Current Issue: Vol. 7-1 (03/09/2009)



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DRAVEN: HOSTILE ARSENAL`Crusade GUARDIANS PierceTheVeins Fenris Mastermind Vengeance LEGION ELITE Imperial SUPERIOR Descendants REVENGE AllStars CONQUEROR CONQUEST Renegades Celestial Beings Enrage ... [go]

Ashraf Ahmed : real-world context can be inserted into a virtual world, effectively turning the virtual world into a forum for real-world contexts. ... [go]

Roflmaodoodoodadoodoo: I didn't get it from the generator, but I saw it in Arathi Basin and thought it was the best ... [go]

Keesha: In awe of that aneswr! Really cool! ... [go]

Bobbo: This does look promising. I'll keep cmoing back for more. ... [go]



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General FAQ

What is your motivation for carrying out this research?

Currently, the research presented here is not part of any commercial venture, nor am I receiving funding for this research from any commercial source.

This research is being carried out as an extension of my personal and academic interests. I am motivated by the ease with which I can survey and analyze data in a fascinating area that has a paucity of empirical data. The presentations also help me build upon and apply my tech skills.

How can I contact you?

You can reach me at

How do I cite articles in "The Daedalus Project"?

Each article has its own perma-link, and includes the word "archives" in the URL. So for example,

The perma-link should be used in all citations when referencing specific articles. The general form of the citation should be:

"<Article Name>"
from "The Daedalus Project"
by Nick Yee<perma-link>.php

If you are citing more than two articles, feel free to cite the site as a whole:

"The Daedalus Project" by Nick Yee, available at:

What is the general methodology used?

Links to online surveys are publicized on main portals catering to specific games. Respondents from past surveys are also notified of the available surveys. Most surveys are multiple choice and consist of 30-50 questions, and usually take about 5-10 minutes to complete. Approximately 2000-4000 respondents participate in each survey phase. While self-selected surveys have certain weaknesses, I think that many common critiques of The Daedalus Project are overstated.

Posted on January 2, 2003 | Comments (76)



Fabulous site. A great start for research.

About your methodology: It seems that you are working with a self selecting sample. As you know, this can be misleading. Still, the effort is amazing.

I am currently doing some research (sociological) on MMOGs and am starting a study on the a new MMOG called EVE. This MMOG is (supposedly) the first to have a dominant PvP economy and has a very interesting guild/faction system. You might want to look into it.

I'll definately be coming back for more. Keep up the good work.


Posted by: R Kovalchick on May 6, 2003 9:00 PM

Nick, I have been reading this site for some time, and believe that you could fund your research by applying a few different questions. I have noted recently that Everquest has been asking a few key questions as players log on, such as, "Do you post on message boards," or whether players want more resources dedicated to new expansions or bug fixes. It seems to me that your research could be a valuable tool to them in reading their customer base for new demands. Just my two cents.

Brett (EQ player)

Posted by: B. Benson on June 28, 2003 10:57 AM


Fascinating stuff. RK's point about the self-selecting sample is very important, and I really feel you should try to do something about this. Perhaps if you manage to foster a professional relationship with, say, Verrant (EQ & Star Wars Galaxies), you'd be in a position to 'mailshot' a properly random selection of MMOG players, as well as perhaps having access to reliable data about time spent online etc.

Another thing to consider - your surveys are very much 'snapshot' surveys, and as in many areas of psychological research you will probably end up with a dearth of longitundinal data. I note that you require an email address for your current survey - perhaps in future this database could be used to do follow-up surveys (obviously you'd need to obtain permission first), and track the way people's gaming styles change over time. I suspect that information of this sort would be highly sought after by the MMOG sector, and also invaluable in and of itself academically.

Finally, your analysis of the survey data is somewhat basic, just frequencies and means - perhaps you could be applying more advanced statistical techniques (e.g. inferential) to your data?

All the best


Posted by: Alasdair Gordon-Finlayson on July 2, 2003 6:54 AM


I shy away from presenting the inferential stuff here because it's harder for the lay-person to understand and interpret. If you are interested, you can find an abundance of t-test stuff at:

You can find a multivariate analysis at:

I have also considered the risk of self-selection bias in the past, and you can find my response at:

And yes, tracking email addresses allows me to create longitudinal profiles of my respondents and that is one reason why I do it.


Posted by: Nick Yee on July 2, 2003 11:49 AM


I just stumbled across your site after completing a very small phenomenological study of cyberspace gamers. The amount of data here is mind-boggling.

