Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Dr. Martha Copp

Committee Members

Dr. Leslie McCallister, Dr. Paul Kamolnick


This thesis examines the virtual social world of the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, Runescape. I observed several locations in the Runescape world, conducted in-depth interviews with players, and participated in clan activities. I analyzed how individual players develop and extend concepts of self through their participation in the game. Players attach patterned meanings to in-game social objects, particularly their character (avatar) that mediates their experiences in the game. Many players refer to their character’s appearance and accomplishments as an extension of the self, particularly when they master game skills or accumulate in-game wealth. How players spend and think about time in the game suggests that they experience a blurred boundary between “play” and “work.”

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.