Nelson Wong et al, where a player uses a character that belongs to another player we consider both. lenders and borrowers as sharers and there can be severe penalties for sharing. Blizzard 2009 Nevertheless anecdotal evidence suggests sharing still occurs. e g Jonk 2007 indicating that it may be an important group behaviour in. MMORPGs Because of its outlaw nature character sharing is rarely discussed. openly consequently very little is known about this kind of collaboration. Our goal in this paper is to shed light on this shadowy practice We report on. an investigation that used discussions with gamers and a large scale survey to. understand when why and how character sharing occurs in online RPGs. The results of our study confirm that character sharing is not only common and. widespread 57 of all respondents stated that they share characters in one way or. another but that it is also an important vehicle for collaborative gameplay one. that players rely on to accomplish a variety of goals Borrowers and lenders. engage in a unique type of sharing relationship the nature of which varies based. on players attachment to their characters their motivations for sharing and their. relationship toward the other member of the sharing relationship. We make three main contributions First we uncover and document a common. real world group activity that until now has been little known and poorly. understood Second we suggest design possibilities to better support character. sharing enabling the coordination and communication that underlie this practice. Third we show that character sharing is a useful case study for several CSCW. concepts showing how it is a novel type of sharing providing insight into. players relationships with their online identities and suggesting that characters. are mediating artifacts that both retain and convey experiences and state changes. Background, Our study explores character sharing in World of Warcraft WoW an MMORPG. published by Blizzard Entertainment We set the scene by introducing relevant. game concepts and terminology and then briefly review research on WoW online. representations of players and identity, WoW was released in November 2004 and is the leading MMORPG game. with over 11 5 million subscribers Blizzard 2008 Like other MMORPGs. WoW combines a predesigned story world with a character system that allows. players to create narratives through in game action and interaction Pearce 2004. Players create a character who is a member of one of two warring factions Many. aspects of a character can be customized including sex race and clothing The. most important feature is a character s class i e their job or role which. determines what skills abilities and equipment a character can gain and use The. differences between classes define the specific play style of a character for. example a mage would use magic almost exclusively whereas a warrior would. generally use weapons Characters gain experience as they are played and with. Character Sharing in World of Warcraft, enough experience a character attains a new level when this happens they are. granted new skills and abilities, A guild is an in game association organized by players to accomplish in game. goals Ducheneaut et al 2007 One of a player s primary activities in WoW is. participating in raids large scale activities involving several players organized. by these guilds Reasons for participating in raids include searching for valuable. items and defeating hard to kill monsters, A player connects to WoW using a password protected account which is. purchased and maintained with a monthly service fee A player can have multiple. characters per account The use of this account is governed by an end user license. agreement To enforce this agreement Blizzard employs Game Masters GM. whose primary job is to police in game behaviour In the event of a violation. such as account sharing Blizzard may suspend or cancel the account. The success of WoW and its popularity among players of diverse backgrounds. has made the game the subject of several research projects Topics that have been. explored include player demographics Yee 2006 motivations for playing Yee. 2007 player behaviors Yee and Bailenson 2007 social dynamics in the game. Ducheneaut et al 2006 gaming culture Lindtner et al 2008 learning in the. game Nardi et al 2007 and collaboration Nardi and Harris 2006. Our work on character sharing was also informed by studies of on line identity. and on line representations of people The concept of self in virtual worlds has. only become common in recent years e g Turkle 1995 Research has. considered how digital selves and online personas link to the virtual environment. and the nature of the relationship between people and their online identities. Donath 1998 Previous research has shown that there is a wide range of these. relationships and that the connections between online personae and their creators. are highly personal e g Donath 1998 Bessiere 2007 Blinka 2008. These relationships can be affected by the nature and organization of the game. genre in which the online identities exist Role playing games differ from other. genres and from more traditional narratives in that the process of character. configuration is dynamic evolving and determined by the players themselves. Pearce 2004 Whereas a key factor in generating emotional responses to. characters in traditional linear narratives is through empathy Raney 2004. interactive computer games put much more emphasis on agency where the player. controls their character and shapes the game s events Tomlinson 2005 Pearce. 