The Halo Effect in MMORPGsBy: cesarsuki posted at Apr 07, 2008 4:50 pm
What is it?The Halo Effect is an association of one trait to another set of trades, it is closely related to the implicit personality theory. It is a very interesting phenomenon that takes place in our every day life. We do it all the time, mostly without noticing that we are. "You can't judge a book by it's cover" Ok maybe not, but we do it all the time with people don't we?
One of the experiments that clearly show us the halo effect was one I saw on TV a long time ago, it goes like this:
Two people with the same resume go to an interview with the same employer the difference between the two applicants is that one is clearly better good looking, better dressed and well groomed than the other one.
The employer had no knowledge of this experiment being done, and after the interviews took place, the better looking person was called and offered the job.
Now, what can we say about this? could you file a claim against an employer for discriminating your looks? I think not. But for the second experiment, they used elementary school kids, they introduced two "substitute teachers" for one class only, again one of them more good looking than the other and after the two classes, the children said they preferred the good looking teacher because in their words: "She is smarter, and taller". For this second experiment the participant was a female, but for the first one they were men, I want to underline this because this is not exclusively something that has to do with beautiful women.
How do I look?I think it is one of the factors we most enjoy when making and playing with our virtual avatars. Because we can model them as what we want to be perceived by others. Some people don't care a lot about what their character looks like, but that is not the case for most of us.
It's funny when we start meeting people that we find out that the huge Tauren warrior next to our character is actually a 12 year old. Or that the knight riding the black horse is actually a gamer girl that made a male because she was tired of being sexually harassed. However, it is not funny that we approach characters that look all innocent and nice with a friendly greeting and we get a "FU** OFF U N00B!!".
One of the problems that I see in MMOs is that we could use some kind of visual cue regarding the good/evil orientation of a character. We do have name coloring in some games, but it looks very unnatural, we don't have neon banners hovering over people's head in real life telling us if they are good or bad.
Maybe we could have some kind of change in the clothing of the avatar or even the look on his/her face, I am influenced to say this because of my experience from playing Black And White 2 and watching animes like Ah! my Goddess, they have clear characteristics that portray them as good or evil. Additionally, we could change the faces on the avatars depending on their alignment, maybe if I turn into a psycho and PK half of the server after I'm done I would have a red (or black) looking armor and a character with a mean savage look on his face.
After that, the halo effect would play a better role in the game. We see players covered in red and with an evil grin, most likely they will be troublesome. On the other hand if we see players all covered in white and blue and with a neutral face, then it's safe to say hi and ask for directions.
Male characters in games usually look very neutral and manly, usually very athletic and heroic. But women I think look too much like escorts rather than fierce warriors in their own right. The online gaming arena has gotten an increasing influx of women into the scene, and I seriously think they need to make a bigger effort to please them. Now, women readers be honest here, how many pairs of shoes do you have in the closet? I bet far more than 15 or 20; wouldn't it be nice to have a wider variety of armor and accessories for your virtual characters? I mean women don't like to look the same everyday right? So why should they wear the same armor for three months before being able to upgrade to a new one?
Furthermore, if the tiny skirts are not your taste, maybe a longer one for your character would make you more content with how it looks. From a social point of view, we see women be treated as objects in TV and crappy magazines, why should women put up with the nasty stigma in their online gaming?
Girls hack too didn't you know?
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