GameSetWatch points the way to a documentary examination of ZT Online, one of China’s biggest MMOs. The article is introduced on the Chinese culture blog Danwei and then translated in full from the original Southern Weekly article by Cao Yunwu. The article contains numerous illustrations of how Chinese gamers experience MMOs and how their attitudes and behaviours in online environments differ to those of European and American gamers.
“Chinese gamers are an unwelcome species on European and American servers,” said a game manager who once worked on World of Warcraft. Chinese players always have ways of quickly ascending levels that leave European and American gamers in the dust, and on group missions they do not like to respect the tacit rules of profit division. For those “pedantic” European and American gamers, Chinese players are like fearsome pagans. “European and American games do not encourage unlimited superiority of power; they put more of an emphasis on balance and cooperative support.” The former WOW manager said, “Perhaps this is because of the influence of traditional culture and the current environment; truth be told, Chinese gamers are better suited to jungle-style gaming.”
I think he means “law of the jungle”. Anyway, the core of the article details the life of 27-year old Lu Yang and her relationship with the hugely popular Chinese MMO. It’s a piece of classical journalism of the kind that gaming needs to see more of. If you have an interest at all in the cultural context of MMOs then this is an essential read.