One of the most popular Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games on the market is World of Warcraft. Although World of Warcraft cannot boast the kind of server population that Maple Story has “WoW” offers a play space that is more diverse by allowing players on any server to engage in combat against one another. By allowing player vs. player World of Warcraft opens itself up to all four types of Bartle’s typology. The server structure of World of Warcraft is also impressive in this respect by designating four different types of servers for players to engage the fantasy world on. Given that players are not strictly one type of topology the server structure allows players to engage the world on their own terms. Player vs. Player servers are the realm of the killer who wishes to dominate players of the opposing faction while an achiever or a socializer might enjoy a player vs. environment which does not allow for outright killing anytime. Explorers may fall into either server based on their second minor topology. If they enjoy the finer points of combat then they would choose a PvP(Player vs. Player) server and if they were instead more intruiged by the easiest method of achieving tasks or manipulating hiccups in the environment without interruption then a PvE(Player vs. Evironment) would be more to their liking. There is also the option to play on a role-play server (either PvP or PvE) and act out events under the guise of an avatar.
In regards to molding and maintaining this virtual domain of fantasy there are many patches that come out and constant play testing on a server separate from the rest that players engage the world using temporary recreations of their characters from another server. Once tested patches are uploaded to all servers and players are required to accept the changes made to the world or even their avatars. Most changes are minor and when big patches come out they usually include new material rather than changing anything that previously existed in the game world. While change to the game world might be hard to cope with expansion packs that are tantamount to an “uber-patch” release completely new content into the game world but the amount that is actually part of the living world already is very little. The actually meat of an expansion comes in the form of encapsulated environments that only players who paid for the expansion can access. It is necessary to release a patch to all other players who do not have the expansion so that they are able to play without inhibition. Once the expansion is released a majority of the content that exists within it immediately becomes immutable or in other words it has become part of the fantasy world that the players exist in and any change might cause a disturbance in the continuity that the players enjoy.
The virtual play space is not restricted to young audiences either. Guilds exist completely of mature adults who enjoy raiding and understand when one person has to leave because of family emergency or other responsibilities that must be handled. I have experienced this with one guild I had joined where the guild leader was suddenly called away to get her child ready so that her ex-husband could pick him up. Everyone in the raid waited patiently for her return without so much as a complaint.