Social interaction in MMORPGs

Social interactions in MMORPGS take the form of in-game communication, virtual behaviors, and the development of interpersonal and group relationships. In massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), cooperation between players to accomplish difficult tasks is often an integral mechanic of gameplay, and organized groups of players, often called guilds, clans, or factions, emerge. Sometimes the relationships players from within the game spill over into friendships or romantic relationships in the material world. In other instances, romantic partners and groups of material world friends find that playing together strengthens their bonds.

Avatars and communication

MMORPG players take on an avatar, a humanoid graphical representation of themselves, in the game. Players usually have great latitude in designing the physical appearance, gender, and race of their avatar. Players also select their role, profession or class, each of which comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Games scholar Nick Yee classifies avatars into two categories, a projection or idealization of one’s identity or an experiment with a new identity. The avatar, as a representation of the self, creates the first impression and is the first means of communicating with other players.

Communication between players typically takes the form of typed chat and the animated gestures and expressions of the avatar.

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