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Communication / Relationship Skills

Previous results showed that a significant portion of MMORPG players do tell their online friends about personal issues and secrets that they have never told their real-life friends (link), and these results hint at how these virtual worlds provide a different kind of communication channel than face-to-face communication provides. When respondents were asked whether they felt more comfortable expressing themselves and communicating through typed chat as opposed to face-to-face, it was interesting to find a near-perfect normal distribution.

While there were no gender differences, there were significant age differences.

Respondents were also asked whether their MMORPG experiences have helped them be better communicators in real life, or whether it has helped them in forming and sustaining relationships in real life. About 1/5 of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their MMORPG experiences have made them more comfortable with face-to-face communication. There were no significant gender or age differences.

While there were no significant gender differences, there were significant age differences. In particular, younger players were more likely to have benefited from their MMORPG experiences.

The safe, anonymous environment that an MMORPG provides may very well facilitate individuals overcoming their real-life anxieties about communication and relationships, and provide them with a variety of practice settings. This is one of the many reasons why it doesn’t make sense to think of MMORPGs as “just games” – because it denies the existence of the transfer of experience and lessons that occurs all the time.


Posted on February 11, 2003 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)


Comments

I've been playing MMORPG's for a long time. I often reviel my personal problems to my friends in WoW. Even though you dont really know them they seem to help me alot. I do believe that I am more open to new ideas etc. because of this. I have school and school is way stressful, I play WoW to help relieve my stress and talking to people on WoW is a great help.

Posted by: Dan Flory on November 15, 2005 11:57 AM

This is just similar to chatting in a chat room I would say. The idea that you can talk with other people about your problems, even when you don't really know these people. This fact, that you don't know them very well, might even make it easier to discuss your problems. Because you don't have to be confronted another time in for example a real life situation.

Although these conversations often makes you feel better the question is how long this lasts. Because if you feel better when you are having the conversation but feel down or stressed the next day, it doesn't seem to help that much.

Posted by: Jacob on February 24, 2006 5:10 AM

I used to watch a lot of TV.. A lot of Anime, Comedy, horror movies.

Now I'm spending a lot of time playing WOW, and it's addictive, playing 7 to 8 hours a day.. I feel good because You get to interact with people and socialize which makes the game fun and exciting. It's like another world where you are in control, you are in a never ending book with 5000 chapters. That's the way I see it.

After 8 hours of playing, I spend my freetime reading Manga or other books.

Posted by: Kyle on February 26, 2006 11:13 PM

I think anonymity has much to do with the difference between RL communication and In-Game. In an MMO you can "experiment" socially; you can say and do things you would never think of trying in RL and see how people react, maybe even discover something about human nature you never knew before. And if you ruin your reputation, you can just re-roll and it’s all good again. In that way MMO’s can teach people about communication in ways they’d never have discovered otherwise.

Posted by: Jonathan on May 25, 2006 12:29 PM

Anonymity is good, but face to face is better. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you can't learn about communication through the internet, but I strongly believe that people play to escape reality. Life may be in the pits but you can always play MMORPG's to have a break in life. Just like reading.
My opinion: do the exact same thing you would do in a MMORPG (not flying on mythical dragons but the talking part and experimenting part) except try to do it in real life. Being spontaneous is fun, it lets you relieve your childhood memories and at the end of your life, you can look back with a smile (not a YAY I achieved 100% game completion =P). Go out, experience life like never before, breathe in the fresh mountain air and live everyday like it was your last! =D

Posted by: Auron on February 16, 2007 1:21 AM
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