Respondents also answered (yes / no) whether they had:
- Been on a raid for at least 8 hours
- Ever used a third-party macro or app
- Bought a virtual item / currency
- Ever had an opposite gender character as their main
A series of logistic regressions were used to see which of the 10 subcomponents, in addition to gender and age, might be good predictors for the above 4 statements.
The best predictor for "8 hour raids" was the relationship subcomponent (B = .66, p < .001) followed by the teamwork subcomponent (B = .39, p < .001). While this may seem unintuitive, it does make sense that it is the people who are most interested in serious sustained relationships that would end up in raids of significant duration. And in fact, female players are more likely to have been in an 8 hour raid than male players (35% vs. 26%).
The best predictor for "3rd party macro" was the competition subcomponent (B = .28, p < .001) followed by the mechanics subcomponent (B = .22, p < .001). In other words, third party macros are a way for players to gain an edge over the competition and "optimize" their characters.
The best predictor for "bought virtual item" was age (B = .32, p < .001) followed by the relationship subcomponent (B = .28, p < .001). Age is a significant predictor because of disposable income, but I have no good explanation for why the relationship subcomponent would be a good predictor.
The best predictor for "gender-bending" was the role-playing subcomponent (B = .26, p < .001) followed by the customization subcomponent (B = .24, p < .001).
Regarding the rationale on why the relationship subcomponent may be a predictor of "bought virtual items:"
I've noticed that in many game economies, there seem to be more methods to remove virtual currency from circulation that affect the relationship-builders than the achievers. House maintenance/rent, furnishings, and seasonal decorations (or special events) seem, in my experience, to be consumed more frequently by relationship-oriented people than their counterparts.
At the same time, a relationship-oriented player's time is not as focused on optimizing the acquisition of ingame currency. Many relationship-building acts do not generate "loot" as efficiently as the actions of the achievement-focused players.
In EQ2, for example, a high-society apartment can be a considerable drain to the coinpurse. An achievement-oriented player may see little value in that expense, whereas a relationship-builder may see more value there. Time spent in that apartment rarely generates revenue for the relationship-builder at a rate anywhere similar to an achiever's time.
This *could* suggest that the relationship-builder is "taxed" proportionally more for their gameplay than other players. A relationship-builder might be more inclined to see earning sufficient ingame coin as a distraction from the game experience he or she enjoys. Buying ingame currency would simply allow them to continue emphasize relationship-building.
Achievers, on the other hand, have considerable performance-based expenses, but are probably more likely to see the act of buying ingame currency as a "cheat"...
As a future survey item, I'd be interested to see if perceptions of "buying ingame currency" differed between different play styles. Who considers it acceptable? Who sees it as cheapening the overall experience? Who sees it as a necessary evil?
My opinion with the "Buying Ingame Currency":
I have played a few online games for a few years now and like most average players I dont have the time to invest and obtain large amounts of money or "loot" to better my characters equipment and abilities.
I work full time and have a life outside of work and these games. but I enjoy playing these games a few hours a night(currently playing EQII) but dont have the time it takes to earn money that happily suits my playing experience.
Like any hobby or pasttime people have they spend some amount of money towards it so they can continue to enjoy what they find entertaining.
I see buying in game currency not as of cheating but as a fair trade between Time and money.
I see buying currency as a way of buying my time back so I can enjoy the game more to my playstyle doing quests and killing monsters with friends..
Perhaps the reason for the unusual correlation to the relationship factor with respect to buying currency online lies in the nature of the relationships that the respondant has with his fellow players.
Some players like to have large sums of in-game currency to fund the acquisition of gear and items. The question becomes, is this an achievement-driven desire or not? I know some players who will slave away in-game, hour after hour, to be the absolute best. They pride themselves on their equipment and abilities, but have no desire to purchase currency. I would expect their achivement factor to show up quite clearly.
On the other hand, I know players who want the best possible gear not because they're tricking out their character, but because they approve of the "gee, wow" feeling they get from other players around them. This isn't really an achievement-driven issue; it's a relationship-driven issue. It begs the question: what kind of relationship the surveyed gamer has with others in his or her game? Is the gamer there because they're looking for strong socialization, or do they simply enjoy being stroked, approved of, and reaffirmed?
I guess the point I'm driving at is that I'd guess that the currency-buying motivation isn't going to be a simple one- or two- factor correlation, not when there are still many levels of personality unsurveyed and unclarified. Some will buy currency to help friends and allies, some will buy it to take care of themselves, some will buy it to equip themselves and revel in the attention that their gear will bring - all different motivations leading to the same end.
At the end of the day, the reason people buy currency is because economically it often makes more sense to spend X real world hours earning Y dollars to trade for Z currency, rather than spending a high multiple of X in-game to earn that same Z currency. Underlying rationales aside the final decision will often be made on an economic basis.
The decision to not buy online currency is more interesting, as every time I've seen a rant against the practice, it has been a moral or ethical or emotional rant at it's core - basic economics is thrown out the window, discounted and chastized for daring to exist, and the person ranting whips themselves into an almost righteous anger. I'm sure there are some easily found personality correlations in people who *don't* buy currency, but finding them in those who *do* will prove tricky.
My first reaction to the idea of buying currency wasn't so much that is was a cheat, but that it brought with it a connection with the Real World that *I* definitely don't want in my gaming.
That might seem silly because of course, it's in the real world where I fork out the bucks, in order to be in the virtual world.
I think another relationship that shouldn't be overlooked is the relationship you form with yourself.
I get little satisfaction from the gee whiz reaction of others. Instead, I am higly gratified I have worked hard to defeat my opponents and thus earn the right to loot their gear. I prefer that type of earning as opposed to earning coin with which to buy my gear/supplies.
I also generally refuse the gifts of others as well, once again based on *my* need to feel that I have earned the reward.
I mean no insult of criticism of anyone else's style of play, but offer my own case as an example of a lot of people I have met in MMORPGs.
At the risk of sounding terribly un-PC, I want to point out something about the Relationship and Bought Virtual Item correlation.
Women have the highest relationship scores. And certain groups of women love shopping online--in fact, women made 64% of online purchases in 2004. Seeing as gender alone did not account for the virtual item discrepancy, could it be that a subset of women--hardcore shoppers--are skewing the "bought virtual item" statistics?
I never thought I would find such an eevyrday topic so enthralling!