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

Nicholas Yee contact at nickyee.com
Wed May 15 19:58:46 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


John Buehler wrote:
> Nick Yee wrote:

>> The short answer is that a dichotomized test using a
>> non-validated categorization does not produce valid results.

> Your point is absolutely well-taken and I completely agree with
> the problem of dichotomized tests (new phrase for me).  However, I
> know that I enjoy the exploration of the new, and from a
> psychological standpoint I can see how exploration (opportunities
> for learning) would be an innate motivation for players.  Perhaps
> the version of 'explorer' that you attempted to uncover isn't a
> match for the Bartle type.  Or, as I suggested, perhaps your
> choice of phrase actually caused players to answer in terms of
> their experiences with the specific game that they were playing.
> How were the poll participants reached?  What was the context in
> which they answered the poll questions?

For participant recruitment, I asked webmasters of sites like
Everlore.com or uo.stratics.com to post a link on their news list to
my online questionnaire. Here's how the Facets questionnaire looked
like: http://www.nickyee.com/mmorpg/ques.types.html

In the Facets study, I didn't presume the existence of any
clustering of motivations. Instead, the point was the see how the
motivations would cluster themselves.

Bartle's Explorer type focused on mapping a world's topology, and a
general interest in experimenting with and learning about the game's
mechanics. My data showed that these 2 aspects were not
correlated. And then I tried to see whether I could focus on the
"interest in game mechanics" aspect with these statements:

  1. I like to think about class-balancing issues.

  2. I try out a lot of things to experiment with the game
  mechanics.

  3. I try to find bugs I can exploit.

  4. What fascinates me is finding out how stuff works in the game.

  5. I like numbers, charts and tables.

2 & 4 correlate at .33, and 1 & 2 correlate at .22, but nothing else
correlates above .20

I included #5 because I felt that people who were interested in game
mechanics would be interested in documenting what they found (such
as the people who compile tradeskill spreadsheets or spell lists
online)

So essentially what the factor analysis said was that it couldn't
cluster any of the Explorer statements (not all, any) together in
such a way that they inter-correlated to a high degree and were
uncorrelated with all other statements.

One way to look at this is that the Explorer motivation (just the
game mechanics part) might exist but has very little explanatory
power. In other words, knowing whether someone scores high/low on
the Explorer motivation doesn't tell us much else about why they
play - that it isn't a primary factor.

So for example, some people have very strong preference for mint
chip ice cream, but knowing this doesn't tell you anything else
about this person's personality. The factor analysis from the Facets
data implies that the some people like to think about game
mechanics, but this factor is very weak and doesn't tell you a whole
lot else about a player.  Instead, the results show that if you
could only ask a player 5 questions to understand why they play, you
should ask:

  - How interested are they in forming long-term relationships?

  - How important is it to them to set and achieve goals?

  - How appealing is it to be immersed in a fantasy world?

  - Do they enjoy grouping and drift to leadership positions when in
  a group?

  - Do they use other players for their own ends?

With regards to your argument that the respondents answered
specifically about their experiences with their current game, and
not in a general sense - I feel that it would be odd if the
"Explorer" type did exist but it didn't show up in the factor
analysis when all the other ones we expected to show up did so.

So at the moment, I'm leaning towards the weak explanatory power
hypothesis - that some people do play because they like tinkering
with the game mechanics, but measuring their motivations on other
factors gives you far greater insight into their in-game behavior
and overall motivation.

Nick

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