From MUD to MMORPG
It seems that the research agenda sketched out by Alan Schwartz in his "Comments On MUD Research" (Journal of Virtual Environments, Volume 1, Number 1) in 1997 still holds for MMORPG
• Psychological theories of group behavior, altruism, aggression, spatial representation, and attention. Attention may seen surprising, but consider that splitting attention between multiple streams of conversation and game-play is extremely common among MUD players. • Sociological theories of organizational structure, social norms, and exchanges. For example, it's common for experienced adventure-style MUD players to retrieve the items from a more novice player's corpse and return them to the novice. The same was likely done for the experienced player when s/he was a novice, and creates a system of exchange between players. • Organizational behavior work on training, management, leadership, satisfaction, turnover, job characteristics, and organizational citizenship. Under what conditions do MUD administrators "burn out"? What is player satisfaction -- and does it relate to the degree to which players have input on the MUD? • Political science. Aspects of many MUDs can be understood in terms of political structures, coalitions, and mechanisms of governance. • Sociolinguistics, cognitive linguistics, and pragmatics. The language MUD players use has already received some attention (see, for example, Carlstrom, 1994; Cherny, 1994, Serpentelli, 1992) • Anthropological theories of culture, ritual, and folklore. If the players of a MUD constitutes a subculture, with shared beliefs, understandings, rituals, etc., anthropology has much to offer. Clodius (1994) discusses the use of MUDs in ethnographic fieldwork. • Computer science work on distributed databases, graphical interfaces, virtual reality models, and client-server computing.
Why do I blog this? I am working on this question for a project about online communities.