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Posts with tag research

Breakfast Topic: Shame

I am not ashamed to be a World of Warcraft player. I spend on average about two hours a day playing the game. That takes into account the weekends when I overindulge and the weekdays when I may log in for a few arenas, if at all. I have accomplishments in-game that I'm proud of, and I find it really thrilling to share my thoughts and experiences with the readers of WoW Insider. I proudly wear geeky, WoW-oriented shirts, and proclaim myself as a gamer.

Every once in a while I think to myself that I should do something different with my time. But then I remember that it's some good clean (not to mention cheap) fun that I can share with my friends and family. On top of that, I really enjoy my play time. For an extra-added benefit, I can't remember the last time I was actually bored, with the game or anything else.

An interesting news article hit my inbox today. Dr. Jerald Block is a psychiatrist who specializes in treating pathological computer use. His most stunning statement was that many of his clients were more ashamed of their World of Warcraft addictions than obsessions with internet porn. I can't quite wrap my brain around that.

Dr. Block also believes that previous studies of gaming addiction have been focused on the wrong group. He claims that adults, rather than teens, obsess over online gaming. He is probably right on both accounts. This may lead to a paradigm shift in gaming research.

Do you ever find yourself ashamed of playing WoW?


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Breakfast Topics, Features

Control WoW with your eyes

Adding one to the list of things I've never thought of that are actually pretty cool, scientists at De Montfort University in the UK have developed a way to control WoW with your eyes. The system uses existing LED eye-tracking devices, and essentially the cursor just goes where you look. Looking offscreen in various directions can trigger different modes (for combat or travel, for instance). The intention behind this project is to help people with disabilities that prevent them from using traditional input devices. So far, judging by the video, the interface is not up to par with clicking or key-pressing, but I think it does have potential for situations where it's required. The research team hopes to begin trials next year.

[via Wonderland]

Filed under: News items, Hardware

Academic research on virtual worlds

It has been fascinating to see how the world and video games have changed in recent years. Video games have been a source of social and scientific research, some of which will be presented in an online conference next weekend. Some of the topics that will be covered in the three sessions include the economy, messages about the environment and future developments in the virtual world.

A young lady from Yeditepe University in asked for help in collecting data for her thesis on the WoW Europe forums. The researcher, Tugce Tosya seeks to find out learn more about presence in computer games, and has chosen World of Warcraft as her population of choice. You can find her brief questionnaire online. I found it took about five minutes to complete and checks out against possible keyloggers or spyware. Any questions you have about the survey can be directed to her academic supervisor or the Information Systems & Technologies department.

Good luck on your thesis Tugce, let me know if you need any help with analysis. We'd love to hear about other WoW-based projects.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves

Convergence of the Real and the Virtual May 9-11

MMORPGs and other online communities have been fascinating scientists since their inception. The social world has vastly changed in recent years and many are studying their impacts on people, the economy, and the outside world. Several researchers will be presenting their findings at the "Convergence of the Real and the Virtual," proposed by John Bohannon, contributor to American Association for the Advancement of Science's online Science publication.

The conference will be held on Earthen Ring, US May 9-11, Horde side. The conference consists of three planned sessions. For any of you who have had the pleasure of attendance at traditional academic conferences, rest assured that the creators promise a more entertaining experience. The conference will include presenters from the National Science Foundation, The National Cancer Institute, The Minnesota Department of National Resources, and many universities and research institutes.

Attendees will be granted a virtual goodie bag and invited to in-game events such as a photo-opportunity with the Supreme Leader of Azeroth. For more information contact conference organizer William Sims Bainbridge or check out the conference's information page.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

Study says social games make people more social

Our good friends at Joystiq reported on a study earlier from Nottingham Trent University (it's in England) about MMO gamers and their social behaviors. And supposedly-- are you sitting for this one?-- massively multiplayer online games actually help people meet others and make friends. Go figure!

They surveyed 1,000 gamers (which is not a huge sample, actually), and found that almost half had actually met another player in real life, and one in ten developed "physical relationships" with someone they'd met in a game. 40% of people discussed sensitive issues with online friends rather than real-life ones, and 30% of players were attracted to another player. 80% of players also played not only with online friends, but with real-life friends and family as well. And according to the study, women were more likely to both be attracted to other players, and to eventually date them, and while women play for "therapeutic refreshment," men play for "curiosity, astonishment, and interest."

