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: Study reveals mature motorists worse at texting and driving

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

Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

7 hours ago

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI's ...

Study reveals mature motorists worse at texting and driving

Dec 18, 2014

A Wayne State University interdisciplinary research team in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has made a surprising discovery: older, more mature motorists—who typically are better drivers in ...

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

LA mayor plans 7,000 police body cameras in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan Tuesday to equip 7,000 Los Angeles police officers with on-body cameras by next summer, making LA's police department the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.