2004 The balance between agency and empathy in RPGs may change the way. players feel about their characters and we return to this issue later in the paper. A Survey Study of Character Sharing, Little is currently known about character sharing practices so our initial research. questions concentrated on four basic issues whether it happens what is the. Nelson Wong et al, prevalence of character sharing in a major online game why it happens what are. players motivations for sharing characters how it happens what are the. particulars of character sharing practice and what factors are considered when. players decide whether or not to share a character. To answer these questions we designed a questionnaire to ask players of. online RPGs about their character sharing practices and motivations We. developed the questionnaire through discussions with several current players and. then advertised a web based version of the survey to WoW players. Study Methods, We developed a web based survey with a mixture of closed response check one. check all and yes no questions short answer and open ended questions The. survey asked players for basic demographic information the frequency and. duration of their character sharing practice their motivations for and reservations. against sharing and experiences with character sharing Respondents went. through one of four different paths in the questionnaire depending on whether the. respondent was a borrower a lender both or neither 39 44 69 and 12 items. Respondents spent an average of 12 minutes completing the questionnaire. We deployed the survey for a two week period in July 2008 and recruited. participants by posting an invitation on a popular WoW forum. forums worldofwarcraft com This site frequented by both WoW players and. representatives of Blizzard is a sanctioned real world community that allows. players to ask questions and discuss in game issues Because respondents are. WoW forum visitors they are likely to be enthusiastic about the game and thus. may not be a fully representative sample of the general population of WoW. players However our invitation did not mention character sharing only stating. that we were interested in studying the playing habits of people who enjoy. MMORPGs with a link to the survey We believe that our results are indicative. of trends in the general population of WoW players. Participants During the two weeks that the survey was available we received. 1476 responses We discarded 128 responses that were incomplete or from players. younger than 18 leaving 1348 legitimate responses 1210 men 112 women 26. no response for our subsequent data analyses Respondents ranged in age from 18. the minimum allowed for the survey to 65 with a median age of 26. Our survey attracted a wide range of participants skewing slightly toward. dedicated gamers 62 rated themselves as regular players 24 as hardcore. 13 as casual with 1 abstentions We asked users to classify their player type. based on descriptors adapted from Bartle s 1996 descriptions Achiever. Explorer Killer Socializer The majority of participants 52 identified. themselves as Achievers meaning that they set game related goals and. vigorously set out to achieve them Bartle 1996 19 of respondents identified. Character Sharing in World of Warcraft, themselves as Explorers 13 as Killers 8 as Socializers and 8 either not. responding or stating that that they did not identify with any of the categories. Data Analysis For check all that apply questions we solicited additional. information through a free form follow up question After coding the open ended. responses we integrated the user supplied answers with the original check all. that apply answers for further analyses For each type of multiple choice question. we present the results as percentages of the respondents who answered that. specific question The number of respondents for each question varied due to the. participants varying paths through the survey, Does Character Sharing Happen with Whom and How Often. Our results show that character sharing is both widespread and frequent see. Figure 1 57 of respondents stated that they shared characters in some way Of. these 74 reported lending characters to others while 94 reported borrowing. characters from others Of the 43 of respondents who do not share characters. 84 of these report having made an explicit decision not to share while the. remaining 16 report not having had the opportunity to share. Figure 1 Sharing among our participants, We asked survey participants with whom they decided to share and how long. they allowed the sharing arrangements to go on The four main types of people. that participants reported sharing with were family real life friends in game. friends and fellow guild members see Table I,Family Real life friend Game friend Guild. Loaned a character to 20 50 27 3,Borrowed a character from 13 37 36 14. Table I Sharing percentages with different types of people. The only major difference in lending and borrowing patterns is in sharing with. guild members People are willing to borrow from these people but less likely to. lend this may be because guild relationships are not as strong as personal. relationships but may also arise because of so called guild accounts where all. guild members can access the guild account s characters. Participants reported two main types of sharing arrangements The most. common was one time sharing where the borrower used the character once for a. particular purpose 40 of total sharing In these cases borrowers were expected. not to log in again afterwards Several lenders reported temporarily changing their. password for the duration of the share and then changing it back afterwards. The second type of sharing arrangement