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Quantification of EQ Players 162

Posted by Hemos
from the grats dept.
Nick Yee writes: "As part of a psychology thesis project, I collected data from about 4000 individual EverQuest players who together filled out about 25,000 surveys that focused on many facets of personal and social dynamics in real-time 3D immersive virtual worlds, such as: gender differences, gender-bending, addiction, friendships, romantic relationships, people who play with romantic partners and so on. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected. "
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Quantification of EQ Players

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @02:43AM (#2992776)
    I know it's hard but the title and first two lines of it had me thinking this was a psychological study on equalizers. EverQuest doesn't dominate most people's lives as much as it does yours.
  • Re:Yeah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Metrollica (552191) <m etrollica AT hotmail D0T com> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @02:44AM (#2992778) Homepage Journal
    "As part of a psychology thesis project, I collected data from about 4000 individual EverQuest players who together filled out about 25,000 surveys that focused on many facets of personal and social dynamics in real-time 3D immersive virtual worlds, such as: gender differences, gender-bending, addiction, friendships, romantic relationships, people who play with romantic partners and so on. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected."

    The person collected data from other people. Unless he was posing as those 4000 people and did enough playing to account for all of them then there is nothing wrong with using this as a psychology thesis.
  • EverCrack (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ccochese (158111) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @02:49AM (#2992788) Homepage
    I'll admit it, I was addicted for about 6 months, and I quit after I realized that there was no possible way I could learn anything of any value by playing it any more. Well, I guess there is one thing you can learn, and that's that if you put enough hard work into something, it can pay off, but I realized that getting phat lewtz and my epic weapon and lvl 60 and all that didn't amount to jack in the real world, so it was time to stop. But MAN is it addictive..
  • by greylouser (532845) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @04:05AM (#2992908)
    Interesting to note the distinction between the reported favorite races (listed here highest to lowest):

    Wood Elf, Human, Dark Elf, High Elf

    and the races that most people would rather be:

    Wood Elf, High Elf, Human, Dark Elf

    A similar distinction results from looking at the class data: Warrior is listed as the second-favorite class, but ranks a distant sixth in the list of classes people would like to be, were Norath real.

    This implies that people would rather be a class or race that isn't their favorite.

    In fact, this may raise questions about the validity of these questions as measures of underlying preferences, although I don't know to what standard they should be compared.

  • Re:hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by reo_kingu (536791) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @04:28AM (#2992942) Homepage
    I'm a psychology/computer science major, and after reading all of these posts I really want to write a lot about why the trend of so many people using forums like everquest, AOL chat rooms, etc to find mates is NOT HEALTHY. But then I realize that that would be pointless, everyone KNOWS why, even the people that do it.

    I'm speaking from experience, a few years ago I dated and then moved in with a girl I met online. Of course we both had the same social problems that led us to need that avenue to meet in the first place, and it didn't work out in the long run.
    Put simply, people who go looking for a girlfriend or boyfriend online need to address their need for distance and safety from rejection and face it, not use it to pick up someone only to realize later that you don't love Fred from Alabama, you love Thangor the lvl 62 Paladin with his shiny plate mail :)

    you know what I mean.
  • by roffe (26714) <roffe@extern.uio.no> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @04:29AM (#2992945) Homepage

    in particular I appreciate their using a modern personality test (the NEO-PI) rather than the ubiquitous but outdated (in my opinion at least) MBTI or 16PF.

    I would like to take this opportunity to comment on one statement:

    Almost everyone who has taken an introductory psychology course in high school or college has heard of B.F. Skinner. Skinner is an important figure in Behaviorism, and developed a learning theory known as Operant Conditioning. Skinner claimed that the frequency of a given behavior is directly linked to whether it is rewarded or punished. If a behavior is rewarded, it is more likely to be repeated. If it is punished, it becomes suppressed.

    You will find this repeated in any one given introductory pscyhology text, but this is wrong all the same. Skinner would never have said this. The point is that Skinner defines his procedures functionally. That is to say that he would state that if a behavior's strength or frequency increases after the presentation of a stimulus, then that stimulus can be said to be a reinforcer for that behavior. In common language, a reward is anything that is considered pleasant, but many behaviors can be "rewarded" in thiss sense until you are blue in the face with no apparent effect on the behavior. Within Skinners parlance, a stimulus is a reinforcer only if it works.

    In practice, behaviors tend to get repeated also in this cases where they are punished (this is one of the reasons why prison doesn't make people law-abiding). Behavior analysts, when doing behavior modification, tend to reward behaviors that they wish to strengthen, and ignore (in technical terms, extinguish) behaviors that they want to go away. In preparation for a behavior modification, the client needs to be examined to find suitable reinforcers, precicely because people differ and one person's reward can be another person's punishment.

