Why Do You Play?
Other players are motivated by other people, but in a competitive sense:
I play the game for the challenge. In my opinion, it is far more challenging and fun to play with or against other people. In a video game, you can easily figure out the reactions of the program. With people, however, you can only be 40% sure of what they are going to do. The most appealing thing about the game is the challenge. I enjoy being challenged. I enjoy being beaten. I enjoy the twists and turns that are thrown at me. [SWG, M, 18]
For DAOC, the dynamic interplay of realm war and keep takes keeps me involved. I'm not so interested in victory; in fact, some of my most memorable moments revolve around heroic actions in defeat (I stood off 16 Midgarders alone for two whole minutes - they could hardly land a hit or a spell on me - and that allowed my group to escape.) Facing live opponents is far more interesting than facing a more predictable AI. [DAOC, M, 42]
Comparisons with Other Entertainment
There were many responses that wouldn’t easily fit in one of the well-defined categories. For example, several players didn’t focus on what motivated them to play the game, but instead compared it with other forms of entertainment available to them.
There's also the factor that I often find myself with nothing better to do; I get home from work about 1am, and of course my family is asleep. I'm typically wide awake, so playing EverQuest gives me a way to wind down, and it's a hell of a lot more entertaining than the crap they show on television after 1am... [EQ, M, 32]
Gaming is an interactive time sink. I don't find television entertaining, I can seek out things I find entertaining in the game world. The most appealing aspect of gaming is getting together with friends to explore and garner items. [DAOC, M, 29]
That's an easy answer. I have too much time on my hands. Day to day most single people get bored and end up spending hours in front of the Television. Sure they mow the lawn, clean the house, do laundry and then watch TV. I don't enjoy that or going out to clubs or sitting on the beach, they all lack appeal, so I play EverQuest, it surely beats watching paint dry. [EQ, M, 30]
Perhaps the most interesting answer submitted was the following entrepreneurial motivation – clearly a subset of the achievement motivation, but so novel that it deserved a separate mention.
Currently, I am trying to establish a working corporation within the economic boundaries of the virtual world. Primarily, to learn more about how real world social theories play out in a virtual economy. Secondly, to become rich and famous (in game). Finally, I'm trying to in some way effect the way MMORPGs are designed and played. This process is incredibly time consuming and assures that I will continue to log on daily to manage inventories and make sales. The most appealing aspect of the game is the open-ended player driven economy. Players in general seem to be stuck in a certain paradigm of how things are supposed to work. The idea of a corporate entity issuing stock and offering franchises and employment strikes them as odd. I'm not sure if this is because no one has done it before, or if it is too much reality in a game. At any rate, I appreciate that the limitations are more organic rather than being imposed by the game design. [SWG, M, 30]