In deciding how to act within a social situation, the location in which the situation arises will influence how we act. This human behavior can be seen in our everyday lives, but also extends to virtual locations, though we do not occupy them physically. Video games present fantastic worlds and narratives that frame player expectations while immersing them within alternate realities; the rules that govern a game constrain the player‘s actions according to the game‘s paradigm.
II. Environments of MMORPG and single player
Public and communal locations in networked virtual environments, such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs, or MMOs for short), are considerably more complicated than single-player games, since they must negotiate a community of players acting concurrently within the same persistent game world. With the addition of a community comes the societal expectation to adhere to codes of conduct. These are dictated by location and situation, as in our real lives, but also by the constraints and narratives that designers have embedded within artificially bounded environments. These worlds are static: that is, they cannot change or be affected by any action done by the players. As a result, a player might traverse a virtual theme park in their day-to-day play, moving through scripted experiences. Meanwhile, another player coming through will move through the same scripted experiences, the scenarios playing out as if that character was the first to come across the scenario – the world largely persists in a constant state, impervious to player actions.
In considering player appropriation of static game environments for role-play, it is relevant to consider how role-players read, experience and use these environments to tell stories. This section draws upon sociology and game studies to create a framework through which to consider and understand the findings from the ethnographic study. Instead of acting as herself specifically, a player within these games assumes the role of a fictional character and performs as this character within a pre-fabricated, fictional setting, often with other players who have also assumed the roles of different characters.
These types of games create the experience of being transported to an elaborately simulated place within controlled…