was longer term and allowed the. borrower to repeatedly log into the account 25 of total sharing In some cases. Nelson Wong et al, this arrangement was used because the in game task was time consuming e g. obtaining several copies of hard to get items in other cases players had long. standing agreements with friends or their guild that characters could be used when. needed e g where a guild has access to our main warrior s account. In a few cases there were mutual long term arrangements within a group. Participants described situations in which all player accounts were known to the. entire group and where players were welcome to use others characters at any. time to achieve the goals of the group In one case it appeared that these accounts. did not even have real owners and were instead owned by the entire group. A guild I belonged to had a shared guild account This account was given from. a player who stopped playing to the owner of the guild This account information. was then given to all trusted members to use the characters if it was needed. We also asked participants how many times they had shared characters For those. who reported lending people had lent characters an average of 10 8 times. borrowers reported that they had borrowed characters 9 1 times on average. Motivations for Sharing Why do People Share Characters. In this section we examine motivations for character sharing illustrating that. character sharing is largely motivated by a desire to experience the game more. fully Participants identified 22 reasons for sharing characters but four groups of. those made up 65 of all responses described in the following sub sections The. ten most frequent reasons for sharing are presented in Figure 2. Sharing to experience new things 72 of sharers, Each character in WoW experiences the game in different ways for instance each. of the two warring factions has a unique story unavailable to the other faction. Most players advance through the game using a single character and few invest. much time in alternate characters consequently most players only experience. Figure 2 The main motivations for borrowing and lending characters. Character Sharing in World of Warcraft, gameplay through a single character Our survey shows that many players are. curious about other aspects of the game and other character classes especially. high level characters who gain access to special content and how those character. classes experience the game In our sample many respondents reported sharing. characters to play different characters 58 of lenders and 47 of borrowers and. to experience different aspects of the game 58 and 44 for example. Sometimes I borrow to try a class that I haven t played before and that I am. interested in leveling but don t want to max out to find out that I don t like it. Similarly several respondents loaned characters to real life friends to allow them. to try the game 55 of lenders and 20 of borrowers reported having shared. characters for this reason In these situations the benefit is primarily to the. borrower who is able to have a different or new play experience. Together these three motivations to play different characters experience. different aspects of the game and try the game were reported by 72 of sharers. Sharing to ensure adequate resources for a raid 43 of sharers. A raid in WoW is an organized group activity where a team of players attempt to. achieve an in game objective defined by the game designers e g defeat a. monster Raiding parties contain 6 40 characters with each character typically. playing a specific role e g damage dealers who attack the enemy healers who. restore other characters health Coordinating the many players needed for a raid. is often difficult owners of some important characters may not be available at the. scheduled raid time In these situations it is common to loan important characters. to a player who is available for the raid For example as one participant stated. He asked me to play his account as we were sho r t a healer and he couldn t make. it that night, 29 of lenders and 40 of borrowers reported sharing characters for this reason. to access unique skills of the shared characters Sharing benefits the raiding. party because the group needs the skills of the shared character often raids. cannot be carried out without the appropriate balance of roles The owner of the. shared character also benefits because their character receives a share of the. spoils from the raid Lending for raids is most often a short term arrangement. lasting as long as the raid however this situation was also a reason to set up a. more permanent lending arrangement For example one respondent stated. sometimes we need a warrior to tank a boss but we don t have a warrior online but. we have access to our main warrior s account so I d log on the warrior and bring. him to the fight then after the fight go back to playing my character. In addition a few respondents reported having a guild account as discussed. above that is accessible by all guild members and that was used for raids. Sharing to advance a character 38 of sharers, Leveling is the activity of moving a character to a new experience level and often. involves the completion of dull repetitive tasks Although these tasks are part of. Nelson Wong et al, the game players often consider aspects of leveling a necessary evil To reduce. the effort and pain of leveling some players lend their character to a friend or. even to a private business that will carry out some of the required tasks This type. of sharing is different from other reported types as it primarily benefits the lender. rather than the borrower In our survey 20 of