I read this article of a Korean professor who did a study on why people like WoW, or really more specifically the cultural differences behind why people say they play WoW. This got me thinking, as while the article is interesting (I’d like to see the actual presentation that Wi made to see how much the writer is actually screwing up what the professor is saying), it is indeed quite inaccurate, or at the very least mis-leading.
Now I do want to say that the facts aren’t inaccurate, how could they be, he conducted the survey. However, I find it to be a major flaw that he is essentially asking players what they like about WoW and then my guess is that he uses those answers straight from their mouths to produce his results. This is the flaw, as any developer worth his salt knows that there is a difference between what a player wants and what he says he wants. This is actually one of the main reasons why there are so many different philosophies in MMOs cause every developer at some point has asked the players what they want and every developer has mistakingly put it in without thinking of the consequences in the game of said feature. I am almost sure that this is the direct consequence of why Star Wars Galaxies went from a below average game to one of the worst MMOs of all time. This is also why so many games have taken away the death penalty, only for the devs to wonder why players don’t play the game as long as they used to.[1. The average a player used to stay in a game used to be 6-12 months, and is now 3-6 months, if they continue to make things easier it will lower to 1-3 months and it won’t matter that they charge $15 a month because no one will get to that point anyway, probably also why so many companies are starting to toy with the idea of pay for items in a free MMO theory.]
So is the study useless? No, it does provide some interesting insights. I was particularly impressed with the Chinese PvP play rate at 91% where North America is a mere 40% (we are the violent ones remember?). Or that Americans tend to join guilds to make friends where as Asians join for the advantages of a guild (we are the selfish americans who only care about ourselves right?). I also laughed at the fact that despite being popular, WoW is still only #3 over there (I assume Lineage is #1 and Lineage 2 is #2). Showing that the Asian market still has more taste than the Americans.