Author Archive

Qualitative Research Coding Activity

Joey Hector and Miles Purcell


Research Questions:

Why did people start playing WoW?

Why do people continue playing WoW?

(Note: We didn’t use previous data in our counting)


People who Play WoW (Stage 1 and 3):

Why people started:

  • Friends/Family already played it. (ex. “i had a friend that played the game a lot” “I started playing in Kindergarten because my older brothers played and it looked cool”) (7)

Why people continue to play:

  • Lore/World (ex. “I like the thematic of the actual races and creatures in azeroth, the game has this cartoony-fantasy style to the creatures and I always liked that.” “What made you keep playing? Lore. Is there anything specific about the lore? The depth of the characters and their effect on the world.”) (2)
  • Gameplay/Mechanics (ex. “I really enjoy the PvP” “The quest system in the game was very fun.  I also like exploring the world and getting loot.” “It’s a great game and the expansions are fun”) (11)
  • Social Interaction (ex. “…i chat with friends” “I also play WoW because the people, they’re so nice and friendly. Heck even th mean people. I love everyone! What’s not to love about this community?”) (3)
  • Stress Relief (ex. “I play because it is a good stress reliever” “I play WoW because it’s a nice release from the real world”) (4)

People who don’t Play WoW (Stage 2):

Why they think people start playing WoW:

  • Friends told them about it. (ex. “all their friends are playing it.” “They start because someone else that they know already plays the game.”) (3)
  • Gameplay/Mechanics (ex. “For entertainment.”) (4)

Why they think people continue playing WoW:

  • Social Interaction (ex. “They think they will find people with similar interests.” “Because their friends are playing it and they don’t want to feel left out.”) (5)
  • Entertainment/Gameplay (ex. “Because its interactive” “Because it’s fun and a challenge, which they enjoy.”) (4)
  • Stress Relief (ex. “it’s probably a release from the stresses of everyday life” “To escape reality”) (3)


  • Addiction (ex. “I think it’s because once they start, you get to keep having progress throughout the game and there’s never an end so you keep playing.”) (2)
  • Story/Lore (“Because the storyline and quests are cool”) (1)


Our motivation for asking our research question was spurned by an interest in whether or not perceptions of WoW player motives aligned with the reasoning of actual players. Are the recorded assumptions correct? So, we asked “are there discrepancies between self reported and speculated reasons for why people play WoW?”


We used an inductive coding and human analysis to categorize the responses into three main categories: “social”, “gameplay”, & “health”. Categories were chosen if the appearance of data was greater than two. We used a mix of in-game and out-game interviews totaling at 15.


Predicted reasons for playing WoW were much closer to self reported, however, some predicted reasons varied more widely, with many of the predictions not appearing frequent enough to be counted as categories in their own right.

Self reported reasons for playing WoW by category are as follows: Social = 10, gameplay = 11, health = 4. Predicted reasons gave us the following results: Social = 8, gameplay = 8, health = 3. It should be noted that the total value of both predicted and self reported is great then the number of interviews (15), because more than one question was asked per interview and often responses qualified for more than one category.


Here are some exemplar quotes for each category:

Social – “I also play WoW because the people, they’re so nice and friendly. Heck even the mean people. I love everyone! What’s not to love about this community?”

Gameplay – “It’s a great game and the expansions are fun”

Health – “I play because it is a good stress reliever”


Using the three main categories we found you could possibly attempt to survey a wider population about why they choose to play the game. This would help better understand the proportions of why people play the game and could also serve to check that this data does apply to the general majority of WoW players and not just to the small sample size that was interviewed.

How do players in Stormwind react to being followed?

