Using Qualitative Methods to Understand MMO Gamers Tracy L. M. Kennedy
<ul><li>Tracy Kennedy: </li></ul><ul><li>I’ve been researching society & the internet since 1995. In the last 13 years, I’...
<ul><li>Survey Data: </li></ul><ul><li>Strong links between heavy role players and negative “real life” psychosocial indic...
<ul><li>Develop a grounded qualitative account of role-players to further investigate role play culture  </li></ul><ul><li...
<ul><li>Practices:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do individuals perform role-playing practices online?  </li></ul></ul><ul><l...
<ul><li>To understand the social world of its residents by participating in and observing local cultural practices </li></ul>
<ul><ul><li>In-World Immersion: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>questing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>levelling  </li></ul></ul><...
<ul><li>Participating in: </li></ul><ul><li>in-world events organized by various Guilds  </li></ul><ul><li>social gatherin...
<ul><li>The Bookworm Cafe is a cozy coffee shop and cafe in South Qeynos, featuring gourmet coffees and teas, chilled juic...
<ul><li>The Wishing Well is an open air, open stage event, taking place in the relaxing atmosphere of Kelethin. Please bri...
<ul><li>A Kerra-owned and operated pub located in Qeynos, Nettleville Hovel within the Qeynos Exchange. </li></ul>
 
<ul><li>To situate experience & knowledge from the standpoint of the role player  </li></ul><ul><li>In-game call out poste...
<ul><li>Textual interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Gestures </li></ul><ul><li>Emotes </li></ul><ul><li>Special events </li></ul...
<ul><li>“ Well, in RL I am who I am...and I can't be a Sarnak or a Ratonga. With RP, I can be whoever I want. If I want to...
<ul><li>“ For a couple of hours each day, I can stop being the construction office secretary and part-time grocery clerk. ...
<ul><li>“ There is RP that is just kinda everyday, walking around, acting and talking like your character, chatting in gui...
<ul><li> “ [Role playing has] . . . inspired some of the best writing I’ve ever done. It’s given me great stories, some re...
<ul><li>“ Also, through my experience in guilds and leadership opportunities, it’s affected my own understanding of groups...
<ul><li>Kathy: &quot;I can be creative, and I can 'be' someone that I would never be in RL. It's kind of therapeutic to be...
<ul><li>Role players situate their experiences into their daily lives  </li></ul><ul><li>They actively negotiate the meani...
<ul><li>Ethnography </li></ul><ul><li>Observation </li></ul><ul><li>In-world interviews </li></ul><ul><li>On-line Communit...
<ul><li>Why do people join/leave groups or guilds? </li></ul><ul><li>How do groups learn from one another?  </li></ul><ul>...
<ul><li>How do players form social networks in MMOs? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of ties are they (ie: weak/strong)? </li>...
<ul><li>How do people build trust in EQ2? </li></ul><ul><li>What RL info do they share with others? How do they decide wha...
<ul><li>Why do people choose to mentor others?  </li></ul><ul><li>How does mentoring build relationships and foster social...
<ul><li>R: &quot;the seafury buccaneer armor is lame, why would anyone pay anything for that?” </li></ul><ul><li>V: &quot;...
<ul><li>What keeps people playing the game? Skill? Challenges? Social interaction? What’s fun? </li></ul><ul><li>What goal...
<ul><li>Quantitative + Qualitative = Exciting Research! </li></ul><ul><li>(and rich data)  </li></ul>
 
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Behind the Avatar: using qualitative methods to understand MMO gamers

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  • Behind the Avatar: using qualitative methods to understand MMO gamers

