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The Effort of Being in a Fictional World: Upkeyings and Laminated Frames in MMORPGs


Direct all correspondence to Jonas Linderoth, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; e-mail:


On the basis of ten months of fieldwork studying a role-playing guild in the game World of Warcraft, this article shows that contrary to the idea that virtual worlds are seductive illusions, technology does not necessarily support players' feelings of being immersed in fictional worlds. Applying Goffman's frame theory, the author explains how role-players in the game actively upkey elements from primary frameworks in order to create and uphold the frame of being in a fictional world. This kind of narrative immersion is rather hindered than facilitated by technology.

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