Current Issue: Vol. 7-1 (03/09/2009)



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DRAVEN: HOSTILE ARSENAL`Crusade GUARDIANS PierceTheVeins Fenris Mastermind Vengeance LEGION ELITE Imperial SUPERIOR Descendants REVENGE AllStars CONQUEROR CONQUEST Renegades Celestial Beings Enrage ... [go]

Ashraf Ahmed : real-world context can be inserted into a virtual world, effectively turning the virtual world into a forum for real-world contexts. ... [go]

Roflmaodoodoodadoodoo: I didn't get it from the generator, but I saw it in Arathi Basin and thought it was the best ... [go]

Keesha: In awe of that aneswr! Really cool! ... [go]

Bobbo: This does look promising. I'll keep cmoing back for more. ... [go]



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Applying Psychology to MMORPGs: Automatic Mimicry

This has led researchers to hypothesize that automatic mimicry is an evolutionary adaptation to facilitate and express social affiliation and that the process is bi-directional - mimicry facilitates affiliation and prosocial behavior and affiliation goals increase mimicry (Lakin, Jefferis, Cheng, & Chartrand, 2003). This theory is also supported by studies that have shown that very young infants will mimic many facial expressions they perceive, such as sticking their tongue out, smiling and opening their mouths (Meltzoff & Moore, 1977).

Virtual environments in fact provide a perfect setting for embedding subtle mimicry behaviors in NPCs because details in the environment can be rendered differently for each user. The goal of embedding mimicry would be to increase prosocial behavior in general in the community. After all, loyalty and bonds with other players is what keeps players in a community.

Examples of this embedding range from the simple to the complex. Of course, the following are not meant to be employed with every single NPC interaction, but instead used intermittently to seed prosocial behavior.

- Align the NPCs appearance with the character's appearance. Match their hair color, their clothing style, or the weapon they are carrying.

- Match the first letter of the NPCs first name with the first letter of the character's first name.

- Store the user's style of greeting other users by matching with a small database of known greeting words, such as ‘hi', ‘hey', ‘what's up', and so on, and have the NPC greet the user with the appropriate words.

- Store the verbosity of users' exchanges with other users. Laconic users prefer laconic NPCs and verbose users prefer verbose NPCs - it functions as an approximation for personality differences.

The often-assumed freedom that comes with virtual worlds is a double-edged sword. In the real world, laws constrain behavior, but in virtual worlds, code dictates behavior. If shouting is not allowed in virtual worlds, then you cannot shout in public spaces. You can communicate with other users only through tools provided by the virtual world. In a strange way, relationships in virtual worlds are not created as much as engineered by the mechanics of the world. As these environments evolve, they might - for better or worse - become tools of social engineering that were never imagined even possible in the real world.

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Tribal design by snoopydoo. Crusader graphic by Gravity. All other materials available at The Daedalus Project are copyright 2003-2006 by Nick Yee.