Nov 212014
 

500px-WOW_logoTen years of World of Warcraft. Well. So many thoughts.

WoW has always been a contradiction of sorts: not the pioneer, but the one that solidified the pattern. Not the experimenter, but the one that reaped the rewards. Not the innovator, but the one that was well-designed, built solidly, and made appealing. It was the MMO that took what has always been there, and delivered it in a package that was truly broadly appealing, enough so to capture the larger gamer audience for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong; that’s not a knock on it. If anything, it’s possibly the biggest game design achievement in all of virtual world history. After all, we’re talking about taking a game skeleton that was at that point already almost a decade and a half old, one which had literally had hundreds of iterations, hundreds of games launched. None of them ever reached that sort of audience, that sort of milestone, that sort of polish level.

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Game talkGangs and Guilds in MMOs, again

 Posted by (Visited 7622 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: , ,
Sep 142011
 

A long while ago I posted about some research that showed that gangs and guilds seemed to have mathematical characteristics in common.  A few days ago, I got this sent to me by someone at the department of CS and Engineering at the University of Minnesota:

Hi,

I saw a previous post on your blog about similarities between MMOs and street gangs. Me and my research group (VWO) recently published a paper which contradicts the previous results. We thought you may find it of interest.

Thanks, Muhammad

The blog post about the paper can be found here, with some conclusions, and you can also read the pre-print PDF of the paper. It looks like this is based on the the same set of Everquest II data that many researchers have been using for a while now — I am unsurprised to see Dmitri Williams credited.

Dec 172009
 

The latest results from the giant EQ2 data research project came out a few days ago, and this time they center on gender. I’ll just point straight to the summary from Terra Nova:

  • Men are more driven to achieve within the game space, and women are more driven to socialize, although these differences are not as large as one might expect.
  • Female players fall into two distinct categories: stereotypically feminine players, typically brought into the game by a partner, and very hard-core players.
  • The hard-core women are more intense than their male counterparts: “The top 10% of male players played an average of 48.86 hours per week, while the top 10% of female players played an average of 56.64 hours per week.”
  • Female players are healthier offline than the males. This is especially true among older players.
  • When males and females play together within a romantic relationship, the males are less happy and the females more happy. When not playing in a romantic relationship, these outcomes are reversed: the females are less happy and the males more happy.
  • There are a surprisingly large number of bisexual females playing, but not males. While male bisexual players stuck to the national average, females were about five times higher than the national baseline rate.
  • Females under-report their playing time more than males.

via Terra Nova: Gender differences in MMOs.

The full paper can be gotten here (scroll down a bit) but you have to register or purchase it.

Game talkYet more EQ2 data

 Posted by (Visited 7131 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Feb 162009
 

I have referenced the EQ2 data dump to Dmitri Williams & team before, something that I helped kick off way back when and which has been supported by SOE in an ongoing fashion. Now there’s an article at Ars Technica which describes yet more findings, apparently from a session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Jaideep Srivastava is a computer scientist doing work on machine learning and data mining—in the past, he has studied shopping cart abandonment at Amazon.com, a virtual event without a real-world parallel. He spent a little time talking about the challenges of working with the Everquest II dataset, which on its own doesn’t lend itself to processing by common algorithms. For some studies, he has imported the data into a specialized database, one with a large and complex structure. Regardless of format, many one-pass, exhaustive algorithms simply choke on a dataset this large, which is forcing his group to use some incremental analysis methods or to work with subsets of the data.

They got the first data dump around when I left SOE, so that should give you an idea of how big the dataset is, that it took this long to analyze!

Some bullet points:

  • “Gender turned out to be a negative influence on interactions: even after their low numbers were taken into account, female players avoided interacting with each other.”
  • “Time zones had some influence; players in the same time zone were 1.25 times more likely to partner than players even one time zone apart.”
  • “players within 10 kilometers of each other were five times more likely to interact. Contractor concluded that, for the typical player, the game simply offered a way of continuing their real-world social interactions in a virtual setting.”
  • “The average age of players turned out to be 31.”
  • “their body mass index was better than the US average and, although they were slightly more depressed than average, they were also less anxious.”
  • “a small subset of the population—about five percent—who used the game for serious role playing and, according to Williams, “They are psychologically much worse off than the regular players.” They belong to marginalized groups, like ethnic and religious minorities and non-heterosexuals, and tended to use the game as a coping mechanism.”
  • “Older women turned out to be some of the most committed players but significantly under-reported the amount of time they spent in the game by three hours per week (men under-reported as well, but only by one hour).”

Game talkMore EQ2 research results

 Posted by (Visited 5171 times)  Game talk  Tagged with:
Dec 112008
 

– Contrary to expectations, women are more intense players than men, on average and among the most hard-core

– When men and women play together in a relationship, the men tend to be less happy and the women more happy

– All players under-report how much they play, but the women more so

– Men play slightly (not overwhelmingly) more to beat the game, whereas women play slightly (not overwhelmingly) more for social reasons.

– Although the men think they are healthier, it is the women who actually are

Terra Nova: Gender differences: New findings, new paper.