Game Basics


Survey Basics



Favorite Class

Char. Choice Factors

Personality Comparison

Class Advantage


Game Dynamics

Gender Dynamics


RPG Comparison

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Meta-Character Results

This survey focused on character choice, preference, motivation, and comparing character identity to player identity. 374 people filled out this survey. 89% of respondents were male, 11% were female.


Gender of Characters

107 men have played female characters (33%)

11 women have played male characters (28%)


Of a sample of 30 men who have female characters, 10 had their female characters as their highest level character. 4 men of the 107 play only female characters. Not including these, about 8-10 others play predominantly female characters.  


1 woman plays predominantly male characters (2 out of 3 in this case). Of the 11 women who have male characters, none had their male characters as their highest level character.


Favorite Class (Back to Top)


Bard: 27

Cleric: 44

Druid: 56

Enchanter: 32

Magician: 21

Monk: 20

Necromancer: 44

Paladin: 31  

Ranger: 48

Rogue: 18

Shadow Knight: 18

Shaman: 29

Warrior: 49

Wizard: 11


Character Choice Factors (Back to Top)

What are the main factors you usually consider when you create a new character?


1)    Appearance


Cuteness... how superficial I am... but it's just a game, calm down!


whatever catches my interest.  how they might look in gear and just the general coolness-factor of them.


looks, I want my new character to look good, I can't stand to look ugly.


2)    Game Impact


Survival ... Can they play alone? Can they forage or summon food or water? can they cast Spirit of wolf or gate? can they hide or invis?  paladins, btw, can do NONE of these.  How sad.


Whether or not I can see in the dark.  EQ has some zones that are way too dark and humans cannot see anything =(  I also consider starting city.  I prefer kelethin over most others.


Usefulness in group, ability to do his job in game


3)    Enjoyment


How much fun will i get out of this character.


If I will enjoy playing the character comes first. How powerful the character will be is a distant second.


Mostly how much i will enjoy playing the character.


playability, and longevity.  And how both of these relate to how much enjoyment i will derive from them.


4)    Attributes / Numbers


if it is a caster, how much mana will it have and if it is a warrior the strength and stamina


Whatever their main requisites are, if I'm playing a warrior I'm gonna put it all in strength and constitution, there is no need to have a high intelligence score as a warrior and have the lowest possible strength.


5)    Miscellaneous


NAME: BIG factor.  If I can't think of a name for my character, I usually wait to create it until I do.


It depends on the kind of character I feel like making.   I may feel like a ugly/stupid/good character or a smart/beautiful/evil character.  I may feel like a mage or a warrior.  It depends on who I want to be...


Personality Comparison (Back to Top)

How do your characters compare with you personality-wise? How are they similar and different from you?


1)    My Characters are a Reflection of Me


My character is similar.  I will lead a group when I have to, and can instruct groups well on what to do.  But I like to play alone a lot, and explore on my own out side of groups.  Often I sacrifice myself so that others can live.  Or help others perhaps more than I should.  All this is somewhat of a reflection of my real life.


I play all my characters with my real personality


I play all my characters just like me. When I'm the warrior I crack jokes and help people out when they need to by jumping in and pulling MOB's off them. As the druid I crack jokes and heal people whenever they need to, I usually spend an hour a day curing disease in Qeynos Hills.


2)    My Characters are Aspects of Me


All have aspects of me but none are completely like me.


They all have some of my personality although there is some differences my characters are far more outgoing then me  some of the similarities is that they are impulsive and normally cheerful.


All of my characters seem to show facets of my personality, more so my monk and druid than my necro. I try to put a bit more...


3)    My Characters are my Ideal Self


My chars are more outgoing and act more how I would act if I could in real life. 


My necromancer is how i wish i could be to some people. My cleric is how i wish i could be all the time, helping, although most people seem to laugh at me more than say thanks.


Personality wise they're almost dead on.  They represent the best of me (maybe soon I'll venture to my darker side).  I love how they wish to do what's right, and uplift everyone around them with what they have, not ashamed of what they have.  Different? Not many differences, I like to play true to form...and whatever fits my mood, so if I'm needing to channel anger, I'll make up a great Evil character or something, or just channel my good guy to start hackin' out the baddies.


4)    My Characters are a lot of things


Zimorine is a bit of a flirt and is rather harsh to deal with.  Naeza is much more like me.  She is more reserved but tries to be very helpful to people in need.  Generally just a nice person.


The paladin is my good-natured side. He is just and fair. The enchanter is my evil side. I use the enchanter to cheat, lie, and and kill steal..the play nice rules screwed him.


Shilstom is the most like me. He is very quiet and serious and likes fighting his battles alone. Vayen on the other hand is a very sociable person who gets a long fine with others.


5)    True Role-Playing


They are all role played with different personalities; so I really can't say that they are similiar to me here either.  Ester was an adopted child who is thankful for the help she received as a child, and there fore goes out of her way to help others.  Cassandra is the spoiled bitch type who is out in search of her first big adventure and expects others to hand her everything she needs....etc.


My ranger is quiet and reserved, actions speak louder then words.  My wizard is outspoken and never shuts up, and constantly fidgets  My Enchanter has a tone of superiority, and it is hard to earn his respect. He is very manipulative, power-hungry  My (ogre) warrier is extemely intelligent, kind, and noble. I love roleplaying that, and others love it


Class Advantage (Back to Top)

Do you think some classes are significantly easier to play than others? Do you think some classes have too many advantages or disadvantages?


1)    Caster Advantage


yes, i think all casters have a general advantage over the hybrids and melee classes.


