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Meaningful Play 2018 at Michigan State University

Paper Information

TitlePlayer-roles in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games, and Perceived Skill and Relationship Benefits, Diverge with Social Attitudes and Political Ideology
Presenter(s)Ciaran Smith, Paul Rauwolf, James Intriligator and Robert Rogers
SessionCooperative Play
TimeFriday, October 12, 10:30a-11:30a
LocationLake Ontario
FormatPaper Presentation
DescriptionLittle is known about how players' choices within MMORPGs reflect social values and attitudes, and political ideology. We surveyed 5,847 players of Jagex's Runescape to examine social value orientation, hostility, and liberalism-conservatism. Players reported predominantly prosocial orientations. However, those who prioritised skill acquisition/improvement (Skillers), combat (Killers) and narrative challenges (Questers) differed in broader socio-cognitive factors. Killers were the most likely to show individualist and competitive values, report the most hostility to others and the most conservative political ideology. Questers reported the least hostility and most liberal outlooks. Players identified as individualists reported the weakest benefits of MMORPG play; the most hostile players (self-) reported the strongest. Players with libertarian outlooks reported the strongest benefits while those with liberal-left outlooks reported the weakest. These findings offer new perspectives on the socio-cognitive processes of MMORPGs, and inform discussion of how players derive leisure, education and social capital benefits from MMORPG play.

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