lenders and 33 of borrowers. reported sharing characters to level a character more quickly Although most. sharing in these situations was intended to avoid repetitive work some cases. involved a sincere interest in helping another person for example. My good friend has trouble leveling her characters and not being able to. participate alongside her friends and her husband because she was too low level. this was very distressing to her so I helped her out. Sharing for leveling is more controversial among players than other reasons for. sharing Many people saw it as cheating since the character was no longer a true. reflection of the owner s skill e g playing a character that s been leveled by. someone else feels like cheating It was regarded in the same light as allowing a. character to be advanced by a bot a practice that is also disallowed. Sharing to learn new techniques for playing the game 33 of sharers. The WoW user interface is highly customizable allowing players to modify and. tailor in game commands to their specific needs for instance macros may be. recorded to automate sequences of commands However in game tricks or. techniques are often difficult to explain to newcomers Sharing a character allows. the borrower to learn these enhancements in these cases it is not so much the. character that is shared as much as the customized environment. Many respondents reported employing character sharing to either teach another. player about some aspect of the game e g instances where certain macros are. useful or to learn from another person Often this type of sharing was carried out. in a co present environment so that the lender and borrower could more easily. talk about the interface In our sample 20 of lenders and 26 of borrowers. reported sharing characters for this reason showing that customization and. community support for customization through sharing Mackay 1990 has. become common in WoW, Details of Sharing Practice How Does Character Sharing Occur. This section looks at the details of character sharing setting up the arrangement. coordinating the use of the character and finding out what happened afterwards. Managing the handover transfer and scheduling, Accounts in WoW are protected by a username and password and so the actual. transfer of a character involves the transfer of account details This information is. typically sent through email or IM 85 of lenders or by logging in and letting a. co present borrower use the account 31 The more complex handover issue. Character Sharing in World of Warcraft, however is that of scheduling to avoid conflict on the account because if another. player attempts to log in to the account while the first login is active then the first. player will be disconnected or kicked Beyond being an inconvenience this can. also cause serious problems if the character is in the middle some important. activities For example one participant stated, I once logged on to my character while a friend was using him the character. was underwater when it happened and the delay in transition caused him to drown. Because only one person can be logged in to the account at once organizing and. following a schedule is crucial Respondents relied both on large scale. coordination e g I only loan my characters to others when I m not playing the. specific game at that time and finer grained scheduling e g I told the person. they could use my characters while I was at work so between the hours of 9 5. Respondents also felt that multiple logins could draw the attention of the. Blizzard game masters which could result in banning of the account. Consequently most borrowers 78 indicated that it was important for the. borrower to inform the lender before logging in as the shared character. Limiting the borrower rules and restrictions, Most of the lenders in the survey 74 placed restrictions on how shared. characters could be used Respondents stated many different rules that were based. on the specifics of characters situations and the borrower themselves The most. common restriction mentioned by 44 relates to the use of a character s in. game resources such as money and items because they may be difficult to. reacquire For example a common set of rules were, don t sell delete anything without asking Don t use crafting materials without. asking Don t re spec change character attributes unless I ask you to. Another common rule was similar during gameplay irreversible decisions. occasionally need to be made e g selling unique items consequently many. lenders stated that they tell borrowers to avoid making such decisions or only. lend to other players who already know what not to do with the character. Getting the character back finding out what happened. Characters are returned either implicitly through the scheduling arrangement or. by the borrower notifying the lender that they are finished This is not however. the end of the sharing lifecycle after the character is returned the majority of. lenders 67 also want to know what happened, Interest was highest in the outcome 40 of lenders the success of the. borrower s task in game tasks that had been accomplished changes in the. character s inventory and the character s game world location Lenders gathered. this information in two main ways First they spoke with the borrower either by. voice or online several respondents stating that a real time medium was. necessary to allow clarifying questions to be asked Second lenders also gathered. information by inspecting their characters 42 of lenders reported studying the. Nelson Wong et al, character s item inventory to determine which items e g gold or equipment had. been used obtained or sold The inventory