Participants in my study self-selected and I ended up with all women respondants. Would like to get male perspectives. Have you done any phenomenological studies on this topic?


Posted by: JMG on November 23, 2003 10:23 AM

This is a great site, just came across it searching for stuff on my sociology dissertation (broader than MMOG, just online community and subcultural theory) but the research here is brilliant. I'll definitely be citing your work, it deserves more attention!

P.S on the sampling argument I don't see the self selecting sample as too big a problem, because of the in-built bias of the Internet/online gaming population as a whole.

Posted by: matt on December 9, 2003 12:54 PM

Nick Yee:
"And yes, tracking email addresses allows me to create longitudinal profiles of my respondents and that is one reason why I do it."
Just wanted to say that I try to remember to come by and check the site and fill out new surveys for just this purpose: longitudinal studies. ;) Somebody's gotta keep hanging around to spike the data!

Good luck on your continued studies.

Posted by: Tarot on July 13, 2004 2:39 PM

I dislike your site and find that the methods you use iof finding data rae largely innacurate. Any form of exclusively voluntary flaw is inherently flawed and the model should be improved up.

Posted by: Casey Kuester on November 9, 2004 12:24 PM

Casey - There is no such thing as a non-voluntary sample. All experimental and survey research are based on voluntary participation. This is because we do not live in a fascist country. It is not clear whether forcing people to participate would yield better data. Even if we were able to randomly sample MMORPG players, their participation and responses would still be on a voluntary basis.

Also, between-group differences (gender differences, motivation differences) are robust against overall sample skews. And finally, potential skews such as hours of play and age can be tested for interactions with the variable of interest.

There is no perfect methodology. But unconstructive skepticism doesn't help advance collective knowledge. It's easy to criticize a methodology. What's hard is to show a feasible alternative that can do the job better.

Posted by: Nick Yee on November 9, 2004 1:54 PM


I am glad to see you are keeping your research up to date and ongoing. As I stated to you in a past e-mail when I first found your site while conducting some research for a Graduate Games and Simulation class I was taking, your research is done very well and very concise and rich in detail. As a player of Everquest myself I found the information and data you found to be highly relevant and appropriate to the subject matter.

As you and I discussed in the few e-mails we shared, I referenced your project as part of a presentation I had to do for my class, and your information made it very easy for non-gamers to understand and assimilate during the course of discussing MMORPGs and related relationship and addiction elements one can encounter in MMORPGs.

Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing your work in a completed and published form down the road.

Posted by: Don Beardsley on November 21, 2004 11:03 AM

Unique and interesting work you got going on, i just started playing everquest 2 a couple of months ago, i must admit the survey asked some questions which made me realize somethine about myself. I cant wait til u are done with you research, awesome work.

Posted by: Carlos H. on January 22, 2005 6:02 PM

"And yes, tracking email addresses allows me to create longitudinal profiles of my respondents and that is one reason why I do it."

I've been doing these surveys for awhile now and would like to keep having the updates sent to my email, but I've recently switched emails. I could just resign up but I was wondering if there's a way to just change it, I kind of like having my ongoing experiences with different games kept on file :) Unless I missed a link somewhere on your site?

Posted by: Heather on March 17, 2005 6:52 PM

Hi Heather - I don't have a systematic way for doing email transfers yet. I would say just start using your new email in the surveys.

Posted by: Nick Yee on March 17, 2005 10:56 PM

Hi Nick,

Just wanted to drop in and compliment you on a beautiful site. You're doing some excellent work on an exciting new frontier in human interaction. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Helen Cheng on March 28, 2005 4:42 PM

Dear Nick,

This is a very intersting piece of work. I am so proud of your display and the new ideas that strike me when I read. I am really enjoying this. I don't play, but I think you have certainly peaked my curiousity.
Take care.

Posted by: on May 8, 2005 11:13 PM

Nick Yee,

Merely a general comment and nod of respect/appreciation for the work you have undertaken. Terra Nova has recently become a daily must-check site for me. So glad to see that I am far from alone in my facination with these new communities (worlds?).

Matthew C.

Posted by: Matthew C on May 15, 2005 1:32 AM

Hi-lvl 50 necromancer everquest-2, great work.

