It may be hard to imagine that personal growth and acquisition of real life skills can occur in video games, but MMORPGs are highly social and structured environments where important lessons are being learned every day. MMORPGs offer teenagers a safe space for identity and role exploration. Where else can a teenager lead a group of players who are most likely all older than him? More importantly, these environments can empower players in ways that transfer to the real world, and not only for teenagers.

Last year, I was elected as the leader of the guild I'm part of. At first, I was a bit concerned about my ability to organize 100 some people from all over the world, but the experience made me feel very empowered, and I've recently made the decision to pursue a career in design, something I've always wanted to do, but was afraid to. It's hard to describe very eloquently why EQ helped me feel like I could do it ... but it has. It's given me confidence in myself and that gave me the push I needed to make a "scary" real life decision. [f, 34, EQ]

The social skills learned in these environments are highly transferable to real life. After all, providing leadership for and managing over 100 people is an incredibly complex task no matter where it occurs. What’s even more interesting is that leadership training is an emergent function of these environments. It prompts us to wonder how effective these worlds might be if they were specifically designed as educational mediums.

See also:

- Therapeutic Spaces

The Daedalus Gateway - The Psychology of MMORPGs

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