Popular media caricatures video games as relentless and senseless violence, so it becomes easy for non-gamers and even academics to dismiss video games as not only pointless but perhaps even dangerous to society. MMORPGs, on the other hand, are surprisingly non-violent and offer many examples of complex play that involve social interaction, collaboration and long-term goals.

Every day, geologists in Star Wars Galaxies survey the planets in order to sample and harvest high-quality resources. To be effective, they purchase industrial harvesters from architects. Resource brokers typically fill in the gap between resource producers and manufacturers, such as pharmaceutical manufacturers. Pharmaceutical manufacturers must compete with each other to fulfill the demands of the market. Many choose to specialize in particular products to create a recognized brand. The open market or specialized vendors then allow manufacturers to sell their products to others at a price that is entirely driven by the demand of the market. Every day, players in Star Wars Galaxies take on key roles in a dynamic economy that involve cartels, monopolies, inflation, fads, scams and extortions.

Interesting social and cultural phenomena also emerge in these environments. Weddings take on new cultural roles. The extensive staging of weddings in these worlds are not meant to be a parallel of the real world ritual, but a form of story-telling that reinforces the virtual identities of the players involved. Weddings become a way of becoming woven into these worlds. “Play” also takes on new meaning in a world where groups of strangers assemble to achieve a common goal. The drama and intrigue that emerge from these chance encounters and from sustained groups, such as guilds, become the crux of the MMORPG experience, more so in fact than the pre-designed game elements.

See also:

- Dragon Slaying 101: Understanding The Complexity of Raids
- Dragon Slaying 102: Unsung Heroes
- The Labor of Fun

The Daedalus Gateway - The Psychology of MMORPGs

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