Dealing with Dilemmas
Because of the sheer diversity of play motivations and the narrow communication channel, conflicts and misunderstandings happen a lot in MMOs, particularly in pick-up groups. For example, in World of Warcraft, what if the Priest wants to roll on the Warlock set piece? What if that Hunter looked like they just ninja-looted a Paladin plate piece? More often than not, there simply isn't enough time to lay out the issues and talk calmly. In a recent survey, I asked players how they would respond in these kinds of conflicts. In particular, I was interested in whether there were any age or gender differences.
I created three conflict scenarios based in World of Warcraft. I chose scenarios that were plausible and yet did not have standard resolutions. For example, the question of whether the Warrior or Rogue should tank has a standard resolution and wouldn't be an interesting conflict - it would be more of a knowledge test. Because producing such scenarios requires a sufficiently deep understanding of a particular game (and because I was most familiar with WoW at the time of the survey), I limited the scenarios to WoW and asked only WoW players to respond to the question set (1831 respondents altogether).
In the question set, players were asked to assume that the players mentioned were all players they had never played with before. The 3 scenarios were as follow:
You are in a high-level 5-man instance. The first blue BoP item drops about 20% of the way into the instance. It's a plate item with a +healing bonus. Everyone passes except for the Paladin, who rolls need. Surprisingly, the Hunter also rolls need. The Hunter wins the roll, and then apologizes, and claims they didn't mean to ninja. If the group voted at this point, would you vote for 1) removing the Hunter immediately from the group, or 2) keeping the Hunter in the group.
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