Playing on the edge

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Presentation given at IR11.+

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<ul><li>1.Playing on the edge Users, design and communities in MMORPG. Kristine Ask PhD Student Centre for Technology and Societywww.kristineask.com</li></ul> <p>2. Appropriating World of Warcraft </p> <ul><li>My approach:</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li> Empirical ontology or</li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>the game as played </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Interpretative flexibility </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>No apriory differentiation </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>between designer and user </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>How do player practices and design relate in WoW? </li></ul> <p>3. Domestication </p> <ul><li>Silverstone et al (1992):</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>The home as the prime context for media </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Srensen &amp; Lie (1996):</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Domestication as a framework for appropriation of technology in general. </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li><ul><li>Cognitive </li></ul></li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li><ul><li>Practical </li></ul></li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li><ul><li>Symbolic </li></ul></li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Srensen (2006):</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Domestication as a collective practice </li></ul></li></ul> <p>4. Methodology </p> <ul><li>1 year ethnographic studyof a player community in World of Warcraft (WoW) </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Between 20 and 50 hours play pr week </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Interviewswith 19 WoW players at varying levels of progression </li></ul> <p>5. One design, many ways of playing </p> <ul><li>WoW: A platform </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Levling/Questing </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>PvP</li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Arena </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Twinking </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>AH-ing </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Achievements </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Roleplay </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Chatting </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Raiding </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Williams et al (1996):</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>RP-guild </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Social-guild </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>PvP-guild </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Raiding-guild </li></ul></li></ul> <p>6. Raiding </p> <ul><li>Large groups of players fighting challenging monsters </li></ul> <ul><li>From emergence to mainstream </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Set times </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Team effort </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Complicated </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Little reward</li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>for much input </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Organized </li></ul></li></ul> <p>7. Domesticating raiding </p> <ul><li>The same design challenges were dealt with differently </li></ul> <ul><li>All informantas were involved with raiding </li></ul> <ul><li>Divided into three groups:</li></ul> <ul><li>Casual: Relaxed </li></ul> <ul><li>Softcore: Combining </li></ul> <ul><li>Hardcore: Competative </li></ul> <p>8. Casual </p> <ul><li>Playing was (symbolic) </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Killing time </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Want to see content </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>A way to be social </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>The guild (practical) </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Friends of friends </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Relaxed, use of alliances </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Strong real life ties </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Learning (cognitive) </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>On own initiative </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Prefer to ask others </li></ul></li></ul> <p>9. </p> <ul><li> I was in a raid last week, but had to interrupt as one [of the players] had a little one who fell out of bed. It happens.</li></ul> <p>10. </p> <ul><li> I experience a good raidingenvironment in the guild. I like to read up [on strategies] in advance, but at the same time I will ally myself with a mentor if its a new instance. Preferably of the same class Get to hear a bit about what happens there and when it happens. Have also mentored new people myself. I think its really nice and very social! </li></ul> <p>11. Softcore </p> <ul><li>Playing was (Symbolic) </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Killing time </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>A challenge </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>The guild (practical) </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Had to apply to become member, friends got in easier</li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>4 nights pr week, 50% attendance requirement </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Goal of being in the servers top 20 </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Want to balance RL and gametime </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Learning (cognitive):</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Is required to read strategies before raids </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Forums used as a place to discuss in game events as well as random stuff </li></ul></li></ul> <p>12. </p> <ul><li>I have enjoyed being here [in the guild]. Most of the people are laidback, but still take the raiding semi-seriously. People can talk shit and usually dont take it [bad] if there is some friendly mocking around. But, because its a friendly guild I realize that the raiding isnt pro and sometimes it also doesnt feel so nice.</li></ul> <p>13. </p> <ul><li> If I cant figure stuff out for myself or if my friends are out of ideas. Theres only one place to look; elitistjerks.com.Well its the only forum I found, where most of the ppl know what they are talking about. Sure you can look at other places but there you have to screen out 90% of the posts </li></ul> <p>14. Hardcore </p> <ul><li>Playing was (symbolic):</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Challenging </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Competition </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>The guild (practical) </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Apply for membership </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Requires ca 100% attendance, raidtimes decided by progress </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Goal: Be in the world elite </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Learning (cognitive):</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>No formal rules from the guild. Its expected that everyone is at their peak.</li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Had their own theories about how to do things, and were among those who produced guides etc.</li></ul></li></ul> <p>15. </p> <ul><li> Ensidias players are pretty much hand picked from the entire playerbase its the creme de la creme so to say </li></ul> <ul><li> If it wasnt for the fanbase Im quite sure a lot of us wouldnt be playing anymore. its a bit scary that whatever I write, Ill have 100k people reading it </li></ul> <p>16. </p> <ul><li> To be hardcore haha! Its not what most people think. We play in a hardcore guild, but dont have to play 24/7 to make it work. Its almost a mathmatical formula behind it all; The better the guild = the faster you can do X,Z etc </li></ul> <p>17. Scripts and user scripts </p> <ul><li>Akrich (1992):</li></ul> <ul><li>Script</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>A semiotic approach to user/technology relationships </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Ideas about the user is materialised in the design </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>The design contains "ques" for use </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Problem:Design heavy </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Gjen and Hrd (2002):User script</li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Users create other scripts by giving new meaning to artefacts </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Problem: Individual readings have little effect on the "general" script </li></ul></li></ul> <p>18. Scripts in raiding</p> <ul><li>Size: 10 or 25 players </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Must be a large group </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Continuity: Resets weekly </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Must repeat weekly </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Time intensive: Even when on farm it takes hours to clear </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Must be dedicated </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Synchronous: Requires everyone to be online at the same time </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Must be organized </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Difficulty: The same for everyone </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Must be of equal skill-level </li></ul></li></ul> <p>19. User-scripts in raiding</p> <ul><li>Must be a large group </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Make alliances (Casual), recruits more (Softcore), small group with high attendance (Hardcore) </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Must repeat weekly </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>When enough people (Casual), keeps plugging on (Softcore), effective to save time (Hardcore) </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Must be dedicated </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>When it suits them (Casual), punished if not attending (Softcore), removed if not attending (Hardcore) </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Must be organized </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>No real structure (Casual), many meetings and much effort (Softcore), strict hierarchy (Hardcore) </li></ul></li></ul> <ul><li>Must be of equal skill-level </li></ul> <ul><li><ul><li>Dont care (Casual), attempts mentorships and training (Softcore), if you are not the best you are out (Hardcore) </li></ul></li></ul> <p>20. Cooperation andconflict </p> <ul><li>Overcome shared challenges </li></ul> <ul><li>Much shared time </li></ul> <ul><li>Both online and offline relations </li></ul> <ul><li>Difficult to combine a friendly attitude with competative gaming. Is it a choice between the two? </li></ul> <ul><li>Difference of opinion of how to reach their goals </li></ul> <p>21. Final words </p> <ul><li>The Casual, Softcore and Hardcore domesticated the game in different ways </li></ul> <ul><li>Created user-scripts that were local for that particular group</li></ul> <ul><li>Instrumetal play as tool </li></ul>