Current Issue: Vol. 7-1 (03/09/2009)



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DRAVEN: HOSTILE ARSENAL`Crusade GUARDIANS PierceTheVeins Fenris Mastermind Vengeance LEGION ELITE Imperial SUPERIOR Descendants REVENGE AllStars CONQUEROR CONQUEST Renegades Celestial Beings Enrage ... [go]

Ashraf Ahmed : real-world context can be inserted into a virtual world, effectively turning the virtual world into a forum for real-world contexts. ... [go]

Roflmaodoodoodadoodoo: I didn't get it from the generator, but I saw it in Arathi Basin and thought it was the best ... [go]

Keesha: In awe of that aneswr! Really cool! ... [go]

Bobbo: This does look promising. I'll keep cmoing back for more. ... [go]



L10 Web Stats Reporter 3.15 LevelTen Hit Counter - Free Web Counters
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Daedalus Reflections

Ending Thoughts

To those of you who have participated in the surveys. Those of you who regularly come and read the articles here. Those of you who post polite and insightful commentary. Those of you who have helped spread the word about this work. I am forever grateful to every single one of you for allowing me to have built up something over the past 8 years that I am so proud of. I am forever grateful to the player community for giving me the opportunity to weave a richer and fuller tapestry of what online gaming is really about.

I have no intention of stopping what I've been doing. And I hope that you all will continue to participate and help spread the word. Together, we can help each other understand why online games are so fascinating.



Congratulations on the doctorate!

Posted by: nmw on July 2, 2007 9:00 PM


I have been with you since the beginning. I always enjoyed seeing what you had to say about the gaming community. Congrats on your accomplishment. You earned it. I look forward to seeing what the future brings.


Posted by: Steve on July 2, 2007 9:10 PM

Long time reader, only commented a few times.

Cracking one open for you, Nick!

Posted by: Rob on July 2, 2007 10:49 PM

First of all, congratulations on the PhD!

I was with this project from the very beginning and I was always surprised how one person alone could handle it.

Reading about this cold-hearted professor made me angry, but this is often the case... you have been lucky that he did not take your work and sell it as his own, as has been the case many times before (my own father suffered this fate). But there is hope. This callous criticism means only one thing: fear. Fear that new ideas might prove old farts wrong. Fear that old established lines of thinking might be broken. Fear that his castle of prejudice might be stormed by reason.

Over here in Germany some people want to ban any game that includes violence as part of the gameplay. They ignore that we already have one of the most strict child protection laws in the world. They ignore that no serious trial has ever proved a link between school killers and violent games. They ignore that millions of young people are totally unharmed by these games. They ignore that all the points they are criticising are already taken care of by our strict laws. But they have fear - fear of a phenomenon they do not know anything about. So they just call it "evil" to be released from thinking about it.

Carry on with your good work and be sure of my further support.

Best wishes,

Posted by: Fruusch on July 2, 2007 11:41 PM

I'd have to chime in on the notion I'm personally glad you didn't get fed up. What a loss that would have been.

All that gaming means to people and families seperated over long distances can not be undermined by one snobby professional's opinion. I'm so glad your friend was able to inspire you to buck the system a little and not give up on yourself.

Frankly I think the twit who wrote the article was just upset because you had a HUGE following from the MMO community and he didn't think of it himself first or did such a horrible job on an initial study that nobody gave it any credible merit. Irregardless of your clueless agressor you stepped up to the plate and continued to deliver quality content to people who care. You set a great basis for MMO comunity research and where you go from here is only up to you.

You helped rationalize why many people find themselves so intersted in the online world, why it is so hard to leave your online friends behind, why it is a great networking tool, why online gaming is get this...a catalyst of Globilization and social integration. I could go on but as online gaming gets bigger I think MMO's will be a channel for social integration like never seen before. Everyone in the world can understand cooperation no matter what language, etnicity, or religion they follow. What a great way to break down barriers in our world.

Once again I'd like to congratulate you on your PhD, I wish you much sucess and the fact that people don't know of you much yet in the scietific world is only because you haven't taken the time to shake their hand and say "My name is Nick Yee, yes I have a online study I produced that has a sub pool of tens of thousands."

Posted by: Jon on July 2, 2007 11:49 PM

Well done!

The academic establishment can be a little arthritic sometimes, it has a certain amount of stiffness and inertia like all other institutions, but don't let it get you down!

