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Living a Virtual Life: Social Dynamics of Online Gaming (09 Dec 2004)
The evolution of social formations among the game characters is stimulated by the design of the game environment and, indeed, most game characters do not remain loners for long in the world of Ultima Online. A meeting calendar shows the players where and when they can participate with their game characters in different competitions or which weddings between “male” and “female” characters take place. Guilds represent institutionalized social units, with members explicitly named on membership lists. To be admitted into a guild, freely negotiated initiation rites must be passed by the members. The guild is led by its so-called “master” who can assign titles and invite other players to apply for a membership. He also represents the guild externally. Sometimes, the members of a guild meet offline and they usually stay in contact via communication channels outside of Ultima Online (via email, ICQ, telephone, etc.).
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