50% of respondents said World of Warcraft was their game of choice, so while the study was actually about MMO players, it's not a stretch to say it's just about WoW players (and pretty hardcore players, too-- average play time per week was 22.85 hours!). Like I said, 1,000 people is a pretty small sample, but apparently a journal approved it-- the study will be published in CyberPsychology and Behavior.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

Researchers at the University of Texas studying World of Warcraft [Updated]

A tipster informs us that researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are conducting a study to try to determine the "personalities and motivations" of people participating in World of Warcraft and other online games. And they're asking for our help! So if you have 10 or 15 minutes of free time, why not go fill out their MMORPG Survey? (Or if learning about the personalities and motivations of yourself and fellow players doesn't interest you, there's another study running at the university that seeks to understand how people interact in online environments. However, I've got to warn you, that one will take 20 to 30 minutes of your time.) The survey itself looks like a standard personality test, and, I have to say, is pretty uninteresting. However, I'm quite interested in seeing what sort of results they come out with in the end -- and if you're as curious as I am participating will only lead to more varied results in the end.

: There is a great deal of discussion in our comments about the possibility of this site being a scam of some sort. While I agree that the domain name of the site is fishy, the content looks completely legitimate. (And, yes, I did run through this on my personal computer before passing it on to you.) With the original and subsequent e-mails we've received about the site, I would say it's legitimate. However, I have removed the link to the site pending further verification.

Update 2: After trading e-mails with Austin Harley (yes, through a valid University of Texas mailing address), one of the researchers involved in the study, I am convinced that this is, in fact, a valid project. Of the odd hosting arrangement, he says:

A good friend of mine offered to build a web page for my site and link it to an already functional database he had. He said this would be easier on him than building one off a webpage on the utexas server so I happily agreed since he was really doing me a huge favor. I had no idea so many people were worried about a potential scam or that my site would cause such a stir.

Update 3: To further assure anyone's concerns, I have talked to a member of the UT faculty overseeing this project, who, again, assures me that this is a legitimate study.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends

New Daedalus data: girls heal and play elves, kids play Horde

This has been the common wisdom, or at least a stereotype, for quite some time, but apparently female players really are more likely to prefer healing than male players are. The Daedalus Project, one of my favorite sites about MMOs, has published some new results. The site focuses on sociological research about MMOs and MMO players, and among other things, the new results look at the gender and age breakdowns of how MMO players would respond to various hypothetical questions.

There were four questions asked, although one of them is only slightly applicable to WoW. For nice charts (as seen above) and full data, see the site, but I'll summarize the interesting points here, question-by-question. Note that it's possible that this data, being an aggregate of players of different MMOs, does not represent WoW well. I doubt it, however; given WoW's market dominance, most of the respondents probably are WoW players. Edit: note that in my summaries below, I'm merely point out trends, not causes. I'm not trying to say (for instance) that girls heal because they're girls; there are many other factors at play here.

Read more →

Filed under: Virtual selves

The Death Stories Project

The Death Stories Project is a research progress focusing on how players experience death in MMO's.  The project is currently seeking contributions from players of various MMO's who are interested in describing their in-game experiences with death and share screenshots.  There are no results or findings posted yet, but the project looks to be an interesting one.  So take a look, and if you have time, fill out the survey

[Via WarCry]

Filed under: Odds and ends

Endgame guild closeup

This fairly old, but interesting, article from Nick Yee's Daedalus project gives an insight into one of the "uberguilds", guilds that persist across games and aim for the top. As the first to kill Ragnaros on their server, Talon's guild is a marvel of military organisation, but not without criticism--the guild leader prefers not to let women in the guild, for example.

Talon's rules for membership are especially clear: you need to be able to take criticism, have good attendance for events, and have the "guild comes first" attitude. Many of us have just joined guilds that were openly recruiting, that had friends in, or that a party member invited us into because they liked our style--this is very different territory.

Filed under: Guilds

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