    1. 1. Using Qualitative Methods to Understand MMO Gamers Tracy L. M. Kennedy
    2. 2. <ul><li>Tracy Kennedy: </li></ul><ul><li>I’ve been researching society & the internet since 1995. In the last 13 years, I’ve investigated how people use the internet – from websites, email and blogging to games, gaming and virtual worlds - and how these have become integrated into our daily lives. I look at the social and cultural issues that surface as new technologies become more pervasive. </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Survey Data: </li></ul><ul><li>Strong links between heavy role players and negative “real life” psychosocial indicators: loneliness, unhappiness and depression </li></ul><ul><li>Not possible to make causal claims based on the cross-sectional survey data </li></ul><ul><li>What does it mean? </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>Develop a grounded qualitative account of role-players to further investigate role play culture </li></ul><ul><li>Understand the context in which role play is performed in MMOs </li></ul><ul><li>Explore the motivations and practices of role players </li></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>Practices: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do individuals perform role-playing practices online? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Motivations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why do individuals role-play online? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Meanings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the importance or significance of online role-playing to individuals? </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>To understand the social world of its residents by participating in and observing local cultural practices </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><ul><li>In-World Immersion: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>questing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>levelling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>interacting with the environment </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>Participating in: </li></ul><ul><li>in-world events organized by various Guilds </li></ul><ul><li>social gatherings held in taverns </li></ul><ul><li>special events such as theatrical character performances </li></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>The Bookworm Cafe is a cozy coffee shop and cafe in South Qeynos, featuring gourmet coffees and teas, chilled juices, fine wines, ice cold Brells on tap, a selection of muffins and pies, and the special soup of the day. Feel free to browse our extensive collection of books, relax in the patio pool, or enjoy a game or debate with your fellow patrons. </li></ul>
    10. 10. <ul><li>The Wishing Well is an open air, open stage event, taking place in the relaxing atmosphere of Kelethin. Please bring any songs, poems, or stories you would like to share. Or just sit, relax, and be entertained. Anyone, from any corner of the land, is welcome </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>A Kerra-owned and operated pub located in Qeynos, Nettleville Hovel within the Qeynos Exchange. </li></ul>
    12. 13. <ul><li>To situate experience & knowledge from the standpoint of the role player </li></ul><ul><li>In-game call out posted to RP ‘channels’ </li></ul><ul><li>Random ‘tells’ for invite </li></ul><ul><li>Call out posted on Guild forum </li></ul><ul><li>Referrals from players </li></ul><ul><li>13 interviewed </li></ul>
    13. 14. <ul><li>Textual interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Gestures </li></ul><ul><li>Emotes </li></ul><ul><li>Special events </li></ul><ul><li>Guild events </li></ul><ul><li>Forums </li></ul><ul><li>Kirahh waves &quot;Greetings al”. </li></ul><ul><li>Z# puts several cookies on a plate. </li></ul><ul><li>T# waves to Kirahh.  </li></ul><ul><li>T# says, &quot;Hello, missus kitty!&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>T# says, &quot;do you keep Brell's on tap, Z# ?&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>E# says, &quot;Mes thinks shiny head man is dum.. this letters is dum too. &quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Z# says, &quot;Here you go.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>E# says, &quot;Lo Kitty lady&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>P# finishes off the stew, then takes up her tea and looks around at the newcomers  </li></ul><ul><li>R# says, &quot;Lady Z# , I'll have the Felwith Crimson Sunrise wine... if you would.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Kirahh purrs. </li></ul><ul><li>E# waves to Kirahh. </li></ul><ul><li>T# says, &quot;Thankies, missus Z#&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>E# sniffs at Kirahh. </li></ul><ul><li>T# picks up her cookies and juice and carries them to the fireplace. </li></ul>
    14. 15. <ul><li>“ Well, in RL I am who I am...and I can't be a Sarnak or a Ratonga. With RP, I can be whoever I want. If I want to be an annoying fairy, I can. If I want to be a mean Iksar I can. Just gives me an opportunity to be in a world that I could never be in, in RL.” </li></ul>
    15. 16. <ul><li>“ For a couple of hours each day, I can stop being the construction office secretary and part-time grocery clerk. I can stop being the single mom with two kids who hates cleaning up after themselves and won't eat their veggies, and I can be someone else entirely. I get out of it some peace of mind and a renewed sense of creativity.” </li></ul>
