The WoW factor: The development of social solidarity in Azeroth
LE3 .A278 2013
Master of Arts
Social and Political Thought
This participant observation-style virtual ethnography investigates the development of social solidarity in the virtual world of Azeroth, from the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game World of Warcraft. Data gathered through open and closed coding of 407 hours of field observations and 10 semi-structured interviews support the hypothesis that the collective celebration of sacred 'things' through participation in ritualized behaviour within the magic circle of the game, both develops and maintains in-game solidarity. In addition, five 'ideal' types of interaction are identified: Breaching, 1-Upping, Supportive Interactions, Sociability Seeking, and Silent Performance. These not only work to reinforce/demonstrate the existence of solidarity in Azeroth, but will be useful in making cross-context/cross-game comparisons of player interaction styles in future studies.
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