IR9, day 1, 11am: Multiplayer gaming

On the 15th I went to the In the Game workshop and then dinner party afterwards. I’ll skip that and go straight to the conference which started on the 16th, but here’s a photo of my breakfast spread. 🙂

From Copenhagen, Oct 15

Celia Pearce
Identity as place: Trans-ludic identities in mediated play communities-The case of the Uru diaspora

themes:

  • fictive ethnicity attached to virtual place
  • diasporic discourses of displacement
  • imaginary community v. imagined community

method includes:

  • feminist eth, etc. but also
  • ethnography as game (Denzen)

Refugees of Uru would evaluate different VWs and games as possible places to migrate to.
They used the same identities from place to place incl. clothing/avatar appearance.
They also recreated architectural artifacts (like the fountain, the common hub for the game Uru) to keep cultural artifacts and continuity in space/place.

It was the loss of Uru that led to the creation the identity/community.

Celia mentioned briefly a conference happening at Georgia Tech.

More info on Celia and her research can be found at http://cpandfriends.com/

Emily Hannan
Virtual worlds: Forming relationships online and offline within gaming communities

Unfortunately, Emily was a no show.

Luca Rossi
MMORPG guilds as online communities: Power, space, and time in virtual worlds

Not in so many words, but essentially, I think Luca is saying that shared goals are sometimes in conflict with individual goals, which is something I’ve been thinking a lot about as I write my expertise and socialization paper.

Luca claims that guilds are not fluid and getting in and out is difficult.

[Mark]
I don’t think that is true for all guilds… not true for many guilds in fact, or maybe just on my server?
Also, he conflates guilds with raiding! Why do people still do this? Did I have a completely abnormal server?
In my experience, people might have to go through some sort of application process but to leave a guild (breaking up friendships, aside) is actually quite easy.

[/Mark]

Luca then the use of tools to manage time and to lower downtime such as calendars, etc.

How conflicts are resolved: Hirschman voice/exit concept -> when conflict happens you talk and then /gkick as last resort.

gkick is a form of power

[Mark]
He didn’t cover conflict management in detail but just 3 ways to leave guilds.
It would be more interesting to talk about the tension between personal and group goals. Then also talk about specific motivations for leaving or staying. What is compelling about staying that people put up with drama? Do some players recognize that management and work is needed for the labor of fun?

Also, he didn’t show us anything from outside of the game. Isn’t there a whole social economy that affects power dynamics and reputations?

I thought what he covered is basically was very superficial, but maybe it’s a language barrier…
[/Mark]

Mia Consalvo
Where’s my montage? The performance of hard work and its reward in film, tv, and MMOGs
Mia and her students were in a seminar that did an exploration of what a Unit Operation is (from Bogost).
A “unit” is a building block, and each medium uses a different procedural rhetoric to express them.

[Mark]
I see units as genre conventions that have certain qualities and attributes that can be expressed across media.
[/Mark]

They used the “hard work is rewarded” unit and tried to see how it is expressed differently in different media.

montage in films = (bypassing) grinding in games, etc.
montage is done by cutting/pasting in films, cheating in games

Rettberg’s corporate ideology (Yee says this too)
puritan work ethic, myth of american dream

[Mark]
Roger (who was sitting next to me) makes a good point in that there’s a performative act while playing games that is different than in other media. Does that make comparing texts harder to do even if a common unit can be found? In other words, the expression depends on the actions of the player, not just the author… and different players might do different things such that the unit is fungy.

Also, what operations are happening between units that are making unique or maybe not unique meanings to players? I thought Ian’s emphasis was not the unit but the various combinations and connections and networks they created and related to each other.

For a static text, units operate with each other and create a narrative meaning. For games, it seems like it is much more emergent and that specific units might not surface for all players.

Most of the questions about Mia’s talk came from niggling about the the content of the unit (grinding and montage) and not the concept of the unit. Ah well…

Total aside, wouldn’t it be great if Blizzard announced to everyone that we’d all be moving to a different, better game without all this crap grind?
[/Mark]

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