Posted by: Alex T on July 3, 2007 12:02 AM

Thanks for this, Nick! I'll reiterate publicly what I said to you that day... Criticism is easy. The hard work is putting in the kind of considered, prolonged effort that you have. The work you've done is a gift to the research community, and it's a snapshot of a time and cultures that are otherwise not terribly well documented. I am so, so glad that you've continued and have no doubt that we will see more thoughtful and brilliant things from you in the years to come.

Posted by: Lisa Galarneau on July 3, 2007 2:06 AM

Congrats on the doctorate, Nick - your work as documented here certainly gives the lie to any ill-thought accusations by other academics, but I'm sure you've already decided not to let one bad apple taint the rest of the batch for you!

I'd like to add that your approach to MMO social research, though, and the marvellous dissemination you've done via this site and your other (published & peer-reviewed) work certainly hasn't gone unnoticed by other psych researchers like myself (who might even be gamers!) and don't buy into that old-fashioned reactionary view that you've run in to. That naive, uninformed and intellectually lazy shorthand that marginalises, demonizes and even pathologises this fascinating (and significant) population has had it's day, I'm willing to bet. Sure there'll be a couple of last-gasp throwbacks, but the more that we properly study and begin to appreciate the psychological complexity and authenticity of life online, the less this sort of nonsense will be tolerated.

Again, congrats Dr Yee! I look forward to seeing your name crop up in future crawls through PsycINFO... :-)

Posted by: AlasdairGF on July 3, 2007 2:09 AM

Nick, I've been fascinated by your research for years.

I do want to offer you a different point of view on the "cold" professor. The end result was edited out of the article. That could mean that the person changed their mind - it could mean a lot of things. The bottom line is that the unkind words did not go out.

I am not in academia, but I hear these sorts of intellectual challenges present themselves often as I have two siblings who are PhDs.

Totally understand your feelings of hurt at the remarks you discovered online. But I'd like to offer you a different way to look at the situation. Those remarks you discovered can actually be useful to you.

For one thing, they can make you take a look at what you are doing and make adjustments as you find truth or non-truth in what was said. Have courage - be a warrior. Take nothing personally. These type of circumstances will definitely arise again at some point in your life. Wishing ill on the person who harmed you, such as public shame, will not benefit you and, ultimately, have no purpose.

One course is really to simply let it go and use what you can for yourself. Another is actually to take the opportunity to generate feelings of compassion for that person because all the circumstances, training, and inner demons/angels lead that person to remark as s/he did. Most of the time we don't realize what we are doing; we don't see the result. We enjoy sitting in front of the MMPORG for many hours and don't see the result to our lives many years down the road. Sometimes we do things, write things, and we wish we could rewind and erase. And, in the case of this person, they *did* erase. So this is something to factor into how you feel about them.

That person may be one of your greatest teachers.

Hope this helps and wishing you all the best. Your project most likely will have benefits down the road yet to be discovered.

And GRATS! on the PhD.

Posted by: Mary on July 3, 2007 4:47 AM

Grats on the PHD, is it epic?

As to the bitter prof, I've learned in a long career that butts heads with a lot of people that all criticism must be considered from the source. Once you realize that said professor is probably mired in ages old canons and academic lethargy does what he says still matter as much?

Carry on the great work, I am always happy when I see another issue up.

Posted by: Kyle on July 3, 2007 5:49 AM


congratulations on the doctorate! Having participated from the very beginning (or close to), I find the research you do to be very interesting. I look forward to seeing the daedalus project continue. :)

Posted by: demonix on July 3, 2007 6:48 AM


Congratulations on your TWO degrees! It is such a sweet and yet scary feeling to finally finish such an endeavor, and look around and wonder "What's next?" Given your track record, I'm sure you'll find something fascinating to do, and I hope you'll share it with the world. I have enjoyed your work immensely and been educated and informed by your efforts. Thank you so much!

Posted by: Groovymarlin on July 3, 2007 8:10 AM

Congratulations Nick! Thank you for sharing the whole story as an inspiration to the rest of us - those cold, callous people abound and we can't let that interrupt our vision and path. It's been an honor...

Posted by: Shavaun on July 3, 2007 8:10 AM

Congratulations on the PhD! And thank you for letting us read and participate in your research.

And - more important certainly - congratulations for beating illness.

Posted by: Jim Hall on July 3, 2007 8:14 AM

Grats man, and Thanks!


Posted by: Swens on July 3, 2007 9:21 AM

Thank you for saying that, Mary. Indeed, I've been struggling with that very thing. Part of me definitely realizes that anger simply festers inside and does no good. But in the same way that his "calling me out" turned out to a be a lesson, perhaps my "calling him out" may be a lesson to him :)

Also, even though it was curbed in the final version, Google has made both versions equally accessible. So ironically, the "draft" version is just as public as the "final" version.

