Saturday, April 28, 2007

Body Language

I was on the other night pretty late trying to grab the chatlog for the MetaTalk transcript. I ran into Xelaere and we started talking about priest builds. We then went back to his server so I could check out his Forsaken Priest. (that sounded dirty)

Anyhow, during the whole conversation, I noticed that our avatars remained within 10 yards of each other and they were almost always facing each other. How interesting that we are so conditioned by RL behavior that we still apply them in environments that don't neccesarily follow the same codes of conduct. You don't really look someone in the eye when you talk in VR. You don't even need to be on the same screen really.

But all the while, we didn't wonder off during the chat. You /em your avatar to make it laugh at jokes and /slap at distasteful remarks. You /goodbye when other people wave goodbye to you. Why?

Well, I know I do it because my avatar represents me in a world my RL body just can't go. And I want to represent myself as best I can. It's also so much easier to be polite and to show kindness. /hug /kiss /cheer /thank /kneel /salute. All things I wouldn't necessarily do in RL even though I am very grateful or intrigued.

And it was almost like if the avatars separated, the chat would be concluded. You show undivided attention by having your avatar focus direction on the person you are engaged with. It's polite for some reason..

I noticed this a lot in MetaTalk too when people would all turn and face the person "speaking"... or they would sit to indicate patience and interest in the speaker.

It was an amusing observation. :)



Unknown said...

You've hit it on the head about avatars in WoW and our projecting our own RL actions onto them to maybe make it more real. But I've noticed something further. I play on a PVP server where it is generally accepted this is just a video game. Most of the people I know have no idea about the histories or lore, nor do they care much about it. I've noticed that they also treat their characters like vehicals they just control. Standing on top of people, running around all silly not really acting like they would RL when they're having a conversation. However when I started playing on an RP server everyone respects the invisible bubble around my character. Its faciniating to watch as they talk to me and such, sometimes I get into it and actually find myself uncomfortable when my character is being breathed on by a Giant Cow. Cool Beans =)


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