Dramaturgical Theory in the World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (or MMORPG) world that consists of fantasy and science fiction elements: such as elves, dwarves, dragons, magic, time travel, spaceships, aliens, and alien worlds. Though these elements are striking divergences from our real world and society, our group has discovered through our content analysis of the message boards in the popular “Vodka” guild that social interaction in World of Warcraft is not so very different from our face to face encounters.
For instance, we concluded that the classes or professions in the game are similar to Goffman’s theory of roles and scripts in dramaturgical theory. We have also decided through a study of the game’s screen names that the preservation of self through an understanding of the “looking glass self” is also a very real process in the online world. Furthermore, hierarchy exists within the game’s formal structure known as a “guild,” and formal sanctions of discipline are applied to all members that are involved in the guild.
In this particular blog, Goffman’s dramaturgical theory and the sociological concept of roles are applied to the popular online role-playing game to illustrate how, even though the mechanics in this digitized world are drastically different from our own, they still function in a very similar manner. In addition, though the power of anonymity has potential to influence and alter how one follows a certain script in this particular game, the use of the guild system acts as a specific stage that dictates how guild members should follow their assigned roles and scripts. Now, understandably, any lay person unfamiliar with World of Warcraft, or any MMO game for that matter, may be sitting here and reading these terms of “class” and “guild,” and saying “what the …” Thus, I think some background should be in order.
Warriors, Rogues, and Mages, Oh My!
Common in most MMORPGs, players must make...