An Elf is an Elf is a…Sylvari? Cultural Archetypes in Gaming as Examined Through Guild Wars 2

Project Dates: 
January 2013
Research Area(s): 
Project Description: 

The fantasy genre has captivated our attention in popular media for decades, providing us with inspiring imagery of valiant fighters and enchanting spell casters.  Guild Wars 2, a massively multiplayer online game (MMO), introduces a range of races and characters not found in the traditional fantasy genre.  When first experiencing a new fantasy world, does knowledge and information gained from previously consumed media influence players’ interpretations of new fantasy environments?  What cultural archetypes have developed in fantasy gaming, and how do these stereotypes affect our perception of other characters? This research examines players’ perceptions of characters in relation to consistent tropes and mythologies established throughout the fantasy gaming genre. My research seeks to use player perceptions of characters to understand gaming culture.  Initial results of this study examine how players navigate a new game world, develop and describe their character’s personality, and use experiences from previous games or knowledge of previous literature to interpret and understand various features within a new game world.