There's anger and then there's principle, and it's, of course, impossible for me objectively differentiate what's inside, but I want to say that it's important to not shy away from principle simply because it may coincide with a bit of anger ...

Posted by: Nick Yee on July 3, 2007 9:36 AM

Grats on your ding! and never forget - life is short, illegitimi non carborundum or some such.

Thanks for doing what you've done, and good luck in your future endeavors.

Posted by: Xanthippe on July 3, 2007 11:49 AM

Congratulations, man--well done! I'm equally pleased to hear that you intend to continue your research; who knows what further pearls might yet be plumbed from the depths! You've gone further in your academic (and professional) career than I can personally imagine, and am eager to see where these endeavors take you next. Thank you so very much for letting me (and others) take part in this grand experiment. Live long and prosper, my friend. (And for that mystery author, the obverse: "Die soon and eat ****"! :p)

Posted by: Sean on July 3, 2007 12:25 PM

Congratulations Nick.

I as a gamer am proud of the work you have done and how you have done it and am pleased to hear you will be continuing with it.

Keep sending me the update emails and I will keep filling out the surveys.

Posted by: Jaxar on July 3, 2007 3:05 PM

I have been reading your work (and participating in many surveys) since I found this site, oh so many years ago. It has grown as I have, in exploring the odd and fascinating world of the online community. I have changed games and characters online, as well as changing career and environment in real life. It is all a progression, and I am so very glad that you stuck with this site through the difficult times.
Your work has given many of us the inspiration to take ourselves seriously when the establishment continually wanted to slap a label on us and stick us in a box labelled alternatively "antisocial", "maladjusted" and many other things.
Thank you, Nick Yee.

Brasse the Dwarven Cartographer

Posted by: Brasse on July 3, 2007 6:17 PM

Well done mate :)

Posted by: Jonathan on July 3, 2007 6:22 PM


I can't decide on a snarky comment. You choose:

A) But do remember that no one should ever do any research. There may be someone more qualified to do it later.


B) Damned this atmosphere - it has polluted the study of vacuums for generations.


C) Clearly we were better off before the common man could read or write; spoiling the pristine landscape which ought to have been held in reserve.


Observation: Sometimes it's easy to regret and forsake a thing. Other times it's easier to defend it. You might have a hand in shaping the terrain around that particular fort.

Or you might not... I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: Jeff Freeman on July 3, 2007 8:18 PM

Congratulations on your achievement. I have referenced your site many times, most recently to a counselor I was seeing for PTSD relating to Hurricane Katrina. (I sought refuge in World of Warcraft throughout most of 2006.)

That you managed to finalize your dissertation throughout the health problems you were experiencing is truly amazing. I am stunned by your story... I think the fact that the medication reaction was as bad or worse on you than the condition for which it was given to treat was the kicker.

May it go well with you.

Posted by: lisa on July 3, 2007 9:00 PM

Congratulations on your hard work, perseverance and well-deserved doctorate. Good luck, and good health, for the future.

Posted by: Heather on July 3, 2007 9:14 PM

Congratulations on your doctorate!

I have answered some of your surveys as a somewhat casual gamer, but now I feel I must respond to your post as a fairly new professor of psychology. If you are thinking about a career in academia, keep in mind that if you're doing anything remotely interesting, you will always face some controversy or negativity towards your work. As others have said, it is your choice how to take such negativity.

My feeling is that you should take what is said, glean from it what you can, and then discard the rest. Are there things that you could do with your research to make your sample more representative of the general population who plays games? Are your questions worded objectively and in a scientific manner? Are you working on submitting your papers in peer-reviewed journals, and if they are rejected, can you use their commentary to design stronger studies?

Academia can be a rough world, and I think it's more difficult for those who are on the brink of new discoveries. Yet it's those people who can change the face of science: if you haven't read "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", I highly recommend it, as it talks about the idea of "paradigm shifts" in knowledge and science and how those occur.

So if you're on that bleeding edge, you will face more challenges. Do what you can to make your work as strong as possible so that your field in general can understand what you do and be influenced by it. And do what you can to persist regardless of those challenges.

Good luck, and congratulations again.

Posted by: Leigh on July 3, 2007 9:32 PM

Congratulations! I remember when the project first started back when I was playing EverQuest, and I curioursly navigated to the website - and was astounded at some of the results and stories, and how they mirrored some of my own experiences. Your research really helped put these games into perspective for me, and also, I believe, greatly influenced public knowledge of this emerging culture. I'm happy to have contributed.


