Recently, researches at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria have looked at the behaviors of more than 400,000 people who play the online MMO Pardus to determine how individuals socialize without rules and limitations. By following player avatars, the scientists tracked millions of behaviors from communicating and bartering to making enemies and waging wars.
It turns out that we favor hierarchy and productive roles over anarchy in such situations, which is good news! Although there is a high potential for aggressive tendencies (if negative actions are carried out, the subsequent action is 30% more likely to be aggressive as well), this still only accounts for 2% of all actions taken.
What does this mean? Other than the fact that we retain civility in games, the study sheds light on how individuals act during times of societial change, particularly in the wake of Arab Spring.