Why a Gaming Community?
Players of massive multi-player online games (MMOGs) find deep connections with other players, with 75 percent reporting becoming close friends with someone from the game. These relationships can become long-term and are products of the social structure developed by interactive games where players are able to discuss real-life issues as well as gaming goals. In addition to gathering together within the game, often at scheduled meeting times, gaming groups also create message boards and other external means of communication that build their relationships. Rather than encouraging solitary game play, as was the case with the early digital games, interactive games now offer new ways for individuals to connect.
MMOG guilds are both social and functional because at higher levels players must join together to complete raids, which are challenging activities requiring the formation of groups of high-level characters that no longer need to gain levels or complete quests. Guilds also offer players the ability to interact with both strangers and friends, spend time together, achieve individual and group goals, and take on responsibilities. In these ways guilds are fertile ground for fostering sense of community. The dominant theory of sense of community points to a feeling of belonging, a sense of mattering, the perception that needs will be met by the community and its resources, and shared emotional connections as the four foundational elements of sense of community.