Posted by: celestial on June 6, 2005 2:28 PM

Hi Nick,

I am currently working as a research assistant on a social psychology project in this area, and have found your research to be empirically driven, grounded in existing theory, and pioneering in its investigation of MMORPG communities. Great stuff! I look forward to exploring more of your website.

All the best with publication too - there is far too little academic interest in this fascinating area.

As both a psychologist and a gamer, I commend you!

Posted by: Tom W. on June 15, 2005 8:36 PM

So why is this called "The Daedalus Project?" Are you trying to warn people about the dangers of flying too high in the world of Azeroth/Norrath?

Posted by: Rob on July 5, 2005 2:04 PM

Rob - Mainly cause it sounded cool two years ago. I didn't have a clear reasoning behind the name choice. The flying reference is closer to Icarus than Daedalus. Daedalus built the labyrinth for the minotaur (and the wings for Icarus). But I didn't have any intentions behind the name when I chose it.

Posted by: Nick Yee on July 5, 2005 5:49 PM

Interesting study. I too have been fascinated by the unique social environment that MMORPG's create for players. I don't actually like most computer games, but have definitely found my niche in the online world! In fact in just 4 years of online gaming, I have been transformed from "don't like computer games" to "Developing my own online game". That's how vast the difference between single player games and massively mulitplayer games has been for me! I wish that I had spent more time in art class and less time in Political Science! Because I am enjoying the creation of art (both pencil drawings and 3D computer models) much more deeply than anything I ever studied in school!

Thanks for posting your research data! It's very interesting!


Posted by: Sparkling on August 3, 2005 1:17 PM

I am Albert Ramos, a BS Sports Science student of the University of the Philippines and am currently doing a thesis on factors affecting the frequency of gamers engaging in online recreation in the Philippines.

I would just want to say that this study is really a good start-off point for further studies relating to the socio-cultural as well as the psychological behavior of online gamers.

Kudos to your work. Hope more of us delve into this area of study since the application of technological gaming has changed the ways of how people spend their recreational time.

Hoping to be able to interact and share notes from you, as well as other researchers, thesis authors and the like.

Again, Kudos. ^_^ Godspeed on your further studies.

Posted by: albert ramos on August 4, 2005 1:41 AM

I, like a few others who have posted already am concerned about the methodology you use in your surveying. At the same time however, I don't think that necessarily invalidates the relationships you've been able to show. It's very nice to see such an in depth catalog of this sort of research, nice job.

Posted by: Imara on October 26, 2005 7:42 AM

Hi Imara - I deal with some methodological concerns more closely in the article linked below. While I think sampling bias is a real issue, I think most critics overstate its effect.

Posted by: Nick Yee on October 26, 2005 9:56 AM

Brilliant website with a great wealth of useful information. I applaud your design and methodology (I don't have a problem with the sampling as you have considered and addressed any potential weaknesses here) and the presentation of your data and this entire website is inspirational! I especially loved The Virtual Skinner Box. I never got around to playing EQ or EQ2 (by the time I downloaded the trial version my free 7 day pass had expired - LoL!), but I became an expert at pulling Skinner's levers on RuneScape and WoW. I'm currently researching language learning on MMORPGs, so your research holds particular interest for me. Much appreciated!

Posted by: Gavin on October 28, 2005 1:56 AM

I am so impressed with the wealth and depth of data on this site. I am in my second year of a PhD examining deviance and virtual criminality in online game environments and I can completely understand the methodological difficulties you are facing. The good thing is you've explained the methodological concerns so well that I can cite it in my own work lol.

There isn't enough attention given to this area of research by academics who also know how the games are actually played. I've spent the last six months in Azeroth and even though a large part of my ethnographic contextualisation is done I'm thinking of emmigrating there. Do you think there are any lectureships in criminology at the University of Stormwind ;-)

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Debra on October 30, 2005 1:56 PM

Your site is incredibly interesting. I find that several of the essays/articles are very informative as to the nature of the online community as a whole and not just gamers. It would be fabulous to see these kinds of ideas and studies levied against online media sources (i.e. BBC/CNN/Jazeera). I know that would essentially be a pipe dream, but this whole site brings up and studies questions which are becoming more and more fundamental and that is how the online community is redifining human interaction. Great site, look forward to checking in again!

