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Fair Game: An Anthropological Study of the Negotiation of Fairness in World of Warcraft

  • Author / Creator
    Hibbert, Alicia
  • This study examined fairness in the online society of World of Warcraft(WoW), a society under constraint by game developers but dynamically affected by users. Because the society is voluntary, people have the ability to both effect major change on, and leave, that society at any time. Thus, fairness in this virtual world is an important area for anthropological research. In-game fairness pointed to the organization, distribution, and acquisition of wealth. In particular, I examined player perceptions of real-money trading (RMT) in the context of individual and collective motivations in the endgame. In addition, I considered loot distribution systems as a mode of promoting player-initiated definitions of fairness. I discovered an overall economy of fun in which players act to maximize fun for the majority. Real-money trading was justified by casual players because players require progression as individuals in order to better serve the fun of the collective.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2010-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3T64W
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Humanities Computing - Anthropology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Lowrey, Kathleen (Anthropology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Ruecker, Stan (Humanities Computing and English and Film Studies)
    • Gouglas, Sean (Humanities Computing and History and Classics)