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The Social Structure of Massive Multiplayer Online Communities: Investigating the social network of a World of Warcraft guild
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. Stockholm University.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The growing role of communication using computers in people’s everyday lives is reflected by the debates about massive multiplayer online role playing games (MMOs) like World of Warcraft and the Internet as a whole. While people may be driven by the same psychological drives that have spurred interaction between people in the past, this interaction is increasingly facilitated with the use of computer mediated communication (CMC). Can strong relations form between people that are separated by great distances in space using CMC? The presence of strong relations in MMOs could open the possibility for MMO communities to thrive.

A social network analysis of a MMO guild with 50 members was conducted using an online survey, which produced a non-response rate of 50 percent. Participants were asked about their age, the time they had spent in the guild and their gender in order to explain the social structure of the networks. They were then asked to state the strength of their relations with each of the other members of the guild on a scale from ―one, neutral‖ to ―five, strong friendship‖. The social network analysis program Pajek was used to investigate the characteristics of the social network using so called sociograms.

The essay concludes that numerous strong relations exist within the guild and that a long time spent in the guild increases the number of strong relations a guild member has. The results show that guilds may form the cohesive backbone of MMO communities and proposes that future research be conducted on the brokerage between guilds in MMO communities in order to produce a comprehensive view of the social structure of MMO communities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
MMO Communities, Social Network Analysis, World of Warcraft, Guilds, Social Media, Computer Mediated Communication, Social Relations
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-28516OAI: diva2:224891

Available from: 2009-07-08 Created: 2009-06-23 Last updated: 2009-07-08Bibliographically approved

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Department of SociologyStockholm University

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