Participant Interaction and Social Exchange-Centered Design in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games: A Qualitative Study of Furcadia
Scialdone, Michael J
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The purpose of this ethnography is to understand participant interaction in a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPGs). As participation and action of users are the glue of any community, it is imperative to examine how and why people congregate in graphical virtual environments. This relatively new phenomenon is studied within both existing and emerging schools of social thought. In this paper, the question is asked: how do participants interact within the context of an MMORPG, and are they encouraged to do so? This question is answered through an ethnographic study of one such MMORPG entitled Furcadia. This study applies both Human-Centered Design (to answer the how), and Social Exchange Theory (to answer the why). It is asserted that MMORPGs can be explained through a marrying of theories into a new one entitled Social Exchange-Centered Design.