OMG! Lol n00b :)! uber 1337! b00n you wiped us! When gamers, especially of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) like World of Warcraft®, talk to one another they adapt language to their needs, as do all speakers. It is a common misconception that language expressions such as smileys, acronyms, leet and neologisms are a deterioration of current language. On the contrary, they can be regarded as instances of creativity, efficiency, in-group markers and compensation of missing features available in face-to-face communication.
This paper will not only describe the use and functions of stylistic features of the language of MMORPGs by drawing upon empirical data from an online-questionnaire and qualitative data from a language corpus, but also tackle the question of ingame politeness. Is conversation ingame really less polite than in real-life? By reference to theories of pragmatics, this paper provides insights into how politeness is perceived and used as an interaction strategy by gamers to position themselves in conversations.