Alone Together

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In a study done on player interactions within World of Warcraft, a graphics-based online multiplayer game, the results found that “solable” classes, in other words classes that required the least social interactions, were the most popular classes of characters chosen, and the overall research concluded that players within the World of Warcraft community preferred to play the game “‘alone together’ — surrounded by others, but not necessarily actively interacting with them” (Ducheneaut et al. 2006, p. 415).1

This style of play is pretty much my own – I find it interesting to have other players around myself, as they act in surprising and independent ways compared to NPCs, but I won't interact with them much.

The fact that other people play the same way as I do as well as the fact that more and more PCs and consoles are always online makes me wonder whether that could be harnessed for new ways of interaction. Other players could be around in the game world, their avatars probably transformed in some way, to add an element of chance and randomness into the game. A horror game comes to mind, in which the positions and (re-)actions of other players are presented as ghosts for a single player.

  1. Jacobs, Melinda. Multiculturalism and Cultural Issues in Online Gaming Communities. Journal for Cultural Research (2008) vol. 12 (4) pp. 317-334 – Online Version ↩︎