Accepted Paper:

Digital homin(id)s: ways of playing and dwelling in a virtual world  


Wiebken Nagel (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)

Paper short abstract:

Based on digital ethnographic fieldwork this poster illustrates how player communication and interaction shape the way(s) of dwelling in the virtual world of science-fantasy MMORPG (massively multiplayer online-roleplaying game) Ryzom.

Paper long abstract:

At least since the tremendous success of fantasy MMORPG World of Warcraft and the game's subsequent apotheosis into pop culture, online-games have become a mass phenomenon: Millions of people worldwide regularly dwell in persistent virtual worlds. In each of those game worlds patterns of player interaction forge unique social constructs - player communities.

Atys, the virtual world of science-fantasy MMORPG Ryzom, contains such a player community. Ryzom, which has been launched in 2004, is still online, despite of undergoing a couple of financial problems, resulting in changes of proprietorship - not least thanks to its small but very loyal player base.

As one month of ingame participant observation and several qualitative online interviews have shown, helpfulness and reciprocal support are the things which define Ryzom's player community the most. The poster illustrates which types of social player interactions constitute those defining features. It also shows which underlying economic and social structures have been uncovered by analyzing the collected research data.

Panel Post01
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