Stormwind City – Ravencrest


From 1:00pm-12:00pm MDT or 2:00pm-3:00pm CDT (Ravencrest is on CDT)

Names: Joey Hector and Miles Purcell


Field Notes:

Found a character walking around the city, followed into the bank

Walk up to the bank counter

We stand behind them

No indication that we have been noticed

They are a level 85 Night Elf Priest

No movement, other idle character animation (in this case flames)

They’re on the move

Walked into the vault

At a guild vault now. Possibly his

Still here

Still no noticeable indication that we have been noticed

They’re leaving the bank

Now stopped at the engineering supplies, quick stop

At the mailbox now, quick stop

Back into the bank now

Back at the guild vaults

Leaving the bank again

Flew away on flying mount


Potential Follow-up Questions:

  1. Did you notice us?
  2. If yes, then did you intentionally not interact with us?
  3. What we’re you doing in the bank?
  4. What is your experience with being followed like this and how do you view it?
  5. Are you an important member of your guild?



Unfortunately, we didn’t have the opportunity to ask any follow-up questions as the player flew away on his mount before we had the opportunity, so we will be guessing at potential reasons for things. We aren’t sure if he noticed us, but it seems like he probably didn’t. If he did, then it seems he might have chosen to ignore us because we seemingly weren’t disturbing him. This data might be better used for typical player behavior or something related to players interactions at banks/in cities rather than specifically their reactions to being followed. One potentially better way to find how players react to being followed around is to follow them outside of cities doing quests, it would also help if you fought enemies that they were hunting, as it would ensure they notice you. This way it would not only be easier for them to notice you, but your presence is probably more likely to illicit a response from them.

Dwarven Race Ideology

Dwarves in World of Warcraft are a race whose culture is defined by tradition, combat, exploration, celebration, and greed. They are known for their love of gold and ale and their outstanding metalworking. Clans are an essential part of Dwarven society, and each dwarf is tied very closely with their clan. There are three main clans of dwarves, the Bronzebeard clan, the Dark Iron clan, and the Wildhammer clan, each live and are ruled separately. There are also smaller clans that usually fall into one of these larger clans. At first, all of the clans lived peacefully under the rule of the Bronzebeard clan. After some time, they split because the Wildhammer dwarves wanted to open up trade with the high elves, which was considered unacceptable at the time, and the Dark Iron dwarves were practicing a type of magic that risked destruction of the rest of the dwarven people. As far as their view of other races, the dwarves are very close allies with both the humans and gnomes, especially since gnomes and the Bronzebeard dwarves live near each other. This style of Dwarves closely resembles the dwarves from The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. The dwarves from these books are a very proud race and are generally not fond of elves. This is because they view elves as pretentious and snobby, whereas the elves view the dwarves as rowdy and improper. This is somewhat echoed in World of Warcraft with the taboo of trading with the elves that split the Wildhammer dwarves from the rest.
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Is World of Warcraft Addicting?

World of Warcraft has a very large and active community, and many of the people who play the game tend to look to this community for social support. According to Longman, O’Connor, and Obst (2009), this social support can have both positive and negative impacts on one’s psychology. Those who receive social support from both within the game and from the real world tend to show less negative psychological affects, whereas those who receive nearly all of their support from online show far more negative psychological affects. According to Ng and Wiemer-Hastings (2005), this form of online addiction shares many of the symptoms of substance addiction, like failing school and family/relationship problems. One example of this comes from an article from The Guardian by Tamara Lush (2011), where a previous World of Warcraft Addict named Ryan van Cleave talks about how his “life began to fall apart” because of his addiction. So although World of Warcraft can be addicting, whether or not you fall prey to this is heavily impacted by your social situation in real life, and is not strictly a consequence of the game itself.


Longman, H., O’Connor, E., & Obst, P. (2009). The Effect of Social Support Derived from World of Warcraft on Negative Psychological Symptoms. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(5), 563–566.

“Lush, T., & A. (2011, August 29). At war with World of Warcraft: An addict tells his story. Retrieved from

Ng, B. D., & Wiemer-Hastings, P. (2005). Addiction to the Internet and Online Gaming. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 8(2), 110–113.


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