Title: Group movement in World of Warcraft Battlegrounds

Authors: John L. Miller, Jon Crowcroft

Addresses: Microsoft Research, Cambridge, CB3 0FB, UK; University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, Cambridge, CB3 0FD, UK. ' University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, Cambridge, CB3 0FD, UK

Abstract: Distributed Virtual Environment (DVE) topology management and message propagation schemes have been proposed for many years. Evaluating DVE message propagation schemes requires a variety of assumptions whose verity significantly affects results, such as details about avatar movement characteristics. We implemented two schemes for waypoint and hotspot detection, and examined their applicability for characterising avatar movement. We confirmed that waypoint detection does not yield good results for characterising human avatar movement, and gained new insight into why by rendering avatar movement as point clouds. We implemented an existing hotspot detection model, and proposed an enhancement to help overcome one limitation of cell-based hotspot detection. We were able to immediately apply this hotspot detection technique to help analyse group movement. We discovered that although a third of movement time in the battlegrounds is spent in inter-node journeys, less than a quarter of these journeys are made in groups.

Keywords: avatar movements; massively multiplayer online games; MMOGs; World of Warcraft Battlegrounds; waypoint navigation; hotspots; avatars; computer games; gaming; distributed virtual environments; DVE message propagation; waypoint detection; hotspot detection; group movement.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAMC.2010.036837

International Journal of Advanced Media and Communication, 2010 Vol.4 No.4, pp.387 - 404

Published online: 11 Nov 2010 *

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