functions as a persistent indirect. record of activity for example it can show that a character has been in battle. e g health potions depleted or has succeeded in a task e g new items. acquired In addition lenders also checked the inventory to ensure that the. borrower had not wasted or given away items one participant reported that he. went so far as to take a screenshot of the inventory before lending a character and. then checked the screenshot against the character s inventory afterwards. Some lenders were also interested in other experiences that did not result in. changes to the character although this was mentioned less frequently 27 of. lenders People stated that they were also interested in the actual experiences that. the character had while away when the character was played what monsters. they fought how items were obtained and whom they encountered in the game. For example one lender wanted to know who in the game my character has. encountered so I am not confused later,Factors in Deciding Whether or Not to Lend. We asked sharers a check all that apply question about their concerns when. lending and borrowing characters We also asked non sharers their reasons for not. sharing characters Results are presented in Figure 3 and below we detail the five. most frequent reasons,Fear of being caught, Character sharing requires account sharing which is against the publisher s terms. of agreement for the game The fear of being caught and punished is a major. concern for players and a serious deterrent for those who choose not to share it. was indicated by 57 of non sharers and 37 of sharers As one person stated. playing someone else s character can be really tense It feels strange playing on. someone else s account and knowing that you re breaking the ToS. Blizzard watches for infractions such as account sharing and users mentioned. issues with logins from distant IP addresses or multiple logins For example. I know a few people who got banned because a GM game master noticed weird. login IP addresses on their accounts, Respondents stated that three kinds of identity issues were important First some. players identify strongly with their characters and consider them to be extensions. of their selves 38 of non sharers felt that characters were a reflection of one s. personal identity and 22 of sharers also indicated this response This strong. relationship to on line avatars has been reported numerous times in past research. e g Turkle 1995 Blinka 2008 and for many players this was the primary. reason for not sharing,Character Sharing in World of Warcraft. Figure 3 Concerns about borrowing and lending and reasons for not sharing. I feel my characters are a personal incarnation The personality that they are is me. and people come to know this and enjoy being around me due to this When. someone else plays my characters I feel it throws things off in a way. Second even if they did not see characters as themselves many respondents felt. that their characters stood for their real world identity reputation and social. standing For example one person said that a character is an icon of one s social. identity in the online world another stated that a character is a reflection of my. personal identity Players who felt this way were sometimes willing to lend their. characters but were concerned about how the borrower would play the character. e g one stated I don t want my reputation to be ruined Accordingly many. borrowers reported playing a shared character with greater care so as to not. damage the lender s social standing, These responses suggest that in some interactions there is a clear separation. between the character and the real world person behind it A third identity issue. that is strongly related involves the practical realities of carrying on real world. interactions through in game characters Many respondents mentioned problems. arising from the fact that during sharing a different real world person is now. behind the character These cases of mistaken identity can lead to confusion and. out of context communication In some cases mistakes lead to social faux pas. The owner used to log in at a different time than me and chat with others and. became very friendly with someone else Needless to say the conversation that. came my way when I happen to log in on a day off from work was not something I. was expecting especially since the friend using the account was a she and I am a. he It was rather embarrassing for all concerned, Borrowers mentioned several times that this issue leads them to avoid starting. conversations when playing another person s character as stated by one person. my biggest concern is their in game friends talking to me I m not familiar with. them so I don t know how to respond to them Problems caused by mistaken. identity led several borrowers to consistently reveal who they were i e not the. owner when others engaged them in conversation Most borrowers 54. Nelson Wong et al, indicated that it was appropriate to inform others in this way but lenders were. evenly split as to whether borrowers should do so,Characters as Investments. Another factor that lenders consider is the value of the character and the potential. loss that could occur if something goes wrong Advancing a character through. WoW and obtaining gold and equipment requires a considerable investment of. time many respondents stated that they thought more carefully about sharing. higher level or wealthier characters and imposed rules about how borrowers. should act as described above For example a lender stated. I have a huge amount of gold and items I don t like the feeling of my friends. even my best friend playing on my