Posted by: Scrooge on January 31, 2006 11:47 AM

Hi, great work on the psychology of MMORPGs and I'm also glad that you posted the pdfs of previous volumes. I am currently working on a survey project for an undergraduate class. My survey is about the correlation between personality in real life and virtual life. Your studies correlate behaviours (leadership, friendship, etc.) in games with the "Big Five" model of personality. My project just simply correlate two personality inventories with one asking players about themselves in real life. The other is about their alter ego in games. It seems great at first, but I made some foolish decisions. The sample I'm looking for are undergraduates and are studying in Canada which I realize that it's too narrow. I thought I'd get many responses with posts in discussion forums, postings in campuses and word-of-mouth. But, I got very little response. So I'm dropping my Canadian requirement and am asking you if you could help advertise my survey to the relevant participants. I understand if you refuse, I had many hesitations when I think of the ethics involved.

here's the link to my survey:

Thank you,

Posted by: janarius on February 15, 2006 7:46 AM

Hi Nick,

I'm writing a paper about the ethics of creating MMORPGs to be so addictive. This paper is for a computer ethics class that is part of the software engineering curriculum at California Polyechnic State University (Cal Poly). I've explored your site, and have been able to use a lot of it. It's a wonderful project.

I haven't found much commentary on what game developers or the companies producing these games have to say about their products. Do they claim they are addictive? Do they admit the addictive nature but put personal repsonsibility on the gamers? If you have any research on these topics or could simply point me in the right direction, I would be very grateful. Thanks.


Posted by: Jeff Holliday on February 15, 2006 2:31 PM

Hi Jeff - This is complicated for several reasons. First of all, this is a highly polarized issue. The media keeps projecting the notion that "online games will eat your babies" and understandably, the game industry's response is "fun != addictive".

But more importantly, there is no scientific agreement whether video games are addictive in the first place. Furthermore, is this "behavioral dependency" different from other media forms? For example, typical Americans watch 28 hours of TV a week.

Also, when teachers design classes to be fun, we call that "engaging students", but when game developers design games to be fun, we call that an "addiction". Is there a double standard here? And what if the things that teachers try in pedagogy are the same things game designers are doing, except the game designers are better at it?

I understand where your research interest stems from, but it assumes the validity of the "online games will eat your babies" stance that the media constantly projects. Given that "internet addiction" and "gaming addiction" aren't officially recognized by the APA, I would be a little more critical of that assumption.


Posted by: Nick Yee on February 15, 2006 3:59 PM

Great site. Great work. I'll be reading through it all for some time to come.

It's great to see a gamer, so often portrayed by the media as both selfish and lazy, accomplishing something like this.

By the way... you poor mage, the Blizzard art team must hate you guys (Netherwind wisp shoulders FTL). :(

Posted by: Cabal, Human Warlock, Zul'jinn on February 17, 2006 3:01 AM

Oh yeah, I'm sorry to have to double post, but I can't edit my comment, and I just thought of this.

One of the major reasons I play WoW so much isn't because of the game itself, it's to hang out with all the very cool people in my guild.

I guess I better be careful though, I may become addicted to social interaction... geez, I better get help!

Posted by: Cabal, Human Warlock, Zul'jinn on February 17, 2006 3:04 AM

This website is absolutely remarkable. As I'm a MMORPG player myself, I admire your work. Also from the perspective of an academic I value it very much. How you focus on different perspectives and relate it to each other, great work. Especially the psychological findings on MMORPG'S, enjoyed reading it, about just as much as all the articles :)

Currently I'm writing a paper on potential identity changes due to participation in an online environment, in this case the MMORPG World of Warcraft. These changes might consider self-esteem, self-perception, attitude etc. I'm not sure how to work it out perfectly, but your website is a good inspiration for building up the research.

Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Johan on February 17, 2006 4:33 AM

Interesting how in the last 12 months this genre of game has suddenly sprung onto the world conciousness. I expect to see more ranting about the dangers of WOW et al(I know of one father who got rid of the computer because his son couldn't stop playing WOW).

What is undeniable is that I spend a good amount of time playing WOW - and so does my wife, in fact for the first time in our relationship she spends more time playing a game than I do (We don't have a TV) - the social aspect is the key reason for her interest - she just likes doing stuff with her guildies. I wouldn't be suprised if this is a common occurance.
I've often just assumed that most female toons I've seen in game are played by a male - but I believe now that a) there are a lot of females playing and b) its possible to tell if its a male or female playing the toon(simply by this - the females are far more likely to be concerned for the welfare of other toons or the party)

As far as the social interaction aspect goes - does it matter if the interaction is virtual or physical? The key fact is that its putting humans together in leisure activity and that leisure activity is highly accessible.
I wonder how many more fishing trips there would be if people could be in the boat in 30 seconds? (and don't give me any guff about physically being good for you - I've seen how much beer gets drunk on a fishing trip!)
Golf is another example....I'm astounded at the amount of time people spend playing golf - and even longer watching or discussing it!

