Presentation Title

A Virtual View of Occupation: Transactionalism in MMORPGs

Location

Online - Session 5D

Start Date

4-21-2021 3:30 PM

Major Field of Study

Occupational Therapy

Student Type

Graduate

Faculty Mentor(s)

Karen McCarthy, OTD

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Background: Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are games in which players create avatars to engage in virtual worlds with other players (Gish, 2019). Current literature focuses on the virtual environment as an effector on outcomes in the physical environment. This fails to view the full scope of virtual worlds as environments of occupational transaction. Research focusing solely on the qualities of virtual worlds results in a fundamental lack of understanding of all influential factors within this virtual context.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to fill the gap in research regarding how MMORPG players and game contexts transactionally construct online video gaming as an occupation. This study seeks to more clearly define the qualities of virtual worlds and how transactional relationships operating within these virtual worlds function to construct meaning. The aim is to answer the research question: What are the qualities of the transactions between an MMORPG’s contextual environment and its players?

Methods: Qualitative study involving participants who regularly play Runescape, Guild Wars, and World of Warcraft (WoW). Data will be collected through semi structured interviews, participant observation during game play and a focus group. The research process is currently ongoing. Initial interviews have been conducted for two Guild Wars and WoW players. Recruitment for Runescape participants is ongoing.

Results: Through preliminary coding of initial interviews some themes that have arisen thus far relate to game designers’ influence on game play and players’ influence on game design, influences on avatar choice and social interaction promoting game success.

Key words: Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), transactions, virtual environment, occupational transaction, qualitative, transactionalism

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Apr 21st, 3:30 PM

A Virtual View of Occupation: Transactionalism in MMORPGs

Online - Session 5D

Background: Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are games in which players create avatars to engage in virtual worlds with other players (Gish, 2019). Current literature focuses on the virtual environment as an effector on outcomes in the physical environment. This fails to view the full scope of virtual worlds as environments of occupational transaction. Research focusing solely on the qualities of virtual worlds results in a fundamental lack of understanding of all influential factors within this virtual context.

Objectives: The purpose of this study is to fill the gap in research regarding how MMORPG players and game contexts transactionally construct online video gaming as an occupation. This study seeks to more clearly define the qualities of virtual worlds and how transactional relationships operating within these virtual worlds function to construct meaning. The aim is to answer the research question: What are the qualities of the transactions between an MMORPG’s contextual environment and its players?

Methods: Qualitative study involving participants who regularly play Runescape, Guild Wars, and World of Warcraft (WoW). Data will be collected through semi structured interviews, participant observation during game play and a focus group. The research process is currently ongoing. Initial interviews have been conducted for two Guild Wars and WoW players. Recruitment for Runescape participants is ongoing.

Results: Through preliminary coding of initial interviews some themes that have arisen thus far relate to game designers’ influence on game play and players’ influence on game design, influences on avatar choice and social interaction promoting game success.

Key words: Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), transactions, virtual environment, occupational transaction, qualitative, transactionalism