MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    "We Will Always Be One Step Ahead of Them" A Case Study on the Economy of Cheating in MMORPGs

    De Paoli, Stefano and Kerr, Aphra (2010) "We Will Always Be One Step Ahead of Them" A Case Study on the Economy of Cheating in MMORPGs. Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, 2 (4). ISSN 1941-8477

    [img] Download (1MB)

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) are a sub-sector of virtual worlds that share with other worlds the characteristics of both complex technological systems and complex societies. The success of several MMORPGs makes them a vibrant area for research from different points of view, including their economic aspects (Castronova, 2005). Our research is mainly concerned with the practice of cheating in MMORPGs and its consequences. In this paper we explore the economic dimensions of cheating in MMORPGs as they relate to the business activities of companies that offer cheating software, in particular programs called 'bots'. Specifically, we address the following question: "How do cheating practices shape economic interactions around MMORPGs?" We characterize the economy of cheating (as it is carried out by cheating companies) as an answer to breakdowns in the relationship between cheaters and cheating companies (Winograd and Flores, 1987; Akrich, 1992), which involves both learning and innovation processes. In order to answer our question we present a case study of the Tibia ( and an ongoing anti-cheating campaign. In the conclusion of the paper we provide some general reflections on the relevance of the economy of cheating to Virtual Worlds research.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: economy of cheating; bots; MMORPGs; breakdown; ethnomethodology; ethnography;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Institutes > National Institute for Regional and Spatial analysis, NIRSA
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 2418
    Depositing User: Prof. Aphra Kerr
    Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2011 09:45
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Virtual Worlds Research
    Publisher: Virtual Worlds Institute Inc.
    Refereed: Yes
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

      Repository Staff Only(login required)

      View Item Item control page


      Downloads per month over past year

      Origin of downloads