On to my new blog series!
As a way to motivate myself to work on my thesis more and more, I have decided to share my journey with others! In "The Academic Gamer" blog series you will learn about my MA Criminology thesis and a little about the Academic world of Video Games Studies from the sociological perspective.
A bit further down on this page you will find a small blurb I've been working on tonight for my Thesis on Trash Talk in League of Legends. I've been working on it for too long now but began to get serious about a year ago after getting some much needed mental health counselling. If you feel like you need help to improve your mental health, do so. Nothing is worse than sitting in a rut for too long and getting nowhere.
I have about 20-30 pages of analysis based on some interviews I did with six LoL players. (I was hoping to get 10 people, but when I was collecting data, not too many people had the time and I had a few dip on me and one person turned out to be underage). The analyses include quotes and lots of great description and analysis but they are all a little separate and not necessarily connected very well. I am currently working on adding in references to the literature I have (lots of T.L. Taylor), but my supervisor told me I had one problem. I hadn't positioned some of my analyses properly in relation to my research question! SHIT!
So here is a small bit which seeks to position my study of LoL. I am establishing LoL as a social space which shapes individual interactions. Of course, the meat of my analysis will be describing how the space shapes interaction! Some of it is a bit disjointed as its a first draft and it will be cut up and interjected into some of the analysis already written.
Hope you enjoy the read! More than happy to answer any questions that come up!
Summoner’s Rift is the most common game mode in League of Legends played by the participants in my study. In the Summoner’s Rift game mode an individual player is placed on a team of five and this team of five is matched against a second team of five with a comparable skill rating. Due to LoL being a team game the individual players are offered tools with which to communicate in order to ultimately achieve victory. These tools include the option of text based chat and pings.
The text based chat can be used to communicate with teammates, friends, or opponents during the course of a match. The inclusion of a chat system results in individuals communicating with one another within the virtual game space of LoL, producing a social space. The social space of LoL exceeds the virtual space within which a match occurs. In addition to in game text chats, the participants of my study describe how they use other online communications tools such as Skype, or Mumble to interact with their friends while playing LoL. The participants also referenced the official forums and other online communities such as Reddit in their interviews.
League of Legends’ social space exceeds the virtual space within which single matches are played. Online forums and communities, the worldwide LoL professional scene both influence the social space of LoL as a whole and by extension, the interactions within individual matches as well. In addition to these external sources of influence, the game itself – its game design and character design for example, also influences the social space of LoL.
This social space with its various influences mediates the interactions individuals have with one another when playing LoL. Within the social space of LoL are particular social constructs and norms individuals are expected to follow according to my participants. So much so that some of these norms are enforced by the game developers and punishments doled out to those who act against them. In order for punishments to be handed down however, the players themselves must report these activities as being anti-social in game. In addition to core social norms are norms governing the use of the report function, complicating what is perceived as an acceptable and unacceptable action in LoL.
Trash talk is a punishable activity which is clearly against the rules enforced by RIOT, the game’s developer. According to my participants, within the social space of LoL, trash talk is a complicated and nuanced part of playing LoL.