The Loss of Sociability in MMORPGs as Seen Through FFXI: Online

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Abstract

The rise of toxic gaming culture occurs in concurrence with the slow loss of technological affordances that promote sociality and cooperation in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPG). Between 2004 – 2013, World of Warcraft slowly removed the need for players to interact with one another. This resulted in other MMORPGs following suit with existing MMORPGs left to figure out how to deal with this new style of play. This case study examines the patch notes and software history of the popular MMORPG called Final Fantasy XI Online (FFXI). This MMORPG is unique as it was a game whose systems forced cooperation and reliance on other people. How FFXI changed from forced human-to-human reliance to a single-player experience is a unique case study reflecting the broader design trends in socially-oriented online play. By explicating these features, this case study provides useful context the study of the loss of cooperation and sociability in online gaming.