Project 2: Grids, Content and Conversations.

Site Map:
Visual Mockups:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008:After extensive brainstorming and refining of my previous idea concerning the economical branch of MMORPGs, I've concluded that although the economic branch of MMORPG does involve many social interactions between individuals from all across the world, the idea of promoting or creating something that has to do with the act of "gold farming" is concerned with the legality of the "gold farming" activity itself. Thus, I've decided to stop the development of my previous idea and look towards another branch that was within my concept map. Within that, I've decided to explore the branch of virtual social interactions and its relationship to real world social interactions.Using the keyword "interaction", I looked for different websites that had different types of interactions. Ranging from Facebook to message forums. Then I remembered the website of the "Post-Card On-going project" called Post-Secret at Post-Secret and was inspired by the kind of social interaction that is present, yet it is limited in its capacity for direct exchange between users so that it won't turn into a message forum.

Thus, I decided that my website will bring a similar type of social interaction as Post-Secret does. Instead of the exchange of secrets, fantasies and desires, my website will allow the exchange of experiences related to MMORPGs. These experiences can be directly about in-game moments or it can be about real life events that is related to MMORPGs. The format will be the same as Post-Secret, the content will be generated entirely by the users who upload the images they create which depict their experience. Once they have uploaded their images, they as well as others can view them within the archives. There are no options to comment on the images allowing for some control over the interaction that happens on the site.

Personas: (The two personas here are actual interviewed persons, their names have been substituted to keep their anonymity.)
Primary Persona: James (Full time college student)

- Wakes up at about 7am and takes a shower, takes around 10 to 15 mins. Then makes breakfast to eat.
- Goes to school with first class at 8am, another class at 10am and goes to the last class at 12:45pm, then leaves school at 2:10pm.
- Goes back home after school, sometimes stopping for something to eat along the way.
- Comes home and turns on the computer.
- His school work is all done at school, and if any is left over, he takes it home and finishes it there.
- Sometimes he checks his emails when he turns on the computer and goes onto Youtube to watch videos.
- On Wednesdays and Thursdays, he watches Anime on TV.
- Most of the time, he logs onto the World of Warcraft and plays until he is hungry, at which point he either goes out to get food or he makes something to eat at home. Sometimes his mom will cook, but if she is busy, then he makes whatever food he can.

- Mom has a business planning for occasions such as babyshowers, parties and making dresses for prom and events.
- He is around 18 years old and is a full time first year college student.
- He does not have a part time job.

- He likes the social interaction in WoW and continues to play it for the reason of friends, the guild he is in and interaction that he has with his guild mates such as raids and grup questing.
- He only has one other real life friend that plays WoW. Hi sother friends know that he plays WoW but they think it is bad for him because he is spending less time hanging out with them than he used to. He admits that he maybe playing too much but continues to play anyways.

James is a full time college student who happens to be extremely interested in the game World of Warcraft. Everyday he would play hours on end after he comes home from school. With his work all done during school breaks, he has a lot of time to play the game that he loves so much. Originally, it was his friend who introduced him to the game, but that friend no longer plays WoW and has moved onto other games. James, however, remained with WoW despite not having his real life friend playing with him, because he has made several new in-game friends who often groups and interacts with him online. His other friends however thinks that the amount of time he puts into the game is bad for him, and he himself knows this. Knowing this, sometimes he would become so upset and frustrated because he felt that know one understood him. One day, James came across a site called "Quest Log" that was posted up by one of his guildmates in the game, and he decided to check it out. At first he thought it was just another site about WoW when he saw the initial images on the home page, but when he read the comments that came beside the images, he was amused as well as intrigued by what the purpose of the site was. So he goes to the about section of the page and finds out what the site was really about. He decided that this site was worth visiting again and bookmarked it. The next time he had another moment of frustration, he remembered the site and decided to go on it to upload entries as a way of expressing his emotions.

