THE “GRILL” EFFECT: EXPLORING GENDER AND SOCIAL CAPITAL IN WORLD OF WARCRAFT GUILDS
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This thesis examines the effect of gender and gender disclosure on social capital in the setting of the popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. Social capital is important in this online social game setting because it depicts a player’s ability to progress in the game. Members of social groups called guilds were asked to complete an online survey that determined the amount of social capital individual players possessed. A total of 1137 useable responses were received. While results showed that there was no significant difference in social capital between female and male respondents overall, when responses were sorted by those who had disclosed gender and those who had not disclosed their gender to their guild members, a noticeable difference in social capital was observed. Not only did guild members who had disclosed their gender possess more social capital than those that had not, but also female guild members who had disclosed their gender possessed more social capital than male guild members who had disclosed their gender. This raises the question: how does the dominant male gamer culture affect female social capital in games?