In Their Own Words
Graphs and tables can get the point across quickly, and averages make it easy to summarize thousands and thousands of people. But the tradeoff is losing that sense of individuality and the wonderful granularity of who MMO players really are. I’ve been asking respondents to give me short profiles of themselves and I just wanted to share a bunch of them as another way of showing who plays these games.
What these short profiles do get across is the diversity of people who we bump into in MMOs. Pick any 4 of these people at random and think about the last time you were in a 5-person group. There aren’t many places in real life where such different people work together, but it happens all the time in MMOs.
Amelia is a 31-year-old self-proclaimed “computer nerd” from San Diego. She does graphic design as well as database architecture. She started playing WoW after her boyfriend introduced her to the game. Her main is a Dwarf Paladin. She’s tried playing Horde, but she finds Horde players “a bit too aggressive”.
Dawn is 29, a customer service rep for auto loans from Charlotte, NC. She’s played EQ for 5 years and met her husband from EQ. She’s recently stopped playing EQ but still “loves her druid”.
Alex is a 17-year-old high school student from California. He’s been playing MMOs since he was 11 when his father brought home a copy of EverQuest. At the age of 11, he was admitted to a high-end guild and took part in 8-hour raids.
Emre is 27, a grad student and lecturer in communication science in Berlin. In SWG, he’s a female Imperial pilot. In WoW, he’s a “holier-than-thou Human Paladin”.
Al is a 60-year-old project manager for EDS working on a Continental Airlines project in Houston. He started gaming in the 80s with table-top D&D.
Jane is 46, a lawyer doing criminal defense work and juvenile defense from Akron, Ohio. She played D&D in college off papers mimeod from a guy named Gary Gygax. Before she graduated from college, their DM did manage to get an actual set of printed pamphlets. Nowadays, she plays EverQuest with 4 people in her family.
Bill is a 54-year-old firefighter for the US Forest Service from Oregon with 20+ years of firefighting experience. He plays EverQuest with his wife. He has a 51 ranger and a 47 rogue, but his wife says that “the rogue is more him”.
Alex is 19, a college student majoring in political science at ASU. He enjoys playing female characters because “little boys generally think you’re a girl and will be more lenient to you in bartering or just flat-out give you things.”
“Spark” is a 39-year-old computer scientist who specializes in security and works for a media and services company based in the Silicon Valley. She’s been gaming ever since Adventure on the mainframe around 1978, but only recently began playing an MMO - WoW.
Diane is 33, a professional mom from New Jersey. She got into Anarchy Online after a conversation with a fellow Lord of the Rings fan at a laundrymat. She considers herself as more of a role-player than a gamer. Her ideal game “would be one where role-playing was mandatory, that didn’t revolves around phat loot or grinding out levels in hack ‘n slash type way.”
“Angel” is a 44-year-old documents editor for a policy research department and lives in Ewing, New Jersey. She started playing MMOs after her lover died - “It was something he and I had not done together, so I thought it would be the best way to focus on something other than the past. It's helped tremendously with the healing process.”.
Karen is a 50-year-old field service technician from southern California. She services high volume digital products and has been in the industry for 25 years. An ex-boyfriend introduced her to UO. She currently plays EQ2 with a romantic partner.
“Mander” is 35, a strategic marketing analyst from Los Angeles. She never took typing classes but now that she’s played MMOs, she’s really fast on the keyboard.
Lynn is a 45-year-old teacher from Arizona. She began gaming with table-top D&D. She was invited to participate in EQ’s beta and became a senior guide. That was also where she met her husband. Lynn has fun spotting the fake women in MMOs - “It's actually pretty funny to watch...to see how men 'think' we are and portray it”.
Shawn is an army communications officer from North Carolina. He got hooked by UO after watching his fellow soldiers play during lunch and at night.
Tiffany is 37, a student in game design and development in Kentucky. She says that “a lot of people are amazed that I am a female gamer … Another thing that seems to amaze people is my goal to finish college with a degree in gaming and get a job doing it. They all think I’m too old to do something like that and I am determined to prove them all wrong!”.
Peter is 54, a garage owner who manages a small car repair workshop in Devon, UK. He says his interest in EQ, his first MMO, was “a natural expansion from playing Dungeons & Dragons”. He usually feels awkward when he has to explain what these games are all about to non-gamers, but he says he doesn’t care anymore - “I enjoy it and that’s enough”.
“Mausie” is 26. She describes herself as a “severely underemployed part-time student”. She’s playing Final Fantasy XI currently, but recently got a copy of EQ: Scars of Velious. Her reaction - “I have no idea how such a difficult, unpleasant-looking, and poorly-designed-GUI-having game such as that became known as EverCrack”.
Tim is a 25-year-old MBA student from Boston. He’s interested in going into the video game industry on the marketing side. He enjoys role-playing - “I always approach the game as a narrative, even if the story isn’t explicit”.
Claire is 35, a PC technician and digital photo restoration artist from Mountain Home, Idaho. She had lupus for 15 years and was unable to work. She says that “online games gave me a chance of socializing when I was unable to get out. It also gave me something to do to occupy my mind. I think I would’ve gone nuts without online gaming!”.
Dan is 25, a home loans broker living in Irvine, California. He says he plays because “growing up we were all tabletop D&D kids and this is just the newest incarnation of the same fantasy. I have done most things possible in this life but killing dragons isn’t exactly something I can exactly do in real life”.
David is a 41-year-old embedded systems programmer. He develops low-level software for embedded devices. He’s a single father of two - one just hitting the teens. Both his kids play MMOs - “I spent a lot of time finding a good guild that we can all be comfortable with … I worked to become an officer of the guild so that I can help keep the guild an appropriate place for my children”.
Dustin is a 22-year-old server and cook for a Mexican restaurant in Yukon, Canada. His first memory of gaming is playing a 5-1/2 floppy on an IBM machine. In MMOs, he says - “I always go for the thieving, conniving, back-stabbing characters … weird?”.
“Jen” is a 30-year-old doctoral student in music. A significant portion of her research involves analyzing the music of video games. She began playing MMOs “to prove to my fiancé how stupid the games were”. They’re still playing together.
Nancy is 32, a researcher in a pharma/healthcare company. Her husband works in the IT department in the same company. They have always gamed together, but recently switched to WoW after it became a common topic of conversation in the lunch room at work. Every Tuesday night, 20 of them from work play together with their Tauren alts. They call it “Tauren Tuesday”.