In this paper we ask the question, how can we define cheating in Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)? It is important to clarify immediately that what is at stake here is the way we study the phenomenon of cheating, how we conceptualise it and how we research it in MMORPGs. In particular, the focus is the difference between defining, or reducing, a phenomenon to its essential traits as opposed to defining it on the basis of the process that has generated it (see for discussions Latour, 1987 and 2005; Lash, 2002; DeLanda, 2002 and 2006). The rationale behind the opening research question is that much of the literature has defined cheating in online games via a restricted set of essential traits: in particular, as the player(s) actions that modify the game to obtain unfair advantages over other players. On the contrary, we propose that cheating should be conceptualised as what unfolds – the result(s) – from the empirical interrelations of several elements that compose MMORPGs, and not just from player behaviour. We provide a new perspective on cheating in MMORPGs, which suggests that cheating is the result of a dynamic process and interrelations between a range of elements.
|Journal||The Fibreculture Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Jul 2010|