The Null Game: feature-specific player enjoyment in massively multiplayer online role playing games

  • Author / Creator
    Bouchard, Matthew
  • Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) are complex and interesting objects of study. They are quite popular among both casual and connoisseur gamers, and they are often played continuously over many years. Despite a reasonable amount of existing research on MMORPGs, no clear explanation has emerged to explain what particular game features encourage so many players to enjoy these games for so long. In this thesis, I contend that the most important elements in the success of an MMORPG are meritocratic play and managed player efficiency (MPE). This contention is proved by examining the existing literature on player enjoyment and game design, surveying popular MMORPGs, and building and testing a simple, browser-based game that implements meritocratic play and managed player efficiency. While existing research and my survey of popular MMORPGS provide good support for the importance of meritocratic play and MPE, participants in my study provided much stronger support by reporting particular enjoyment of game tasks that displayed the clearest meritocratic play and the best opportunities to manage player efficiency.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Humanities Computing
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Gouglas, Sean (History & Classics)
    • Ruecker, Stan (English & Film Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Quamen, Harvey (English & Film Studies)