Is DayZ a Virtual World? It Has Users Roleplaying Journalists, Doctors, and Crazed Game Show Hosts, So Why Not
DayZ, the zombie survival sandbox first-person shooter multiplayer mod which is becoming a stand-alone game, allows so much emergent behavior in its (relatively) persistent map, that virtual world academic Edward Castronova goes right ahead and calls it a virtual world, and cites a report by Marcus Carter, a PhD student, on just how emergent it's become:
Proximity voice results in bizarre, unique and evocative gameplay thanks the streamlined ability to converse with any spatially colocated player. There are some great examples of these situations; in what other game can you be robbed at gunpoint? How about the player who got kidnapped in DayZ and tweeted the whole experience (see a writeup here). Up for some gun-point trivia? Fancy joining one of the roving teams of DayZ Doctors, saving players starving or bleeding to death?
Doctors, kidnappers, crazed game show hosts! My guess is a lot of these things would still emerge without voice. I've read tell of bus drivers, as well. And of course, there's war photographers too.
For reasons like this, Castranova says the "virtual world" distinction is getting fuzzy:
Now of course all the lines blur; console-based achievement systems create a persistent community at the hub of every FPS. DayZ takes it a step further, adding a massive spatial environment. When an FPS gets a huge persistent map, we are back to [Ultima Online's] Trammel.Tweet