Focused on the prize: Characteristics of experts in massive multiplayer online games

Jing Wang, David A. Huffaker, Jeffrey W. Treem, Lindsay Fullerton, Muhammad A. Ahmad, Dmitri Williams, Marshall Scott Poole, Noshir Contractor


This study is the first large–scale multi–method attempt to empirically examine the characteristics leading to development of expertise in EverQuest II, a popular massively multi–player online role–playing game (MMOs). Benefiting from the unprecedented opportunity of obtaining game log data matched with survey data, the project investigated the relationship between player motivations and in–game behavior, personality characteristics, and demographic attributes with game performance and achievement, which we refer to as game “expertise.” Players who were high on achievement motivation or social motivation had higher game expertise, while those high on immersion motivation had lower expertise. Game experts were also characterized by focusing their game time on completing tasks. Younger players showed a slim advantage over older players. Male and female players exhibited similar expertise levels in this MMO.


virtual worlds; games; massive multiplayer online role-playing games; game expertise

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