Tuesday, 12 May 2009


As regular readers of some of the excellent blogs you can access via LOTRO Combo Blog already know, responses to online gaming are not restricted to inarticulate WoW-speak exclamations. However, beyond those of us who, like myself, enjoy analysing and discussing a favourite game, there are a few people who have engaged with gaming at a level of what can only be called genuine scholarship. And I'm not refering here to those who consider gaming exclusively from the point of view of another discipline such as psychology, sociology or economics, but to those approaching games and gaming as a viable field of study in themselves.

In this context, readers should consider taking a look at Nick Yee's The Daedalus Project, a fascinating site packed with extensive research material, essays and insights about MMORPGs. There is unfortunately nothing directly relating to LOTRO, and the site went into hibernation a couple of months ago, but a huge wealth of original material is nevertheless available online; see, for example, the exhaustive MMORPG Lexicon. This material, essentially a labour of love, is available freely and free of charge; as Yee notes, "Currently, the research presented here is not part of any commercial venture, nor am I receiving funding for this research from any commercial source. This research is being carried out as an extension of my personal and academic interests. I am motivated by the ease with which I can survey and analyze data in a fascinating area that has a paucity of empirical data".

LOTRO is not, however, without its own scholars. The indefatigable Alash, a European gamer based in Denmark, continues to post a stream of informative articles and research results on the Codemasters site, the latest of which is an extremely interesting survey of European server activity and demography. The data was gathered by Alash on Monday 11th of May from 11:58-12:45 GMT +1, using the search function in the in-game Social Panel: "At the time of testing, about 4,638 players were online in Europe, 51% coming from German speaking servers (2381), 39% coming from English speaking servers (1810), and 10% coming from French speaking servers (449). Even though only 36% of the servers are German, they make out more than half of the European player base, and are by a large margin the most spoken language on Codemasters' servers. The roleplaying servers make out 28% of the total player base".

Alash has produced a large number of articles, some of them - like his exhaustive study of weapon speed - essential reading for serious gamers. Alash's Article Compilation has been stickied by Codemasters.

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