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Virtual Warlords

Oskar Milik

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EVE Online grants individuals the anonymity and freedom to act in any way they wish, going so far as to encourage and reward in-game criminal behavior toward other players. This design might lead some to expect anarchy within this digital universe. Instead, this virtual world is highly ordered, containing large organizations led by powerful leaders. To gain understanding of how such social structures operate, this project observes speeches made by heads of organizations in EVE Online to determine the categorization tools used to maintain order in a potentially chaotic environment. It finds that by focusing on group identity, leaders emphasize their role and responsibility for creating and maintaining organizational culture. Additionally, by crafting a narrative of territorial conflict and their own role as a warlord and military leader, they encourage ruthlessness on the part of their membership and establish a social system based upon the individual leader.