Blog Archive

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Liveblogging GIA: Ragnhild Tronstad: Character Identification in World of Warcraft.

Freefrom notes from GamesInAction Conference in Gothenburg 14th of May.

Ragnhild Tronstad: Character Identification in World of Warcraft.


Bg: aesthetics, i.e. other persp. than the psychology.

Email for the paper.

James Newman: claims that identity has little to do with the appearance, rather with the capacity for actions. How do we then separate this, as being closely connected?

Capacity can become appearance. A representational capacity. Labels can show capacity to other players.

Appearance not static, but tied to capacity.

Want to see playing as a type of aesthetic experience. Flow.

Different types of emotional engagement in the character.


- sameness

- empathic.

In wow the sameness identity is not so common.

One has it over such a long period of time. A narrative identity. More relevant to call it empathic identity.

Vaage 2006.

Laugh one someone else laughs.

Affective reaction. Other end is the cognitive. We can understand, but we don’t share the emotions.

Embodied empathy – we feel it – regular play

Narrative empathy – we understand it. – role play

Types of engagement

Fictional engagement – i.e. immersion – i.e. transportation

Connect to the flow experience.

The narrative empathy closer in this category.

Aesthetic experience – flow.


Regular play in WoW. When experienced as flow, things are in place. Medium becomes transparent.

In role play – narrative required. Use Paul Riceur.

Told and untold experiences of life.

Some significant, some not. /* and that’s the genius of Lisbet’s project when looking at the experiences of death */

A feeling of being. … separate fictional being… in RP less likely to _be_ the character. Greater distance. /* this resonates so much to what I wrote in the Players Journey chapter. I should look closer at Tronstad’s paper, interesting */

WoW mechanisms not supporting Role Play. /* someone should make a study of how they RP is played when using the RP add-ons */

The character is experienced to not have an appearance. To a personalised tool. All capacity. /* How does she relate to Bartle’s concept of persona? */

Q: The idea of aesthetics. What about the temporality of flow? Expectations… the quilt metaphor. The phrasing of small events… and flow. Moments of flow. Roland Barthes discussion of wrestling

RT: I agree, the moments are small.

Berg: gestalt… narrative identity.

RT. The visual?

Berg: the photo … the film…

RT: appearance in numbers, the stats while playing.

Berg: is the narrative identity becoming more important on cost of the gestalt identity. //what does he mean… is it the gestalt-patterns-of-action?

Pictures of the slides