Tribes: The Study of an Online Community

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Tribes: The Study of an Online Community Tribes is an online multiplayer game where different missions, worlds, weapons, and players combine to create a defend and destroy kind of gaming experience. Players use mouse, key, and voice commands to target and destroy the enemy as they sneak around trying to capture the other team’s flag and return it to their own base. But it is more than just a game that these players have created with Tribes. They have created a whole online community with an interactive website leading to discussion forums and chat rooms, where the action really takes place. Call it a behind the scenes look at Tribes. Teams are put together, players are taught and assisted, and even more so, long-lasting friendships are made. I studied the discussion forums of and continually entered the Tribal war chat room hosted by the server for a period of two weeks. I found an online community full of life constantly being infested with anything from small talk to serious gaming talk. In the article “Log on and Shoot,” Katie Hafner discusses online gaming becoming a sort of addiction. She claims it is turning into a “virtual party” and that oftentimes the game becomes the underdog when conversation takes over (Hafner 75). And this, Hafner says, is the kind of stuff that gaming networks want. They want to have the social environment it takes to create an online type of community for gamers in order to keep their clients and players devoted (Hafner 75). T states that the “Most users ever online was 212 on 09-23-2002 at 04:20 AM” ( Take note of the time. With that many people actively using in the early hours of the AM, it is only plausible that every time I read the discussion forums there were never less
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than 150 members and guests currently active. Every post had responses. MIRC is the program in which the Tribes chat room server is put to use. is a specifically registered server for individual channels based around Tribes and the Tribes community. As Hafner says, “The trick now [for interactive games over the Internet] is to create ‘social worlds’ rich in graphics for games of all kinds, featuring chat spaces where players can boast to one another, commiserate over a defeat or just pass the time of day” (74). In the tribal war chat room there were always 150-200 people ...

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