Ranking Motivations

As another step in exploring and fleshing out a way to assess motivations for playing, users were asked to rank the following seven motivations in terms of their relative importance in why they play MMORPGs. These motivations were previously identified using rating and factor analysis techniques. Respondents ranked these seven items using a PHP-driven script that functioned as a dynamic visual aid allowing respondents to sort and reorder the 7 items:

1) Immersed in Fantasy World / Role-Playing / Being Part of a Story
2) Getting to the Next Level / Becoming Powerful / Achieving Goals
3) Competing with Other Players / Dominating or Beating Other Players
4) Escaping from Real World / Venting / Relieving Stress
5) Analyzing Game Mechanics / Making or Analyzing Tables or Charts
6) Being part of a Large group or guild / Team or Group Achievements
7) Meaningful conversations / Making good friends / Social or Support Network

The "Analyze" element echoes Bartle's Explorer type which has never seemed to resonate with data from players, and the ranking data suggests that even if it does exist that very few players would be Explorers. Note that the "Bartle Test" (not created by Bartle btw) forces respondents to make dichotomous choices, and every answer gives you a score on one of the 4 types. Therefore, that instrument might actually be creating player types rather than assessing them.