An MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, is exactly that. Thousands of people over hundreds of servers, all fighting, questing and trading, together.
The inclusion of a game wide economic system with real time price changes, has prompted a study on the ‘Real Economics in Virtual Worlds’ (download only), this compares the history of monetary value in the real world to the inclusion of it in Runescape and other MMORPG’s. The similarities of the economy in Runescape “bear characteristics of flat money.” Flat money being a currency that isn’t supported by a ‘Standard’ (usually Gold), like the Pound here in the UK.
The academic paper observes characteristics of the game in contrast to real life, but it is not bias, there is no inclusion of whether or not the author of the academic paper likes or dislikes the game, as that is not relevant. Whereas a review, balanced or otherwise, is an opinion. a single persons view on the general aspects of the game, not relating it to the real world, but rather an escape from it. Which is rather ironic, seeing as many aspects of it are so similar to real life.
The review is about a ‘Returning player’s review of Runescape 3’ (Runescape has seen a number of massive overhauls completely revamping most aspects of the game, (as a player back in 2007 of ‘Runescape 2’, Runescape 3 is almost unrecognizable.)
There are positives and negatives to academic papers and reviews, but the personal, relatable form in which reviews are written makes them easier and more engaging than the very distant, formal layout of the academic paper.
Can’t use the review in an essay though.