A researcher, Yolanda Rankin from Northwestern University, is doing studies on Evaluating Interactive Gaming as a Language Learning Tool by using MMORPGs, EverQuest 2 being the particular choice, to build competence amongst English as a second language students.

It's yet another study that shows that MMORPGs as social vehicles help promote social/lingual competence. I remember about ten years ago having the debate with someone that social games, regardless of the fact that face/manner/voice might be hidden, do indeed build useful social skills. It's something of a common sense thing for gamers, and I think that I benefitted quite a bit from the many hours I spent playing old MUSHes/MUCKs, Acrophobia (still in the Top 9, woo!), and even posting crazy ideas and pompous attitudes to now long departed forums. It's just great seeing more and more intelligent academic studies doing scientific verification of these good things, particularly to counterbalance some of the FUD studies like the ridiculous Pac-Man is 62% violent study.