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Player and Guild Missions in WoW

An early theory on MUD player types points to achievement, exploration, killing, and socializing as the main styles of play (Bartle, 1996). To achievers online games are like chess or tennis, to explorers they are pastimes like reading or cooking, to killers online games are sports like hunting or fishing, and to socializers they are entertainment like television or concerts (Bartle, 1996).

When explored directly with MMOGs three player types remain: achievement, social, and immersion (Yee, 2007). Achievement players concentrate on advancement, mechanics of the game, and competition (Yee, 2007). Social players socialize, build relationships, and are involved in teamwork (Yee, 2007). Immersion players are interested in discovery, role-playing, customization, and escapism (Yee, 2007).

Likewise, there are distinct types of guilds that form in games like World of Warcraft based on purposes and goals of the players within them. Past research found the three major types are social, raid, and role-play guilds, with PvP groups forming within all types if guilds (Williams et al., 2006).

Multiple Overlapping Missions for Guilds pie chart

In exploring the guild missions listed in this study, I first used computer-aided exploration of the responses. This allowed me to explore themes without applying my bias from reading past research and interacting with players in the game. Then I compared the themes that came up in that analysis with the past research and coded the responses using a combined set of guild missions including raid, fun or play, social, casual, progression, and PvP. Role-play was not mentioned in this study.

The chart above shows all missions participants listed for their guilds. In most cases there was a main mission as well as one or more additional purposes.

After completing that analysis I also looked at primary missions individually, represented in the chart below.

Raiding maintains the top position in both charts, but fun or play rises above social when multiple missions are included. Casual play also shows up a lot more when multiple missions are included. This could be because many of the raiding guilds concentrate on specific styles of raiding, so although they are primarily aimed at forming raid groups they will form for casual players or aim to have fun during raids rather than concentrating on being the first to complete a raid or perfecting the raid.

In line with past research, PvP only shows up as a secondary goal of guilds.

Single Missions for Guilds pie chart



Bartle, Richard. (1996). Hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades: Players who suit MUDs, http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm.

Williams, Dmitri, Ducheneaut, Nicolas, Xiong, Li, Zhang, Yuanyuan, Yee, Nick, & Nickell, Eric. (2006). From tree house to barracks: The social life of guilds in World of Warcraft. Games and Culture, 1, 338-361. Retrieved March 15, 2010, from Sage Full-Text Collection.

Yee, N. (2007). Motivations of play in online games. Journal of CyberPsychology and Behavior, 9, 772-775.