Something that has always fascinated me is bringing the real world into the digital space. Thanks to the many MMORPGs out there, people can communicate via text or voice chat in different game worlds. Some use communication for strictly game purposes, such as completing tasks or missions. Others enjoy the social aspect of it. In worlds meant for slaying dragons and collecting jewels, you may find parties with players dancing and talking leisurely with one another. And of course, there are those who don’t use communication at all. For my project, I wanted to explore an aspect of communication that isn’t frequently used in video games. In the real world, we learn about what happens outside our homes via the news. It’s important to stay updated, as what happens outside can have a direct impact on our own lives. When we play video games, we immerse ourselves in the game world. Despite the joy that comes, it’s important to stay grounded from time to time.
I created a score that involves the following steps.
- Choose an MMORPG.
- Enter a game world with a decent amount of players.
- Customize your avatar so that it is bright and noticeable.
- Open a web browser and load different news sites and fact pages.
- Go back to the game world and find other players.
- Type out different news headlines and facts around them.
- Try to relate the topics to what is happening in the game world.
- Wait for a response.
As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to find a way to bring the real world into the digital. This score was how I did so. The MMORPG that I chose was Runescape. For an hour, I traveled to different parts of the game world and encountered various people. My main goal was to spark reactions from other players and possibly carry out conversations. At first, I would stand next to players and type out random news headlines. For example, one headline was, “Trump says Ukraine whistleblower must testify, blasts offer of written answers”. However, I did not get many reactions when I did so. Most people would walk away or not reply at all. After some time, I decided to try a different approach. There is a place in the game world with many cows and I found one player slaying them. I began searching for cow facts on my browser and typed them out on Runescape. After saying, “A cow will chew about 50 times in a minute”, I received my first reply. The other player responded, “Nope”. I wanted to keep speaking, so I typed, “Cows have great senses”. The other player responded, “You can’t tell me what to do your not my moo”. For me, this was a win. Though the conversation was simple, I at least received a reply. I continued my journey to an in-game ore field, where I saw a few players mining. I took this as an opportunity to search for real-life facts about fracking. After describing fracking in the game world, one player replied, “Really? Didn’t know that”. I felt happy at this moment. Mainly, it was because someone learned something new through the score.
From what I observed through this experience, players don’t enjoy listening to the news in game worlds. However, when performing long mundane tasks, such as slaying cows or mining ore, players are interested in listening to relevant facts. I can understand seeing how these tasks take up a decent amount of time and can get pretty tiresome. Having someone there to surprise you with knowledge might make the experience a little better.
Link to gameplay: