addition to the physical action, a special text appears in the players' chat display indicating what hashappened, e.g. “Player 1 waves hello to Player 2.” The available range of emotes continues to grow, being limited only by the time investment developers are willing to make in order to facilitate their creation. Methods of automatically inserting non-verbal messages into interactions are being explored, but as of now are not in use.
Restrictions of Text-Based Communication
Being limited to text-based communication impacts players in several ways, mostly due to therequirement for manually typing messages. As players utilize their keyboards both for communicatingand “playing” they are forced to choose between the two, as it isn't really possible to do both at once.When your avatar is being attacked by a fire-breathing dragon, the last thing you want to do is stopmoving in order to ask your group for help. The benefits of such a message must be weighed againstthe costs the time taken to type will incur.Similarly concerning to the player is the loss of focus that occurs when a player must shift their eyes to read incoming messages. Even if the ongoing game action is still visible, there is definitely aloss of attention, even if only momentarily. Just as it only takes a split second spent reading a textmessage to lead to a catastrophic loss of control while driving a vehicle, a lost moment in acomplicated group maneuver can lead to virtual oblivion for a player and their group mates.To minimize these costs, players have adopted certain communicative practices. The mostnoticeable to an outsider is the specialized form of shorthand many players utilize to convey commonlysent messages. Each game often develops its own particular “dialect” of this shorthand in order toaddress its own unique features and situations.
Although it is mostly made up of a large set of acronyms, the shorthand can still form an impenetrable barrier to the outsider. For example, in TheWorld of Warcraft, “LF2M SFK need DPS” is a perfectly understandable message. Specifically, itindicates that a group of players is
or two additional
embers to join them in traveling to
eep, and that in particular they need players that cause high amounts of
econd, such as a mage (a type of wizard), hunter, or warlock. Furthermore, as noticeable in the abovemessage example, proper sentence structure and punctuation are mostly ignored, if not removedaltogether. Used correctly, these methods can significantly reduce the length of in-game messages,hopefully reducing dragon related deaths.
Addition of Voice Communication
With the increasing availability of high-speed internet came the possibility of reliable voice chatover internet connections. One of the results of this occurrence was the introduction of Voice Over IPsoftware which allowed users to utilize their internet connections for voice communication with oneanother. While some programs, such as Skype, have become popular as alternatives to traditionaltelephones, other programs seemed particularly suited to adoption by online gamers. Two of the more popular programs, Ventrilo and Teamspeak, became the default option for use in online first-person
4Breitfuss, Warner, Helmut Prendinger, and Mitsuru Ishizuka. "Automated generation of non-verbal behavior for virtualembodied characters."
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