Character sharing in World of Warcraft
Nelson Wong, Anthony Tang, Ian Livingston, Carl Gutwin, and Regan Mandryk. (2009). Character sharing in World of Warcraft. In ECSCW 2009: Proceedings of the European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW), Springer London, 343–362.
Many online games are played through characters that act out players’ intentions in the game world. The practice of character sharing – allowing others to use one’s characters, or using others’ – is prohibited in many RPGs, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the practice is common, and that it may play an important role in the game. To shed light on this little-known form of collaboration, we carried out a large-scale survey study to investigate character sharing in one RPG, World of Warcraft. We analyze and report on 1348 responses, providing a detailed picture of sharing practices and attitudes. We found that character sharing is common (57% of respondents reported sharing) and that sharers have a wide variety of motivations and concerns. In addition to showing how character sharing works, the study also provides new perspectives on several themes in CSCW, including conceptions of sharing, online identity, and mediating artifacts.