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Magic and identity. Rab Árpád. FIDIS Workshop 2004. December 10., Fontainebleau. Online identity – new challenges. the technological environment a nonymity novelties of the social-technological environment …. 1. Drop of water?. MMORPG’s Voluntary but strong identity

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Magic and identity

Rab Árpád

FIDIS Workshop

2004. December 10., Fontainebleau

Online identity new challenges
Online identity – new challenges

  • the technological environment

  • anonymity

  • novelties of the social-technological environment


Drop of water
Drop of water?

  • MMORPG’s

  • Voluntary but strong identity

  • Assumed identity

  • Several oscillating identities

  • Responsibility towards the identity

  • Power to build and shape community

  • Intercultural environment

  • Financial risk

  • Levels of anonymity

  • The role of technology in the preservation of identity, the issue of trust


Mmorpg three in one
MMORPG – three in one

RL identity

Virtual, information age identity

RPG identity


Mmorpg what is it
MMORPG – what is it?


MMORPG: massively multiplayer online role playing games

Definition problems: MMP (massively multiplayer) and PW (persistent world).

MMP: crucial elements in definition are RPG and the number of players in same time (nowadays, thousands of people).


Mmorpg short history
MMORPG – short history

1978 Roy Trubshaw és Richard Bartle MUD1.

1996 Meridian 59

1997 Ultima Online – first MMP

1998 Everquest – 500.000 players

1998 Lineage – 2D, 4 million players

Recent: Asheron’s Call, Star Wars Galaxies, Matrix Online, more than 100 games


Everquest one case
Everquest – one case

Average playtime per week of 3 computer games

Everquest one case1
Everquest – one case

Average player age of 3 computer games

Everquest one case6
Everquest – one case

Be good, be bad

Interviews playing with rl partner
Interviews – playing with RL partner

  • Our styles are totally different. For instance, I will rather play in a group just for company, even if the exp gain is minimal, whereas my partner tends to literally AVOID other players. I am often a pushy role-player, forcing others to RP or get out of my face. Thus I am unafraid of starting an argument, whether in /say, /tell or even /shout. This seems to make my partner very uncomfortable. For these reasons, if we are playing together we try very hard to compromise. However, I insist on having 'solo' characters that I only play on my own. I tend to find his gaming style restrictive. [female, 23, engaged]

  • I would say rather than having learned something new about him, it was more like it emphasized differences between us that I already knew about. He is very patient, I am very impulsive, etc. And these differences are a lot more apparent in a game situation. [female, 27, dating]

  • Our relationship has definitely been enhanced. We're better now at working together towards goals. And we both really enjoy growing, learning and adventuring together. It's exciting to be involved in each other's triumphs. [female, 29, married]

  • I learned that my son is a very good strategist. I knew that to a degree before, but it has been eye opening to watch him lead a group. I did not know he had these skills. [female, 49]


Resume of statistics
Resume of statistics

  • MMORPG players statistically

  • are older, than another computer players

  • play more time, than another computer players

  • play for fun, to make more friends, venting and releasing stress and for achieving goals

  • virtual characters are very important for them

  • virtual characters are more benevolent, than RL (we want to be better?)

  • virtual characters are more active, initiative than RL

  • Pareto-principle is working (it causes error in statistics, careful!)



  • Levels

  • Micro – hot-topic

  • Mezo – complement of one greater domain

  • Meta – level – instability of society (sign, result or evolution?)


Future of this research
Future of this research

  • more data, more data, interviews and so in – more punctuality.

  • we must dig deeper in identity oscillation – interviews

  • cultural differences – research: top-down orientation (from virtual to real) and comprehensive researches – bottom-up orientation.


Rab Árpád Szörény

[email protected]


Budapest, Hungary