The life and death of online gaming communities: a look at guilds in world of warcraft
Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) can be fascinating laboratories to observe group dynamics online. In particular, players must form persistent associations or "guilds" to coordinate their actions and accomplish the games' toughest objectives. Managing a guild, however, is notoriously difficult and many do not survive very long. In this paper, we examine some of the factors that could explain the success or failure of a game guild based on more than a year of data collected from five World of Warcraft servers. Our focus is on structural properties of these groups, as represented by their social networks and other variables. We use this data to discuss what games can teach us about group dynamics online and, in particular, what tools and techniques could be used to better support gaming communities.