
Virtual Worlds go beyond the
classically studied environments.
Eve is setting many precedents for
player politics, hybrid economies, and
‘legal’ purchasing of in-game currency.
So what methodology?
Much Virtual World research (Taylor,
Dibbell, Humphreys, Banks etc) is
‘Participant Observation’ Ethnography.
Can we apply that methodology to non-
Some games are designed for chat. Star
Wars Galaxies Cantinas are social
spaces, Trade hubs and the routes up to
them (in most MMO’s) encourage
bottlenecks/crowding & chat. Auction
houses encourage chat.
Eve is often a vast nothing...
Bartle, discussing the design of MUD’s,
notes that group missions (as in WOW)
force players to communicate. Eve
follows a far more ‘solo’ path.
Essentially Eve follows a different
model than traditional MUD-origin
games. Less in-game communication,
thus more use of external channels.
Almost impossible to get a clear picture
of the Eve community from the
Limited in access to end-game spaces
(by virtue of skills / time).
Limited in access to sub-cultures (by
practicalities / Ethics disclosures).
Ignore end-game spaces. I liken this to
claiming to do a comprehensive
ethnography of New York, without
Combine results of multiple
ethnographers. Elements of other studies
may apply to Eve.
Use meta-game: blogs, IRC, forums
(leaked and public) to complete
Ultimately, I am arguing for a
combination of (2) and (3). And, I
contend, these approaches have
implications for social networks &
avatar-based environments too...
Meta-game analysis is largely textual
BUT the participant observation is still
Without that, there’s no way to interpret
the textual analysis. You need to
understand the environment.
The paper argues that "the prominence of these meta-
game considerations should shift, from being a
supplement to an ethnographic lived experience to a core
part of the study. " but it mostly makes the case through
the example of Eve Online. It would help if the author
articulated the theoretical basis for the shift earlier on.
A large part of the discussion seems to be about the role of
space in the game, and the author is using the meta-
game ethnography to explore it. This needs to be explained
The biggest problem is that the conclusion is a rather obvious observation. By far most other researchers (see Taylor, for
example) have looked beyond pure in-game research when it comes to the analysis of the social components of these
It then argues that the lack of an avatar and embodiment puts Eve Online into a particular position for any ethnographic
research. This point is made through the absence of the avatar body (up to latest addition to the game). The importance of
such a body for any ethnographic study might be extremely relevant but would need more argumentation. For example, other
online communities like MUDs lived always without visible body representations and still managed to foster strong social
ties and interaction design. (NB/DW: But they still had avatars – emphasise this – Bartle Quote?)
How players use the aforementioned forums and extra channels shines through occasionally (e.g. in the quote by Mittani "I
almost never log on to Eve Online itself because I run a spy network. For me, Eve Online is talking to people in a Jabber
client.") but is not discussed in the paper. What role does the author assign to these sources? Is there anything
particular about the use of these technologies (e.g. no Teamspeak) in Eve? To lay out an ethnographic methodology to
investigate Eve Online questions like these would be important. They are pointed at but no answers are provided.
Again, where the text works is in the description of the particular game design decisions at work in Eve and how they
affect social interaction - but the arguments here are based on the design observations of the author. For example, even in
Eve Online we find online protests in the form of WoW or SL when masses of players overload servers - as seen in the Jita
4-4 attacks against the memorial. These were demonstrations against the new microtransaction system in the summer of 2011
and one could argue they instantiated this area as a kind of "social hub". The author does not discuss play events like
these, which seem to be good moments for an ethnographic approach (how did players organize the protest? why? what were the
consequences? how did players re-enter gameplay after the event and how did the talk about it?)
It might be useful to concentrate on the design issues identified in the Eve game design and try to solidify the points
made about them through analysis of the forums/ personal narratives/ video documentations/ online chat and VoIP clients. In
short, it would be interesting to step beyond a critique of Eve online's design and toward a more developed methodology to
still allow for research in this particular environment.
Overall project two (hopefully cool) case studies of self regulation - offshore gambling and the rmt/botting scene in Eve -- Jack/Jason`\n\nNote: Not EVE. Very clever people -- Marcus, Kelly -- working on other areas of Eve. As I&#x2019;ll argue later, it&#x2019;s not neccesary (or possible) for one person to do everything.\n\n
I think the second reviewer wants a different paper - but still some useful stuff here. I left out the references suggested as a bit of a give away ;)\n