World of Warcraft is an online game world involving a massive amount of people congregating and playing in a virtual 3D environment. Using self-designed avatars, players explore, navigate, and create goals based on the world narrative and their personal goals. The game allows for an interactive narrative as players can easily choose what they want to do and what they do not. The game also involves social conversation with other players and has its own economy where players can buy, sell and trade online.
The focus will be on the other-player interaction along the lines of looking at the economy, the conversations, and social interactions within the game, and the ripple effect among other players has on the narrative. The game has its own scripted narrative a player can navigate, and the other players can impact this narrative through their actions. My research question is: how does the collective actions of players impact game narrative and the experience of the game for the individual player?
Objectives and goals for the semester's research include successfully completing a user study (possibly using IRB approval), finding a breakdown of the other-player dynamics, and finding a conclusion based on the information found through the study and through analysis of the game. The main objective is creating a user study and finding, at the least, a basic answer for the question proposed. A more abstract goal is to find questions regarding unexplored or unexplained phenomena in the studies to continue the work on to a following semester.