There are several different types of virtual worlds. The different types of virtual worlds have certain goals and strategies of meeting these goals. The goals that are attempted by these virtual worlds vary. In Robert Bloomfield’s article, Worlds for Study: Invitation, he mentions that the game World of Warcraft is meant for purely entertainment. Second Life, on the other hand, was to, “create a revolutionary new form of shared experience”. The main difference between World of Warcraft and Second Life is the format of the games. World of Warcraft is a structured game in which plays have quests that guide the player from one region of the world to another while following various story-lines. Essentially, the format of the game allows the player to achieve Blizzard’s goal of immersing oneself in a world that is structured and has a narrative for the player to follow. Second Life, on the other hand, is a completely open world that allows for a variety of goals for it’s users to achieve. World of Warcraft does no allow for users to create new environments, or join communities based off of interests. The closest thing to joining a community that a World of Warcraft player has is joining a “guild”. Joining a guild is essentially a team of players who can enjoy quests together. In Second Life, there are countless communities one can join and enjoy the environment they play in. Whether one’s interests are pirates, science-fiction, or wild-life, a Second Life player can find a community to join in that is completely open-ended. Second Life’s open-ended world was created for players to build their own life however they chose.
Games like World of Warcraft and Second Life have a negative stigma imposed on them by the general population. They are typically thought of as being “nerdy” or “weird” games, when in fact they are not. This affects the user base of these games greatly. If people were not following these stereotypes, there would be a greater population in the games. Having a greater population in a game is essential for more player opportunities. For example, if there were more players in World of Warcraft, there would be more guilds or guilds with a higher population, players would make more in-game friends, and I believe that overall player satisfaction will be higher. The same could be said of Second Life. If the game had a higher population, there would be more communities and more opportunities for players to bond with one another. Because of Second Life’s ability to build and create new content, if there would be more players, there would be more environments for players to immerse themselves in. Essentially, the negative stigma from non-players greatly hinders the success that the two games could have. We are limiting ourselves and the potential the technology has when we apply negative stereotypes to a particular fan-base.