Effects of Game Design Features on Player-Avatar Relationships and Motivation for Buying Decorative Virtual Items

Wang Hao Ruan Yu-Chun Hsu Sheng-Yi Sun Chun-Tsai
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

Many online game players are developing strong psychological attachments with the avatars they use for gameplay. Player-avatar relationships can affect gaming experiences in terms of enjoyment, immersion, and virtual character identity, among other factors. For this study we tested various propositions regarding the effects of game design features on player-avatar relationships, and the effects of those relationships on decorative virtual item consumption motivation. Participants recruited from 15 online game forums were asked to complete two questionnaires on these topics. Our results indicate significant correlations between player-avatar relationships and both game design features (e.g., death penalties and pet systems) and decorative item consumption motivation. Our results offer insights into how game designers can, to some extent, manage player-avatar relationships by fine-tuning design features, perhaps facilitating marketing objectives in the process.


Main(s) and Alts: Multiple Character Management in World of Warcraft

Hsu Sheng-Yi Huang Yu-Han Sun Chuen-Tsai
2012 DiGRA Nordic '12: Proceedings of 2012 International DiGRA Nordic Conference

Most online games let players create multiple characters, and during avatar creation and gameplay, the relationships between players and their game playing goals are revealed. As multiple characters are developed, player behaviors become more complex. Yet a major characteristic of avatars is that they cannot act at the same time—since gameplay is usually continuous and players alternate between or among avatars, time patterns tend to emerge. For this project we employed a user interface to collect real and continuous data on World of Warcraft players, and developed an algorithm for grouping avatars owned by specific players into sets. We then attempted to identify goals for individual characters, types of set management, and relationships within avatar sets.