Experiments in virtual worlds


Inside the Largest Virtual Psychology Lab in the World

“Uninstall and go hang yourself.” A teammate addressed those words to me as our five-person band of cartoonish champions faced defeat in the online game League of Legends. You might expect such invective in the brutal world of a first-person shooter game, but it’s also not uncommon in the folksy nature scenes of League of Legends, where you might find a crocodile warrior, a nine-tailed fox spirit or some tiny woodland critters wishing you various forms of death. Though it looks whimsical, League of Legends is deeply competitive, leading some emotional players to spew insults that cover the spectrum of racist and sexist slurs. Similar behavior often goes unpunished on Internet forums and on social media. But Riot Games, the Santa Monica-based company behind this wildly successful game, wants to raise the standards of online communities. ….[READ]


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