Posted by: Nick Alward on July 3, 2007 10:50 PM

I think Nick's work is great, but feel bad for him on his vengeance.

Posted by: Craig on July 4, 2007 12:03 AM

Congratulations on your Doctorate!

In regard to the author of that pompous bit of tripe accusing you by name of muddying a so-called pristine pool... one might think that someone in a position to write authoritatively about such things would have a little more maturity. Even the edited version was sophmoric and inappropriate. I'm glad this person's -opinion- didn't stop your work.

I'm even happier to hear that you plan on continuing this project. It sheds a lot of light on a community I've been part of for a very long time and might eventually go a long way toward removing the stigmata and challenging the steriotypes attatched to being an online gamer. It's good to know that someone is willing to look at us realisticly and expose what's REALLY going on with this (relatively) new, fascinating twist to our culture.

Virtual society, like it or not, is a part of our future. Thank you for being a pioneer in its study.

Posted by: Azhrarn on July 4, 2007 2:08 AM

Congratulations, Dr. Yee!

I too am glad that you'll continue your work on the Daedalus Project. I've followed it in the current incarnation for the last few years, and the amount of work you've put into this is simply astounding.

So, once again, congratulations on your monumental accomplishment, and heres to many more.

Posted by: J Thelen on July 4, 2007 2:14 AM

Gratz ;)

Posted by: Krissy on July 4, 2007 3:28 AM

Congratulations, Nick.

Im a long time reader of this project aswell, and never felt any underqualified survey in your work.
With this project you opened a door to an other world´s psychlogie and Im pretty sure you helped many players to understand themselves and each other.

I hink it's the right time to thank you for the Daedalus Project. I've learned a lot about myself, my fellow players and interactive game mechanics.


Posted by: Nicolaus on July 4, 2007 4:27 AM

Your website, your passion for research on MMOs has inspired others to follow in your footsteps. And I will hopefully follow a similar path within psychology.

-Wai Yen "janarius" Tang

Posted by: janarius on July 4, 2007 5:24 AM

Great job mate!

I've been following up on your research for many a year, and referred to you in a plethora of reports and studies done during my own education. As a a recent graduate myself, I wholeheartedly congratulate you on your PHD, and hope all the best for you and your future academic career.



Posted by: Purrnuu on July 4, 2007 7:07 AM


Congrats on the PhD. I can appreciate your frustration at reading the criticism from another academic. But welcome to the club. Scholarly research requires a thick skin; I get harsh criticism in every submitted article and it always stings. You just soldier on and pat your self on the back with every published article. If you feel your research methods return valid and reliable data, I suggest you work on validating the methodology.

Sociology more so than psychology has tackled the problem of getting at deviant, hidden populations (not that MMO players are deviant) with techniques like snowball sampling. While a convenience sample is not ideal, it still has utility. So examine your sample and see if you can work out the validity issues. You'll still get resistance from reviewers, but that's just part of the job.

Good luck. I enjoy reading about your research and look forward to seeing it peer-reviewed journals -- and be sure to send a copy to all the critics.

Posted by: CT Veritas on July 4, 2007 7:39 AM

Congrats on the doctorate! I've followed your site for a long time and filled out many of your surveys. I've always liked how you have looked at MMO'ing in many different angles.

Posted by: Medwyn on July 4, 2007 8:18 AM

Nick, Congratulations on your PhD. You have worked hard for it, and I'm so sorry to hear someone could be so critical of this research. I find your results compelling and interesting, and was glad to provide information on your questionnaires.

Thank you for your hard work that has ultimately shown a positive light of diversity on the large population which participates in MMOs.

Posted by: Indi on July 4, 2007 9:44 AM

A few of the commenters here seem to imply that none of my research has been published in academic journals yet. And those commenters seem to suggest I should work harder to get them accepted to academic journals.

I just want to point out that in the past 4 years of grad school, I've accumulated 17 peer-reviewed journal articles (in fields as diverse as psychology, human-computer interaction, political science, and game studies), 7 conference proceedings, and 5 book chapters. Many of those deal with online gaming directly or a broader topic (such as digital self-representation).

The research that was critiqued in the AP article has actually already been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

And sure, article reviews always sting. But those reviews are private and it is the graduate student who initiates the review process. How often do university professors choose to publicly critique an undergraduate student's research in print?

Posted by: Nick Yee on July 4, 2007 10:35 AM

Congratulations, Dr. Yee!

