One final category of comments that players made involved how their MMO experience helped broaden their perspective of the world. For some, interactions with players from different countries provided a more sober perspective of the US.
Back when I played EQ1 I transferred to a European server with my guild. Had to transfer back shortly after due to many 'muslim baby killer' and other such comments from the non-american players. This really hammered home how much the USA is disliked about the war we started. [CoH, M, 37]
I honestly thank the ability to understand current events a lot better thanks to Guild Wars, my good in game friend happens to be Muslim, and I (an American) don't get any interaction with Muslims outside the internet, and he has really helped me understand just how ... ignorant so many people are, and how powerfully destructive the media is. I've also met many British gamers, who have helped me understand that America isn't the center of the world. [GW, M, 15]
But overall, players commented on how their experiences helped them see the world from a more global, connected perspective.
Playing MMOs have help shaped, the once narrow view of the world I had. It's quite a different thing compared to simply reading up on a foreign country or culture, and being actually able to interact with them on a daily basis. Previously, I wasn't aware of the happenings outside of my region, but since I embarked on playing MMOs, I became more globally aware, and am able to draw comparisons between life here and there. [Lineage 2, M, 18]
During the time that I've played MMOs, I've met people from all over the world, and it has expanded my understanding of the world that we live in. I don't think quite as much 'locally' anymore, but now lean more towards a 'global' type of mindset. [Eve Online, F, 26]
I realized how many great people there are all over the world and how many people you really can be compatible with... it's amazing to think how many people are out there all living their lives that you can talk to and get to know, that you never would have had the opportunity to before. [WoW, F, 27]
I think these narratives are helpful in highlighting the porous boundary between virtual worlds and physical worlds. As many of these stories show, it just isn't fair to talk about MMOs as fantasy worlds that are somehow cut off from reality, nor is it fair to claim that MMOs only produce negative consequences. What happens in MMOs can lead to self-growth as well as promotions at work. Of course, this isn't to say that everyone who plays MMOs will derive positive consequences from it, but these narratives do hint at the fuller spectrum of what MMOs are and the interesting ways that virtual worlds cross over and tie into who we are and what we do in the physical world.
This is a good venue in psychology to measure the effects of MMORPGs on different psychological aspects, leadership skills, self-esteem, physiological reaction to stressors, self-representation and identity merging of the offline and online persona, self-control. Perhaps bombarding MMORPG players with many psych measurements scales with longitudinal studies would be a good project!!
About global perspective: I recall something that viewers who watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are more informed and accurate on world news than those who don't watch the show...
Would it be interesting to see whether there's a difference in global perspective between someone simply surfing and chatting on the internet and someone playing in a MMORPGs. Maybe test participants on a ethnocentrism scale.
I play in a roleplay community in SWG. I note that most, if not all, the above narratives come from PvE and PvP players. While I have seen most of the above described results, I wonder if roleplayers learn any thing else or differently.
Its amazing how much these games have evolved and have become like a second life for some people, or even the life that they always wanted. It also is quite interesting how the subconscious is affected to your in game choices and how communities and even economies that have evolved.
Kelly C , M, WoWcrack
My parnets wacth too much news and only get the negative aspect of MMO's. I'm glad that some one has taken the time to show the world that there is more benefit than hurt, when it comes to MMO games. Lastly I say there even safer than real life for in real life the person you just met could stalk you but in MMO's they have as much of a chance of finding you, as a arceologist finding a frozen dinosaur.
Now, if only you could market that without all the behavioural conditioning. I too found i have learnt about people from wow, but really i feel that if i weren't so focused on lvling then i would be able to think (period). Reflect on the mature of myself. I gave up because i found that there wasn't enough community amognst the players. The servers are too big and you really can't keep playing with your friends if they are lvl 40 when your still 15.
I usually work best in a leadership capacity. Specifically, I enjoy the challenges of leadership from a problem solving standpoint. I'm a student, and in my part time jobs I usually shirk as much responsibility as possible. However, when faced with that big nasty design project, presentation, or other large group project for class I always somehow end up the leader.
The same rings true in nearly every online game I play. I somehow stumble in to a leadership position, simply by virtue of having the prerequisite social skills and instinct to do so.
What is even more fascinating is that once I'm tasked with these responsibilities, they become the reason I continue to play. From the point I'm told I'm "in charge" I tend to jealously father my charges, supporting them financially (ingame), and orchestrating particularly cruel, often excessive vengeance on anyone who wrongs said charges.
It's strange that in real life I develop few close attachments, and normally wouldn't stick my neck out for anyone. Perhaps it's the lack of consequence in the real world, or the lack of sufficient resources to meaningfully manage in this fashion. Definite food for thought in this article
I think being a leader in-game serves to validate my role as a leader in RL. I am in a position where not only do I have to lead, but I am continually in the process of developing new leaders.
My guild ends up being kind of the same sort of "training" environment that I have in RL. I have surrounded myself with like-minded people who are my guild officers, and we are continually working to encourage improvement among the players in the guild.
It's not just improvement in play, although that is part of it, but it includes improvement in research, planning, organization, small group leading, economic strategy and planning, etc. Our guild tends to be very popular with mid-20s to mid-30s people of a similar mindset, with a large group of high school and early college people.
For example, I've given numerous lessons on market analysis (to the point of posting them on the guild website), weighing supply and demand to determine the best times to buy and sell certain things, how to determine what things are good to farm for making cash, etc.
I can't help but hope that some of the in-game lessons that we have instilled in our younger members have helped them become more successful in their outside lives. Often we see people come up through the guild, develop into well-rounded players with a vast array of skills, and then once they reach high level, many of them move on to endgame guilds. While it is sad to see them leave, it's a great feeling to see them so successful when you can remember when they were a helpless nooblet.