The Computer Games Journal

, Volume 8, Issue 3–4, pp 241–254 | Cite as

Economics of RP–PvP Events in World of Warcraft (via the Example of Argent Dawn Server)

  • Vladimir Vladimirovich MaltsevEmail author


This paper explores the economics of roleplaying player versus player (RP–PvP) events in World of Warcraft, on the Argent Dawn server. The RP–PvP events remain an unexamined niche in the research of massively multiplayer online roleplaying games and present a peculiar case of “anarchy” within cyberspace, being formally ungoverned by Blizzard Entertainment. To investigate this phenomenon, I construct the economic theory of RP–PvP events and hypothesize that participants can only derive utility from such events if and only if their effective time spent roleplaying is maximized. I show that to achieve this goal, roleplayers devise private rules of governance and enforce them through various means, from reputational mechanisms to aggressive monitoring of outsiders. The paper seeks to pioneer in bridging the gap between governance literature in economics and game studies by highlighting creative methods of managing complex problems of social coordination without formal supervision.


World of Warcraft Self-governance RP-PvP events Private rules Private enforcement 



I would kindly like to thank Natasha Purser for proofreading the paper and Georgina Reeder for helpful comments and inspiration. I also want to thank the journal editor and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic TheoryFinancial University Under the Government of Russian FederationMoscowRussia

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