As Fruush said, over here in Germany is a big discussion going on to forbid so called "killer games". Thankfully at my University there are some great game reserchers trying to influence this discussion. As a student, interested in MMORPGs, I try my best to describe all the social interactions and lerning aspects provided by such games. Your data is a great source of knowladge to do so. You are one of the few reasonable reserchers concerning MMORPGs and I find myself quoting your work pretty often. I want to thank you for providing the data and I want to wish you all the best for the future!

MfG (ah well, a german shortcut for "Mit freundlichen Grüßen" which means: translated word by word - with friendly greetings but I think: best regards will do it as well)

Posted by: David on July 4, 2007 12:55 PM

Congratulations on your PhD!
This has been a disciplined, interesting, original and worthwhile piece of research. While we still see depictions of online gamers as a deviant population fostering potential suicides and murderers work like yours is necessary to provide a clear-headed balanced point of view, as well as opening up the fascinating private world of people who can cooperate and make friends across vast distances.
More power to your elbow!
I hope you will allow yourself a brief rest now!

Posted by: Wendy on July 4, 2007 1:20 PM


I've always thought that this project was not only unique but also great due to its vast array of issues being addressed within the main theme: the psychology of MMORPGs.

I also want to give thanks for making the Daedalus Project part of the community. By filling surveys and reading some articles, I often found myself thinking about the whole MMORPG thing and, in the end, the Daedalus project contributed some insights that helped me make some decisions.

Again, thank you for your work and the project is wonderful indeed.

Posted by: Y. O. Morales on July 4, 2007 1:48 PM

Congo rats on teh PHD! ^^ Rawk on. xD

-Tirsden Frozenrayn, random Monk/Ranger of Guild Wars

Posted by: Tirsden on July 4, 2007 2:30 PM


Posted by: Nyssa on July 4, 2007 4:42 PM

Grats on the degree, and keep up the excellent work. You're shedding light on an aspect of our lives that's shrouded in misconceptions and ignorance.

I've forwarded this site to a professor when we got to talking about the social aspect of the MMORPG, and I'm sure he'll be amazed by how much there already is on the subject, thanks to your work.

Posted by: Bookie on July 4, 2007 6:58 PM

Hey Nick, I have been participating in your surveys for a while now and I know what it is like to have a "superior" try to use their status to stop students from exploring the areas their minds take them. I am so inspired by people like you who have the courage to stand up to mainstream culture in an effort to remind humanity to always remain open to new ideas and thoughts. It is so incredibly important. You will always have the support you need from your gamers, because as you have mentioned you are one of the very few advocates we have in a world of mindless assumptions and harmful prejudices.

Posted by: Brendan on July 5, 2007 12:05 AM

Congrats :)

Whoever said that is completely moronic, and had obviously not done their research ;) For a start you're probably the MOST qualified person in the world to carry out this research >

I've often heard that academia is a long chain of back scratching and stabbing, although I had not witnessed such a dramatic example of it before now.

Anyway, now that you've completed your PhD, where are you going to go next, Azeroth or Disneyland?

Posted by: Rob on July 5, 2007 1:03 AM

Hi Nick,

Congrats on completing your PhD. Been a repeat visitor to your publication for a long time. :)

Wont comment on the professor issue - At the risk of sounding callous - you are a big boy [ ;) ] and I'm sure you can take care of yourself.

Sorry to hear about your illness. Hope everything is going to be all right...

To address one of your professors (or should I say ex-professors) concerns: Keep the fire burning - pass the task of researching MMORPG's and other electronic "deviant addictions" to other young students. We will always be around to fill out surveys - addicts keep at it remember? ;)

That way there will be a pool of peers to review the theories being proposed and there will be more "subject-pool supervisors and peer reviews". Think of yourself as a pioneer - I'm sure Jane Goodall had a hard time initially too... though we (well at the very least me) are not Chimpanzees. Heh.


Posted by: Gautam Sathe on July 5, 2007 2:13 AM

Dear Yee,

"without benefiting from the quality control imposed by subject-pool supervisors, peer reviews,"

Two toughts crossed my mind:

1) This person is just afraid that the free flow of information is going to make his function as a peer reviewer obsolete. (And thus depriving him of his status, perhaps even income.)

2) As long as you are the one man in charge you will be susceptible to this kind of comments. Why don't you get some more people to join your team?

Best regards & congratulations with your phd.

