This paper examines the evolution of a social network in a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) by modeling the players’ interaction network as a continuous-time markov chain. Results indicate that social hierarchy emerges out of an anarchical situation in which social actors participate voluntarily, have equal access to virtual resources from the beginning, cannot show their physical superiority and cannot show physical gestures during their communication / interaction. Our study findings hence contribute to the current interdisciplinary debate whether hierarchy is an emergent phenomenon that can be attributed to variations in individual qualities or whether hierarchy is an artificial outcome that is enacted on societies by parties that are privileged from birth.
Putzke, Johannes; Fischbach, Kai; and Schoder, Detlef, "Power Structure and the Evolution of Social Networks in Massively Multiplayer Online Games" (2010). ECIS 2010 Proceedings. 159.