[MUD-Dev] Codename Blue & Facets - Nick Yee's new studies

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Thu Apr 25 09:38:45 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Raph Koster writes:

> - The "Explorer" Bartle's type does not appear to exist.

I would say that the explorer type doesn't have material to
entertain it in the three games mentioned.

I am most certainly an explorer, and my exploration of these games
consists of visiting new areas until I realized that they were all
essentially the same, and it also consisted of trying out different
classes of character until I realized that they were all essentially
the same.  The perception of sameness is what kills the impulse to

Dark Age of Camelot is going to be introducing a new means of
obtaining skills through PvP advancement.  Sounds new, huh?
Nope. Same old thing.  You advance by killing stuff and your
character gains new abilities as a result.  For an explorer, that's
uninteresting.  It's not a new pattern.

> - The most immersive game is the least addictive game

What I saw was that socialization (in all its forms) is the greatest
addictive element to gameplay.  That's simply a no-brainer.  I
submit to you that enhancing the immersive effects of gameplay will
only enhance the social bond of players to their characters and to
other character/player personas.  Kylotan and Brandon Van Every are
currently exchanging comments about how they'd like to see online
contact facilitate more real world contact.  I have that same wish
and fear that as online experiences become more and more immersive,
they will produce a desire in people to continue to interact with
others through their online personas and avoid trying to contact
others through their real world persona.  Socialization as an
addictive element still argues against immersion as a desireable
thing.  Your own comments about plane raids are suggestive that if
Ultima Online had such things, it would be a more addictive game
because players wouldn't want to miss out on their social
obligations (in whatever form) relating to a virtual event.

What I want is for players to be interacting with each other as
players, and not as characters.  If they want to act out their
characters interacting, that's fine.  But when I talk to you as a
player, I want to use my voice.  Ideally, we're in the same room
together so we can wave, make faces and throw paper balls at each
other to distract each other.

Immersion leads to addiction because the socialization is
transferred into the virtual environment.

>   Most specifically, the number one reason why online games turn
>   out to be addictive, according to Yee's study, is NOT "Skinner
>   box" achievement ladders. It's other people.

It's other people as facilitated by achievement being a prime mover
of socialization.  As Yee states, "The addiction scale correlates
positively with the Achievement, Grief and Relationship factors
(.32, .26, and .26 respectively)."

>   "Addictive" behavior is strongly correlated with the
>   Relationship motivation.

And Achievement, and Grief.  If I understand the numbers correctly,
the strongest correlation is with Achievement.

>   As it happens, since the Relationship motivation happens to be
>   more common among females, the common image of the mud-addicted
>   18 year old guy is completely wrong.

Not if my understanding of the correlation to Achievement is

>   The most likely to be addicted is the older female player who's
>   there because her friends are there. In fact, the majority of
>   women playing are playing with their romantic partners.

When the game goes away, the couple is still able to socialize and
do things.  If their relationship is centered on gameplay, then they
have a problem that they need to deal with.  I submit to you that
the male is initiating the desire to play the game and the female is
playing in order to interact with her partner.  As a result, there
isn't an addiction there because the real world socialization
element is retained.  One would hope.

If the couple is not colocated, then I can well imagine that they
would grow addicted to their ability to interact in some basic way
through the virtual experience.  Perhaps that situation is more
common in games that I think it might be.

>   Another thing worth observing is that despite the lower
>   "addiction" factor and the lower hours played per week, UO was
>   still just about evenly matched with EverQuest in terms of
>   likely retention and satisfaction. And on average, both EQ and
>   UO had pretty close levels of Relationship factor overall across
>   their playerbase. In other words, the least addictive and most
>   immersive game, was equally competitive in terms of
>   relationship-building and in terms of retention.

So Ultima Online is a game which is more immersive and less
addictive.  It would seem that more players play with their
real-world family in Ultima Online as well.  This is consistent with
lower hours of play per day and with relationship-building.  I wish
Nick had included the question of whether or not people played with
people that they knew in real life, and whether they knew those
people as a result of gameplay or through other avenues.

> - A couple of other minor notes:

>   The older the player, the more likely to be friendly they
>   are. The more likely to want to be known as a nice person. The
>   less likely to want to play a "rogue." The less likely to want
>   to play "evil" or "mysterious." In other words, mature people
>   tend to play nicer. And women tend to be more mature than men
>   too. But it's not 14 year old boys who are the problem. It's 22
>   year old men. :)

Yes, I got a kick out of the older/friendlier player phenomenon.
Says something positive about the aging process.


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