Posted by: Yuel Labrasco on July 5, 2007 2:42 AM

Hey dude,

Love your work - not just because I play games, but because I'm facinated at how online games are changing how people interact together where the common forms of framing or assessing people are simply not available.
Its like a gigantic masque where the costumes never come off.
Some of the themes I would like looked into - leadership, innovation, organisation, management, negotiation, goal achievement.
Keep up the good work - I hope your next move will allow you to track how this facinating layer of human social interaction is developing.



Posted by: Martin on July 5, 2007 4:13 AM

Congratulations, Nick, on your doctorate! :D It is a momentous achievement. I am a fellow Stanford grad (BS '94) and devout fan of your work. I post every research update and new survey to our guild website because they are so interesting and relevant to our experiences as gamers. Thank you, THANK YOU, for your insightful look into the world of MMO's in such an open and honest manner that respect the players and examine the issues fairly. And thank you for not giving up. I look forward eagerly to the next installment of the Daedalus Project as well as any other new research you may endeavor to begin. Bravo!!!

Posted by: Nancy on July 5, 2007 5:32 AM

Good luck and congratulations on the Ph.D.

Your work was always read by me with extreme interest, and I have pointed it out to my acquaintances that could never understand how/why I could/would "sit in front of a computer screen" all day.

I am happy you intend to keep this site going.

Posted by: Tracy on July 5, 2007 6:10 AM

Congratulations on graduating, Nick! I'm looking forward to more of the Daedalus Project in the future.

Posted by: Ryan Shwayder on July 5, 2007 7:07 AM

Congrats! You are a great source of truth.

Posted by: Yawgmouth on July 5, 2007 7:59 AM

Grats Nick

Sounds like that prof crit shotted you from stealth, lucky you had a good healer in your group ;-)

props to you for teh mad sk1llz and body of work you brought to the gamer community and beyond.

All the best,


Posted by: Matt on July 5, 2007 8:30 AM

grats m8, u rock

For several years I participate in your surveys and read your articles. Your work is remarkable and I quite frequently recommend the daedalus project to other gamers and also non-gamers. I am just a casual gamer, it has been very difficult to feel at ease with all those many people in the game, your work has given me many insights which have helped me to accomodate. But greater than this your work helps build an understanding of one growing community, and even more, helps understand virtual life in general. We can all be grateful for that.

Regarding the diffamation of your work: at the start of the internet the free software movement had given programmers control over their work, made collaboration without barriers possible. The software industry declared their work lacking, some do unto this day. Now people are taking over the knowledge area, with foreseable reactions from the established scene, look at wikipedia for instance. Academic science is mainly about power, not about wisdom. You need your name on a peer reviewed article in a renowned journal. It is simply not important, if producing better results in less time in an open wiki would be possible. As you bypassed the mechanics of academia and dared to do research and give knowledge without being allowed to you angered the sages. I think the criticism was purged because the editor noticed that you are, in fact, part of the establishment, having done at least some peer reviewed articles and so you are not the enemy.

I wish you luck, have fun and I will continue to give you my small share contributing to your work.

Posted by: eibo on July 5, 2007 8:47 AM

Congrats on finishing your doctorate, Nick!

It's pretty outrageous what was written there about your early researches in this area. I think that, often, in the academic world, rough-and-tumble as it is, people sometimes (often?) forget that there is another human being at the other end of the criticism, and when this human being is an undergraduate, well I think that sometimes people forget about the damage they can do to the aspirations of a young person by critiquing them in the same way that they might a seasoned veteran of academic back-and-forth.

Luckily, you've emerged from that and decided -- rightly -- to continue your course forward. Of course, it was the right decision. You're on the cutting edge of this stuff, and your absolutely right that it is very, very hard for a non-gamer to research this area in an unbiased way, simply because of the many preconceived notions (many of them negative) that exist about gaming and gamers among the non-gamer community.

Thanks for having the fortitude to soldier on with this important work.

Posted by: Brendan R on July 5, 2007 9:58 AM

Congo rats, Nick, on your passion for MMO research and for sticking with it through the emotionally rough times.

In my experience, for anything worth pursuing, each one of us eventually bumps up against The Wall -- the hard place where we end up questioning our own contributions and motivations and wonder we are doing justice to the thing we love so much -- and at this point is the commitment finally made, to either quit or continue. And often the choice to continue is less an impersonal, emotionless analysis and more often a realization that it doesn't even matter how our contributions are viewed by others, we just realize that we love what we are doing and that regardless of the outcome we simply care too much about that goal to NOT pursue it.

I'm so very glad that you found strength and encouragement to continue through that rough time and are still around. I've followed this site for a few years, it's proven invaluable to me, and I am sure to others as well, and I plan to keep following it and participating as long as you have the desire and passion to keep it alive.

