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Posts with tag Daedalus-Project

15 Minutes of Fame: Researcher Nick Yee digs into the numbers, people behind WoW

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

If you're into research about the World of Warcraft and the world of MMORPGs, the name Nick Yee will be instantly recognizable. A research scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Yee is well known in WoW circles for his work on The Daedalus Project, an online survey of MMORPG players that's yielded profiles of gamers and the gaming life that are ripe for the picking.

Despite a powerhouse academic background, Yee's no ivory tower recluse. He's an active WoW player who relishes the happy intersection of game time as background for work time. And while his Daedalus Project has been "in hibernation" for some time now, Yee's been working on a new study for PARC. We'll chat with Yee about his work after the break -- plus test your knowledge of your fellow WoW players in a special quiz he's prepared especially for WoW Insider readers spotlighting findings from his new MMORPG research.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Defining Playstyles: Beyond casual vs. hardcore

In a recent Totem Talk post, I made a loot list for enhancement shamans that have access to ICC but are not progression raiders, because they are either alts or they are -- drum roll, please -- casual. That's right: I used the c-word without context. Casual. There, I said it again without context. Excuse me while I duck from the rotten vegetables being thrown in my direction.

The use of that c-word in relation to an Icecrown Citadel loot list sparked a very interesting comment thread. Most comments were well thought-out, added value and furthered the discussion. Some were, to borrow Adam Savage's favorite term, vitriolic, because of my heinous misuse of the term "casual." I said it again without context. I'm just casually throwing around "casuals" here.

Given the reaction that post received, I started doing some research into what exactly "casual" and "hardcore" actually mean. What I found was not surprising at all: They mean completely different things to absolutely everyone. The MMO population of players, across all games, is estimated at over 61 million people. There are as many variations on play time and playstyle as there are players in the game. Do you really think we can divide this many people simply into two groups of just casuals and hardcores?

I think it's time we move beyond the polarizing definitions of casual and hardcore and come up with some definitions of our own.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Gnome Rogue with Pink Mohawk wants your data

Nick Yee from the Daedalus Project is now looking for data for a new project he's working on with the Palo Alto Research Center. Now, PARC is a pretty big name in computing, and Nick Yee is justly known for his long running work on the Daedalus Project, so the idea that a group with PARC's resources is studying WoW and other MMO's using someone as knowledgeable as Mr. Yee is very interesting all told. The idea of trying to 'predict who people are just from the way they behave in a virtual world ' and my own personal curiosity for whether nor not they'll run into a certain Mr. Gabriel's GIFT (warning, there is a swearword behind that link) has me decidedly curious.

The full text of the press release will be behind the cut for those interested.

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Filed under: News items

Celebrating a guild anniversary in style

Pink Pigtail Inn has what is probably the most involved guild anniversary I've ever seen. We've seen quite a few anniversaries and events come through Guildwatch, but this one takes the cake: a huge competitive scavenger hunt, complete with out-of-game clues, banned class abilities (so teams could be balanced out), and even self-made quests involving the guild's lore. It's probably rare to find a group of officers that can be this committed to something normally considered "an RP event," but obviously it worked out, because the whole guild really enjoyed it.

The context Larisa puts this in, however, is even more interesting. According to the Daedalus Project (a series of surveys of MMO players -- we've mentioned their work before), the majority of players can't celebrate a guild's anniversary anyway, as they haven't been in their guilds for even a year yet. I've never considered it, but it's true: while we are very attached to our guildies when we do find a good guild, we aren't really attached to them for very long, relatively speaking. There are stories of guilds going on for decades, but even those guilds have players coming and going -- if your guild has the same group of people playing together for a few years, you're probably in a smaller group than you think. PPI's example is a great one for any guilds who have been around long enough to celebrate it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Virtual selves, Guilds, Quests

The rise and fall of class popularity


While writing the most recent Shifting Perspectives column and browsing old records on Druid population statistics, I started to wonder about the various factors that play a role in how popular a class becomes. While Blizzard and Blizzard alone has the exact numbers on who's playing what, various fan sites have honed data collection strategies over the years and amassed a pretty impressive pile of numbers. This only got easier when the Armory launched in spring 2007, and by now I'd be surprised if players weren't at least broadly accurate about overall trends. If we can trust what we see, how we do best explain fluctuations in class popularity? Has Arena success (or the lack thereof) been as influential as we think? Is class population an accurate, albeit crude, guide to the overall "quality" of a class at any given moment -- or just a guide to the perceived "quality?" I'd be interested to hear what people think.