Secondary Persona: Anne (Wife and mother, director of sales)

- She wakes up at around 9-10pm and makes coffee/tea, then sits down to watch the news. She then goes and makes all her business phone calls for the day. Then at around noon, she makes lunch and after eating, she does the chores in her house. After all that is done, she proceeds to work on her business matters.
- At around 5-6pm, she logs onto her game World of Warcraft and plays until around 1am.
- A habit that she has along with her husband is that every two and a half or so hours, both her and her husband goes outside the house to smoke. They bring their dog outside during their smoke breaks and plays with him.

- She is a boss for an international real-estate company.
- She is a director of sales. She goes to work on Tuesday, and works at home on the other days.

- The first game she ever played was Guild Wars where she first thought the player controlled characters that were talking in-game were all NPCs (Non-Playable Characters). She liked the experience of MMORPGs but was new to the online-player interaction.
- She plays the game for the people, the social interactions.
- She is the leader of a large guild in WoW that does scheduled raids and groupings. She enjoys playing and just generally being with her guild mates and friends she meet online and have talked to some of them through the phone or communication programs such as Ventrilo.
- She does not reveal that she plays WoW or any other games to her other fellow co-workers during work. The same goes for her husband who also works with her.

Being the business woman that she is, Anne has a strong sense of separating business from leisure. However, sometimes this sense of separation causes a lot of stress on Anne. She is a dedicated gamer, and has been for the past several years along with her husband. She enjoys gaming and playing MMORPGs during her leisure time, but on her business schedules, she turns into a completely different person, tense and strong. Even she has noticed these different qualities of hers. Sometimes, she just wants to tell the whole world that she plays video games and she is a successful entrepreneur. So one day, she stumbles upon a website called "Quest Log" through links in gaming forums that she reads and sees the initial images posted on the home page. She reads the comments that are beside each image and finds each of them unique. Some of them funny while others are tragic or shocking. She then goes to the about section and finds out the purpose of the site and there, she realized that she found her way of expressing her pent up stress and frustrations torn between business and leisure. So she recalls some of her past experiences with gaming as well as with her real life business and uploads several entry. Shortly after, her entries were posted and she felt a great relief, as if she has had the world lifted from her shoulders finally being able to express herself without the fear of having anyone know that it was her.

Affected: Rob (Co-worker of Anne)

Rob is 26 years old, and is one of the new workers who have recently been hired to work under Anne in her real-estate company during the day. During his leisure time, Rob likes to surf the net and browse of interesting sites and blogs. One day, he stumbles upon the website "Quest Log" which he immediately found to be quite interesting by the first several images on the home page. Each image has a comment next to it that seems to tell a story in relations to the image. Intrigued, Rob decides to look at the about section of the site and finds out the purpose of the site. Although he is not currently a dedicated gamer, he has played several MMORPGs in the past and can relate to some of the stories being told in each entry. Being interested, he bookmarks the website down as one of daily entertainment sites to visit.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008: (Idea abandoned, but entry has been kept for process work documenting)
From the different branch of topics under the major topic MMORPG from project 1, I have decided to focus my research for project 2 on the relationships concerning the exchange of in-game commodities and currency for real-world currency and vice versa. This topic greatly interests me because the quality of the related contents touches upon an issue which affects and concerns both the world that we live in, and a world that seem to exist only within the confines of our computers, yet at the same time, its boundaries are the same boundaries of our real world. Thus, this branch of the topic concerns itself not only with the virtual gaming aspect, but at the same time deals with social interactions that can happen across the world.

Videos: (Some videos that I found which addresses my topic)
BBC News Coverage: Chinese Gold Farming
Ge Jin on Chinese Gold Farmers in MMORPGs

Useful websites and possible resources:
The Daedalus Project by Nick Yee: The Daedalus Project

Nick Yee's Daedalus Project is an ongoing research project concerning with "immersive virtual realities" as he puts it, such as those provided by MMORPGs. He has gathered much data throughout the years and has often been cited by commonly read outlets such as The New York Times.

XTool Desgin: XTool Design (For visual style and aesthetics reference)
Subtraction: Subtraction (For visual style and aesthetics reference)
Post-Secret: Post-Secret (Inspiration)