characters and not knowing exactly what they. did when they played my characters, In addition the idea of characters as investments was raised as a concern for. borrowers that is that playing a shared character would be a waste of time since. the value would go to someone else 34 of borrowers considered this a. drawback The idea of character as possession rather than as persona warrants. further investigation and we return to this idea in the discussion. Trust and Security, Trust in the borrower was a major concern for players 70 of non sharers stated. that this was a factor in their decision as did 19 of lenders Sharing. relationships generally follow real world trust patterns as shown in Table I. characters are lent primarily to friends and family members Both non sharers and. lenders are concerned about whether they can trust the borrower to protect their. reputation 54 of non sharers and 31 of lenders and to play the character. properly 48 and 26 Even maintaining interface settings is a concern. I spent maybe an hour going over screenshots in an attempt to re create my UI. toolbars after that incident, Thirty percent of lenders however reported no concerns with sharing their. characters suggesting that a sizeable minority of lenders either do not mind what. happens or that there is implicit trust as stated by one participant who said. honestly I don t care Unless of course its something serious but I wouldn t expect. anything like that to happen, In addition many players perceived character sharing as a potential security risk. 62 of non sharers and 28 of lenders stated that they were concerned about. personal information when sharing characters Security problems can occur in. several ways first the account contains considerable personal information that. could be given out or lost second if a borrower changes the account s password. a lender could lose the account completely These concerns led to practices such. as changing account passwords every time a character is shared as described. above Last players were concerned about risks from the borrower s computer. Character Sharing in World of Warcraft, I don t give my account information away because although I trust friends not to. mess with my characters I do not know if they protect their computer against. hackers I want my account to be safe,Summary of Survey Results. Our survey provides evidence about the existence prevalence and complexity of. character sharing in World of Warcraft In summary, x Sharing is frequent and widespread The majority of respondents have lent or. borrowed characters and have done so many times, x Sharing has two main patterns one time sharing where characters are returned. once a particular task is completed and longer term repeated sharing. x Sharing is used for several purposes There are many different reasons for. sharing characters the majority of which are not considered to be cheating. x There are several types of player character relationships Players indicated. that they think of their characters in many ways extensions of themselves as. valued possessions and even as throwaway objects, x Identity is a main concern Online identity issues are a major factor in sharing. leading some people to avoid sharing and others to be careful about protecting. their reputations and avoiding problems with mistaken identities. x Change awareness is important The majority of lenders want to know what. happened to shared characters and use both in game e g character inventory. and non game channels e g telephone to obtain this information. x Communication about sharing is required The practical details of sharing. involve considerable communication for transferring account information. scheduling setting rules and reporting what happened to the characters. x Sharing is not well supported The lack of any in game support for character. sharing forces people to engage in risky practices and to use tools and. mechanisms such as screen shots for awareness that are often awkward. Discussion, Our study reveals many of the details of character sharing a collaborative practice. that has not been studied before in CSCW However the broader value of our. study is that character sharing raises new questions for a number of existing. CSCW topics in the next sections we discuss the ways that character sharing. may be able to shed light on research into sharing on issues of player character. identity and on characters as a mediating artifact in the articulation work of. sharing In addition we consider the question of whether character sharing should. be better supported by game companies and present several design ideas that. could help to provide this support,Nelson Wong et al. Character sharing is a different kind of sharing, There are fundamental differences between the sharing of game characters and the. types of sharing that have been studied previously in CSCW including program. customization files e g Mackay 1990 shared folders Voida et al 2006. music sharing e g Brown et al 2001 and photo sharing e g Miller and. Edwards 2007 The main difference is that sharing of files music and photos. involves digital objects that can be trivially and transparently copied meaning that. people are actually sharing a copy of the artifact rather than the owner s original. In contrast characters in on line games are unique and cannot be copied since. they are tied to the owner s unique account with the game publisher. This means that sharing practices and people s attitudes toward the shared. object are dramatically different With music or file sharing there is no concern. about getting the shared object back again and the idea of sharing in part implies. the