Havn't been right through you site Nick but I've got a couple of areas I wonder if you've looked into:

1/ How much time do people spend playing WOW and doing some other activity at the same time, particularly watching TV or looking after children etc?
The design of the game means that you actually have plenty of opportunity to get away from the "danger" and chill out in the auction house - or travel around. Most games have a constant drive occuring - which even if you press esc for a break - this means that you've always got the next thing in the game at the back of you mind. With WOW by either design or accident you are forced back to the safety of "civilization" where you stock up for the next adventure - but the drive to be in high alert is gone so to speak. I've actually done all my housework while playing WOW because of these forced breaks - the flying around forces you to relax and put your feet up.

2/ How much have time have you spent looking into the "mask" that WOW affords people. My wife works with someone who is in her guild - and to meet him in person he's shy, and obviously has poor self esteem etc. In game - he is far more in control (runs a guild) imposes himself, talks authoritively etc. I'm astounded by the mask that WOW lets him assume.

Facinating subject.

Posted by: Hawkwood on February 17, 2006 9:47 PM

Fascinating stuff.
Currently doing a case study on whether there would be a marked improvement in cognitive behaviourism therapy if it were applied inside someone's 'world' before attempting it in the real world.
Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Kingsley - UK on April 2, 2006 2:41 PM

When you give t-test or other statistical tests, could you post your alpha level in the future? A t value showing significant effect carries a lot more weight if we know your confidence level.

Posted by: Tony V on April 13, 2006 2:38 PM

Tony - The t-value from a t-test directly determines the p-value (once you choose the one-tail or two-tail distribution - I always use two-tail). The alpha value is an arbitrary value that has no impact on either of those two scores. The t-value and p-value of a significance test don't change because of the alpha value. A test with a p = .01 has a p = .01 regardless of the alpha value.

So for example, on this page:

None of those numbers would be different regardless of what alpha value you choose. And since the p-value is the most important value in all this, the alpha value is actually irrelevant.

Posted by: Nick Yee on April 13, 2006 2:57 PM

I was just reviewing some of your info regarding male vs. female character class choices in WoW, and I noted the data that males are more likely to play shamans, while females are more likely to play druids. Just some food for thought on that one: the gender differences may be skewed for a major reason besides the class itself. Shamans can only be played by Horde characters. I'm a female player, and until the urging of my friends recently convinced me, I had refused to play any Horde characters...not due to some major idealistic preference, but because it is next to impossible to make female Horde characters that aren't absolutely hideous. (I mean really...who thinks up those hairstyles? They need a beating.)

Once I did make a Horde character (I found a troll combination that wasn't too awful), Shaman was the first class I chose.

So yeah, I hate to reinforce the stereotype that girls won't like it if it's not pretty...but it was true in my case and might be for others.

Just a thought,

Posted by: Angela on April 27, 2006 9:50 AM

I just want to thank you. It's nice to see people doing research on such a big genre of video games. I like reading your articles because i play WoW and have noticed some of these things.

It's good to see that people are interested in MMORPGs on an academic and scientific level.

Keep up the good work

Posted by: Nick A on May 21, 2006 4:20 PM

this is partial in response to angela's comment above about characters not being pretty. i too am more partial to creating WoW characters that are pretty.

I would also like to add the concept of the research is something that i have been interested in and am glad to see that i now have something to reference if needed in the future, although i am more interested in the gaming world as a whole.


Posted by: Hazel on June 9, 2006 10:31 AM

Keep up the great work on your blog. Best wishes WaltDe

Posted by: WaltDe on August 31, 2006 3:32 PM

im a warrior/monk in guildwars, nice site. im currently doing a reseach on the effects of MMORPG in the inter and intra personal communication of a gamer.

Posted by: Mon on October 16, 2006 6:01 AM

very interesting stuff. using a few of your articles to write some papers for my masters thesis and then perhaps doctorate. interested to know your thoughts on the matrix online as I am researching an ethnography of cartisean ideas inherent in the game/movie and how the current medium influences players belief/disbelief of the evil genius/agent smith storyline. Looking to understand how messages about the nature of the metaphysical effect perceptions of the metaphysical in the mmorpg medium---somewhat similar to williams "virtual cultivation: online worlds, offline perceptions."

you might enjoy the music of the sample artist daedalus on mush records.

