In Their Own Words: Unique Components

There were a handful of responses that were unique and did not clearly fit into the components mentioned.

The Nurturance Motivation

There is a specific genre of Asian video games that focus on nurturance - raising a pet / plant / son / daughter. We seldom see that theme in Western games, but it's clear that it's a powerful motivator for players.

Pets. I won't play a game if I can't tame fun creatures and I can level THEM up, not just me. that's why I play both Ultima Online as well as World of Warcraft. I tried City of Heroes and didn't like it. Tried Final Fantasy but it took too long to get a fun creature (that I couldn't even KEEP!!) [UO, F, 23]

Making a Difference

Some of the narratives were incredibly intriguing because they express how MMORPGs are fulfilling an important function in the lives of people who play them. For example, the following narrative illustrates how the online environment provides a space where people who want to make a difference can do so.

I enjoy the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Having been a teacher for almost 4 decades, I'm used to the helping role and also the leading role. I was president of my 'union' 3 different times and negotiated at least 10 contracts. I've chaired uncounted committees, written curriculum, and I still do staff development, training teachers to work with novices and novices to improve their teaching skills. Now that I'm retired I find that being a guild officer and now a guild leader of a major raiding guild gives me purpose in the game, and to an extent even in the real world. I'm not a game-strategist or an uberraid leader; I delegate those jobs to officers more skilled than I. But I'm a strong organizer, I have ' leadership' skills, I know how to implement, cajole, discipline, etc etc etc. And because I believe strongly in a collaborative model rather than a coercive or dictatorial style, I am running the guild in the same way. [EQ, F, 61]


The Search for Self

Others describe how virtual worlds in general are a tool in the search for the self.

The major motivations are covered, but, for me, the motivations are symptomatic of a greater need. Ultimately, I'm searching for a simulation of life that allows for comparable complexity and depth but also providing a safe environment to explore my own personality socially, intellectually, and even spiritually. Each of the major motivations are just as much a part of real life as they are virtual. Except in the virtual world, one can start over if the persona doesn't fit right, or even respawn after an error in judgment proves fatal to the avatar. [DAoC, M, 34]

The Search for Youth

And most intriguing of all, the following player articulates how the online environment provided a means to become young again.

Being in a world apart from RL where I am only responsible for when I was single. Its very liberating to be 45 and an adventurer again...while I am not 'new' any longer I can buy a game and the world is when I was young. It sort of recapitulates my youth.... I play with my son for last 5 years ..he is 15 and we talk about how useful his play has been to his practicing of social skills, risk taking, learning about racism (in EQ when some races wont sell to you)...I think it has been a useful exp for him to learn to budget his money, to buy and sell items for his own support....with me nearby (we are 2 boxers) but he is able to create life without me....its been a motivator for my play a learning tool for him that's fun for us both. [WoW]