Qualitative Research Blog Post

Josh Foreman

Joel Weiss

15 April 2019

The motivation for our research question was to figure out why experienced players who had been playing the game for years still had the drive to keep going, even after multiple years and characters. Therefore, our research question was not just “Why do you play WoW,” instead it was “Why do you still play WoW.” We used inductive coding based off of human analysis of the responses we received to categorize both reasons for initial playing of the game and continued playing.

To solve our research question, we mainly focused on looking at the responses of more experienced players. To do this, we looked at two sources of data: interviews with characters in starting areas and forum posts. The populous starting areas were filled with experienced players starting new characters and the users active on the forums are experienced in the game, having played for multiple years.  We coded 13 forum responses and 3 player responses from the data. We found that the forum responses were typically more useful, as they were more detailed and nuanced than the in-game responses. This also allowed the forum responses to be coded into multiple categories.

Through our coding we found reasons for continued playing to be following certain themes. We organized these responses based upon the themes and further upon the coding. The most common theme found was Escape, that it, using the content, communities, or challenges found within the game to distract the players from real world problems or stresses. Similar to the Escape theme, we found players enjoying the Sense of Progress they found within the game. Some players enjoyed leveling up multiple characters, while others liked to explore the world with just one.


“Q: Why do you play World of Warcraft instead of other video games?

        A: -ive played forever

                    -why stop now

Q: Why create a new Priest now?

        A: -lol

                    -for the giggles n !@#$z”

                    [Chat filter was turned on; likely “giggles n shitz”]

–          Alengery-Hyjal, Level 1 Human Priest, Male


(Silvermoon, Azshara, Daywalker-Winterhoof, Lvl 19 Tauren Priest)

-What aspects of the game have kept you playing the game?

Wow is a skinner box lol

Accomplishing minor achievements releases dopamine to my brains


Narthexia – Level 110 Orc Death Knight

I play it because:

1.It smooths out my brain giving me excellent serotonin boosts, it’s a real moodmellower and improver.


Based off of our initial research, coding, and further analysis, we believe that there is ample opportunity for further research within the bounds of motivations for repeated playing. As the lifespan of MMOs increase, the sense of commitment to the game that players have tends to grow as well. Despite this, MMOs are losing active players every month. Through finding the factors that led to inactivity researchers will be able to find reasons for repeated activity.

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