    16. 17. <ul><li>“ There is RP that is just kinda everyday, walking around, acting and talking like your character, chatting in guild crystal or channels, just responding to stuff that happens. There is random RP, where you just go around in heavily populated places and run up and talk to people IC at random…I really love it…” </li></ul>
    17. 18. <ul><li> “ [Role playing has] . . . inspired some of the best writing I’ve ever done. It’s given me great stories, some real shiver and/or excitement moments. It can really get to your emotions, just like a well-done book or movie - but it’s even better b/c you and your buddies are doing it yourself . . .” </li></ul>
    18. 19. <ul><li>“ Also, through my experience in guilds and leadership opportunities, it’s affected my own understanding of groups and organizations in RL and given me experience that is applicable in RL work, organizations, etc. . . . I have found that interpersonal relationships in a guild organization are often identical with the Church organization—the reasons guilds form, break up, how conflicts are handled—all the same. All interpersonal relations we have with -real- people, whether online or off, fictional or not, give us material to learn from and develop ourselves.” </li></ul>
    19. 20. <ul><li>Kathy: &quot;I can be creative, and I can 'be' someone that I would never be in RL. It's kind of therapeutic to be honest. You can take RL situations, and work them into your character. </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher: &quot;Can you tell me a little more about what you mean by therapeutic? Or tell me more about how that works for you.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Kathy: &quot;Well...you know how some song writers write their emotions in their songs, and it gets everything off their chest and they've kind of told the world?&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher: &quot;nods&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher: &quot;So you feel that rp'ing helps you work out RL emotions and stress?&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Kathy: &quot;Yep, not ALL the time. But a lot of the time for sure.&quot; </li></ul>
    20. 21. <ul><li>Role players situate their experiences into their daily lives </li></ul><ul><li>They actively negotiate the meaning and significance of their role play activities </li></ul><ul><li>Role playing is clearly important to people—both online and offline </li></ul><ul><li>Role play can be a significant therapeutic tool for the disaffected, marginalized or psychologically troubled </li></ul>
    21. 22. <ul><li>Ethnography </li></ul><ul><li>Observation </li></ul><ul><li>In-world interviews </li></ul><ul><li>On-line Community Forums </li></ul><ul><li>Video capture of game play, interaction & raids etc (via Fraps) </li></ul>What do you want know?
    22. 23. <ul><li>Why do people join/leave groups or guilds? </li></ul><ul><li>How do groups learn from one another? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they co-ordinate with each other? </li></ul><ul><li>How do these groups create /maintain their on-line communities? </li></ul>Vagabond Knights Guild
    23. 24. <ul><li>How do players form social networks in MMOs? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of ties are they (ie: weak/strong)? </li></ul><ul><li>Do virtual networks spill into RL? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of social capital (virtual/RL) do people gain from their VW networks? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Well, I have had some incredible RL friendships and experiences because of [role-playing]. I made two friends in England when I was 19 through RP, and they helped me visit England where I lived for 45 days on a trip. I stayed alternately with the two of them. I've also had RP friends who have visited where I live in RL, or we've met at some point. Out of over 8 times, every time, they were exactly who I expected, too, I should note.” </li></ul>
    24. 25. <ul><li>How do people build trust in EQ2? </li></ul><ul><li>What RL info do they share with others? How do they decide what to share? </li></ul><ul><li>“ As I said, time develops trust. The RP relationship, along with the OOC interactions alongside it, all convey things about a person. However some RPers deny it, I can tell a lot about a person by how they RP, what they RP, etc. Over time, RPing and relating OOCly, that influences my trust for a person. Also, obviously if someone I trust trusts someone else... that influences it too. Oh, one big thing I left out- if someone else offers trust to me, I respond with trust.” </li></ul>
    25. 26. <ul><li>Why do people choose to mentor others? </li></ul><ul><li>How does mentoring build relationships and foster social networks in MMOs? </li></ul>
    26. 27. <ul><li>R: &quot;the seafury buccaneer armor is lame, why would anyone pay anything for that?” </li></ul><ul><li>V: &quot;As a swash, I'd pay 10 bucks to look like a pirate.” </li></ul><ul><li>What drives economic behaviour for individuals & groups? </li></ul>
    27. 28. <ul><li>What keeps people playing the game? Skill? Challenges? Social interaction? What’s fun? </li></ul><ul><li>What goals do people have when they play? </li></ul><ul><li>How/why do these goals change? </li></ul>
    28. 29. <ul><li>Quantitative + Qualitative = Exciting Research! </li></ul><ul><li>(and rich data) </li></ul>

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