idea of making the artifact public particularly with photo sharing With copy. based sharing there is also no need to maintain awareness of what happens with. the shared object while in the borrower s possession Although the lender may. still take an interest in what the borrower does with the object e g makes a new. version of a song or adds to a customization file the original version is still in the. owner s possession and lending creates a version tree rather than accumulating. changes to the original object itself as occurs with a WoW character. The fact that there is only one copy of a WoW character means that character. sharing is more like sharing real world objects like cars or bicycles than it is like. sharing other types of digital objects In particular the owner sees real value in the. actual object being shared and so considerably more thought must be given to. decisions about when and with whom to share Thus we see many comments. about whether the lender can trust the borrower to use the character appropriately. concerns that generally do not occur in copy based sharing Player comments. about this issue sound very similar to what goes through one s mind before. lending a valued real world possession such as a car or a book to another person. e g as one participant in our survey said I would want to know whenever. someone wants to use my car the same goes for my character. There has been very little CSCW research done on this type of sharing work. exists in areas such as deception in Usenet discussions Donath 1998 and group. computer accounts Egelman et al 2008 Muller and Gruen 2005 but there is. much that could be done in this area For example an issue raised by our study. was the wide range of value that lenders placed on their characters from. treasured possessions that would never be lent out to throwaway objects with. little value Part of the reason for this wide range is that the actual creation of. characters is easy and so the value of a character does not arise only from its mere. existence as it would with some kinds of physical objects Instead it appears. that value is primarily created by the degree of the owner s involvement in the. character e g the investment of time and effort to reach a particular level. Character Sharing in World of Warcraft, Therefore characters are self built somewhat like handmade furniture or. pottery and character sharing shows similarities to sharing these types of. personally meaningful items, In a different way however character sharing is similar to other types of. digital sharing these types of group activity are interesting for CSCW in that. they raise the question of where in a sharing relationship the collaboration actually. occurs Character sharing appears to be a type of articulation work in that it. enables some other end goal but only in some sharing arrangements e g using a. character for a raid or working towards a level does there appear to be a common. goal between the lender and the borrower In other cases such as allowing others. to try out the game or try out a different type of character there does not seem to. be a clear group goal in that sharing allows one person to have an individual. experience that they could not otherwise have Character sharing is therefore a. mechanism for social interaction in the larger community and in this domain. helping others to new experiences could indeed be part of the larger shared goal. as much as it is a coordination mechanism for getting things done and thus. contributes both to thinking about focused work activity and to research on the. broader social issues that have been considered in other studies of digital sharing. e g Brown et al 2001 H kansson et al 2007,Characters as a new kind of mediating artifact. The artifacts that are transferred between people in collaboration can store and. show information that aids articulation work As stated by Schmidt and Simone. 1996 the artifact mediates articulation work as well in the sense that the. artifact acts as an intermediary between actors that conveys information about. state changes to the protocol under execution p 179 It is clear that characters. in WoW play this role of mediating artifact for example in situations where. lenders inspect the character s inventory to determine what items have changed. Character sharing extends this idea however in that characters not only show. state changes that have occurred during the share but also contain the in game. events and happenings that the character has experienced These experiences are. often as important to lenders as are changes to gold or equipment and several. people stated that they were reluctant to lend characters because they didn t want. to miss out on what happened Thus the story of the changes is often as important. as the changes themselves and characters can be seen as mediators of experiences. as well as representations of the state of the sharing arrangement. There is currently no way to extract these experiences from the character. however Although research into edit wear and read wear Hill et al 1992 has. considered the idea of recording and displaying a wide variety of interaction. history and these techniques could also benefit character sharing prior work has. not considered the artifact s own experience e g the character s adventures.
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To view multiple Excel files on the screen together Useful when building formulae across workbooks: Open the files in Excel On the View tab, click on the Arrange All icon. Choose your preferred option (e.g. Horizontal) and click OK. Or, if you only have 2 Excel files open: Hiding grid lines