A Practice-Based Analysis of an Online Strategy Game

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Abstract

In this paper, we will analyze a massively multiplayer online game in an attempt to identify the elements of practice that enable social interaction and cooperation within the game’s virtual world. Communities of Practice and Activity Theory offer the theoretical lens for identifying and understanding what constitutes practice within the community and how such practice is manifest and transmitted during game play. Our analysis suggests that in contrast to prevalent perceptions of practice as being textually mediated, in virtual settings it is framed as much in social interactions as in processes, artifacts and the tools constituting the ‘linguistic’ domain of the game or the practice the gaming community is about.