Thank you so much for giving back to the MMO community and even being willing to shoulder some criticism in the process.

Posted by: Jennifer on July 5, 2007 10:05 AM

Nick, the PhD is so very well deserved. Congratulations on this. I remember filling in my first survey many years ago and thinking what great work you were doing.

Thanks for helping us understand ourselves so much more than we ever would without you being crazy enough to embark on your research.

Posted by: Cyreath on July 5, 2007 12:32 PM

Our very own game doctor! :)

I have been an eager reader of and contributor to your surveys since I discovered your site shortly after I started playing my EverQuest wizard 6 years ago.
You have thought me much about myself and my fellow gamers, and I made had good use of your site as referral in discussions, professionally and otherwise. I am looking forward to reading many more articles in the future!

~Seafarer Saltwind~

PS.: Wizard says grats as well, he is still going strong, more uber than ever... Just like you.

Posted by: Bjørn Gunnar Bendiksen on July 5, 2007 6:00 PM

Congratulations on the PhD, I guess a DING! is in order?
I'd also like to thank you for the work you have done here, and for your ongoing commitment to continue. I have referenced your work in a number of discussions that I have lead and it's been quite an eye opener for my audiences to be presented with your findings.

Grats :)


Posted by: Rob on July 5, 2007 6:49 PM


Posted by: Niko on July 6, 2007 4:54 AM

Grats i have to say, been a part of your project a long time now and i am so happy for you that it has payed of in the end :)

Grats again

/Manragon aka Joakim

Posted by: Joakim on July 6, 2007 5:22 AM

Grats on your PhD Nick and thank you on behalf of both the academic community and the gaming community for all you have done to help us understand this new phenomena, and to understand ourselves! I was searching for an MA thesis topic around the time I started gaming, and I often thought I should focus on gaming, but ultimately fear of ridicule turned me off it. Now 7 years later, online gaming has become huge, and finally a respectable topic of study in academia. I wish I had been braver, and I might have been one of that small handful of researchers who managed to examine gaming with an insider perspective.

As for your critic, he reminds me of the anthropologists who used to go and study aboriginal populations, whose ethnocentrism allowed them to imagine that their scientific training gave them more of an insight into that culture's meaning than could come from people from within the culture. It has been a long time since the social sciences recognized that the best researcher is an insider with academic training. And thats what you brought to this very misunderstood field. And for that I personally am very grateful.

Posted by: Silxie on July 7, 2007 12:39 AM

Dr Nick!!

Another Congrats on your accomplishments!

I remember when I first participated in one of your surveys, that I was curious as to what exactly it was for. >

Something kept drawing me back to your site, I put it on my favorites list and visited at least 3-4 times a week to read responses and to read your intent.

When I bought my husband his first computer, and he first went online to game , I remember thinking...YAY! Soul control of the TV remote. Never once did I view online gaming as bad. My husband was at home with me occupied in his game.

When DAoC came out, he asked me one day to take over his char so he could go to work. I learned 3 keys to opporate before he left. The group he was in was on Teamspeak and I got to talk to his online friends while I pressed those 3 'all important' keys.

Two days later, I bought him a new computer, and myself a copy of DAoC. I was then a budding online gamer.

Over the years since, I have found online gaming a wonderful way to participate, communicate, and meet others. I have made long term friends, all of which I speak on the phone with and now play WoW with. I have never seen these friends in 'Real Life'. But, I have found a unique core of friends that are as close or closer then many I have met in real life.

This interaction was far more interesting to me then sitting infront of the TV vegitating.

As I have followed your site, and read the results, I have learned, and noticed traits in myself that you have researched.

I sincerely hope that you continue your research into this area as it grows so will different developments. Just remember to take a break to celebrate!

I am glad that you have overcome the medical issue that was plagueing you. It is amazing that something that starts out small can drastically change one's view on life.

Sort of like your venture into studying online gaming has become larger, and has impacted others?

Sorry for the long post, and take a break! You deserve it!

Posted by: Lisa on July 8, 2007 1:02 PM

Congrats!! It's been a blast participating in your research for the past few years and watching your project grow. Here's to your continued success!

Posted by: Kelly on July 9, 2007 3:13 PM

I was very touched by your account of your illness. As the mother of a young boy, I am impressed that as a man, you are not afraid to face your own emotions. You brought tears to my eyes. I also applaud your bravery in speaking out about the negative comment made about your work. I sincerely wish you all the best.

