The goal of this essay is to investigate some of the consequences related to the substitution of human-play with automatic-play in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). The concept of automatic-play refers to the use of game bots, macros and other software that allow a total or partial automation of gameplay and in particular avatar levelling. The paper theorizes a key aspect of the automation of gameplay: the deskilling of players with the transfer of human skills to automatic-play software. The paper also theorizes that the deskilling of players implies that bots and automatic-play technologies obtain skills, with the result meaning an enskilling of machines. The substitution of human play with automatic-play is investigated in the longitudinal and qualitative case study of the MMORPG Tibia which was conducted during the period January 2009 - June 2010. In the conclusion general reflections are provided on the links between the automation of play in MMORPGs and the contemporary debate on the automation of work. The conclusions advance the idea that MMORPGs play could be undergoing some of the same consequences affecting contemporary work.
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2013|