We now have a good idea of who plays these games and what they do when they play, but the question of why they play remains unanswered. Most computer games typically have very particular goals that appeal to only certain kinds of people, so it may seem natural to think that players in an MMORPG are all playing for similar reasons, however it would be difficult for MMORPGs to have such a wide appeal if this were the case. The truth is that MMORPGs have wide appeal because they are able to cater to very different motivations of play at the same time. One way of understanding these differences is by exploring how male and female players seem to prefer different aspects of MMORPGs, but the most fundamental differences in motivations of play in fact cut across all players rather than just between male and female players.

The most obvious appeal derives from the elements of achievement in these environments. They cater to players who enjoy accumulating wealth, rare items and tangible power. The other main appeal derives from the ability to chat, make friends and affiliate with larger social groups such as guilds. Many players also find appeal in becoming immersed in a fantasy world and becoming part of a story that is being told. Also, certain players enjoy competing with other players or even annoying and manipulating them through devious means. And finally, some players are fascinated with the mechanics and geography of the world. For them, the satisfaction comes from unraveling the game.

MMORPGs are seductive because they have hooks for many different kinds of people and appeal to them through different means. To a certain extent, we can understand MMORPGs as environments where people are playing a different game side by side. But MMORPGs are dynamic worlds because of this diversity of motivations and because players are ultimately playing the same game. Adventures, alliances and betrayals emerge as players collaborate to achieve very different goals.

See also:

- Player Personality Profiles In-depth profiles of individual players
- Motivations Assessment Dynamic assessment of your motivations for playing
- Narratives on Achievement
- Narratives on Socializing
- Narratives on Immersion

External Links:

- Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs (Bartle's Types) by Richard Bartle

The Daedalus Gateway - The Psychology of MMORPGs

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