Posted by: zanoni on December 1, 2006 10:22 AM

Hi Nick!

Fantastic work. I'm currently doing an anthropology paper on trends in social analysis of MMORPGs. I am pretty much praising you in my writing for making such an incredible comprehensive foundation for anthropological studies. Keep up the good work!

Mount Holyoke College '07
EQ and WoW addict extraordinaire.

Posted by: Sarah on December 9, 2006 12:12 PM

Just to comment: I was watching your PARC presentation from the web shown on July 20 2006 and interestingly I saw an image taken from the reinforcement article from wikipedia. I know it's released as public domain, but I was meaning to improve it someday. Anyways keep up the work.

Posted by: Janarius on January 26, 2007 8:04 AM

Hey Nick, I am trying to explore the business side of World of warcraft. In terms of whats special about it, their marketing strategy etc. Can you provide me any useful information which you might have come across?

Posted by: Victor on February 27, 2007 12:48 PM

I've heard many different explanations onver the past few years. For a sample of those, check out some of these posts and articles:

Another thing to remember is that WoW was incredibly polished when it came out (due partly to the long beta cycle). Most other companies would have rushed the production and indeed most other MMOs tend to be unfinished when released (SWG comes to mind).

Posted by: Nick Yee on February 27, 2007 1:33 PM

Hi Nick

I think you're doing great work. I'm using your MMORPG questionnaire as part of my PhD study. Like you say, no methodology is ever perfect and every new piece of research needs to start somewhere.


Hala x

Posted by: Halaleset on March 7, 2007 6:49 AM

Hey Nick,

I'd like to commend you on your great work. It's always nice to see people being able to make their career of something that they really enjoy. I can tell that you definitely enjoy what you do, and the result is this great website.

I have found the information very informative and it was a pleasure to read. I have been working for a large IT company for 9 years now, and enjoy every minute of it. But today I was on a conference call for 6 hours, and then heard about your site from "The Instance" WoW podcast. It gave me some great information and was very enjoyable to read.

Thank you!

Posted by: James on March 27, 2007 2:01 PM

Great site, I find myself returning often. I am just a player, no real academic interest and I did some across this site originally to determine what my addiction to MMOs was. It was refreshing to see a perspective that is analytical towards MM0 play. In my online travels I have met many diverse personalities and can honestly say that I see them represented here. Great work and I look forward to seeing more!

Posted by: Raithen on May 7, 2007 8:46 AM

This is a good start. Do you intend to do any analysis on your data to determine correlation, such as multivariate regression? I'd be very interested in the results if you plan to.

Posted by: Phoenix on May 10, 2007 12:00 AM


Can you do something very noticable to make people quit thinking all (or even most, or even more than 1%) virtual currency farming companies operating in China (and other countries) are sweatshops?



Posted by: Gravix on May 25, 2007 3:00 AM

Amazing site, with a huge amount of reliable information. Really useful for my master thesis, since there isn't much really factual information available about MMORPGs.


Posted by: Bas on June 18, 2007 12:40 AM

These data could have some relevance, anyway I think that the correct form for the incipit of this study would be "Overall, the demographic differences between Horde and Alliance characters willing to answer to my surveys are minimal".
It is not a mere matter of numbers, but also of quality of respondents: people willing to answer surveys statistically differs under many points (age, education, etc.) from the ones uniwilling to answer to surveys :P

Posted by: Massimo on September 27, 2007 5:32 PM

My sister sent me the link for your website when I was asking her if she knew of any place I could find some research for my computer mediated communication term paper. I was amazed at the amount of information on your page. EBSCO host and all of those lovely data sources provided by college libraries etc. provided very few useful articles about the social aspects of MMORPGs. I was so happy to find that you provided peer reviewed journal articles that are pertinent to MMORPG research, and even gave the PDF file. Thank you so very very very much!

Posted by: Scully on November 25, 2007 11:59 AM

Your site is working nicely for my term paper. I get a good understanding from all of this, but I think a bit more verbal analysis by you would be helpful. Heck, if I know you've conducted all of this surveying, I'll probably take your word on a lot of related things.

