What kind of vocabulary can you learn from role-playing video games?

Brightly colored winged-ferry is learning about a quest from a farmer in his field.
Example of gameplay in EverQuestII

In my current gaming research study with EverQuestII® (EQII), I was pleasantly surprised to see a dominance of neutral words and only a slight majority of negative words over positive ones.  This is based on the participants’ text-based, chat logs that I analyzed with the vocabulary concordancer called Range.  Chat logs include language from the non-playing characters (NPCs), playing characters (gamers), and game alerts.  Range parses the most frequently used words from a text file.  Then we categorized the top 109 most frequently occurring words according to their positive, negative, and neutral attributes.

Positive Words:  achievement, benefits, bonuses, boost, defeating, defense, eligible, encounter, focus, gain, health, increases, loot, points, power, prestigious, promotion, purchase, relieve, and reviving

Negative Words: assassin, combat, corpses, critical, crush, damage, debt, destroyer, destruction, disbanded, disruption, drained, fails, fanatic, fear, infected, inflict, interrupted, intimidation, overrun, purulent, slashing, slay, strike, suffering, threat, and loot* (actually a positive word in game context)

Neutral Words: absorbs, agility, already, attributes, banner, beetle, claim, collect, commoner, consciousness, consider, convert, copper, current, dedicated, discourse, discovered, dwarf, engage, errands, forum, griffon, hail, icon, idle, levels, limb, magic, melee, member, mentoring, northwest, outpost, parries, piercing, reset, reverse, reward, rifts, riposte, shield, silver, spirit, stamina, statesmen, strength, target, thirst, throne, tower, trade, trigger, unique, unknown, untamed, vocals, weight, zone, and purchase

EQII is a text-heavy, massive, multiplayer, online, role-playing game (MMORPG).  It’s a fantasy game with various virtual worlds, numerous characters to play, and thousands of quests, so the language encountered won’t be exactly the same for everyone.  Nevertheless, I noticed some of the same language being encountered at the early levels of play.  For my research study, I’m using some of these common words parsed from English language learning (ELL) participants’ chat logs for their pretest-posttest of new words learned from gameplay.  I want to know if MMORPGs combined with ELL strategies are a good extracurricular activity.

Author: teacherrogers

Content developer, instructional designer, trainer, and researcher

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