Research Article #2: Motivations for Play in Online Games

In this article by Nick Yee (2006), a questionnaire is used to determine whether Bartle’s Player Types (Bartle, 1996) translates from MUDs to MMORPGs. The results are something to get excited about (for me, at any rate), however not surprising.

“… Bartle’s Player Types is a well-known player taxonomy…” that needed to be, “… validated with and grounded in empirical data.” This is exactly what Yee set out to do with his research.

Yee sent out these 40 questions to MMORPG players via online groups for players of EQ, SW Galaxies, Ultima Online, and Dark Ages of Camelot (the last of which I’ve never even heard of). I wonder if the results would be the same for exclusively WOW players. Also, I wonder how the WOW players’ scores would compare with people who play primarily games that are not MMORPGs.

You know I HAD to look it up...

It is well assumed that there are a variety of reasons that people choose to game. Furthermore, there are a variety of reasons people choose the platforms and types of games they do. While it stands to reason that this would be the case, there are those (myself included) who love seeing empirical data suggest what they already feel is a safe assumption. Social psychologists would argue, I suspect, that often the things we take for granted as being truth is, in fact, closer to the opposite of what we suppose. A good example of this is the supposition that people would get off the phone quicker if they knew someone was waiting to use it. Those who are naysayers of the kindness of the entire human race, of course, know differently. We’re greedy, and we like having things that others don’t have.

Back to the topic at hand, though. Yee’s research is, as a matter of fact, the study that I’m hoping to replicate in my next at bat. His procedures provide me with a set of guidelines, and the findings give me an idea of what I’m looking for.

In Table 1 of the article, Yee displays the “Subcomponents revealed by the factor analysis grouped by the main component they fall under”. The main components are bolded, with the subcomponents and examples of them following:



  • Progress
  • Power
  • Accumulation
  • Status


      • Numbers
      • Optimization
      • Templating
      • Analysis


      • Challenging Others
      • Provocation
      • Domination



      • Casual Chat
      • Helping Others
      • Making Friends


      • Personal
      • Self-Disclosure
      • Find and Give Support


      • Collaboration
      • Groups
      • Group Achievements



      • Exploration
      • Lore
      • Finding Hidden Things


      • Story Line
      • Character History
      • Roles
      • Fantasy


      • Appearances
      • Accessories
      • Style
      • Color Schemes


    • Relax
    • Escape from Real Life
    • Avoid Real-Life Problems

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