Anecdotal and quantitative data seemed to suggest that many players felt they were learning important life lessons from MMORPGs. Several questions were included in a recent survey to explore this aspect in more depth. The following graphs show age and gender differences among respondents who used the top two of the seven agreement rating points, labeled from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. So the 45.5% at the top right of the first graph means that 45.5% of female players over the age of 35 strongly agreed that important life lessons can be learned in MMORPGs.
Both the gender and age differences are quite striking in that they are either non-linear or only affect one gender. In the first graph, younger players tend to feel that important life lessons can be learned in MMORPGs, but for female players, this sentiment rebounds with age while it declines among male players. In the second graph, about one-third of female players across all ages feel that their MMORPG experiences have helped them grow as a person whereas among male players, this sentiment declines significantly with age.
Multiple regression analyses were performed on both data sets using the demographics, motivations and personality factors as independent variables.
The multiple regression results showed that the motivation to socialize within the game was the best predictor of whether a player felt they were learning important life lessons or achieved personal growth from the game. To ensure that this result wasn’t merely due to the covariance of gender and score on the "social" motivation, the multiple regression was repeated with only the male players. The coefficients for the "social" motivation were almost exactly the same, .26 and .27 respectively. In fact, the coefficients for the "social" motivation were weaker when the multiple regression was done only with female players, .20 and .20 respectively.
The biggest lesson you can get out of an MMORG is the lesson of learning how to quit something very addictive.
Other lesson can be learned. In WoW, you learn the patience quite fast in the game experience.
You also learn Cooperation - not only with your clan partners but also with the enemy. On a PvP server, sometimes you just want to quest, as your opponent do and some kind of non-agression pact is made when you encounter one even if you can't communicate with him. "Let's quest and avoid respawning far from here", you say to yourself. If your opponent thinks about the same thing, you will respect him otherwise frustration will occurs.
That's why a quit WoW. I like killing some Humans but damn, when I want to quest, you can't understand how it can be frustrating to be killed by someone 20 levels higher than you.
I think important life lessons are to be learned from any game or multi-person activity. For that reason, MMORPGs rate no less because they are over the internet in my scale. It hurts that they are partly impersonal, but that same concept help people try thing they wouldn't try in real life and see the consequences/benefits.
As for the charts, I think for some reason males are more addicted to MMORPGs. Maybe its instincts, maybe its unbalanced graphical representation. I believe that is why older males loose the perception of values in MMORPGs--those who have recovered from being addicted or see how it affects their lives despise it.
I think there are life lessons for everyone, whether they realize it or not. It takes excellent communication, teamwork, committment, integrity, determination, leadership, responsibility, and patience to MMORPG. Those personality traits are encouraged by game participation; yet, they are so engrained into the process that many people don't realize that they are gaining skills by playing.
Anybody can learn almost any 'life lesson' in a MMORPG -- given that they are exposed to the right conditions at the right time and appreciated it in such a manner that basically got the point across.
Thats really wordy, but basically means that it depends on alot of things. If the person is appropriately receptive to those conditions, then the 'lesson' can be learned.
I count my old guild lead in EQ as one of the most influential people I have ever met, and we still exchange e-christmas cards (i know its corny, but its better than letting a buddy like that fly away) to this day - 4 years later.
All that said, many lessons or mental skills can be developed in some manner. Leadership, cooperation, teamwork, accounting, creative strategy, etc etc... To actually ideographically quantify a list would be ridiculous in this medium.
But thats sure not a reason to supplant MMORPG with real life.
But thats sure not a reason to supplant MMORPG with real life
I do not know if that statement is intentionally back to front, but it makes me smile all the same.
In my opinion life lessons are not so much learned in the MMORPGs, than rather refreshed in the players memory by the games. The lessons themselves are mostly about bad people who do bad things (all that glitters is not gold; the Devil speaks with a smile not a snarl; etc.). Lack of normal exposure to said bad people in real life would mean an ingame virtual hurt inflicted by such an evil 'character' would lead to an increased perception of having provided a valuable learning experience.
To quote Cary Grant in the movie Operation Petticoat (1959):
"When a girl is under 21 she's protected by law. When she's over 65 she's protected by nature. Anything in between is fair game."
Could I postulate that outside the ages of 15-33 females are more used to experiencing the (sometimes false) civilised behaviour of people who are careful not to offend their real life sensibilities. I would suggest that is why the uncensored behaviour of a MMORPGs populace may be so illuminating to these different age demographics, teaching one group and reminding the others of the Life Lessons concerned.
I doubt that men have better memories than women. Its just that once they have learnt (or have been reminded about) the virtual machinations of scammers, muggers, killers and fair-weather friends then they are pretty much done.
Unless they do as this white male did and create a black female character. I have never had racial abuse targeted at my vitual self before. I think it left a mark somewhere deep down in my real self. I hope it did.
"But thats sure not a reason to supplant MMORPGs with real life", the comment was a 'back to the front' sort of mechanism.
It was intended to mean that no matter what good you can gain from MMORPGs, living in front of a computer screen and supplanting real life with a virtual one (because of whatever reason) is simply unhealthy. This is a tangented topic though and should either be linked or stopped (didnt meant for it to be targeted).
That said, you absolutly learn many things (especially concerning anthropology and psycology). Life lessons are learned through interaction and reflection, because the interaction happened in a virtual world does not make the interaction itself virtual.
You can learn a life lesson aywhere, especially if you spend 8 hours a day doing that activity because you want to - lets try to ignore the whole conditioning and behaviourism present in games -
even if you learn "nothing" you will learn about how its always time put into something that makes all the difference in the world and your life.
Im lucky i have my guitar, am i a guitar addict for practicing 8 hours a day? Hell yeah, but it makes me happy. It is sad to see so many brilliant minds settling for the instant gratification of MMORPGS, but who are we to judge, we are all junkies of some sort in this or the other way :)