Posted by: Arial on July 10, 2007 3:38 PM

I would like to thank you for the work to date. On a whim I chose as a topic for an English class final paper, the benefits MMORPGs have on those who play them. While I had to alter the thesis slightly, due to lack of published work supporting that exact point, without your work I would have had to drop the thesis altogether.

There is one issue I ran into when my friends reviewed my paper that I feel warrants a little more attention though. When the social group size is small (around 5-10), MMORPGs are usually fun, and good for social bonding. Once they reach some threshold of active numbers though, group focus tended to shift from fun to goal accomplishment, which I was informed caused some to end up excluded from the social grouping, and to lose former friends.

More qualified individuals than myself have commented on the critic, so I will merely add that allowing the unedited form of his review to be googled suggests to me either incompetence, or an ignorance of how things work on line.

Marc Remaley, veteran of Starfleet Command Two, Furrymuck, Hyperiums, City of Villains, and beginner at WoW and City of Heroes

Posted by: Lhuhikwdwoo on July 11, 2007 1:52 PM

hey thx! your web was very useful for my school's project work's research regarding MMORPGs!

Posted by: Kyle (singapore) on July 13, 2007 2:13 AM

Congrats on the doctorate! Reading your articles and taking your surveys has caused me to think about why I game. Being an analytical person, I also have looked at the ways it has both helped me and hurt me socially, psychologically and physically. I even wrote a term paper for college on MMORPG's siting quotes and information from your works.I completely agree with you about those looking for red dots and missing the whole picture. I read enough from other sources that I found the most informed ones to present a positive point of view were you and Sherry Turkle (hope I remembered correct spelling of her name.) who is a doctor of psychology at MIT. Thanks for doing what you do. You helped me not only write a term paper but also caused me to re-evaluate my own gaming habits and choices.

Posted by: Robin on July 15, 2007 6:48 PM

Sir, we are grateful to hear your good fortune. Congratulations for scoring the doctorate. :) And yes, your studies are of good help in my trying to understand how an online player ticks, especially whenever I sit down at a shop and play along with like-minded dudes going for the kill.

Someday soon I'll try to enlighten other fellow young players on what to prioritize for the rest of their lives asides from playing their games.

Posted by: Warfighter (Philippines) on July 24, 2007 8:17 AM

Owned, imo.

I didn't know anybody was taking this stuff so seriously. I'll be sure to respond to more of the surveys from now on!

Posted by: Meta on July 26, 2007 12:08 PM

omg, seriously, so some dickhead professor ragged on your research. Don't get too worked up about it, there's a ton of valuable information on this site and there'll always be trolls out there who will give you a hard time.

Posted by: Aaron on August 6, 2007 3:02 PM


Nick, your site is invaluable. I have used it in papers and presentations (referenced of course!!!) in fact that is why I have visited today. I have given links to guildmates and guildleaders who have also commented on it, added their own information to the surveys, and found it personally useful to them. I have browsed it when I needed to take time from writing! I would never NOT consider this site a source of indispensible research. I think once again that (still!) this is symptomatic of the idea by some academics that the internet cannot be used for displaying valid research results (because it is dangerous, rogue, and somehow separated from 'the real').

See you at DiGRA!

Posted by: Esther MacCallum-Stewart on August 7, 2007 4:57 AM

Gratz, Dr. Yee!!

I am an educational psychologist and gamer, and I have enthusiastically filled out several of your surveys. If the established researchers at APA show their lack of understanding of new media by criticizing you for tainting the pool, do not take offense. None of them understand how our conciousness has evolved in this media, and none have come close to even taking it seriously. Are we to wait a decade more for students from todays generation to develop protocols for the study of electronic populations?!?! They will retire, and we will take their place, and hopefully we will remember how it felt to be rebuked by ignorance when we are reviewing a student's work on something we don't quite understand......

hang in there.....

Larry Bush
School Psychologist
Columbine High Rebel

Posted by: Larry Bush on September 2, 2007 10:23 AM

Congratulations on your doctorate. There are lots of small-minded, jealous people in the world, don't let them get you down. You're doing good work. Keep it up!

Posted by: Clint on September 12, 2007 12:13 PM

Gratz on joining the club. It's a pretty exclusive club, and i'm pretty sure we all went through some shit. I went through something similiar to your medical experience. I know my medical issues were rooted in the stress of a bad adviser. Maybe yours were. Anyway, wish you luck in this field.

Posted by: Rob on September 17, 2007 5:37 PM

Rock on!

I've had your website linked as part of my signiture in the MMO forum that I play, the more gamers learn about this the better.

Posted by: windezz on October 14, 2007 10:00 PM
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