Creativity and linguistic skills important for immersion in World of Warcraft

Dec 05, 2012

The sense of immersion in role-play and computer games is sometimes viewed as dangerous, as players' strong perceptions of fictional worlds are assumed to make them lose contact with reality. On the other hand, players' immersion also implies a potential for improved learning, since it enables them to 'experience' new places and historical eras. Yet a new study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, shows that immersion in online role-play games requires a lot of hard work.

Gaming researcher Jonas Linderoth, at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning, University of Gothenburg, followed a group of players in the world's largest online role-play game for a period of ten months. He observed the players almost daily in their fictional online lives and also filmed and interviewed them.

'They are not your ordinary gamers – they are role-players who really want to feel like they are in a different world,' says Linderoth.

His results show that the players' sense of being somebody else in a fictional world is very vulnerable and can only be achieved for short periods.

'It's really the complete opposite of all the speculations we keep hearing. The players' problem is not that they lose contact with reality, but rather that reality keeps interfering with their ,' says Linderoth.

One reason for this is the mechanics of the game, which make it difficult to maintain a believable narrative. The players have to be creative and actively contribute to the fictional world by creating explanations to why enemies keep re-appearing and how their characters can communicate long distance in a fantasy world.

'This requires good imagination and well-developed communication skills. And that they can use their creativity and to maintain their ,' says Linderoth.

Thus, the study contradicts the common view that the fictional element in online role-play can be too strong to resist. The sense of immersion is based on the players possessing certain skills, and the concept is therefore not easily transferred to the field of education.

Explore further: Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

More information: The study is published in the November issue of the scientific journal Symbolic Interaction: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10… 002/symb.39/abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Online games as social meeting places

Oct 12, 2010

boundary crossing in online games, researchers Jonas Linderoth and Camilla Olsson at the University of Gothenburg analyse the culture of online games and the boundary-crossing community associated with the activity. The report ...

Iconic computer game 'Civilization' joins Facebook

Jul 06, 2011

(AP) -- Long before "FarmVille" there was "Civilization," the iconic computer game in which players build a civilized world over thousands of years. Now, the game's designer, Sid Meier, is bringing his creation to Facebook.

Recommended for you

Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

Sep 19, 2014

A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was ...

Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

Sep 17, 2014

What has Scotland ever done for us? Plenty, it turns out. The land that gave the world haggis and tartan has produced so much more, from golf and television to Dolly the Sheep and "Grand Theft Auto."

White House backs use of body cameras by police

Sep 16, 2014

Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of ...

Chinese city creates cellphone sidewalk lane

Sep 15, 2014

Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

Coroner: Bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

Sep 15, 2014

A Singapore Coroner's Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues.

User comments : 0