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MMORPGs - A Love-Hate Relationship

Subscribing to an MMORPG is like having a relationship in many ways. It demands a lot of time and a lot of personal and emotional investment. And because itíll inevitably make other people in your life jealous of the relationship you have with it.

But on a more serious note, subscribing to an MMORPG is like a love-hate relationship in that players can derive both incredible satisfaction and agony from their game-play. In a recent survey, players were asked whether the most satisfying experience in their lives over the past 7 and 30 days occurred in the game or in real life. On average, about 27% of players indicated that the most satisfying experience over the past 7 days occurred in the game, and 18% of players indicated the same when the wording was changed to "over the past 30 days". Younger players were more likely to indicate that the most satisfying experience over the past 7 or 30 days occurred in the game. There were no gender differences.

Players were then asked whether the most annoying or infuriating event they had experienced over the past 7 or 30 days occurred in the game or in real life. On average, about 33% of players indicated that the most infuriating experience over the past 7 days occurred in the game, and 23% of players indicated the same when the wording was changed to "over the past 30 days". Itís interesting that players seem to experience more infuriating than rewarding experiences, and yet the game is still appealing. Younger players were more likely to indicate that the most infuriating experience over the past 7 or 30 days occurred in the game. There were no gender differences.

These two sets of data hint at the degree of personal and emotional investment that players put into these immersive worlds, and the degree to which they are willing to revel and suffer in these digital constructs. And ultimately, part of why MMORPGs are so seductive is because they are able to elicit such strong emotional responses from us Ė whether good or bad, and somehow even though there are days you writhe in agony from a fatal loss, you keep coming back for a chance at the heroic victory.




Comments

I think the age difference says it all here. The younger players just simply don't have as much (work, offspring, marriage) to deal with on a daily basis and so it's no surprise to me that their collective highs and lows are skewed towards the time they spend online. Both the rewards and the frustrations that I experience in the game (EQ) pale in comparison to what I experience in the real world.

Best Regards,

Krushu Atrociter
The Brell

Posted by: Krushu Atrociter on May 7, 2003 4:41 PM

I think there is also another factor to consider. Most of the people that I have observed that have digital success and failures on the same level of sevarity as real life ones often don't have a very dynamic life anyways. If they have a very exciting life they aren't likely to remember virtual encounters as good (or bad) moments. As for myself being in the military it doesn't matter how many times I die in EQ, if they let me throw hand-grenades its always a good day. :)

Posted by: Dakkon on May 24, 2003 5:19 AM

I feel it would depend on what you do in real life and what their priorities are. Whether you're in school, or have a job or wherever you're at in life would make a difference. When younger the real world and game world are about equal in whats important and what would make you happy or anger etc. When you get older and have a serious relationship, or a spouse and kids and work and whatever else to deal with things change. If you're husband or kid or family member gets sick then the game doesnt seem to matter so much.

Posted by: sugar on August 11, 2005 12:15 PM

But also, take into account that Nick asks about a certain period of time. I answered that my most satisfying experience in the last 7 days had been in game because in that period I experienced a huge win with my guild in an end-game instance. Ask me another week and the results will be different.

Posted by: SanD on October 25, 2005 11:15 AM
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