Characters and "Main Character"
Asking gamers about many aspects of their gaming highlights the problem of multiple characters. For example, if we asked players about guild affiliation, we would like a yes/no answer from each participant, but what about players who have multiple characters, some of which are in guilds and others not? This is typically dealt with by asking players about their main character. This solution allows each player to provide a yes/no answer, but then the problem is what players mean by a "main character". If a player has one level 70 character and another has 5 level 30 characters and they both say they have a main character, do they actually mean the same thing? Researchers may then want to define "main character" more strictly by time played this month, highest level character, and so forth. In this article, we'll take a look at different aspects of player's characters, whether they can easily identify a main character, and what rules they use to do so.
On average, players have 8.7 characters on their accounts. As the graph below shows, female players tend to have more characters on their accounts than male players (9.7 vs. 8.3). There does not appear to be a stable age trend.
While this number of characters may suggest that it would be hard for players to have to pick a main character, most players have no problem doing so. Overall, 89% of respondents said that they could readily identify a main character. There was no gender difference, but younger players found this easier to do than older players (96% vs. 85%). This may be linked to a higher achievement motivation among younger players that makes it easier for them to focus on a few characters. We'll see more data later on that supports this.
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