Posted by: Willermo on November 26, 2007 7:51 PM

Great site, full of fascinating insights into MMO culture, and came in pretty handy for an essay on identity in participatory media I had to write.

Thanks for the time and effort you've put into this research, good luck with your future efforts :)

Posted by: Al on February 20, 2008 1:17 PM

I think using self-selected survey participants is not a problem if what you are measuring are demographic or 'neutral' data. I only wonder when trying to make inferences from survey questions that pertain to emotional or desirable states whether having participants answer themselves is really the scientific way to go.

I don't think I have to cite that social psychology and polling research have shown that what people say and how they act does not match up in many situations, especially when the issue at hand is emotionally laden or require self-evaluation and self-tracking. So any questions about motivation, impact on personal life, time spent playing, issues etc. might be reliable but not necessarily valid.

There are possible ways to deal with it:
A) Use specific survey design techniques that detect inconsistent responses (i.e., when a person lies, but lies inconsistently enough that survey results exposes that inconsistency) - unfortunately, they typically result in rather lengthy surveys, I think?
B) Back up your 'loaded' survey data with other methods, like observation, indirect questions, content analysis of existing content (that wasn't created solely for the purpose of a study). For example, with time played, it should be fairly easy to get a decent estimate from existing data rather than asking players to select from a list of options?
C) Stay away from social psychology / sociology (socio-anthropological?) questions altogether.

I hope you will consider these or other options to validify your findings because by not doing so, you're keeping yourself open to continuied criticism. You may have acknowledged that there are weaknesses to your methodology but I would personally feel a bit better about your conclusions if you were also to discuss why you chose to study certain aspects and what you decided NOT to study based on the intrinsic biases of this methodology.

(regardless whether it is from a pre-selected list of answers or free-form)

Posted by: Jane on February 21, 2008 12:50 PM

I think using self-selected survey participants is not a problem if what you are measuring are demographic or 'neutral' data. I only wonder when trying to make inferences from survey questions that pertain to emotional or desirable states whether having participants answer themselves is really the scientific way to go.

I don't think I have to cite that social psychology and polling research have shown that what people say and how they act does not match up in many situations, especially when the issue at hand is emotionally laden or require self-evaluation and self-tracking. So any questions about motivation, impact on personal life, time spent playing, issues etc. might be reliable but not necessarily valid.

There are possible ways to deal with it:
A) Use specific survey design techniques that detect inconsistent responses (i.e., when a person lies, but lies inconsistently enough that survey results exposes that inconsistency) - unfortunately, they typically result in rather lengthy surveys, I think?
B) Back up your 'loaded' survey data with other methods, like observation, indirect questions, content analysis of existing content (that wasn't created solely for the purpose of a study). For example, with time played, it should be fairly easy to get a decent estimate from existing data rather than asking players to select from a list of options?
C) Stay away from social psychology / sociology (socio-anthropological?) questions altogether.
D) Be clear about the fact that some of the responses represent survey respondents' opinion but may not reflect truth / actuality.

I hope you will consider these or other options to validify your findings because by not doing so, you're keeping yourself open to continuied criticism. You may have acknowledged that there are weaknesses to your methodology but I would personally feel a bit better about your conclusions if you were also to discuss why you chose to study certain aspects and what you decided NOT to study based on the intrinsic biases of this methodology.

Posted by: Jane on February 21, 2008 12:52 PM

Jane - Good comments. The Daedalus Project is actually just one prong of my research in virtual worlds. Other prongs use different methodologies. So in the bigger picture, I'm trying to triangulate using different approaches.

For example, with my work with PARC's PlayOn project, we gathered server-side data from all characters on 5 WoW servers and conducted longitudinal behavioral analysis, including looking at social networks.

For my Stanford dissertation work, I used experimental designs to examine how avatars change the way users behave.

I've also been involved in mixed method approaches. For example, in one study with Dmitri Williams, we used the PlayOn data to find a representative cross-section of guild members (based on their behavior metrics) and then interviewed them in the game directly.

I think it often appears that the Daedalus Project is all I do because there's so much here, but it's actually just one prong of a much larger research agenda. You can get a better sense by checking out the list of my publications.

Also, Daedalus is meant to be more casual than my academic pubs, so I don't try to delve too deep in those methodological issues here. I definitely have no intention of creating blog articles that hold up to peer review.

