Creating Community Through Chat

The ability to chat in World of Warcraft seems like a basic necessity. Without the ability to communicate with other players, the game world would be a lonely, dysfunctional place. But since there is a multi-level chat system, players can trade, team up, and socialize with the other 6 million players giving the world a deeper sense of community.

The anonymity of the internet gives users the ability to freely chat and interact without fear of being dismissed and judged on things like gender, race, social status, etc.  In this sense, users are equal. This transfers over into the World of Warcraft’s chat system. The only thing that would potentially separate users is level and experience, which the user has control over unlike their real gender or ethnicity. After getting over the initial “noob” stage, players will feel more equal since they have gained experience and knowledge of the game. However, even if considered a “noob”, the player can still feel equal and enjoy the game because everyone started somewhere with little knowledge of World of Warcraft or any MMORPG experience. Thus, World of Warcraft can be a welcoming community made up of millions of diverse players.

With guilds, smaller communities can be established up to 1000 players. Guild chat gives users the ability to socialize with and get to know the other members of the guild in a group setting. Every member who is online can see and respond, creating a mutual conversation, one that everyone can be an equal part of. Besides just regular chatting, members can collaborate, offer advice, and assist each other over guild chat which builds a friendly, supportive guild community. Also, any achievements a player earns is displayed in the guild chat for other members to see and then congratulate them on. This makes for a positive reinforcement of the player and their skill/work ethic since their fellow guild members can recognize and applaud their accomplishments.

Whispering one on one with other players then allows for personal relationships to be built. The chatting could be small talk, joking around, discussing the game, or completely serious and about personal things but it all allows players to be more connected on a one to one basis rather than in a group setting. These personal connections then enhance the guild community by adding more depth to the group’s camaraderie.

Personally, I’m more of a quiet person so I don’t use the chat system a lot. However, I feel a part of the guild community just by being a part of the mutual conversation going on in the guild chat and having the capability to freely speak without fear of any judgments. This is increased when I do add my input and further the discussion or when I agree to join a dungeon group. As for whispering, I don’t usually initiate it, but when others do, I gladly communicate and perhaps join in their level grinding or quest. Otherwise, I probably would have never talked to and interacted with some people in class.

Overall, this sense of community that the chat system produces in turn immerses the player more into the virtual world since they are able to be an equal part of the community. Further, it allows for players to connect in a unrestricted way unlike in today’s society. This adds to the immersion of the game since the player can feel and be a part of the world on a bigger scale than just through their character.

 

Disclaimer: I definitely realize that sexism is prevalent in WoW, however, I focused on the positives that the chat system offers and the idea that the anonymity allows for a sense of equality.

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3 Responses to Creating Community Through Chat

  1. amd197 says:

    I really like how you touched on the fact that no matter their rank, players have the ability to be equals in the chat setting. I also agree that there is a true sense of communty within the guild chat that can be felt while playing the game. People are constantly on the guild chat asking for the advice of others or seeing if anyone needs help leveling up, and it really increases the enjoyment of the game play by a great amount.

    Like

  2. jil106 says:

    I definitely agree with your idea of creating community through chat. Actually as a newbie of WOW, we can get many instructions and suggestions from other players with high level. The guild system is a great creation that players chat with each other and do dungeons with others. It creates the community through the everyday activities.

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  3. ttakoushian says:

    In response to your post and to the comments made, I have had mixed experiences with the chat. In some ways, the chat options are amazing. I once was stuck in something like Tinker Town or something odd and had literally no idea how I got there, and more importantly, how to get out of there. I clicked on a random character, not realizing they were level 84 and whispered to them about how to get out. Instead of giving me simple details, they happily flew me to the specific area I was trying to get to, almost a full five minutes of flying. It was so nice that they were willing to help a then level 13 player. On the other hand, once I got to level 15 and started using the Dungeon finder to level up quicker, I was placed in random Dungeons with random players. All of which seemed to have feel a bit elite and once they realized I was a “newb” refused to help me. I was floored. I figured that they’d help me along like other players had been, but instead they made jokes using the instance chat and no one would respond to my questions. I wasn’t kicked out, but I might have well have been. Even though that wasn’t the best experience, I still admire the chat option and feel a sense of community when using it. On another note, I still find it a little weird and a little exciting when interacting with classmates on it without knowing who they are specifically. It’s quite an odd experience.

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