  • by autopr0n (534291) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @04:37AM (#2992958) Homepage Journal
    When you get a degree in Psychology, you most likely won't become a professor, or a shrink in some office. You'll go to work in "Industrial Relations". What's that, you ask? Its the application of Psychology to the business world.

    Knowing this stuff could make Sony a lot of money, in who they market the game, and even how they develop it.

    This game is popular because it, apparently, touches is something deep inside a lot of people. And it doesn't let go. If you know what, or why, or if you can reproduce that. You can make yourself a lot of money.

    Understanding why Everquest "works" is valuable for its insight into human nature, and it's valuable in the most literal sense of the word.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @04:47AM (#2992973)
    The discreprency probably lies in people's desire to play the role of the class but desire to have the power of another. Someone might like the idea of being a tree hugging druid but pass up playing one because a warrior deals more damage for example.

    Note: I've never played EQ so the above example is probably a bad one. But I've played lots of other (computer and tabletop) roleplaying games and I've definately observed how people gravitate towards the more powerful classes and away from the weaker ones despite their roleplaying preferences.

    Any EQr's want to confirm/refute that?

  • by rufusdufus (450462) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @04:47AM (#2992975)
    EQ reminds me of a psych test a friend of mine made in college. It was a video game similar to space invaders where he wanted to see how people adapt and optimize thier strategy. In his game, the optimal strategy was to sit in the left corner and only shoot at a special ship that came by periodically (just hold the fire button down), and ignore all everything else. There was a contest with a money prize after a couple of weeks for high score. Not one player in his test found the strategy; they all got confused and ran amok shooting worthless stuff. Sort of like the computer in "War Games" only the real humans never figured it out.

    Everquest is a totally mindless game. Like the game of LIFE, it has zero strategy or tactics. If you think it does, remember the psych test.
  • Why exactly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by autopr0n (534291) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @05:04AM (#2993003) Homepage Journal
    How is meeting a girl online any different then meeting a girl in real life? Certainly meeting a chick via an online dating site or AIM or something isn't any different then meeting a chick in a singles bar. How could it be? I'm speaking from experience, a few years ago I dated and then moved in with a girl I met online. Of course we both had the same social problems that led us to need that avenue to meet in the first place, and it didn't work out in the long run.

    If you're really a psych major, you should know better then to draw inferences from single data points. There could be a lot of factors that caused you to break up, aside from the fact that you were both nerds. Hell, most relationships don't last in the long run; you're likely to go through a couple of SOs/relationships in your life before you find the "right one" (if you ever do). And of course distance can be a problem, but some people, I guess, desperate or romantic enough to move for someone they haven't spent much time with. And it can work out. Personally, I've met a pretty cute, and definitely cool chick over the net. We seem to have great chemistry and are interested in each other (and she's Asian!). But unfortunately she lives in Canada... And again, I'm not one who would uproot my life for a chick, and nether is she. Unless something catastrophic happens we probably won't be anything other then friends (keeping my fingers crossed for benefits :P)

    But say you can meet someone from nearby. What, exactly, is wrong with that? Maybe it would be better if a person wasn't as shy (or in my case lazy), but if they can hookup despite, why is it really such a huge issue? Who knows, maybe they go to an engineering school without a lot of chicks.

    As far meeting people in online games like EQ, well, if you are doing that you probably have a problem, not the least of which is a distorted sense of reality (looking for chicks in a game where 70% of the populous is male and 80% of the chicks are in relationships?). But if you incidentally meet a girl who shares your interest in the game, and reflects your interest in her, well, how is that unhealthy? I mean, maybe they shouldn't be spending so much time staring at a computer monitor... but they are, they both are. And what could be better then finding someone who shares your passions? And how would it be different then meeting a chick in a collage class or a gym or something?

    Maybe you had a bad experience, but any reall social scientist (or any scientist for that matter) would tell you that one data point does not give you the write to castigate a huge set of people as being 'unhealthy'.

    I mean, what really is so bad about using the internet to find love or get laid [adultfriendfinder.com]
  • Analysis Bias (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shreak (248275) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @01:34PM (#2994962)
    I found the analysis on the "Play-Nice Rule" statistic interesting:
    The majority (67.7%, N=1702) of players feel that the Play-Nice Rules either made no difference or actually made things worse.
    The spread was:
    12.5 % - Made Worse
    55.5 % - No Change
    31.4 % - Made Better

    So a significant majority (86.9%) thought that the Play-Nice rules made things as good or better than before. I wonder what the opinion of the analyzer was ;-) It also makes me wonder if any bias was introduced into the methodology.

    =Shreak

Remember, UNIX spelled backwards is XINU. -- Mt.

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