Posted by: Nick Yee on February 21, 2008 1:11 PM

This is a fantastic site. One of my best friends plays WWC and has explained his world to me. We even related his experiences to my summer camp experiences. These "fantasy worlds" create some of the deepest human relationships and most amazing life events, and should not be discounted because they "do not have 'real-world' value." Thank you for compiling all of your research so effectively.

Posted by: Anonymous on March 15, 2008 1:38 PM


I am studying communications at King Siegmund College, Hungary, Budapest. I was very happy to find this page, because im planning to research the same,i find very interesting how a virtual society forms and works. My main question of researching would be that if a virtual society is able to model a real one, how modifies the language, creates its own cultural habits, rules of behaviour. I would be glad if you could offer me publications and articles about this theme, which you think is worth to read ( except this great page, ofc :)), and let me ask you by email, if i will have questions during my studies. I also would like to congratulate you for this page, shows a huge amount of work in a theme what is handled so badly and with full of stereothypes by most of the publicists ive read from about.

Posted by: Istvan Kalincsák on March 19, 2008 3:03 AM

I'm suggesting, not only a study on the nature of the MMO vs. human behavior, but a listing of successful treatment and methods used to quit the game.

I believe the next step after defining the nature of the problem would be develope solutions to solve the problem.

Posted by: Brandon on March 23, 2008 3:41 PM

Dear Nick,

I'm an student from Spain who is doing a research about MMORPG and how it influence on human minds, like changes habits of your real life or how your behaviour develop in game.
I must say congratulations for your website,it's awesome. Could you put a list of your articles or any publication please?
I would feel free to ask you by e-mail any doubt that I could have on my research.

Posted by: Albert on April 16, 2008 1:31 PM

I write through the translator, excuse me for my English. I from Russia. I write the diploma about MMORPG (psychology). Thanks for a site, it has very much helped me. For our country of research devoted MMORPG new enough (the first game has in Russian appeared 5 years ago though some people and played before the European and American servers). At present market MMORPG in our country quickly develops. But the majority of people do not know that from itself represents MMORPG as it yet has not accepted mass distribution.

Posted by: V era on April 23, 2008 2:22 PM

Great site full of awesome info. I have been searching for info on MMORPGs for my research paper and your site has been like striking gold.

Posted by: Lindsey on May 1, 2008 10:45 AM

It's awesome you did this site. I'm doing an anthropology paper on MMORPGers and I was happy to see other research being done on the community that isn't completely about addiction. Thank you!

Posted by: Sheila on December 1, 2008 5:49 PM

I used your data to figure out the typical addict thanks for posting the data.

Posted by: Jonathan on January 25, 2009 4:20 PM

Very good project and was interesting read some articles but I couldn't calculate result based on data provided for free download.

I'm not such strong in statistic and may be doing something wrong but data I've downloaded have very low correlation between variables and it's almost impossible setup common factors for further factor analysis.

If anyone succeed please let me know how I can correctly process data, I really need it for my Master Essay about MMORPG motivational factors.

Thank you, my email

Posted by: Igor on February 18, 2009 10:27 PM

sir i have a question,

how does avatar reflects the player personality?

please answer...

thank you,


Posted by: toots on June 26, 2009 8:36 PM

Hi Nick,
Awesome work, just awesome. I listened to the women in gaming lecture/conference video on itunes today and you had a lot to say about world of warcraft and MMOs and how women play it, and it was just very interesting and as a female world of warcraft player of 4 years and a sociologist major, it was music to my ears. You are seriously my new hero.

Posted by: Nicole on July 19, 2010 3:14 PM

Which languages is the surveyor fluent in?

My Polish friends playing WoW are continually underrepresented in these so-called "surveys" and "projects."

This is just another unpublished man attempting to explain the world around him with biased facts.

Posted by: Monica on October 17, 2010 4:43 AM

Monica - A lot of these findings have been published in academic papers:

Also, we're releasing findings based on Chinese-language surveys of Hong Kong and Taiwan players: And we plan on doing our next Phase in the EU.

Given the large number of countries that have WoW players, it's unproductive to call out underrepresentation of any particular country. No one is fluent in every language. Also, I'd like to point out that there's nothing stopping your Polish friends from conducting their own surveys. That would be more productive than complaining.

Posted by: Nick Yee on October 17, 2010 3:17 PM

I am doing my dissertation on the personality and sociability of online gamers, namely those who wow, and found your research ivnaluable, nice work!! ^_^

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5wQfHn Youth rock band "Ranetki" says thank you for such a wonderful blog..!!

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