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.