Having played a Druid since the beginning of Burning Crusade and observed it going from the second least-played class at 60 to the third or fourth most-played class at 80, I have my own theories about what's influenced Druid population numbers particularly, but I need to do a little more digging before I can be sure. However, I don't know whether any of it really applies to other classes, and the meteoric rise of the Death Knight is a thought-provoking (and somewhat troubling) trend.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Daedalus Project updated


Nick Yee's excellent MMORPG survey and data site, the Daedalus Project, has been updated with new survey results on the following topics:
  • Guild demographics: What influences players to choose certain guilds, how attached they become, the likelihood of their knowing guildies in real life, and how long they stay. What I find fascinating here is the graph displayed above -- 26% of surveyed players have been with their guild 2 years or more. Alex Ziebart mentioned the other day that his guild has been together so long across multiple games that guild chat's gone from talk of teenage dates to coaching expectant parents through morning sickness. I get the feeling that this is only going to become more common in long-haul games like Second Life and WoW.
  • Character creation: How players choose characters, the elements of character selection they consider most important, and whether classes and races tend to be researched extensively before they're picked, or chosen based on impulse. Character class seems to matter to the most people; starting area the least.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Odds and ends, News items, Classes

Widget shows character name statistics


If you've ever been fascinated by the MMORPG statistics provided at sites like the Daedalus Project, here's something right up your alley; the WoW Armory Character Distribution widget, programmed to comb both the U.S. and E.U. Armories and capture data on the popularity of character names across race, class, faction, and sex.

The project is still in the testing stage, and it's a bit finicky about how you enter character names. Make sure you're always hitting the submit button and not using your enter key, as otherwise the widget will keep searching for the last name you looked for instead of your new query. Its creator, Emilis, also wrote to warn that it uses live information from both armories and will occasionally be slow as a result. I imagine it might also be inaccurate if either Armory is having problems.

The widget is tremendously fun to play with and has yielded some rather interesting results even with the completely random names I keep trying. "John" and "Mary," as you might expect, are overwhelmingly Human toons, whereas the greater share of people playing a "Sergei" and "Yekaterina" are Draenei. 3 people with a "Brutus" are actually playing female characters, and 1 person with a "Laura" is playing a male character (Emilis notes that gender-bending names are surprisingly common, although from what I can tell so far this seems to be a lot more true of male names for female toons than the other way around). Most people with a "Killer" are playing a Hunter, Rogue, or Warrior. Characters named "Bank" are mostly Human Warriors, but "Banktoon(s)" are mostly Orcs. And, yes, most of the people playing a toon named Legolas are Night Elf Hunters. Are you really that surprised?

Thanks to Emilis for writing in!

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Human, Night Elves, Orcs, Hunter, Rogue, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Draenei

15 Minutes of Fame: WoW from the Ivory Tower

15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about at 15minutesoffame (AT) wowinsider (DOT) com.

Academic types will find a way to analyze just about every aspect of life – life in Azeroth included. Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader, published in May by The MIT Press, explores what it calls "the cultural and social implications of the proliferation of ever more complex digital game worlds." Whew.

Props to the authors of this anthology for not only playing the game they're pontificating about – they actually created their own guild, where they play with other Digital Culture contributors. 15 Minutes of Fame talked with Jessica Langer, author of a chapter on the ways in which narratives of colonialism and otherness functioned in different ways throughout the game, about what she plays, what she writes, and how it all comes together in the World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Gweryc on WoW's nonconformity backlash

15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – both the renowned and the relatively anonymous. Know an interesting player you'd like to see profiled? E-mail us at 15minutesoffame AT wowinsider DOT com.

We knew when we sat down a few weeks ago to interview Noor the pacifist that the whole concept of a WoW character who didn't kill anything would start the flames rolling. The idea definitely lit some bonfires around the interwebz: incredulous readers Dugg it, StumbledUpon it ... it even showed up on Fark. But the real heat was in the reader comments, as readers at WoW Insider and across the 'net flamed, lambasted, reasoned, cajoled, ranted and otherwise worried the topic to bits like a pack of ravenous worgs.

Seeking some perspective in the aftermath, we turned to Gweryc the melee Hunter. We suspected he might offer a shoulder to cry on about being misunderstood in the pursuit of eccentric, concept-driven gaming. Instead, we got an inspired dissection of current thinking on who plays MMORPGs and why -- and what playing a purposely gimped character has to do with it. Join us after the break for a conversation with Gweryc on metagaming, gaming achievement ... and of course, being a Hunter who hits stuff.

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Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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