Friday, 23 March 2012

P2PU: A Virtual Worlds, Games and Education Tour

When you sign up to participate in a P2PU course you're asked a number of standard questions about why you're interested in a course, what you hope to get out of it, and whether you'd like to get involved in organising. You can also be asked some more specific questions relating to the selected course. The following are my answers to the questions asked when I joined the Virtual Worlds, Games and Education Tour course. You fill them in on a web form, and I wasn't expecting it, so they're off the top of my head stuff (except for the wikipedia link). I'm posting here so that I can see whether my thoughts have changed after participating.

Do you think there is a difference between a virtual world and a MMORPG?

Yes, I think so, though I'm a bit hesitant in my answer, not having really ever experienced MMORPGs. I know of WoW, and I might be able to come up with a name of another, but that's not too promising. On the other hand I can name a fair few virtual worlds and synthetic environments.

My first reason for differentiating is based on the role playing aspect. I am assuming that the RPG of the MMORPG title indicates that you would always be role playing. Conversely I'd suggest that while you might role play in a virtual world, it's not a given - you might just as well be 'playing' yourself. If there are MMORPGs where you play yourself my argument would get fuzzy... I look forward to learning more!

I'd also look at the use of the term 'game' in the MMORPG title. Do games by necessity have aims and rules? If so, I'd say that virtual worlds differ in that (while users in them in a particular context might have or impose aims or rules) they generally promote more free exploration, without any particular set of objectives. Users might enter and user a virtual world for a whole range of reasons, and these may or may not include gaming.

Do you think most people would agree with you?

Most people? Most people I speak to don't know what a virtual world is! There are plenty who haven't heard of even the big names like Second Life. I would have thought the same applies to MMORPGs. Despite a fairly geeky background and job I still don't actually know anyone who uses both virtual worlds and MMORPGs (if indeed they are different). 

What virtual worlds or MMORPGs do you use regularly or have you experienced?

I'm not currently in any worlds or MMORPGs regularly. I'm just now beginning to explore Second Life some more, having previously used OLIVE, Teleplace (before the open source developments) and VBS2 through my work. I've never knowingly (!) used any MMORPGs. I might be missing out on something!

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