MMORPGs - A Love-Hate Relationship

Subscribing to an MMORPG is like having a relationship in many ways. It demands a lot of time and a lot of personal and emotional investment. And because itíll inevitably make other people in your life jealous of the relationship you have with it.

But on a more serious note, subscribing to an MMORPG is like a love-hate relationship in that players can derive both incredible satisfaction and agony from their game-play. In a recent survey, players were asked whether the most satisfying experience in their lives over the past 7 and 30 days occurred in the game or in real life. On average, about 27% of players indicated that the most satisfying experience over the past 7 days occurred in the game, and 18% of players indicated the same when the wording was changed to "over the past 30 days". Younger players were more likely to indicate that the most satisfying experience over the past 7 or 30 days occurred in the game. There were no gender differences.

Players were then asked whether the most annoying or infuriating event they had experienced over the past 7 or 30 days occurred in the game or in real life. On average, about 33% of players indicated that the most infuriating experience over the past 7 days occurred in the game, and 23% of players indicated the same when the wording was changed to "over the past 30 days". Itís interesting that players seem to experience more infuriating than rewarding experiences, and yet the game is still appealing. Younger players were more likely to indicate that the most infuriating experience over the past 7 or 30 days occurred in the game. There were no gender differences.

These two sets of data hint at the degree of personal and emotional investment that players put into these immersive worlds, and the degree to which they are willing to revel and suffer in these digital constructs. And ultimately, part of why MMORPGs are so seductive is because they are able to elicit such strong emotional responses from us Ė whether good or bad, and somehow even though there are days you writhe in agony from a fatal loss, you keep coming back for a chance at the heroic victory.