Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are vastly time consuming and are designed to immerse the player in a virtual world. The most popular game in this genre is World of Warcraft (also known as "WoW") and boasts a record breaking player base of nine million paid subscribers ("World of Warcraft Surpasses Nine Million Worldwide"). Given that it is only a single game amongst many that are similar, it is likely that many readers will know someone who plays. It is important for parents and loved ones to understand what the player may encounter and the effect playing may have upon them. Players may not realize the impact their hobby has on themselves or others, so monitoring is frequently necessary if there is any concern over the amount of time they spend in the game world. This is especially true for adolescent gamers. Social interaction is a primary feature in MMORPGs; in the adolescent years, players may by influenced from those they play with. Given the amount of people that play, the risk of exposure to negative influences is present; however, through monitoring and communication it is possible to prevent negative impact on the gamer. These games feature in-game sub-culture that influences how players interact and represent themselves; there are positive and negative effects of playing and the potential for of addiction. Since World of Warcraft has the largest player base, it will be the primary subject of examination.
1. In-Game Subculture
Blizzard, the company owning and designing WoW, has worked hard to create a virtual world. There are two continents and many cities, races, and professions available to the player. Given this level of immersion, it is not surprising a sub-culture has arisen within the player base. The The American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy defines a subculture as having a "shared set of customs, attitudes, and... [continues]
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