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Title: The value systems of player and their relation to in-game behavior in a massively multiplayer online role-playing game
Authors: Wang, Chaoguang
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Understanding the characteristics of players is an essential part of game design. This thesis reports the results of my study to identify the value systems of Chinese online game players based upon the Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory (ECLET) by Clare W. Graves (Graves, 1970, 1974, 2005). The ECLET provides a new way to look at the differences in people through successive personality stages or value systems, each with its own predominant way of thinking and behaving. I conducted a survey of 5,427 participants within the MMORPG Ghost II that measured their value systems based upon the ECLET. The study showed that Chinese online game players are mainly operating at Blue value system, a core value that is to sacrifice self now in order to receive reward later. The data were also compared with instrument averages resulted from global measurement main based on western subjects. The differences across the demographic variables such as gender, age and occupations were also investigated. This study then further examined the relationship between player's value systems and their actions in playing the Ghost II. Online survey data from 1,577 players containing value systems and demographic variables were paired with their behavioral metrics within the game world and analyzed for this study. A number of positive correlations were found between the score of Red value system and the in-game metrics that were collected to represent their playing behavior. Participants that scored high on Red value system also tend to spend more real money in the game, level up their character and ability as quickly as possible, and seek other achievements in forms offered by the game world. These characteristics for fun, power and immediate gratification are also predicted by the Red value system in Clare W. Graves' model. With this work, it is shown that there is a correlation between in-game behavior and real-life behavioral attitudes as modeled by the Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory.The research provides a more comprehensive look at value systems of players in relation to their specific playing behaviors. The finding helps us to better design, evaluate and understand enjoyment in games. The links between value systems and online consumption can be applied to the designing of virtual items that ultimately generate the revenues for the game. Another possibility directly applicable to game design would be to use inferred learning styles of players as modeled by their certain value system to minimize the learning curve involved to master game play. The results show the possibility of inferring users' value systems based on their activity traces within the game. The study is significant in its research methodology (using commercial data from an online-game which is currently played by millions of people) as well as its findings regarding players' core values and their relationship to in-game behavior. By examining the characteristics of players' value systems and its' relationships with in-game behavior, this thesis work allows for a new look at ECLET and its' application in game development. The empirical data about Chinese individuals establish a baseline and provide a starting point for the future study of the Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory. Further work can continue to expand the understanding of the relationships between the personality and playing features building on this study.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Internet games -- Social aspects
Fantasy games -- Social aspects
Role playing -- Social aspects
Pages: xv, 168 pages
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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