Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Scott Liu

Keywords

behavior, communication, flow theory, gaming, MMORPGS, motivation

Abstract

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are growing in popularity and use worldwide. This study seeks to explore the motivations and experiences of MMORPG players through an extensive online survey with more than a thousand participants (n=1,422). The findings support a complex relationship between the variables, including the direct effects of motivations and flow on the time invested by players in MMORPG play, as well as the mediated effects of motivation via flow. Causal relationships are examined in addition to the significance of direct and indirect effects on frequency of play, yielding several significant results, including (1) the overwhelming importance of relationships as a motivation for MMORPG players, (2) the lack of motivation for manipulating players and elements of the game experienced by players, (3) the significance of achievement motivators when mediated by flow, (4) the significance of the direct effects of the mechanisms of flow (challenge, skill, and play) on MMORPG play behaviors, and (5) the recognition of the intricate network of connections between the variables in their effects on MMORPG players' habits.

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