Apart from exploring a previously unmapped territory, the Norrathian Scrolls demonstrated that different players play EverQuest for very different reasons. For example, male and female EQ players seemed to be motivated by different goals. In broad strokes, male players seemed to be more driven by achievement, while female players were more drawn to the social aspect of the game. But it was equally clear that not all male players are driven by achievement, and not all female players are driven by the social aspect. The question that then emerges is whether we can find more fundamental differences among players that are not based on gender, age or personality differences. In other words, can we identify fundamental differences without first using gender, age and personality to construct differences?

The fundamental question is "What do people want out of a game?". And while we can paint those broad strokes with gender for example, it is hard to build a robust model of player differences upon such a generalized and dichotomous model.

The reason for wanting to construct a robust model of player differences is that it then allows us to use this solid foundation to build upon. It allows us to categorize and cluster motivations for playing in meaningful ways. And once we have a clear view of what those different motivations are, we can then ask questions such as:

- What elements of a game are most and least important to each motivation?

- How do players driven by different motivations interact?

- When a game is overwhelmed by players of a particular motivation, how does the dynamic of the game change?

- When a new game ships out, which players are most likely to leave?

Copyright, March 2002, by Nicholas Yee.

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