From role play to behavior: How cultural background influences Western and Eastern MMOG players in world of warcraft
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Researchers have been studying virtual world culture for decades. However, little attention has been devoted to the intersection of virtual world culture and real world culture. Even less attention has been given to the study of comparing players' different virtual world game behaviors that have been influenced by their own real world cultural background. In this paper, I specifically focus on identifying the differences among American, Chinese, and Taiwanese cultures and the unique aspects of players with distinct cultural backgrounds that alter the atmosphere of the game. This is a mixed-method ﾓtrans ludicﾔ? study across three game servers that included participant observation, interviews, and surveys. The result of this study show that real world culture influences virtual world culture. Players in different countries bring real life experiences to the game and form their own emergent sub-cultures and sub-rules under the larger structure of the designated game rules and social conventions. When players immigrate from their original server to other countries' servers, initially they tend to find people from the same country to play with and follow their old social conventions, which are the sub-rules they create in their old servers, rather than play with the local players and adapt to new customs. However, over time, players develop hybrid cultures that adopt features from both the old cultures. This study also demonstrates that emergent behaviors are likely to occur when players face problems or difficult challenges.