In the last blog entry I talked about stereotypes and how they are affecting the mindset of MMO players. Today I am going to focus on what some of these stereotypes are and whether they are fact or fictional.
Ask someone who’s never played a massively multi-player online role playing game (MMORPG) what they think of games like World of Warcraft and Second Life and it’s possible they’ll say they see them as an activity for less socially adept individuals and a waste of time and money. However, ask a gamer the same and they’ll passionately disagree with the non-gamer’s viewpoint, citing their social interaction and communication with others is enhanced (not diminished) and just as validating as “real life” connections.
On another blog, Geekistry.com, the author says that he completely disagrees with the non-MMO user’s point of view and he’s got the support of other gamers behind him. So it seems pretty obvious that there is a divide in the way of thinking of these two schools of thought. Then how can we logically justify that the stereotypes are not true. In this blog entry, I will look at the top three stereotypes and explain why they are not true.
First of all, www.nickyee.com/daedalus/, is a great website that has a long-running survey study of MMO players. Any questions regarding who, what and why these players think they way they do, can be found if you dig a little deeper. I recommend that everyone check it out at least once.
Stereotype 1: “Almost all MMO players are male.” (Gender)
- Actually, this stereotype is somewhat accurate. Most players are male. However, the percentage of male players is not as overwhelming as many people believe. Although the percentage of male players may have been greater in the past, currently only 60% of MMO players are male (BBC) and this percentage continues to shrink as more and more females are starting to play MMOs.
Stereotype 2: “Only single people play MMOs.” (Marital Status)
- This stereotype is actually quite wrong. It turns out that 36% of MMO players are married or engaged. Females, however, are more likely to be married/engaged than males, feeding the “single male” stereotype. It is important to note that the 36% number does not include people who are currently in relationships who are not either married or engaged, so the real number of “non-single” players is probably quite a bit higher than 36%.
Stereotype 3: “People who play MMOs only play the game by themselves.”
- There seems to be a general belief that MMOs are solitary games where people play by themselves. Besides the fact that what MMORPG stands for proves it wrong ( Massively Multi-playerOnline Role Playing Game, multi-player as in more than one person), there is statistical evidence that proves that most subscribers play and prefer to play with other people. 59% of females and 56.5% of males tend to group with other people. Almost 20% of females and 24% of males play solo due to “schedule constraints” or “lack of good groups.” 14.4% of females and 13.9% of males have no preference towards grouping or soloing and only 6.6% of females and 5.3% of males actually prefer to play alone. – Source
For further stereotypes and their explanations follow the link at the end of the post. To further discuss this issue I have pulled an excerpt from another Blog which seems like a rant from a ‘casual MMO’ player who cannot keep up with other players who spend a lot of time playing the game. He feels that this is not how a game should be and people like him with family commitments and jobs cannot get as good as someone who spent hours playing on the computer. The whole concept in itself is wrong and that’s why he doesn’t like the MMO genre of games. I feel that there is some weigh in his argument but I do not fully agree with his point of view. The game has a learning curve and it requires time to get through that and it holds true for most MMO games out there. So in essence you put in the effort to get good and then you do not have to be ‘grinding’ on the daily basis as is the case in WoW. So certainly there are two schools of thought involved but you can decide on which one you’d like to stick to. At the end of the day, either way of going about is not going to slow down the increasing number of new MMO players nor completely alleviate the community from the naysayers.
While there are never any general rules here, it often boils down to human vanity. Many play video games because they want to feel special, and rise above the rest of the crop. In many cases, games give you that false sense of accomplishment that people lack more of in real life. This leads to a rather contradictory situation in MMORPGs though – in really popular MMORPGs, it becomes very hard for the casual player to “stand out.” Although this is not impossible, being special and having the best gear almost certainly implies that you have to play the game to such an extent that it would be a crime to call yourself a casual gamer. Often, in MMORPGs, the most vocal and vibrant online personalities (for all we know, they could be quiet loners in real life) will garner most of the attention, and hence myths will be created around their supposed skills. There is, of course, the other side of this coin too, where certain people will be labeled skill-less, and often this general impression of them will be based around even more myths. – Source
Let us know your thoughts on it.