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A Journey into EverQuest
presented by Nicholas Yee

Class of 2001
Psychology Major / Concentration in Computer Science
Haverford College

First and foremost, I'd like to thank the 1000-odd people who took time to fill out my online surveys. I'd also like to extend my gratitude to those individuals who helped publicize my surveys by posting links on websites or news forums. I will return the favor here:



Gaming Outpost

EQ Stratics



I would also like to take the time to finally thank the people at Haverford College who made this endeavor possible. I'd like to thank my independent study advisor Douglas Davis for giving me the enthusiasm to study personality in cyber-space. I would also like to thank Matt Nocifore for letting me use his Form Gather script that allowed me to handle the incoming data effectively.


My interest in EverQuest began as a purely psychological one. I noticed that one could for example, conduct experiments in EQ with a high degree of control. In fact, one could even manipulate gender which is not easy to do in real life. As the surveys started to come in however, and I realized how rich this pool of personal accounts were, I became more interested in the almost ethnographical quality of what I was doing. And at the end of my analysis, I am able to use the kinds of quotations I would not have had access to if I had chosen to use a multiple choice form. Many experimental psychologists feel that this kind of survey study is too subjective, but as my independent study advisor says, there is no richer data. The only way to get clean data is to strip away nuances, and when you do get the clean data, one is left to wonder how much else has been stripped away.


What this study did was allow me to map out the territory that one could focus on in EQ. The responses that my informants provided makes it possible to know what the right questions to ask are.


In total, I received close to 2500 submitted surveys. I admit that I was not able to read through every one of them. I can say, however, that I skimmed through 70% of them and read through at least 1/3 of them. In the following presentation, I use many quotes from my informants (all italicized). The basic format of the presentation is a mapping out of the range of variation in the important questions each survey focused upon, followed by a discussion that expands on that information.


To preserve the flavor of the informant's own words, I have left quotes as they were typed, unless a typo might cause a great deal of confusion. Character names, wherever they were used, have been altered.


I invite you to email me your questions and comments.


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