mez breeze on Wed, 7 May 2008 08:47:04 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Case Study X: An Example of _Variable AFKism_

Case Study X: An Example of _Variable


Subject x [X] is a 27 year old American male. X began playing the massively
multiplayer online role-playing game *World of
*[WoW] in June 2005. On Average, X will be logged into WoW between 2 to 8
hours per day. X has created 7 WoW
* or *player characters <>*/chars.
His characters are located on _Frostmane_, a USA-based*
*/server. His main [primary game character] is a level 70 male Gnome Warrior
named _Xster_.

X plays Xster during the majority of the time he is engaged within the WoW
environment. X has 5
* [alternate game characters] which he plays sporadically. X also has a bank
character which he uses for all in-world economic transactions. He is a
member of a group of players who have voluntarily chosen to band together to
achieve specific goals within WoW. This group is called a
*. Xster's guild is titled _Carpe

X/Xster is currently immersed in a specific game variable within WoW. This
game variable is an *instance
<>*called _Karazhan _ [
*Kara <>*] which is an example of a
*. X is present in the instance with 9 of his fellow guild members. Each
member has been included specifically for their race, class and talent

The raid members have just completed one of their raid targets by killing a
boss *Non-Player Character
<>*or NPC. This boss
encounter was difficult; it has taken the raiders 4
attempts to kill
*. The unsuccessful attempts ended in the successive deaths of each raid
member, otherwise known as a
*. X decides it is time for a break and informs the other raid members that
he'll be afk [away from keyboard] for 3 minutes taking a *"bio

X makes this announcement through 3 channels. The 1st and 2nd are via text,
using the /g and /ra commands to tell his guild "afk for 3?$B!m and to tell the
raid "afk bio". The 3rd is via
* [Vent], a VOIP program through which he has been verbally communicating
with his raid team, 3 non-raiding guild members and 2 out-of-game friends.

Before X leaves his computer, he positions Xster in a safe area in-game
where he can wait in suspension until X's return. As X types the /afk
command, Xster appears no different to the other raid chars; the toon still
loops through a basic standing state. Xster continues to function via base
movements such as breathing and blinking as if X is still present and
waiting at the keyboard. There are no visual or otherwise discernible char
changes occurring in-game to indicate X's absence apart from his text and
verbal announcements.

X has moved to the kitchen and is now, in a geophysical sense, completely
afk - an example of "hard afkism". However, X is also in a hyper-aware
state, conscious of the estimated time assigned to his game absence. X has
the game volume turned up to allow for monitoring of the raid member's
voices and game sounds. Any *heightened verbal
*may indicate that the raiders require his immediate presence back in-game.

X rushes his food preparations and arrives back at his keyboard within 2
minutes. He switches back into WoW via maximising the game window but does
not put on his headphones and thus does not resume his presence in Vent. He
is told that several of the other raiders are still afk. He then alt-tabs
out of WoW, checks his *Insoshi <>* and *GeoSimm
* accounts whilst still unconsciously checking the game via sound scanning
[an example of "soft afkism"]. If a combat sound occurs, he will switch back
into the game and resume his activity on Vent.


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