The WoW Factor: An Investigation of Social Needs, Interpersonal Communication, and Community in World of Warcraft
This study explores the relationship between World of Warcraft (WoW) players and the concepts of social needs, interpersonal relationships, and community from the player’s perspective. The significance of gaming in society, a detail of my experience with WoW, and a review of recent literature provide a basic understanding of the WoW experience and its current place within society, the gaming world, and the media. Thirteen WoW players participated in informal interviews on an online forum about their experiences with the game, why they play, and the various meanings – socially and personally – the game has in their lives. Four themes emerged from the data: connection, positive reinforcement, power/control, and the intersection of real life and Azeroth. Results signify that participants overall have a very positive view of WoW and its effect on their lives, despite acknowledging the critical views shared by various non-players and the media.