All casters have the advantage, power wise, over melee classes. Its just the way the game was designed. However I like hybrid classes the most. They're the most fun to play in my opinion.


2)    Druid and Necro Advantage


Druids and necros definitely.  Both are pretty over-powered when it comes to various ways that they could kill their opponent.


I feel that both druids and necromancers are somewhat more soloable that other classes; but all classes have strengths and weaknesses that are best utilized in a group/


Hell yes.  Hell yes.  Play a druid and a necro... then play a rogue and tell me if something doesnt need to be done.


3)    Melee Ease


Very much so, melee classes are far more easy to play than caster classes.  Roque being the hardest melee, enchanter being the hardest caster.


Warriors are by far the easist to play, enchanters and necromancers the hardest . Warriors are always wanted in a group, die less often, and don't take a whole lot of damage (until 25+). Enchanters have trouble getting into a group earlier on, but at higher levels are the most valuable. Necromancers are hard to play, but by far the most powerful.


Melee classes are much easier to play than pure casters because unline a warrior, for example, with a pure caster you have to have strategy instead of 'hack-and-slash.  Now, as said before, hack-and-slash is only a small part of the game, but it is a melee class' main stay in battle.


Meta-Character Discussion (Back to Top)

The numeric data for gender-bending were perhaps the most interesting, and admittedly most surprising, piece of quantifiable data found from this survey. I would have expected gender differences in gender-bending rates, though I would not have gone so far as to hypothesize one way or the other. In this sample of data, about 30% of both male and female players have at least one character of the opposite gender. Knowing that about 85-90% of EQ gamers are male, many of the female characters in the game must be played by men. Doing a little math, we find out that about 1 out of 2 female characters is played by a female player. Of every two female characters you meet in EQ, one of them is likely to be played by a male player. This is particularly amusing when we discuss gender dynamics in the game later on.


Where male and female players differ in gender-bending is in the predominance of characters of the opposite gender. Of the 321 male players, 4 had only female characters, and another 8-10 had predominantly female characters. In a sample of 30 males who play female characters, 10 had their female character as their highest level character. Of the 40 female players, only one had more male characters rather than female characters (she had 2 out of 3 in this case). None of the female players have male characters as their highest level character. This may not be a true difference given the smaller sample of women, but I would like to hypothesize that it is. My rationale would be that our culture is less forgiving of men who cross gender boundaries, while women have less trouble crossing those boundaries. In an environment where those boundaries do not exist, such as EQ, it is the male players who may be more tempted to try role-playing a character of the opposite gender.


With regards to personality comparisons between player and character, it is interesting that some players merely play their real personalities through their characters, while others play parts of their personality through different characters. At the end of this spectrum is people who play an idealized version of themselves through their characters. They role-play their characters the way they would want to act in real life. But this spectrum is not one-dimensional as the following player demonstrates: “The paladin is my good-natured side. He is just and fair. The enchanter is my evil side. I use the enchanter to cheat, lie, and and kill steal..the play nice rules screwed him.”


Given that EQ classes are mere constructs, it is intriguing that people change their characters’ personalities when playing different classes. Some players find that they their characters are more benevolent when playing a cleric or paladin, and more rude and sinister when playing a Necromancer or Troll. This character-driven personality can even lead to scenarios reminiscent of a Jekyll and Hyde struggle:


The rogue is constantly tricking, scamming, or demanding money for his help. I usually have major conscious attacks playing him, and find it difficult to log in as him for more than an hour at a time, due to the REAL guilt felt by taking away peoples money.


In a sense, EQ is the perfect playground to experiment with both gender and personality and it should be no surprise that people take advantage of that. Already, the question of whether EQ is merely a hack-and-slash game seems moot. When players can articulate characters who represent their good-natured side and other characters that are their dark side, we begin to get a feeling that this virtual world allows us better glimpses of the dynamics of personality than perhaps the real world can.


A Little Math on Gender-Bending (Back to Discussion)


Given a hypothetical population of 1000 EQ players, where 15% of the players are female and 85% are male, and where the gender-bending rate is 30%, we would expect:


Number of Male players who have Female Characters:

850 x 30% = 255

Number of Female players who have Male Characters:

150 x 30% = 45


Using samples from the survey population, we know that the average male gender-bending player has an average of 37% of his characters being female. We also know that the average female gender-bending player has an average of 32% of his characters being male.


Assuming that gender does not affect a character's likelihood of being played, we would expect that at any given moment:


Number of Male gender-bending players who are playing their female characters:

255 * 37% = 94

Number of non-gender-bending female players playing their female characters:

150 - 45 = 115

Number of gender-bending female players playing their female characters:

45 x (1-31%) = 31


Thus of the total 240 female characters in the game:

60% are played by female players

40% are played by male players


But these numbers are a conservative approximation because:

1) We know that men give equal if not more play time to their female rather than male characters, whereas the opposite is more true of female players.

2) We have a small female sample and it's likely that men gender-bend at a higher rate than women, as the gender dynamics survey leans toward.


With more relaxed assumptions:


Number of Male players who have Female Characters:

850 x 35% = 298

Number of Female players who have Male Characters:

150 x 25% = 38


Number of Male gender-bending players who are playing their female characters:

298 * 40% = 119

Number of non-gender-bending female players playing their female characters:

150 -38 = 112

Number of gender-bending female players playing their female characters:

45 x (1-30%) = 32


Thus, of a total of 263 female characters:

55% are played by female players

45% are played by male players


Thus, assuming that 15% of EQ players are female, about 40-45% of all female characters you meet are actually being played by men.


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